There’s something irresistible about unboxing a new smartphone.
Peeling off the protective vinyl tabs is satisfying, the first boot-up is pleasing, and discovering its new features can be thrilling.
If we can’t treat ourselves to a new handset, we’re increasingly living vicariously through other people.
Some of YouTube’s most popular videos involve smartphone unboxing, with two reveals of the Samsung Galaxy Fold each attracting over 18 million views within a few months.
However, new gadgets don’t stay new for long.
And smartphones tend to age rapidly, given how heavily we rely on them as communication tools, entertainment devices and personal organisers.
Their inherent fragility can be compounded by not looking after them properly.
Maintaining your smartphone isn’t rocket science, yet millions of us own handsets with dents, cracked screens, faulty components and the scuffs and scrapes of benign neglect.
These are our tips for maintaining your smartphone effectively, ensuring it’ll last longer – and be worth more when the time finally comes to say goodbye…
Never carry it in a bag. Pockets are fine, but handbags and rucksacks tend to contain other items like keys and water bottles which could leak or scratch/dent/crush it.
Always fit a protective cover. Yes, it spoils the aesthetics. But when you drop your phone (and it’s when not if), a rubberised case pays for itself a hundred times over.
Add a screen protector. Again, adding a clear sheet of plastic diminishes the tactile sensations of a haptic screen. But screens are easily broken, and costly to repair.
Keep it away from water. Unless your phone is IP68 water-resistant, it shouldn’t be immersed in water or used outside in a downpour.
Charge with care. Charge the battery from 40 to 80 per cent, don’t leave it plugged in overnight unless it’s off, and never perform intensive tasks while charging.
Keep a firm grip. Even if you fit a case, dropping a phone onto a hard surface risks dislodging the fragile, lightweight components which enable it to operate.
Delete unused apps and bloatware. An estimated 25 per cent of apps are only used once. Deleting them frees memory, speeds up the device and reduces battery drain.
Perform maintenance tasks. The Device Maintenance utility in Android clears memory, optimises performance and reduces strain on the phone’s CPU.
Be delicate. Shoving in charging leads or headphones could weaken sockets, causing them to fail. Headphone jacks are notorious for becoming worn and loose.
Never carry a phone in a back pocket. It’s easy to forget a phone is there til you sit down – potentially dropping it, bending/crushing it, or snapping it clean in two.
Stay away from heat sources. Sitting the phone beside a car air vent may cause it to warp, while prolonged sunshine could shorten the life of the screen and battery.
Keep it away from children. Toddlers love scrolling through photos, but they often drop phones. A tiny finger pressed on the screen for too long could cause damage.
Periodically turn off the phone. This allows the device to physically cool, install updates and empty its cache memory. It’s also good for preserving the battery.
Avoid magnets. From childproof cupboard locks to speakers, magnets are the enemy of a phone’s fragile electronic components.
Clean with a dry cloth. Our last maintaining your smartphone tip removes harmful dust from crevices. Never use wet wipes, water or glass cleaner/furniture polish.