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Smartphones & gadgets

5 ways to make your phone last as long as possible

There was a point in time when it was common to upgrade your smartphone every year or two. This was made simple by cell phone providers, which regularly offered the rolling upgrade option to customers. Those deals are more difficult to come by now.

Not only that, but most people aren’t making significant smartphone purchases thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating effects on the economy. After all, some of the new smartphones cost more than $1,000 and it’s hard to justify a purchase like that when it’s unclear when the economy will recover. Tap or click here for decent budget phone options.

People are opting to keep phones for years at a time instead, which means that it’s important to keep your phone in good working condition. Taking care of the battery is one part of keeping your phone in tip-top shape. Here are five simple ways to help your phone last longer.

How to extend the life of your iPhone or Android device

1. Invest in a good phone case

If you drop and damage your phone display, there may also be damage that isn’t visible to the naked eye in the components or connectors underneath it. This damage can cause your phone to heat up and drain your battery life. Even minor cracks or scratches can signal other internal damage inside your phone that will affect your battery life.

If you want to protect your phone battery, it’s important to start by protecting your display and the external parts of your phone. You’ll need a good cover and a screen protector to do that. You can get a solid, well-rated case and screen protector, and these investments will help keep your battery in good working order.

While the highly-rated cases from companies like OtterBox can run you between $40 and $80 or more, there are tons of options for cases and not all of them will require a hefty investment. To find the right case for your phone, you should make sure to read all of the product details available in the listing and dig through the other user reviews before you purchase anything.

Tap or click here for a selection of cases you can buy from Amazon.

You should spend some time looking for the right screen protector, too. There are tons of different materials used for screen protectors, including tempered glass or PET plastic, and you’ll want to choose one that protects from cracks, drops, and scratches. You’ll also want to make sure that the specs and dimensions for the screen protector you’re considering will line up with your phone, as each phone has a slightly different display.

Tap or click here for screen protector options you can buy from Amazon.

2. Learn when to charge your battery

Another important factor in protecting your smartphone battery is learning when to actually charge your phone. All batteries have a limited lifespan, and charging your phone unnecessarily can take a heavy toll on your battery lifespan.

To protect your phone battery, you need to learn the do’s and don’ts of charging, which include:

  • Don’t let your battery drain to 0%. Cell phones have lithium-ion batteries and allowing them to drain to zero actually diminishes the capacity of the battery.
  • Do charge your phone to between 40% and 80% instead of 100%. The upper mid-range is the ideal level for a stable battery, as it will help you get the most out of its lifespan.
  • Don’t charge your phone overnight. Doing this keeps your phone battery in a high-stress, high-tension state. This wears down the chemistry within and can cause your battery to gradually lose its capacity with each charging cycle. Plus, it’s probably not necessary to charge your battery for that long anyway.
  • Do unplug the phone once it’s reached a full charge. If you want to charge your battery to 100%, unplug it once it’s at full charge. Leaving your phone plugged in after it’s reached a full charge allows small amounts of power to seep into the battery to maintain the full charge, which can stress and damage it over time.
  • Do store your phone at 50%. If you’re planning to put your phone away while powered off for an extended period of time you should allow the battery to drain to 50% before powering it off. You should also power it back on occasionally and charge it to 50% if you plan to store it for an extended period, which will keep the battery from destabilizing over time.

It’s also important to understand that if for some reason, your smartphone battery is completely destroyed, it will be cheaper to replace the battery rather than the entire phone. So, consider doing that before buying a new phone. It could save you a ton of money.

3. Avoid exposing your phone to extreme temperatures

You can protect your phone battery by avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures. Repeated heat exposure damages the battery, and so does allowing your phone to get too cold.

If your phone overheats, it can cause data loss and corruption, or even cause battery leakage, which can cause it to catch fire. If your phone gets too cold, the battery will die more quickly — plus you risk damaging the battery.

To cut down on the risk of damage by extreme temperatures, you should avoid:

  • Using your phone outside for prolonged periods of time, especially when it’s extremely hot or cold out.
  • Using your phone for prolonged periods indoors, too — using your phone nonstop could cause it to overheat.
  • Leaving your phone in your pocket for long periods could cause it to overheat.
  • Leaving your phone in the car — whether it’s hot or cold out.
  • Charging the phone in direct sunlight, and try to avoid exposing your phone to direct sunlight altogether.
  • Charging your phone under blankets, pillows, or other heavy warming material.

You should also be sure to always use certified charging cables to charge your phone’s battery. The off-brand or uncertified cables may be cheaper and may work in a pinch, but they could cause your phone to become damaged, overheat, or even damage the charging port and battery.

Tap or click here for certified charging cables from Amazon.

4. Install all updates and security patches

If you want to protect your phone, you need to keep its operating system and apps up-to-date with the latest versions. You also need to make sure to install any security patches and complete other vulnerability fixes, as these often focus on issues that affect your phone.

To get the latest Android operating system updates:

  1. When you receive a notification, open it and tap the update action.
  2. If you cleared your notification or your device has been offline:
    1. Open your phone’s Settings app.
    2. Near the bottom, tap System > Advanced > System update.
    3. You’ll see your update status.
    4. Follow any steps on the screen.

To get the latest Android security and Google Play updates:

To check if an update is available:

  1. Open your device’s Settings app.
  2. Tap Security.
  3. Check for an update:
    1. To check if a security update is available, tap Security update.
    2. To check if a Google Play system update is available, tap Google Play system update.
    3. Follow any steps on the screen.

To get the latest iOS updates on your iPhone:

If a message says that an update is available, tap Install Now. You can also follow these steps: 

  1. Go to Settings > General and then tap Software Update. If you’re already running the most recent update, you will see “Your software is up to date.”
  2. If an update is available, tap Download > Install. You can also tap Later > Install Tonight or Remind Me Later. If you tap Install Tonight, your device will update automatically overnight.
  3. If asked, enter your passcode.

To get the latest iOS app updates:

Follow these steps to update your apps:

  1. Open the App Store.
  2. Tap your profile icon at the top of the screen.
  3. Scroll down to see pending updates and release notes.
  4. Tap Update next to an app to update only that app, or tap Update All.

You should also keep your phone backed up. Doing this won’t necessarily affect your phone battery, but it will protect you in case your phone or battery is damaged to the point where you can’t access any of the information on it.

To make sure your automatic backup is on for iOS:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on your name at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap iCloud > iCloud Backup and make sure it’s switched on. 

Instructions for making sure your automatic backup in on for Android will vary by device, but in general, you should:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Toggle to Google > Backup.

If you want a better way to back up all of your devices, we recommend our sponsor IDrive.

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5. Maintenance is key

You may not think it’s necessary to clear out the apps you only use occasionally, but uninstalling apps that you never use could help to improve phone performance and energy consumption.

To delete apps on iOS:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General > Storage.
  3. Select the app you want to delete.
  4. Tap Delete App > Delete.
  5. Confirm that you want to delete the app.

To delete apps on Android:

  1. Open Settings > Apps.
  2. A list of apps will appear.
  3. Select the app and tap Uninstall.
  4. Go back to your display window to remove the widget.

You should also make sure to watch out for risks like malware. Malware isn’t as common on iOS devices because Apple keeps the App Store pretty locked down, but it can happen. And Android devices are huge targets for cybercriminals — especially with app downloads. Some Android phones can even come preinstalled with malware, so you need to regularly check your phone for these types of issues.

Keeping your phone free of malware and other security threats, making sure its battery is in prime condition, and having a good case and screen protector will go a long way in extending the life of your phone. See, that wasn’t so difficult, was it?

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