Upgrading your phone every year or two can get expensive, plus with today’s great technology, your slightly older model may still work just great for you. If you’re the type of person who wants to get every last drop of value from your smartphone before moving on, here are 5 key tips to keep your phone in great working order.
Get A Good Case. Covering your phone in a protective case is the quickest and easiest way to extend its life. We all know that accidents—especially drops—happen. Protect yourself from the inevitable to avoid having to deal with—or make a costly repair—to a cracked screen.
Keep It Clean. Clearing debris from the phone’s ports, and keeping the screen wiped clean, offer the best of both worlds: the phone not only performs better, it also looks great. Take a few minutes and use a toothpick to clean out any lint or dirt in the charging port, microphone area, speaker grille and headphone jack. Use cleaning wipes to remove smudges and fingerprints from the screen (and keep it germ free).
Don’t Skip Updates. To keep your phone running as fast and trouble-free as possible, it’s important to update the operating system and third-party apps. It doesn’t take long, and the benefits can be huge: updates fix bugs, resolving security issues, and install new features that improve overall performance. You can even set your phone to perform updates while using Wi-Fi instead of using your cellular data.
Android and iPhone both offer automatic app updates, which should be enabled by default. You can check on an Android phone by opening the Play Store, sliding out the menu from the left side of the screen, tapping on Settings and making sure the Auto-update apps option is selected. If you have an iPhone, go to Settings > iTunes & App Store and make sure the App Updates option is in the On position.
Manage Your Apps. Phones have a fixed amount of storage and memory. By removing apps you don’t use regularly, you preserve space and also and prevent apps from running in the background, which can make your phone feel slower and closer to the end of its life than it really is.
Deleting apps on an iPhone is easy—just long-press on the app icon until it starts to wiggle, then tap the X to remove it. Android smartphones offer a few more options but can follow a similar process—long-press, select the “i” that shows up for App Info and then choose Uninstall. And don’t worry; if you decide later that you really want the app back, you can always reinstall it from the App Store or Google Play.
Maintain Your Battery. Battery performance will inevitably decrease as your phone gets older, but you can still take steps to improve its performance. For one, don’t let your battery routinely drain to zero. It has to work that much harder to charge back up, shortening its lifespan. Also avoid putting your device in situations where the battery could overheat, like leaving it out in direct sunlight. While the day will come that replacing it simply can’t be avoided—there are network upgrades and other technological changes that leave every phone outdated at a certain point—these few simple steps could save you hundreds of dollars by making your old phone last just that much longer.