Like the unmistakeable yet fleeting smell of a new car, the appeal of a new smartphone fades quickly.
Within weeks of peeling off those protective plastic strips, your ‘new’ phone may begin to look scruffy, while its inner mechanics will be placed under constant strain.
Indeed, premature ageing is a fact of life for smartphones, whose in-built obsolescence is accentuated by the heavy daily use they receive.
It’s not uncommon for phones to be showing visible signs of ageing within a year, from cracked screens and loose connectors to sluggish performance and regular freezing.
However, there are various ways to extend your handset life, which should all have a positive effect on its usability, condition and even its trade-in value.
Ten ways to extend your handset lifespan
- Fit a protective case. These cheap plastic wraparounds spoil the look of your handset, but they’ll protect it from cracks and chips, preserving the chassis in as-new condition.
- Buy a screen cover. Again, these diminish the tactile appeal of a new phone. Yet applied carefully, they’re basically invisible, minimising wear and damage to your screen.
- Keep phones isolated. Stuffing them into bags or pockets alongside coins, keys and other sharp objects often precedes ugly scrapes and chips that may affect future resale values.
- Clean phones last longer. Dirt clogs up ports, dust can affect the phone’s workings, and prolonged exposure to oil or water could damage sensitive components like processors.
- Keep battery charge between 40 and 80 per cent. Using slow chargers where possible, try to maintain power between these limits, other than fully depleting the battery once a month.
- Avoid temperature extremes. If your job involves walk-in freezers or molten metals, keep your phone away, since very high or low temperatures may damage fragile components.
- Don’t fill the storage. Extend your handset life by keeping a few GB of storage space free. A full device has to work harder to function, prematurely wearing out components.
- Replace faulty parts if possible. Batteries are usually the first component to wear out, but connectors and screens can also be replaced on many handsets to extend their lifespan.
- Don’t root the device. App stores have limitations, but official apps are unlikely to pose the risks some unregulated apps available after rooting or jailbreaking could do.
- There’s always a nuclear option. If you’re able to back up data effectively, a factory reset can add months to your device’s lifespan by returning its software to as-new condition.
Finally, many of the things we do on our phones could be performed more quickly and comfortably on a desktop or laptop computer, or even a tablet.
Since none of us are getting out much at present, transfer activities like online shopping, streaming and gaming onto bigger devices.
This reduces phone wear while providing a more enjoyable and practical end user experience on devices with larger keyboards and bigger screens.