Here on PhoneDog, we often talk about “upgrade this” and “new phone” that, but the reality is that a lot of people don’t want to upgrade every year, or even every two years if they don’t have to. And, honestly, who can blame you if you don’t? Smartphones cost a pretty penny to begin with, and it makes sense to want to protect that investment for as long as possible.
With that in mind, technology is easily replaced and quickly outdates itself. It can be hard to see your smartphone, which was so shiny and new last year, in the same positive light when the idea of having "the next best thing" is constantly being shoved down your throat. Not only that, but manufacturers are (more often than not) making it harder for consumers to repair their own products.
The good news is that, even with such limitations, there are still ways that you can stretch the money you’ve spent on your smartphone in order to extend the longevity in which you keep your smartphone.
This might come a little too late for some people who are currently looking to increase the longevity of their smartphone, but for future reference I’ve found that this is a good rule of thumb for average smartphone users.
Upgrading the software would seem like the proper thing to do to keep your smartphone’s performance in tip-top shape, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. For example, iPhone 4S users who upgraded to iOS 8 and beyond are very familiar with this pain; the phone simply does not perform as well as it used to, or as it should. I still own an iPhone 4S, and any time I power it on that annoying red bubble telling me to upgrade to iOS 8 hangs there. But the phone still performs pretty well since I’ve kept it on iOS 7.
That’s not the only example of how upgrading your phone can do more harm than good, but it’s the most recent one I can think of. It’s a good idea to conduct proper research before accepting an upgrade so you know what you’re in for.
Some people carrying phones with removable batteries might not realize that you can – and should – replace your battery every year or so in order to upkeep maximum battery life. If you charge your phone every night, your battery will slowly lose its ability to maintain its original charging capacity. Simply replace it with a new one if you have a removable back cover.
For those who have smartphones that don’t feature a removable battery, consider buying a battery case. These are special cases that contain a second battery within the case, and can be switched on when you need a charge on-the-go. They can be bulky depending on the size of the battery, but also very handy if you’re tired of being attached to a wall.
Sometimes we don’t realize it, but our phone slows down exponentially over time when we continuously download apps, take photos and videos, transfer our music, and anything else that makes our smartphones retain the data. Sometimes you can remedy the slow down by cleaning up individual areas of the device, but sometimes it’s just best to transfer everything to your PC or flash drive and start fresh.
It’s not uncommon to want a new smartphone because our current one is a cosmetic eyesore, but there are plenty of less expensive accessories out there that can help our devices not look so awful if they look like they’ve had a rough life.
A lot of cases are “full coverage” cases, such as an OtterBox, that give your phone a strong case and a plastic screen. If you’re looking for something less bulky, you might consider skins and tempered glass screen covers. There are typically a lot of different options out there to remedy ugly smartphones.
I saved this one for last because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to include it, but I felt it was important to add because rooting and jailbreaking are two of the worst kept secrets in the smartphone industry that can not only boost your phone’s performance, but also make them interesting again.
Although a tricky process that can very potentially void your warranty, if your phone was already on its way out it’s likely that your warranty ran out already anyway. If you’re trying not to buy a new smartphone, rooting and jailbreaking can grant you some extra time before feeling like you absolutely have to.
I haven’t jailbroken my iPhone in a long time (I don’t find it as necessary or as helpful as rooting an Android) but when I get an Android device I usually tinker around with them a lot in regards to rooting and flashing new ROMs. I’ve extended the life of many an Android by going this route, and I highly recommend reading into it and trying it out – especially if you’re about ready to ditch the phone anyway.
If you’ve been looking for any excuse not to give your old phone up yet, hopefully some of these tricks and tips have helped you save some cash until you really need to get a new smartphone.