We carry our smartphones with us everywhere. We’re constantly pulling out our phones to check the weather, texts, emails, or get directions. We also use them to keep up with the news or what our family and friends are doing.
All this use, however, can lead to wear and tear on our phones causing slower performance over time, regardless of whether it’s an iPhone, Samsung, or other cell phone brand. Like any electronic device, it’s important to care for our phones regularly. Yet, many of us don’t realize there are maintenance tasks we should do to keep our Smartphones running in top condition other than to not drop it or get it wet.
Fortunately, there are techniques to keep your smartphone running smoothly, even as it ages. This can be especially helpful for families who must have multiple phones and need those phones to last as long as possible.
1. Shut Down Your Phone
You likely turn your phone completely off when your phone freezes, an app keeps crashing, or your sound suddenly stops working. It’s a great strategy during those frustrating times, and it will be the first thing a technician will ask you do. Completely shutting off your phone and then restarting it can help solve some issues and fix bugs. Restarting your phone may help refresh the system by clearing its memory and cache.
That said, it’s not clear how often you need to shut down your phone to help improve performance. Some people report shutting down once a week, but there is no data to support this. In general, you should:
- Shut down your phone when there is a problem to see if the refresh solves the issue,
- Turn off your phone if performance is slowing, even if there isn’t a specific problem,
- Schedule a regular time to reboot your system, whether it’s once a week, twice a month, or once a month.
As long as you are turning your phone off entirely sometimes, then that should help.
2. Delete Apps You No Longer Use
Do you have pages of apps on your phone? If so, you may want to look through the different apps and determine if you use them. Each of those apps takes up space and memory on your phone, and as your phone has less memory, it’s performance slows. So, an easy way to clear up some space and improve performance is to delete apps you no longer use or need.
Perhaps get in the habit of going through your apps twice a year. To make it easy to remember, consider looking through apps at the start of the year in January and then again around the end of summer. Plan ahead and schedule it in your calendar so you’ll be reminded when to check for unnecessary apps.
3. Clear Your Browser’s History and Cache
If you surf the internet on your phone, you may want to take a moment to clear your browser’s history periodically. Whether you use an iOS or Android system, your browser stores or retains a list of every website you’ve ever visited, including when you were there, which is called your browser’s history. Having a record of your browsing history makes it easier for you to revisit a site you’ve been to before, even if it was a while ago.
That said, anyone who uses your phone can have access to your browser history and see where you’ve been. Not everyone wants that information readily available.
Clearing your browser’s history will give you more digital privacy. Plus, it can help free up your phone’s memory functioning, which can help improve your phone’s performance.
That said, when you clear your browser’s history, you will lose some conveniences. For instance, the website addresses you’ve visited will no longer show up on your history. When you start typing a web address, your browser won’t predict or autofill in the rest of the web address for sites you visit after you’ve cleared your history.
It can also impact your cookies and cached images and files. Your browser downloads items to memory from sites that are typically used across multiple pages of a website, such as a logo or particular images. This information is cached to allow internet pages to load faster. When you clear your browser history, the cache is cleared as well.
If you’re using an iPhone, autofill entries on data fields and saved passwords will automatically be removed, which can be helpful for security reasons. On android phones, you may have to select these options in the Advanced Fields section.
While having to retype the information or remember websites can be annoying, your phone’s performance may improve, plus you’ll have better digital security. However, it’s possible to delete information from only select websites if you prefer.
If you use your iPhones Safari to surf the internet, you can prevent any of this information from being recorded by using the Private Mode. To clear all of your histories, go to Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data. If you want to select which websites you clear, go to Settings > Safari > Advanced > Website Data. Then, swipe left on any sites you want to remove data from and select Delete.
If you use Google Chrome to surf the internet, you can clear your history by clicking the three dots for the Menu and then selecting History. You will get a pop-up window, Clear Browser Data, which will allow you to pick what you want to clear such as cookies, browser history, cached data, and so on.
The next time you surf the internet, your browser will start re-recording data, unless you’re using Private Mode. Therefore, clearing your browser’s history is something you’ll want to do periodically.
4. Delete Old Text Messages
While there may be an occasional text you need to keep for a while, most texts can (and should) be deleted. All those saved texts take up memory space. So make it a regular practice to go through your texts at least once a month (if not more frequently) and remove texts you no longer need. To save even more time, get in the habit of eliminating texts as soon as you are done with them.
5. Backup Your Smartphone Files
As your phone’s memory gets filled up, you can begin to notice your phone’s performance slowing. To keep your phone’s memory clear, periodically backup the files on your phone, particularly video and photo files. This will also provide you with peace of mind if you lose or break your phone. You’ll know that the files you most want to access are safe.
Many cloud-based options make backing up pictures, videos, and files easy, such as iCloud for iPhone users, Amazon Photos, and more. Many of these offer some amount of free storage, but charge a fee for additional storage. Fortunately, there are many options and price ranges available to meet everyone’s needs.
Another option is to download the information to your laptop or desktop computer using your phone’s USB cord.
6. Remove Apps That Drain Your Battery If Possible
If your battery is draining quicker than expected, check to see if an app is causing your battery to drain. If you use an iPhone, go to Settings > Battery. Scroll down, and you can see the battery usage by the apps on your phone. If you use an android phone, go to Settings > Battery > More > Battery Usage. Please note, some models and older systems may have slightly different menu options.
If an app’s battery usage seems overly high or out of proportion to what you are using it, then consider deleting the app if you can.
7. Clean Your Phone and Case
Dust, moisture, and extreme temperatures are not good for your phone. Wipe down your phone with a soft, clean cloth to remove dust and dirt. Avoid harsh chemicals or water as these can damage your phone. If your screen needs some extra care, use wipes or products approved for electronic displays.
While wiping down your phone, also take a close look at your phone case. See if it is getting worn down and whether it might need to be replaced.
Be sure to store your phone in optimal conditions. Don’t store your phone near an air vent, including a car’s air vent as that can blow more dust and dirt into your phone and expose it to either cold or hot air. The air blowing directly onto your phone can impact the temperature of your phone or cause some condensation to form, which would not be good for the internal components of your phone.
Regular Phone Maintenance Can Keep Your Phone Running and Performing at Peak Levels
We rely on our phones regularly throughout the day. It’s easy to forget that smartphones are like having a portable computer tucked into our pockets or bags. To keep our devices running at their best, we need to take care of them. Conducting periodic maintenance tasks on your phone can help keep your phone performing at its best, which can allow you to keep your phone longer.