How to extend the life of your smartphone

Buying a new smartphone is a big investment — so it makes sense that you want it to last as long as possible.

In addition to purchasing an insurance plan to protect your phone from accidental damage, there are some tricks you can easily do to extend the life of your smartphone.

In this week’s tip, we’ll give you 7 tips to keep your phone running for the long haul.

1) Keep your screen and ports clean

It’s true: our phone can get really filthy. We touch contaminated surfaces like elevator buttons and door handles then transfer those nasty bugs to our smartphones. We cram our phones in our pockets where that leftover snack once sat, with crumbs and dirt clogging up our headphone jack and charging port. All of this grime can shorten the life of your phone.

Even if you use a case, it’s a good idea to clean your phone periodically. Try using a toothpick or a similar tool to gently remove any dirt or crumbs from the various ports, grills and jacks in your phone. Then, clean the screen and the rest of the phone with a Clorox wipe to wipe off the germs and remaining dirt. 

Here are additional tips on disinfecting your phone the right way.

2) Purchase insurance and/or a protection plan

We had to make this a tip because we can’t reiterate it enough: Purchase a mobile protection plan or AppleCare for your device to protect it from accidental damage or other defects. It’s more than peace of mind — it could save your wallet in the long run. 

Learn more about our insurance and service plans here.

3) Buy a good case

You wouldn’t believe how many shattered screens and broken phones we’ve seen that could have been prevented if they had been inside a case.

If you want to avoid that dreaded spiderweb screen crack, invest in a sturdy case to protect your investment when it inevitably gets dropped. This is especially important if you are outside of your warranty, your device’s insurance has expired, or if you simply do not want to pay the service fee or deductible that comes with a protection plan. Even a simple bumper case can provide a little bit of extra protection to protect your phone from accidental damage. 

Not sure what to buy? Wirecutter has an updated list of the best iPhone cases, and Lifewire has a good list of Android cases.

4) Prevent your phone from overheating

It’s getting hot out there, and an overheated phone can spell trouble. A hot phone can quickly drain and damage your battery, ruin internal components or even start a fire. 

Make sure not to leave your phone in direct sun or a hot car, and quickly cool it down if you get a warning that your smartphone is overheating.

Here are more tips to keep your phone from overheating.

5) Turn on automatic updates

We’ve talked about the hardware of your phone, so now let’s discuss the software. 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

6) Delete unused apps

If your phone’s storage is getting full, you may experience performance issues, including a sluggish phone. Before tossing or trading in, delete some of those apps you never use to clean up space.

Deleting apps on your device is easy. 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.”

7) Consider upgrading your phone

If all else fails, it might be time. 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!