How Often Do You Need to Replace Your Phone?

Smartphone manufacturers like Apple, Samsung and Google are always releasing the latest and greatest, must-have new model, which has outrageously exciting features and incredibly improved performance. Because a smartphone is a tool that almost everyone relies on for all manner of personal and professional activities, most people are eager to update their phones as soon as possible — but few people have the budget to buy a brand-new phone every year or so. If you are looking to maximize performance and safety without going bankrupt, how often should you be replacing your smartphone?

It Depends on the Make

Some phones become obsolete sooner than other phones. Smartphone models from less reputable manufacturers — which tends to have software from less reputable developers — is likely to lose performance much more rapidly and thus require replacement on a more consistent basis. To maintain smartphone performance and security, developers need to release updates regularly, about every month or so, to close vulnerabilities, maintain speed and more. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers and developers put time and effort into keeping up their devices; many stop releasing updates after a device has been on the market for a couple years, while some never release any updates at all. If you bought a smartphone based on its low price rather than its trustworthiness, you may need to replace your phone as frequently as every year to maintain high performance.

It Depends on Use

How you use your phone affects its lifespan. From the moment you first turn your phone on, you are affecting its longevity; everything from the types of apps you download to the brightness of your screen will determine how much time you have before your phone becomes obsolete. Thus, if you want to use your current phone for as long as possible, you need to be careful to use your phone in ways that will extend its life. Here are a few tips and tricks for keeping your smartphone running smoothly for years to come:

Update automatically. Updates to your phone’s operating system as well as smartphone apps are essential to maintain performance over the lifespan of a phone.

Remove unnecessary apps. Apps running in the background demand energy from your phone’s processor, which reduces performance of the apps you need and want. You should periodically remove apps you no longer use to keep performance high.

Relocate data. The less data that is stored on your device, the faster and stronger your device will be. Even better, removing personal information from your device will keep you more secure. You can store photos, documents, notes and other valuable data in the cloud instead of on your device directly.

Invest in an antivirus app. With mobile malware on the rise, you need an antivirus app for your phone from experts in the cybersecurity field. Antivirus tools will close security gaps that arise in your phone over time, and they can help you manage your data and other features to keep performance high.

Avoid extreme temperatures. The delicate technology inside your phone does not thrive in extreme heat or extreme cold. You should never leave your phone outside or in a vehicle that is not temperature controlled. Charge your smartphone battery partially. Recent research has found that rechargeable lithium batteries — like the one powering your smartphone — survive longest when they maintain a charge between about 20 percent and about 80 percent. Charging your phone to 100 percent and beyond is a good way to disturb the battery’s cells and reduce its longevity.

Turn off certain features. Your phone does not always need to be searching for new Wi-Fi networks or new Bluetooth devices; in fact, allowing these features to remain enabled will drain the battery while enticing nearby cybercriminals. You can disable these features and turn them back on when you truly need them.

If you are able to alter your smartphone use to adopt the good habits listed above, you might be able to maintain a high level of performance and security for years — but you will still need to replace your smartphone eventually. Still, you should be able to get at least five good years out of your mobile device before you recognize that performance has decreased enough to warrant a new phone.

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