Smartphones: how to extend …

You have purchased an iPhone 13, Huawei P50 Pocket, Samsung S22 Ultra or Xiaomi 12 Pro. A huge investment that you know you are running out of time. If you’re lucky, your phone will easily last 3 years or more.

It may happen that after only two years signs of aging will appear and unfortunately you will not be able to count on the manufacturer’s warranty. Many in such cases decide to buy a new phone, which is quite understandable, but by far the most expensive option. You’ve deducted a thousand euros or more for your mobile hobbies, so why settle for an average phone life, especially since you have all the tools and information available on how to extend the life of your phone yourself.

While you are just starting to enjoy your new iPhone, Samsung, Huawei or Xiaomi, all of the above manufacturers are already overlooking the new generation of premium phones. Everyone tends to buy the latest generation with the most advanced biometrics, camera system, and of course the most powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, 2, 3 or whatever they call the next iterations.

If your budget allows it and you sell an old phone at a good price at the same time, don’t let other people’s opinion stop you. Your money, your decision. However, some individuals become attached to their mobile devices during use and definitely want to find a way to prolong their coexistence, even if only for a few months.

Here are some tips to extend the life of your phone and speed up its performance.

Update apps and operating system (Android, iOS, HarmonyOS)

It greatly reduces the impact of updating the most frequently used applications and the system itself. Developers are constantly upgrading existing features and adding new features while improving the overall performance of the application or system. Over the years, information about (unintended) slowdowns of phones has surfaced through updates to the operating system or apps. These are rare cases where we rely on competent services to make the manufacturer accountable to its users. In other cases, updates are positive and improve the performance of your smartphone, tablet or computer.

Android, iOS, HarmonyOS, and other operating systems offer automatic updates by default or automatically notify you of available updates. For individual apps, you will need to click on the specific mobile store (Google Play, AppGallery, Apple Store…) and select the Update automatically option in the settings. If you don’t like your phone installing updates without your knowledge, you can do it manually. It will take a little longer, but you will be in control of what gets updated. Go ahead and see what the new update covers with each app: is it about fixing bugs, patching vulnerabilities, or adding new features?

Deleting apps you don’t use can speed up a slow phone

Smartphones have a limited amount of system memory and storage space, so it’s important to keep the apps you don’t use to a minimum. Deleting apps regularly will free up much-needed storage while preventing apps from running in the background, consuming some processing power and system memory (RAM). The consequences in the short term are imperceptible, and in the long term, the full life of a mobile phone can be shorter.

The easiest way is to go to the specified store, find the section with all installed applications and remove the applications you do not need from the list (you can also filter by usage rate). You can also delete apps from the home screen: it’s usually enough to hold down the app with one tap and then drag the icon to one of the upper corners.

System apps pose a different problem because by default you won’t have permission to delete these apps or features. This is a problem if manufacturers install many applications at the factory that users never use, but still run in the background and “steal” valuable resources. Unfortunately, the average user can’t do much. It is necessary to “root” the phone, which will allow you to get system administrator rights. Only then can you start the process of deleting unwanted apps.

Protecting your phone can be a double-edged sword

Phone protection is a topic of discussion in mobile technology forums. According to some, the already transparent plastic protection distorts the appearance of the smartphone. Why pay a thousand euros for a smartphone and then hide it in a leather wallet or a clear plastic protection or something? A perfectly understandable argument that is hard to dispute until a new €1,000 phone falls to the ground. Cracked or curved screen, damaged camera… This usually means the end. In these cases, we agree with a group of users who advocate protecting the phone, because it prevents or at least mitigates the consequences of drops and other shocks.

With protection, you also make sure that the exterior of the phone is flawless. This, in turn, affects performance and the selling price if you decide to sell the old one before buying a new one.

However, we mentioned that protecting a phone can be a double-edged sword. In exchange for greater resistance, additional overheating of the main components may occur with more demanding use of the phone. Playing games, taking pictures, and more advanced tasks such as shooting, photo editing, and the like speeds up the operation of hardware components, which leads to overheating. The latter is the biggest reason for accelerating the natural deterioration of batteries and other equipment.

Smartphones are already limited in one way or another when it comes to heat dissipation. Protecting the phone prevents heat from being dissipated from the phone, which can lead to problems in the long run. If you notice serious overheating or your phone shuts down for an unknown reason during the above tasks, you should consider removing the protection.

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Clean your smartphone regularly

By this we don’t mean the presence of fingerprint spots, although they can be annoying. You should be more concerned about dust and other dirt that can build up in the charging connector, headphones, speakers, and other hidden nooks.

Charging issues are often caused by dirt that builds up inside the charging port, which hampers the transfer between the phone and the (USB-C) cable. You can gently clean the speaker grilles, headphone jack, charging port, and the like with a toothpick. Be careful not to damage the phone in the meantime. Regularly clean the glass and the back of the phone with (moisturizing) wipes.

If you use phone protection, clean the camera lens regularly, as most dust will accumulate in this place.

Repair the phone instead of replacing it

Hardware breaks down, and that’s inevitable. When is an old phone fixed and when do you buy a new one? Depending on your manual skills and the price of the components.

Let’s start with the battery, the first component that often shows signs of aging. If you’re browsing the web, you can quickly find that it’s a relatively inexpensive component. The higher cost is just the repair. However, you can choose to fix it yourself. It used to be a lot easier, and today you unfortunately have to disassemble the phone somewhat to have access to the battery at all. There are many guides online for each individual phone model, but the vast majority of users avoid such interventions. Quite understandable.

The same goes for the other components. Browse the web and judge what is most useful to you.

Advice to all users

Back up your data regularly in case of an accident or sudden failure.

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