The average cost of an iPhone has climbed to a staggering $687, and even the most affordable Android devices come with a median price tag of $254. Instead of wasting your money by upgrading annually or paying a monthly rental fee, it is wise to pay close attention to the best practices for extending the life of your smartphone. Fortunately, there are several ways to do this, and utilizing the following tips will help you get more bang for your buck.

1. Remove unnecessary apps and photos.

Almost every smartphone user has experienced serious lag times that make it frustrating to use their mobile device. In the vast majority of cases, this happens because the storage and RAM capabilities of the smartphone are being maxed out. This can make the phone much less responsive, and it often convinces people to upgrade before they truly need to. To avoid this unnecessary expense, make sure that you regularly remove any apps, photos, documents or text messages that you do not actually need.

2. Use a tempered glass screen protector.

A broken screen can make your phone next to impossible to use, and it may end up leading to further damages. Instead of paying approximately $100 to replace your screen, you should take steps to protect this integral smartphone component. A tempered glass screen protector is a good investment that will dramatically reduce your risk of ending up with a smashed screen. However, if your screen gets cracked before you take preventative action, make sure that you look into a repair instead of buying a new phone.

3. Invest in a sturdy case.

Now that your screen is protected, it is time to be proactive with the rest of your smartphone’s components. No case is going to prevent every possible type of damage that can render a phone unusable, but purchasing something very sturdy will give you the best odds of steering clear of an expensive accident. This is especially important for people who tend to frequently drop their smartphone. As an added bonus, a sturdy case will add an extra layer of protection to the phone’s screen.

4. Avoid software updates after two generations.

Phone manufacturers only provide software support for approximately two generations. This is the reason that the latest iOS updates are only compatible with the 4S and later models. In some cases, you will have the ability to update even if your device is older, but it is very likely that doing so will cause a lot of performance issues.

This may be because it is difficult to create stable updates that will work across a wide variety of devices, but most people believe that the reality is more sinister. After all, why would Apple want to keep making updates available for older phones when they can simply push consumers into making a new purchase every couple of years? Either way, you can extend the life of your smartphone by avoiding updates after two new generations have been released.

5. Power down regularly.

You would never leave your laptop running for several weeks at a time, yet most of you have not turned your smartphone off in months. Keep in mind that your phone is very similar to a computer in many ways. Simply allowing your phone to power down for a few minutes at least once a week will help it run more efficiently, and this will also extend its useful life.

6. Keep the battery in good shape with best charging practices.

You do not need to worry about overcharging your battery by leaving it hooked up for an extended period of time. However, even though that myth is incorrect, there are some things you probably do daily that are damaging the phone’s battery and reducing its overall lifespan.

The single most important thing you can do to get the most out of your smartphone is to put it on the charger when it reaches a battery life of 75 percent. Waiting until the battery life drops to 25 percent will dramatically reduce its ability to receive and hold a charge. In fact, if you always charge your phone at 25 percent, the battery will only work to its full potential for 500 charges. On the other hand, opting to use the charger at 75 percent will give you up to 2,500 fully powered charges.

It is also important to note that draining your battery all the way and then charging it back to 100 percent is a bad idea. Your phone will last a lot longer if you charge it for a few minutes off and on throughout the day.

7. Don’t exercise with your smartphone in your pocket.

There are numerous apps available for your smartphone that can help you work out, but it may not be in your best interests to use them. This is due to the fact that some iPhone users have experienced water damage issues as a result of sweating while their phone was in their pocket or secured to their arm. This problem becomes exacerbated by Apple’s unwillingness to cover even minimal moisture damage under their warranty program. When you consider how expensive an iPhone is, it does not make sense to take the risk of harming it with sweat.

8. Secure your smartphone while driving.

Your phone’s built-in navigation system makes it very useful during a road trip, but be careful where you place this precious device. Unless the smartphone is properly secured at all times, you are running the risk of it being thrown through the vehicle during an accident. This can easily damage the sensitive electronics within the phone. Unfortunately, this type of issue is not likely to be covered by your warranty.

9. Avoid viruses and malware.

Although it is not very common for a smartphone to become infected with a virus or malware, you should still take precautions to protect your investment. Viruses come from malicious apps, so do not download anything that seems suspicious. If your phone starts acting oddly after a new app has been installed, you can check the app’s data usage to determine if it may be sending out information to a third-party. It is also possible for virus-laden apps to be installed without your permission if you have a jailbroken device. Be aware that the only way to get rid of a virus is by resetting your iPhone or taking your Android into safe mode to delete the offending app.

10. Take advantage of cloud storage.

Cloud storage is one of the best ways to ensure that your phone never becomes clogged with too much data. This will enable you to run a tight, lean device, and it will minimize the risk of data loss if something does go wrong. Take advantage of any free cloud storage that comes with your smartphone and perform backups on a regular basis to receive the best results.

Now that you know how to get the most out of your smartphone, you can stop wasting money on annual or biennial upgrades. You can even go one step further by looking at numerous other ways to reduce your expenses. Always remember that the money choices you make today could have a huge impact on the rest of your life, including retirement.

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