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Smartphones & gadgets

6 checkups to give your tech now to avoid a shocking repair bill later

Your tech works only as well as your level of care for it. Whether it’s a phone, tablet, computer or laptop, you can keep any device running smoother and longer with some basic maintenance and checkups. Not only will you get more use out of them, but you can fend off bigger problems that cause headaches down the road.

Even your internet speed relies on regular inspection and maintenance. Your router’s location and software version all affect how fast you can surf the web, stream content and more. You can also tweak network settings to fulfill your need for speed. Tap or click here for 10 tips on boosting your Wi-Fi.

Just like a car, your electronic devices perform better when properly maintained. Identifying and fixing issues early is critical, and you don’t need to be a tech wizard to do so. Read on to learn how to check in on your tech.

1. How to check your phone for viruses

Let’s get one thing out of the way. Your iPhone is not immune to viruses.

Apple’s operating system makes it so apps operate in their own virtual space, making it difficult for one bad app to infect others. The App store also has a very strict vetting process. While it is less likely to be infected than a non-iOS device, you still have to take precautions. Note: A jailbroken iPhone is more vulnerable to viruses.

Whether your phone runs on Android or iOS, here are some signs of a possible virus:

  • Surge in data usage
  • Apps crashing repeatedly
  • Excessive pop-ups
  • Unfamiliar apps
  • Slow performance
  • Battery draining fast and/or heating up

If you have an iPhone and suspect a virus, delete any unfamiliar or suspicious apps. Clear your Safari history and website data in Settings. Try powering off and restarting the phone. Restore your phone from a previous backup and if all the above fails, restore your factory settings. Tap or click here for tips on securing your iPhone and Mac.

If you have a Samsung phone, you can scan it using Smart Manager. This app lets you check up on your battery usage, storage space, memory and more. It can also scan your phone for malicious software and block phishing attacks and malicious websites. Open Smart Manager from the apps screen, tap Device security, then SCAN DEVICE.

Protect your phone ahead of time by downloading and installing the latest Android/iOS updates as they are released. If you’re worried about the risk to your own health from excessive phone usage, we have some startling data you should check out.

2. Phone battery health

If you find that your phone battery is constantly low or dying quickly, you may be mistreating the poor thing. Among the factors that affect battery health is age, temperature and charging habits.

Don’t charge your phone when you go to bed. Simple enough, right? There’s more you can do to extend the life of your phone’s power supply. Don’t run your battery down to 0% before charging or go all the way up to 100%. Keep it somewhere in the range of 30-70%. Tap or click here to read about the battery chargers that were removed from Amazon’s listings.

Keep your phone cool. Don’t leave it out in the sun or under your pillow.

Use your phone’s built-in battery features. For iPhones, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health > Optimized Battery Charging and make sure it’s enabled. This will reduce the time your battery spends fully charged. It also takes your charging habits into account and won’t charge past 80% unless you need it to.

Android phones also have battery optimization apps. This can usually be found in the settings menu. On Samsung phones, go to Settings > Device Care > Optimize Now > Battery. On Google Pixel phones, go to Settings > Battery and turn on Adaptive Battery.

3. Phone diagnostic tests

Diagnostic tools can help you identify any issues affecting your smartphone, whether you notice them or not. They can find the problem or at least give you some idea of what’s wrong so you can take the proper steps to solve it.

Checking up on your iPhone isn’t easy. You’ll need a third-party app for the most part. TestM is a popular diagnostic app that performs more than 20 tests on your phone, including its cameras, touch screen, speakers, gyroscope, accelerometer, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, cellular, light sensor, charger and more. Tap here to get the free iOS app.

You can also try Phone Doctor Plus which can monitor your battery and data usage and inform you when you are at the limit.

You can get TestM from the Google Play Store for your Android phone. If you want an alternative, Phone Check and Test runs diagnostics on your Android phone’s cellular, Wi-Fi, display, touchscreen, GPS, audio, camera, sensors, storage, memory, CPU and battery similar to TestM.

This app also includes a monitor screen that shows your usage for memory, storage, battery, Wi-Fi and cellular services.

4. Analyze your laptop battery

Like your phone’s battery, the one in your laptop needs proper care to run at its best.

For PC, you have a couple of options to check up on your laptop battery. Let’s start with PowerShell:

  • Search for PowerShell in the lower left search box in Windows.
  • On the menu that opens, select Windows PowerShell (Admin). Make sure to choose the Admin option and select Yes when it asks if you want to allow this app to make changes to this device.
  • Once it’s open, copy the following command or type powercfg /batteryreport /output “C:\battery-report.html” and hit Enter.
  • You will see a message in PowerShell with the location the report was saved, in most cases it will be the C drive.

To view the battery report:

  • Type Windows File Explorer into the search box in the bottom left of Windows to access the C drive.
  • You should see a file labled battery-report.html. Double-click the file to open it in your browser.
  • The report outlines your laptop battery’s health along with how well it has been doing and how much longer it might last.

If you have a Mac laptop, checking in with your battery is easier:

  • Hold the Option key and click on the Apple menu.
  • Click on System Information.
  • Scroll down to Hardware > Power > Cycle Count.
  • The closer you are to 1,000 cycles, the lower your battery performance will be.

5. Computer hardware check

Running diagnostics on your Mac and PC is more straightforward than doing it on your smartphone. Your computers come with built-in tools that are easy to use.

Windows 10 comes with the Performance Monitor app, which can find and diagnose issues on your PC. Open the Start menu and search for Performance Monitor. Give it some time to gather the data. On the left-hand side, click Reports > System > System Diagnostics > [Computer Name] to check out your system hardware.

The Windows Memory Diagnostic runs a memory test on your RAM. Many symptoms such as crashes and slow performance could be attributed to failing memory. Press Windows + R to get the Run window, then type mdsched.exe and hit Enter to test your RAM.

Apple Diagnostics checks your Mac for hardware issues. The tool also offers suggestions for fixes and can put you in touch with tech support. To use the tool, you must first shut down your Mac. Then disconnect all external devices except for the keyboard, mouse, display, Ethernet connection (if applicable), and power connection.

If your Mac is fairly new, it may have an Apple silicon processor rather than one from Intel. Use About This Mac to determine which one you have.

If you have an Apple silicon chip:

  • Turn on your Mac and press and hold the power button as your Mac boots up.
  • Release the button when you see the startup options window.
  • Press Command-D on your keyboard.

For Intel-based Macs:

  • Turn on your Mac then press and hold the D key as your Mac boots up.
  • Release the button when you see a progress bar or when you’re asked to choose a language.

Wait for the test to complete, then view the results.

6. Look for Malware

Run regular scans for malware to catch it before it can cause too much damage to your system. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV.

The security suite works for all your devices. TotalAV protects your devices from ransomware, spyware, adware and malware. The WebShield feature blocks malicious websites.

Whether you use a Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, or Android phone, you can get protection with TotalAV. Tap or click here to get an annual plan for just $19 at That’s a savings of 85%.

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