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6 ways to extend the life of your phone


Let your phone work for years.

Angela Lang / CNET

If we've learned anything in recent months, it's that our phones are truly our lifelines to the outside world. I have used mine more during the coronavirus pandemic in recent months to keep in touch with friends and family while staying at home than I did last year.

Because our phones are so essential to our daily lives, it is important to perform routine maintenance – just like a car – to keep it running for as long as possible.

Below we show you six different ways to extend the life of your phone.

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Don't skip those app updates. They Are Important

In order for your phone to run as quickly and smoothly as possible, it is important to update the third party operating system and apps when they are released. These updates don't take long, and the benefits can be huge – from fixing bugs and fixing security vulnerabilities to changes that bring new features and improve overall performance, making your device run smoother and faster.

Android and iPhone both offer automatic app updates, which should be enabled by default. You can check on an Android phone by opening the Play Store, sliding out the menu on the left side of the screen, tapping Settings and checking the option Auto update apps . If you have an iPhone, go to Settings > iTunes & App Store and slide the option App Updates to the position On .


Software updates are an easy way to keep your phone working properly.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

For system updates on an Android phone, you can check for updates by opening the Settings app and searching for Update . Or you can wait for your phone to notify you that an update is pending and follow the prompts. Google releases monthly Android security updates around the first of every month, so checking mid-month for an update is not a bad practice.

As for iPhone owners, you have the option to have your phone automatically install new updates. Don't worry, your phone won't download and install the updates a few minutes after they come out. Instead, your phone will download the update a day or two after it is released and then schedule an installation for the next time it charges overnight. Go to Settings > General > Software Update to install an update or enable automatic updates. If an update is available, follow the prompts to install it. If not, tap Automatic Updates to enable or disable them.

  Rearrange-Remove iOS-13 Apps

Deleting apps frees up valuable storage.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

By removing apps you can breathe new life into a slow phone.

Phones have a finite amount of storage space and memory. That's why it's important to keep the number of unused apps to a minimum. Routinely removing apps that you don't use from your phone will save storage space and prevent apps from running in the background, consuming precious resources and making your phone feel slower and closer to the end of its life than it actually is .

Set a monthly calendar entry titled "Remove unused apps" to remind yourself to browse your apps regularly.

Now go through your app drawer or home screen and delete all apps that you have installed for any reason for any reason, but never use them. Deleting apps on an iPhone is easy – just long press until they start to wobble and then tap the X on the app you want to delete.

Android users have a few more options but can take a similar approach: Long press, select App info from the "i" that appears, followed by removal.

Repeat these steps next month when your calendar notification reminds you.

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A good thing will go a long way in extending the life of your phone.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The most important thing you can do: buy a good case

Like your phone? Why don't you put a suitcase around ? Look, I get it. For the telephone purist, even the thinnest cases are too much. And it's nice to see how the phone is designed, rather than a bulky plastic case.

However, the smart choice is to put the phone in a protective case to prevent it from breaking when it inevitably falls. Paying for costly screen repairs or running your finger through a spider web of cracks is a sure way to make you dream of buying a new phone – or at least complain that you didn't get a case in the first place.

You don't have to pull out all the stops to buy the most expensive cover, but having something on your phone will certainly extend its life. Not to mention, using a case means your phone will remain in pristine condition and a probably higher price for resale when it comes time to upgrade .

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Keep your phone clean. Not only does it make you feel better, but it also helps with performance.

Derek Poore / CNET

Keep the screen and ports clean

We don't want to use a phone that is full of grease and dirt. But with a phone that's clean and shiny, we can all feel good about that, especially if it means dust and other gunk won't interfere with its operation.

Even if you're using a case, take a few minutes every now and then to clean up any lint or debris in the charging port, microphone area, speaker grille, and headphone jack, if your phone has one. You can use a toothpick to get in and get everything out.

What about the screen, sides and back? Clorox wipes work great. We have more tips and tricks to keep your phone clean – it will go a long way towards reliable performance, clearer camera images (once you have removed the fingerprints) and a phone you actually want to keep using.


There are many myths about the battery.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

Avoid Overloading and Overheating Your Phone's Battery

There are several myths that pertain to keeping your phone's battery healthy. We recently reviewed a number of other myths and discovered the truth about each of them.

For example, fast charging won't hurt the battery in any way, but if you routinely drain your phone, you can.

Your phone will also last longer if you avoid putting your device in situations where the battery can overheat, such as in direct sunlight when you are out on a hot day. It turns off automatically when it gets too hot, but this emphasizes the battery which can contribute to a shorter overall life.

Start taking care of your phone's battery the day you take your phone out of the box, and you'll see it pays a year or two of ownership when your battery is still on charge.

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A new battery can greatly help make your phone feel like new. But unless you're adept at working with small electronics, hire a professional to do the job.


Replace a broken battery instead of the whole phone

Even if you have done everything according to the book, you may still be dealing with a battery that over time simply refuses to hold a charge to keep. Replace the battery instead of replacing the entire phone.

Often this simple and cost effective maintenance can add several months or even years to the overall life of your phone . It would be easier if most phones were still made with removable batteries, like in the good old days, but instead most phones come with built-in batteries that have to take your phone apart to replace it.

If you're tech-savvy and brave enough, you can buy a do-it-yourself package from iFixit to replace Android or iPhone batteries. The kit contains all the tools you need, plus a new battery.

Alternatively, iPhone users can make an appointment at an Apple Store or Android users can take advantage of a certified third-party repair service, such as uBreakiFix. You should call your nearest store for a quote to replace your battery, as the company doesn't list prices directly on its site.


Always keep a recent backup of your most important data.

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Backing Up Your Phone Regularly

Backing up your phone's data will not extend the life of your phone, but it does ensure that when it's time to say goodbye from your phone, all your contacts, photos, videos and custom settings will be ready to make the leap so you don't have to start all over again.

Do you own an iPhone? Double-check that iCloud Backup is enabled by opening the Settings app. Then tap your name at the top of the screen followed by iCloud > iCloud Backup and make sure the switch is in the On position.

The process for Android owners depends on who makes your device, but generally you can open the app Settings and then go to Google > Backup go. . Some device manufacturers, such as Samsung, offer their own backup service in addition to Google's. The easiest way to find your device's automatic cloud backup service is to open the Settings app and use the search box at the top to search for "Backup".

Now that you know how to keep your phone in the future, take a few minutes to learn more about Android's hidden features . iPhone users don't have to feel left out, we have a few for you too .

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