It’s the rare individual these days who doesn’t own a smartphone. Even older adults have come to accept that because of the convenience of the many features, owning a smartphone is a vital part of living in the 21st century. Maybe you’ve got a smartphone that seems outdated, though, or you have one that isn’t working as well as it once did. You may be wondering how long the average smartphone is supposed to last, and when is the time to start thinking about purchasing a new one.
Your Smartphone Should Last a Minimum of 2-3 Years
The stock answer that most smartphone companies will give you is 2-3 years. That goes for iPhones, Androids, or any of the other varieties of devices that are on the market.
The reason that’s the most common response is that toward the end of its usable life, a smartphone will begin to slow down. Tasks that it used to be able to accomplish with lightning speed will take considerably longer, and it’s not likely to escape your notice. There are some particular issues as it relates to a smartphone, though, to which you should be paying attention. They will directly impact how long it will be before you need a replacement.
Battery Life Impacts How Long a Smartphone Lasts
The first consideration is the device’s battery life. Every smartphone comes with a battery, and they degrade over time with steady use. There is no avoiding this decrease. Where it becomes problematic is if you depend on your cell phone for a whole day, and you have only that one charge to last you all that time.
If a smartphone battery is getting toward the end of its life cycle, then it will only be able to hold a charge for a few hours, or less than that. You might look at the phone and see that the battery is significantly depleted, even if you’ve barely used it. This is a definite sign that it is on the way out.
Temperature affects how long a battery lasts a great deal. If you keep your phone at moderate temperatures as much as possible, your battery will last you longer. If you’ve had a phone for less than a year and the battery life is already showing significant signs of wear, then you’ll need to go get the device checked out. There could be a hardware issue, and the battery might need to be replaced.
When it comes to a battery replacement, you always need to make a price comparison. A new battery is sure to be expensive. You’ll have to ask yourself whether it is worth it to pay for the new battery or to simply get a new phone.
Operating Issues Affect How Long a Smartphone Lasts
Another significant issue is how well the phone continues to work over time. If its various functions continue to hold up well, then you can easily get more than 2-3 years out of the phone. If there are frequent system crashes, though, and you always have to troubleshoot, then at some point, you are probably going to get sick of it and want to do a trade-in.
Unprompted actions mean that the phone will need to be replaced soon. If it turns on and off when you don’t want it to, that’s a sure sign that it’s dying. Keeping your software updated might mitigate this problem to some extent, but again, the device is probably going to cross a threshold with you where you’re no longer willing to try and come up with fixes for it. You’ll decide that it’s worth it to shell out the money for a new one rather than keep dealing with the aggravation.
A Smartphone Cannot Outlast Screen Damage
Hardware issues don’t necessarily signal a death knell for a smartphone. Some of them can be fixed if the phone is still relatively new and you have it under warranty. Once that warranty has expired, then you’re left paying for replacement parts yourself, and that can get expensive fast.
The one fix that usually means you’ll need an entirely new phone is when the screen gets cracked or shattered. Dropping the phone when it’s out of its case might cause this, or some other mishap.
A broken screen means that you’re in danger of cutting your finger when you try to use it. In addition, most of the functionality will probably be gone if the screen is cracked. You can pay to get the screen replaced, and sometimes that is cost-effective. On the other hand, sometimes it isn’t. That’s because when a screen gets cracked, it is possible that some of the components inside the phone also suffered damage.
If you have a smartphone where both the screen and some of the internal components were both damaged, then it’s likely that buying a new one will save you some money over getting several replacement parts. That’s a personal decision that you’ll have to make on a case-by-case basis.
What Can You do to Make a Smartphone Last Longer?
At this point, you might be wondering as to whether any actions on your part can allow you to keep your smartphone for longer than that average of 2-3 years. In fact, there are several things that you can if you want to keep your device for longer than that.
Because battery health for your phone is so critical, you need to try and not tax that battery any more than you have to. That means keeping it in cooler temperatures. You should also try never to let the battery entirely run out before you recharge it. Sometimes that is unavoidable, but try not to make a habit of it.
You should close all apps and programs when they are not in use. You can make those adjustments on any smartphone, and if you don’t know how, there are articles online and videos on YouTube that should help you in that regard. Doing so makes sure the phone is only completing necessary tasks, and no additional strain is being put on it.
The other thing that you can do is to keep your operating system updated. If you have an iPhone, for instance, be sure that you are running the latest version of iOS. iOS is the universal operating system on which all Apple products run.
Other Ways Your Smartphone Can Last Longer
The other ways that you can ensure longer ownership of your smartphone are to keep it in a heavy-duty protective case and to keep a screen protector on it. If you’re clumsy, or you know that there are often children around who like to handle your phone, then these precautions are a must.
You should also always back up the phone’s data. There are different ways of doing that, which will vary depending on which smartphone you have. For iPhones, you can do backups either through iCloud or iTunes.
Of course, even if you’ve taken great care of your smartphone and it seems like it’s going to last you longer than 2-3 years, you might get excited about some new features of a more recent model, and you’ll want to jump at the chance to get it. These are the sort of people who you see lining up in front of an Apple Store to get the latest generation of the iPhone the same day it comes out.
If you’re one of them, then there’s nothing wrong with that. Getting yourself a new smartphone can be a nice treat for yourself if you can afford it. If you’ve had your phone for 2-3 years and it’s still working fine, though, then you may want to consider whether it’s worth it to get a new one. That is especially true if you are trying to live frugally, and you don’t have a ton of disposable income.
Lifestyle will certainly play a part in how soon you get a new smartphone. If you have bills piling up or student loans to pay, for instance, then it’s not likely you’ll want to snap up the latest smartphone the moment it becomes available.
In any case, treat your smartphone nicely, and it should last longer. If you do not have the money to spare, and you’ve been mindful about taking care of your smartphone, then it is easily possible for you to own and enjoy it much longer than that somewhat pessimistic 2 or 3-year projection.