Some things are built to last. Lighthouses, Volvos, solid wooden furniture…none of these could ever be described as short-term or flimsy.
Yet other items are treated as disposable commodities, despite being equally well-engineered in their own way.
Despite the incredible amounts of development and testing invested in their manufacture, smartphones are widely viewed as short-term possessions.
In the main, this is the fault of manufacturers, who are constantly bringing out newer models in an attempt to boost annual sales.
Pay-monthly contracts have further abbreviated smartphone lifespans, giving consumers a sense that their old handset will be worthless or redundant by the time their contract is up.
A smarter approach
SIM-only customers will know a smartphone’s lifespan doesn’t have to be measured by how many monthly payments are left on its credit agreement.
With a combination of advanced planning and basic common sense, it’s possible to use the same handset every day for several years without major issues arising.
These are our tips for maximising smartphone lifespans:
- Buy a device incorporating the latest technology. Although they don’t date as quickly as manufacturers and early adopters would suggest, phones do gradually fall behind the times.
Buying a state-of-the-art handset maximises the amount of time it’ll remain useable, rather than forcing owners to miss out on increasingly mainstream services and functions.
- Invest in a high-quality protective case. Don’t just buy a tempered glass screen protector and leave the unit’s chassis exposed to scrapes, dents and drops.
Buy a waterproof rubber or silicon case, ideally one which stands slightly proud of the screen. Not only will this prevent damage, it’ll also keep the phone looking like new.
- Run the battery down before recharging. Batteries contain huge numbers of cells, which can only accept a finite number of charges before they start to wear out.
Recharging before the battery is flat means the same cells are constantly being replenished and depleted. This will eventually start to lower overall standby and talk time.
- Don’t overtax the processor. Filling internal storage or installing a hundred apps places strain on RAM and storage, potentially leading to unreliability or unresponsiveness.
Only install apps you genuinely need, conduct periodic purges of unused programs, and backup media files to the cloud to save internal space.
- Power the device down. Another way to preserve operating efficiency is to turn the phone off overnight once a week.
Many electronic devices develop glitches when running constantly. Remember the IT Crowd mantra – turn it off and turn it on again.
- Break out the antibacterial wipes. Research has suggested 16 per cent of UK smartphones contain the presence of E.coli, while nine in ten are covered in bacteria.
Remove protective cases before giving the phone a clean with dry, non-abrasive materials. Extricating dust and debris from the handset’s ports and sockets also prevents damage.
- Install software and OS updates. Software patches are often designed to tackle malware vulnerabilities, while updates to the phone’s operating system herald new features.
Having the latest version of Android or iOS helps to extend smartphone lifespans by providing consumers with the latest features – discouraging them from upgrading.
- Avoid moisture. Some of the latest handsets are water-resistant, including the Google Pixel 3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9, but even on these units, immersion is not recommended.
Steam (or even heavy rain) might cause damage to less waterproof devices, so keep water away from handsets whenever possible.