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5 mistakes you’re making with your phone that’s killing it

Viruses and malware aren't the only things out to get you. Let’s dive into the mistakes that can cost you big and tips to help you out.

1. Using the wrong phone case

While there are technologies built-in phones that sense sudden drops and automatically lock things down, it isn't foolproof. A simple drop can cause damage that isn’t visible to the naked eye in the components or connectors. Decreased battery life and increased heat may become an issue.

Plus, if you plan on reselling your phone, a good case will keep the metal looking shiny and new. Stay away from the cheap plastic cases. It would be best if you had a good shock-absorbing case to cover the phone's entire back and sides.

2. Not protecting the screen

Perhaps you know that sinking feeling when you drop your phone, and the glass cracks. For about $15, you can get a tempered glass screen protector that doesn't leave annoying bubbles. It will protect your phone from scratches, too.

When shopping, make sure that the specs and dimensions for the screen protector you’re considering will line up with your phone, as each phone has a slightly different display. It’s saved my phone from accidental screen breakage twice in the last year.

3. Charging your phone the wrong way

Batteries have a limited lifespan. Here are some rules to charge by:

  • Don't let your battery drain to 0%. Cell phones have lithium-ion batteries and allowing them to drain to zero diminishes battery capacity.
  • Do charge your phone to between 40% and 80% instead of 100%. The upper mid-range is the ideal level for a stable battery, as it will help you get the most out of its lifespan.
  • Don't charge your phone overnight. Doing this keeps your phone battery in a high-stress, high-tension state. This wears down the chemistry and can cause your battery to lose its capacity with each charging cycle gradually. Plus, it's probably not necessary to charge your battery for that long anyway.
  • Do unplug the phone once it’s reached a full charge. If you want to charge your battery to 100%, unplug it once it’s at full charge. Leaving your phone plugged in after it’s reached a full charge allows small amounts of power to seep into the battery to maintain that charge, which can stress and damage it over time.
  • Do store your phone at 50%. If you’re planning to put your phone away while powered off for an extended period, you should allow the battery to drain to 50% before powering it off. You should also power it back on occasionally and charge it to 50% if you plan to store it for an extended period, which will keep the battery from destabilizing over time.

4. Letting it get too hot (or too cold)

You can protect your phone battery by avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures. Repeated heat exposure damages the battery, and so does allowing your phone to get too cold.

If your phone overheats, it can cause data loss and corruption or even battery leakage, causing it to catch fire. If your phone gets too cold, the battery will die more quickly — plus, you risk damaging the battery.

To cut down on the risk of damage by extreme temperatures, you should avoid:

  • Using your phone outside for prolonged periods, especially when it's extremely hot or cold out.
  • Using your phone for prolonged periods indoors, too — using your phone nonstop could cause it to overheat.
  • Leaving your phone in your pocket for long periods could cause it to overheat.
  • Leaving your phone in the car, whether it’s hot or cold out.
  • Charging the phone in direct sunlight. Try to avoid exposing your phone to direct sunlight altogether. 
  • Charging your phone under blankets, pillows, or other heavy warming material.

Always use certified charging cables to charge your phone’s battery. The off-brand or uncertified cables may be cheaper and may work in a pinch, but they could cause your phone to become damaged, overheat, or even damage the charging port and battery.

5. Skipping updates and security patches

If you want to protect your phone, you need to keep its operating system and apps up to date with the latest versions. You also need to make sure to install any security patches and complete other vulnerability fixes, as these often focus on issues that affect your phone.

To get the latest Android operating system updates:

  • When you receive a notification, open it, and tap the update action.
  • If you cleared your notification or your device has been offline: Open your phone’s Settings app. Navigate to System > Advanced > System update. You’ll see your update status. Follow any steps on the screen.
  • Open your phone’s Settings app.
  • Navigate to System > Advanced > System update.
  • You’ll see your update status. Follow any steps on the screen.

To get the latest Android security and Google Play updates:

  • Open your device’s Settings app and tap Security.
  • To check if a security update is available, tap Security update.
  • To check if a Google Play system update is available, tap Google Play system update.
  • Follow any steps on the screen.

To get the latest iOS updates on your iPhone:

  • If a message says that an update is available, tap Install Now
  • If not, go to Settings > General and then tap Software Update. If you’re already running the most recent update, you will see “Your software is up to date.”
  • If an update is available, tap Download > Install. You can also tap Later > Install Tonight or Remind Me Later. If you tap Install Tonight, your device will update automatically overnight.
  • If asked, enter your passcode
  • Open the App Store.
  • Tap your profile icon at the top of the screen.
  • Scroll down to see pending updates and release notes. 
  • Tap Update next to an app to update only that app or tap Update All.

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