Our devices are significant investments. You need to treat your tech well to get your money’s worth. Regular maintenance is one way to stay ahead of the game. Tap or click for six checkups to avoid a hefty repair bill.
Based on calls to my show, emails, and questions posted on my website’s tech support forum, here are five common mistakes that could cost you.
1. You’re charging too much
Do you keep your phone plugged in all the time? Apple says that when your iPhone “remain(s) at full charge for prolonged periods of time, battery health can be affected.”
Android phone manufacturers, including Samsung, say the same. “Do not leave your phone connected to the charger for long periods of time or overnight.” Huawei says, “Keeping your battery level as close to the middle (30% to 70%) as possible can effectively prolong the battery life.”
The official word is to keep your phone charged — but not fully charged. Get in the habit of unplugging your tech after it is fully charged.
More tech smarts: Tap or click for tricks to keep your phone battery in tip-top shape.
2. You wait too long to charge your laptop
Laptop batteries have a finite number of charge-discharge cycles. If you frequently let your battery entirely run out of juice, it affects the charge-discharge cycle and diminishes its intended lifespan.
Your laptop battery can also lose efficiency in another way. Let’s say you regularly charge your laptop from 30% to 50%, or about 20% each time. Well, do that five times and you’ll have completed one battery cycle because you’ve charged your laptop 100% in total.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your battery charged to at least 40% most of the time. Tap or click here to check your laptop’s battery health.
3. You go with the cheapest option
If you lose your charger or a USB cable gets frayed, resist the temptation to buy the cheapest replacement. The few dollars you save on a low-cost substitute may negatively affect your device’s performance.
One-size-fits-all chargers and cable makers don’t want you to know that often their products do not have the proper voltage needed to work with your specific device. Why does that matter? Your battery may not get the juice it needs to charge fully. Worse, it may erode the battery’s life.
Cheap chargers can be dangerous to you, too. Many generic phone chargers are less likely to meet established safety and quality testing guidelines than their name-brand counterparts, leading to severe shocks and burns.
Spend a little more on getting a replacement charger and cable from the devices’ manufacturer or certified third-party makers. Tap or click for a solid third-party recommendation for iPhone and Android.
4. You’re careless
Today’s phones are relatively rugged. They can generally resist water, dust, and a bit of water. But leaving your device in a hot car or the sun can cause severe damage. Not only can it cause the battery to leak or overheat, but it can also cause data to be lost or corrupted.
Extreme cold temperatures also wreak havoc on your phone. Lithium-ion batteries can stop discharging electricity in freezing temperatures, leading to shortened battery life, display problems, and even cracking the display glass.
RELATED: Radio silence? How to tell if someone blocked your calls.
5. You’re a slob
Is your tech sparkling clean or covered in crumbs and smudges? It’s not just about cleanliness, either. Dust and dirt can damage computers, TVs, and other expensive electronics.
Here are some essential tools I keep on hand to maintain my devices:
- Compressed air: This is especially useful when cleaning tight quarters and inside difficult-to-reach crevices. If you don’t like the waste of regular compressed air, try an electric air duster.
- Isopropyl alcohol: Avoid household cleaning products on your electronic devices. A good rule of thumb is if you would use it to clean your kitchen, it’s not appropriate for your computer or electronics.
- Cleaning wipes: Try a cleaning wipe if you don’t want to mess with alcohol or water. I buy these all the time.
- Distilled or purified bottled water: Tap water could leave mineral spots and stains.
- Soft cloths: Lint-free is your friend; don’t use paper towels or tissues that scratch and leave particles behind. If you have 100% cotton cloth, that works, too. Here’s an affordable pack of clothes I’ve purchased a few times.
- Toothbrush: A soft toothbrush can be used on hard-to-reach areas and spots that need light scrubbing.
When you’re ready to give your tech a nice spring cleaning, I can help. Tap or click here for my tested steps to clean ports, earbuds, keyboards, screens, and printers.
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