7 Tips for Extending the Life of Your Cell Phone
If you have ever been in a tight financial spot, then you know that squeezing all the time and life out of your technology gadgets is essential to the life of any high tech geek. With all the creative marketing buzz constantly trying to get inside your head and get you to buy the latest and greatest TV, cell phone, Internet connection and toaster, sometimes you need to just take a step back, take a breath, and think about some practical steps to extending the life of your favorite gadgets. In this article we’re going to explore 7 tips for extending the life of your cell phone.
Don’t upgrade to the latest OS
Don’t upgrade. It almost sounds counterproductive, but seriously, sometimes the ‘upgrade’ isn’t an upgrade at all. Companies like apple, Google and others claim that software and OS upgrades to iOS and Android introduce all sorts of great new features and many bug fixes to make things work better and faster. What they don’t tell you is that the latest operating system bells and whistles are only ‘optimized’ for the latest iphones and Android devices, which have dual core chips and 1GB or more of RAM inside of them.
For the rest of us using the Android phone from 6 months ago, this upgrade will seem more like adding an extra set of flat tires to our ride, not exactly an upgrade.
Get a protective Case
This tip is pretty obvious, yet all the time I see someone drop their cell phone, then swear about it, then complain that they should take better care of it.
If you keep a case on your phone, the phone is much less likely to get a cracked screen, scratches, worn out buttons or chipped off plastic. Most cases can be purchased at your local carrier’s shop for $20 or less, and a lot of times you can find them much cheaper on Amazon.
Buy the insurance plan
Four years ago I was on Sprint’s plan carrying an early generation Palm Smartphone. While I really enjoyed the extra data features of the phone, I was having some serious issues and getting in trouble at work because my boss was calling me when I was on the road, and it would ring 5 times and go to voice mail for him, and for me the phone would never ring. Because I bought the $7 per month insurance plan from Sprint, I was able to get the phone replaced 3 times in an 8 week period, without paying an additional out of pocket cost. It’s worth it to buy the insurance plan, just like it’s worth it to buy car insurance.
Stick to one carrier
My parents have been using Sprint services in the US now for nearly 7 years, while my wife and I have flipped back and forth from Sprint to AT&T and now I’m back on Sprint. When my parents were shopping for smartphones and upgrading from their old sprint phones, they called Sprint and asked to cancel their service. Upon hearing that a loyal customer of 5 years was going to leave them, they promptly upgraded them to the unlimited calling, texting and data plans, and gave them both free android smart phones, and they are paying about the same amount of money. If at all possible, stick to one carrier and stay with them. Loyalty can go a long way when times get tough for companies as well.
Stick to one Brand / Series
Another tip to consider is to stick with the same brand of cell phone. In other words, if you have an iPhone, stick with an iPhone. If you have a motorola droid then stick with Motorola. If you want to save money, then stick with the same brand of phone, because then you don’t have to buy all new accessories. If you switch phones, then you need to get a new extra AC charger for home, a DC charger for the car, potentially a new FM Transmitter, as well as new software to set up on your PC or mac to download all your music and re-organize everything again. Buying new Accessories costs a lot of money, and setting up new software takes time which also costs you money.
Use External microSDHC Cards for data
If you have a smartphone, then chances are you’re going to have a lot of applications, games, music files, movie clips and all sorts of other personal data that you keep on the phone. If you haven’t already done it, keep your data stored on a microSD card, so you can put that new card into a new or replacement phone, without having to take all the time to download and set everything up again. This is the same concept, time is money.
Backup and Sync your data
Finally, if you have a lot of applications and a lot of information on your phone, then be sure to backup your data to another location. Backing up your iphone is as simple as performing a full sync to your simple macbook pro. Android phones by default sync all of your data to your google account, which by itself is a backup for most applications and services. I did learn that when switching carriers and phones, even after you sync up your new phone to your Google account, third party applications are not automatically downloaded again. To get a full backup you would have to use Lookout’s Android backup App (free) for Android based phones, or iBackup for the iphone to get a complete copy of your data saved to a microSD card or to a cloud based service.