How to keep your phone running in tip-top shape

Getting the most out of your smartphone is important, whether you’re playing a fun new game, utilizing those blazing fast speeds, uploading a video to social media or storing all your precious photos.

But to enjoy all that your phone has to offer, you should make sure it’s running in tip-top shape so that your device is always performing at its best — and you may be able to even extend the life of your device.

In this week’s tip, we’ll show you a few ways to protect your investment and ensure your smartphone stays clean, damage free and continues running smoothly.

Update apps and turn on automatic updates

Updating your apps and operating system is a must to make sure your phone is performing at its best. These updates fix bugs, introduce new features, help prevent malware and ensure your phone’s software and applications continue to run as smoothly as possible.

Automatic updates should be turned on by default for both Apple and Android phones, but it’s a good idea to double check in case your phone has been inadvertently going for months without any updates. 

Turn on automatic updates for your apps

  • On iOS, go to Settings > App Store and make sure that App Updates is turned on. 
  • On Android, go to the Play Store and tap the profile icon. Tap Settings > Network Preferences > Auto-update apps, then choose how you want to update your apps.

Turn on automatic system updates

  • On iOS, go to Settings > General > Software Update. If an update is available, you will be able to install it. You can also change the settings for Automatic Updates at the top of the screen.
  • On Android, go to Settings > Software Update/System Update and turn on the setting for Auto Updates.

Note: Instructions for Android devices may differ by manufacturer and model

Your phone is probably dirty. Clean it today.

Face it, if you’re anything like us, your phone is probably filthy. That’s okay — but it does mean you do need to give it a good cleaning to ensure the ports, screen and camera glass are clear of dirt and fingerprints and to prevent nasty germs from multiplying all over your device.

We recommend that you do NOT submerge your phone in any kind of cleaner, but DO use 70 percent isopropyl alcohol with a microfiber cloth or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to clean your phone. If you notice that your ports are dirty, a toothpick to scrape out the gunk should do the trick.

For more tips on keeping your phone clean, check out our tip “How to disinfect your phone and other household items.

Prevent your phone from overheating

A hot phone can drain your battery quickly or annoyingly shut itself down, but it can also reduce your phone’s performance and battery life, melt internal components, or very rarely, cause a fire or explosion. 

Make sure to keep your phone away from direct sunlight or a hot car, and use recommended chargers, since unapproved third-party chargers could damage your device. 

Learn more about keeping your phone cool by reading last summer’s tip “6 tips to stop your phone from overheating this summer.

Invest in a good case

One of the best investments you can make to protect your phone from accidental damage is protecting it with a sturdy smartphone case. We get it: Protective cases can sometimes get cumbersome or feel too big. But the alternative might be a cracked screen and a costly repair. Even slim cases do offer some protection from dings and scratches, so consider dressing up that naked phone with a new case. 

Wirecutter recently reviewed a number of cases for iPhones, and Lifewire has case suggestions for the various Android models.

One more tip: You should also consider purchasing a protection plan through CREDO, your manufacturer or AppleCare (if you have an iPhone or iPad). Learn more about our insurance and service plans here.

Slow phone? Clean up some space

Is your smartphone not running as quickly as it used to? Is it acting slowly when you open new browser tabs or switch from app to app?

We know how frustrating it can be — but don’t worry! The fix could be something as easy as cleaning up some space, clearing out your cache or deleting unused apps. Following these steps can clear up space and prevent some apps from running in the background — and help your phone run a little more quickly.

To clear cache on Apple’s Safari:

  1. Go to Settings > Safari
  2. Tap Clear History and Website Data, then confirm.

To clear cache on Chrome on Android:

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Chrome app.
  2. At the top right, tap three dots for More.
  3. Go to History > Clear browsing data.
  4. At the top, choose a time range. To delete everything, select All time.
  5. Next to “Cookies and site data” and “Cached images and files,” check the boxes.
  6. Tap Clear data.

Deleting apps on your device is even easier. On Apple devices, long-press each individual app that you don’t use until you see a drop-down menu, then choose “Remove App.” On many Android devices, you can also long press the apps you want to remove, then choose “Uninstall”

To learn how to clear app cache and temporary files for other mobile browsers along with other ways to speed up your device, visit our previous post “How to instantly speed up a sluggish smartphone.”

Consider upgrading your phone

It’s been a few years. Your phone has had a good life, but it’s just not performing like it used to. We all reach that point, too. It’s simply time for a new phone. 

You’re in luck! We are offering some amazing deals on the latest smartphones — and your phone bill will help empower climate justice, civil rights and economic justice, at no extra cost. Visit and find the phone that’s right for you!