The iPhone started out as a relatively simple device with a limited number of apps and capabilities. Back then, it was pretty easy to do things right. Thanks to years of iterative hardware and software upgrades, the iPhone has become a complex machine that’s tough to master. It’s inevitable that iPhone owners will do the wrong things with their devices from time to time. Whether it’s because we’ve taken some ill-informed advice to heart or simply because we don’t know any better, we make a lot of mistakes with our iPhones. It’s time to put a stop to these problems. Here are some of the worst iPhone mistakes users make every day.
1. Failing to back it up
You never know when disaster will strike and you won’t have access to your phone. Your iPhone could be stolen, lost, damaged, or dropped in the Atlantic Ocean. When you replace it, you don’t want to lose anything, right? Wouldn’t it be great if you turned on the new one to find everything exactly where you left it? If you back up your phone regularly, you will.
The easiest way to do this is to enable automatic iCloud backups in Settings. This will work just fine for most people. The only potential problem is that you may need more storage; Apple only gives 5GB of storage for free. Naturally, it comes at a cost. If you don’t want to pay for extra storage, you can plug your phone into your computer to back it up through iTunes. Either way, the important thing is that you back up your iPhone regularly so you won’t lose anything if something happens to it.
2. Turning on too many notifications
Each time you install a new app, it asks permission to access whatever protected parts of your phone the developers deem necessary. Often, one of the messages that pops up is about turning on notifications for the app. Instinct might lead you to agree to all of these requests, but in the vast majority of cases, you should say no to notifications.
Notifications are minor annoyances that buzz or ding (or both) to get your attention. They’re useful for things like messaging apps, so you know when people are trying to get in touch with you, or banking apps, so they can let you know about something urgent like an overdraft. But for most apps — games, news, weather, and nearly everything else — notifications aren’t worth the annoyance.
3. Not using a case
In a perfect world, every iPhone owner would keep their devices in pristine condition without stuffing it into a bulky case. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in. Phones fall, screens crack, and warranties run out. Unless you enjoy dealing with broken electronics, there’s no excuse for using your iPhone without a case. Seriously, buy a case.
(If you don’t heed this advice and tragedy strikes, here’s what you can do with a broken iPhone.)
4. Using an unofficial charger
Whether you lose your phone charger or you want a second one for the sake of convenience, you may find yourself in the market for a new phone charger. If you poke around online, you’ll find dozens of no-name companies offering to sell you chargers, many of them available for just a few bucks. Apple, on the other hand, charges much more for its official charger.
Unfortunately, buying an official Apple charger is by far your safest bet. Some cheap chargers don’t work at all. Others have been known to damage your phone, and even start a fire. (That’s right, don’t get too smug laughing at Galaxy Note 7 owners all day.) Buying an official Apple charger is money well spent.
5. Not using a passcode or Touch ID
I get it. It’s annoying to tap out a string of numbers every time you want to unlock your phone. But if you lose your phone and it’s unprotected, all kinds of sensitive information is readily available to whoever finds it. From your photos and texting history to your bank accounts and emails, your phone is stuffed to the gills with information you don’t want available to the public.
Make sure you enable a passcode and/or Touch ID. This might make it a minor nuisance to unlock your phone, but it’s much better than handing all your information over to any stranger who might pick it up.
6. Using Apple’s apps for everything
Apple makes great hardware, but the apps that come preinstalled on the iPhone aren’t always best-in-class. For instance, Apple Maps isn’t all that reliable, while Google Maps has always been the golden standard for directing you from point A to point B. If you use a web browser other than Safari on your computer, using the same one on iOS generally allows you to sync your bookmarked sites and even access whatever pages you have open on your other devices. For most of the apps Apple offers, someone else makes a better one. Here are some of our recommended replacement iOS apps. Start exploring.
7. Closing apps to save battery life
You may have heard that you can save battery life by double-tapping the home button and manually closing out of all of your apps. This old smartphone battery myth is as false as George Washington’s teeth. Closing your apps actually makes your battery work harder each time you open an app, because it has to boot it from scratch rather than pulling it out of suspended animation. Apple makes iOS smart enough that it can maximize your iPhone’s battery life better than you can. So stop manually closing out of apps, and leave that job to the phone itself.