However diligently we look after them, smartphones have a degree of in-built obsolescence.
Components wear out, battery cells degrade, software conflicts multiply and touchscreen responsiveness begins to reduce.
Then there’s more deliberate interference, such as Apple deliberately slowing down old iPhones.
Apple claim this “smooths out” battery performance, though many disgruntled iPhone owners have suggested different motives.
Even so, there’s no disputing the fact that daily usage places a heavy burden on components in a smartphone, which by necessity are lightweight – and therefore quite fragile.
If your handset’s performance and reliability are markedly deteriorating, there is one option worth considering – a full smartphone factory reset.
This effectively restores the phone to the condition it was in when it left the factory.
But should you consider a smartphone factory reset? And how many problems will it solve?
A brand-new handset has no user records or customisation when it’s shipped from the factory that manufactured it.
The hard drive is empty, apart from the operating system and pre-installed apps.
As time goes by, internal storage becomes clogged with file fragments and overwritten records, making it harder for the operating system to locate relevant information.
Malware may affect the phone’s performance, while internet files, cookies and downloaded documents all take up available space.
A quarter of installed apps are only used once, which means there are probably numerous programs which don’t need to be there.
Even when they’re uninstalled, apps leave footprints behind, and these legacies of long-lost programs may drag out historic conflicts with other programs or utilities.
The best way to undo this accumulated damage is by erasing everything on the hard drive – once you’ve backed up personal data in the cloud or onto another device.
Manufacturers and app developers make data backups relatively easy.
Google Chrome stores bookmarks and cookies for access on any computer, while Apple retains a list of installed apps for manual reinstallation onto another device.
Many game saves can be transferred to another handset, and even 2FA banking apps are easy to reinstall providing you deactivate security keys on the soon-to-be-erased phone.
The cloud is great for backing up files off-device, with 50GB of Samsung Cloud storage costing a modest 79 pence per month.
And phone contacts should always be saved onto your SIM card, rather than into device memory.
Once you’re confident you can wipe your handset without losing anything important, a full reset will erase everything that’s happened to the device since you unboxed it.
As internal storage is comprehensively formatted, apps will vanish and any customised settings like ringtones will be deleted.
On start-up, the phone should reprise its day-one boot-up procedure, asking you to choose an installation language and run through basic tutorials.
You’ll have to perform a software update, since there are likely to have been changes to the OS since the phone was purchased.
Straight away, you should notice the phone responds to inputs more quickly.
Most people take this as an opportunity to streamline the number of apps, files and personal data they download back onto the device, helping to maintain this jump in performance.
It’s important to recognise a smartphone factory reset won’t undo historic wear on internal components like the battery, or repair mechanical faults such as loose connections.
However, it should give your phone a significant performance boost.
It ought to eradicate the majority of bugs and malware.
And it could prolong its lifespan, avoiding landfill and delaying the cost of upgrading to a new handset.