Smartphone Getting Old? How to Make it Last Another Year

Sometimes you find yourself in a predicament that just about every smartphone user has experienced at some point: You’d really like to upgrade your aging smartphone for a brand-new device, but you just can’t foresee spending the hundreds of dollars you’d need to upgrade for at least another year.

Whether your phone is a year or two old, or getting closer to the two- or three-year-old mark, the signs of aging can be pretty obvious, from shrinking battery life to slow Internet browsing. But just because you aren’t ready to shell out for a brand-new smartphone doesn’t mean that you have to live with those annoyances for another year.

1. Keep your software updated

iOS 9 update on iPhone and iPad

Source: Apple

One of the most important ways to keep your phone running as smoothly as it can is to keep the operating system updated. Whether you’re on iOS or Android, you should download whatever updates you can, since they bring important bug fixes, performance improvements, security patches, and sometimes even add new features. The only exception is when your iPhone is more than a couple of years old, in which case, it can be a good idea to wait for reviews to find out how an update performs on an older phone before you upgrade.

2. Change some settings

Man using devices

Source: iStock

On your iPhone, open the Settings app and navigate to the Battery section to check out which of your apps are hogging the most battery life. Turn off the notifications for the biggest offenders (which will not only keep your phone from lighting up each time someone sends you a sticker on Messenger, but could also get you to curb your usage). And if one of the biggest battery users is activating location tracking when it really doesn’t need to know where you are to function, turn off its access to location services. You can also reduce the number of apps that you allow to refresh in the background, which can cut down on a significant amount of battery-draining activity.

3. Clean things up

Microsoft Office apps on Lumia 550

Source: Microsoft

While you’re looking at your phone and making some decisions about settings, it’s as good a time as any to take a few steps toward speeding up your phone. Start by deleting apps that you don’t use, since they take up storage, use other valuable resources, and fragment your phone’s storage. Clean up that storage, too, by backing up and getting rid of old photos and videos. If you have an Android phone, you can also get rid of downloads, eradicate miscellaneous stored files, and clear cached data. If you use a removable SD card, clean it off and reformat it (or upgrade to a bigger card while you’re at it).

4. Try out a battery case

iPhone cases

Source: Apple

One of the quickest ways to make your old phone feel new again is to invest in a case that will make the battery perform like new again. For the iPhone, there’s Apple’s new Smart Battery Case (or the Cheat Sheet’s favorite cases that are better than Apple’s version). For an iPhone or or an Android smartphone, battery cases from Anker and Mophie are popular choices because they work so well. Many users think that there worth the investment, especially if they’ll keep you from turning on Airplane Mode just so you can get home without your phone dying again.

5. Upgrade the battery

Looking at a smartphone

Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. If your battery life is really bad and you just don’t want to deal with a bulky battery case, it may be time to switch out the battery altogether. Apple will replace the battery in some iPhone 5 models, or you can use a service like ClickAway to have a skilled technician change the battery. An alternative is to make the switch yourself, since a battery doesn’t cost very much and the repair just necessitates buying a couple of small tools.

6. Get the screen repaired

Broken iPhone

Source: iStock

If you’re carrying around a phone with a cracked screen, then no one will blame you for wanting to upgrade to a newer model. But a service like iCracked can replace the screen for a fee that’s much lower than what you’d pay for a new smartphone. And paying that small fee now can go a long way toward making waiting to upgrade feel more tolerable, so that you can put off making the sizable investment into a new phone for another year or so.

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