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Make your iPhone last a lifetime

Phones don't survive forever, but how long are they supposed to last? Apple expect their iPhones to endure around three years of every day use – but we reckon they can go on for longer than that! Join us as we find out how to breathe a little extra life into your smartphone.

Last year, Apple created waves with the quiet announcement that they only expect iPhones to last about three years!

This caused a bit of a stir at the time – but we reckon it's not as bad as all that.

Firstly, it’s important to note that Apple’s claim is based on the expected usage period of the device for the first owner of the handset.

Most iPhones will still receive software updates for a little longer than three years after release – but whether due to the hardware showing its age or simply users wanting an upgrade, that’s how long Apple expect you to hold on to your iPhone.

Here at Geek Squad, we’re experts at squeezing every last drop of life from our beloved hardware – and as far as we’re concerned, you can keep your iPhone alive and kicking for much longer.

That’s why we’re sharing our best tips to keep your iPhone (or iPad, for that matter) feeling factory-fresh – read on to find out more!

Looking after the battery

For as long as there have been smartphones, there have been complaints about battery life – and for many devices, the battery is one of the first components to fail. In response to complaints about the iPhone’s battery life, last year Apple released their ‘Smart Battery Case’, which extends the charge of your iPhone by almost double – but is this enough?

Keep your battery charged

iPhone-5-lightningThere's certainly a lot of conflicting advice when it comes to looking after your iPhone battery, but one of the biggest truths is to not leave your iPhone without power for too long.

If you're putting your phone into storage for any reason – whether you're going on holiday for a fortnight and don't want to take your iPhone, or you're upgrading and aren't sure what to do with your previous phone yet – make sure it's at least halfway charged. Without any charge in the battery, your iPhone could end up in a ‘deep-discharge’ state. This means your phone won't be able to hold a charge when you come to use it again – and may require a battery replacement if left for too long without power.

On the flipside, leaving your phone fully charged for long periods of time can actually lower the total capacity of your battery, meaning it will run out more quickly in future! Again, if you’re going to be leaving your iPhone unused for a while, a half-way charge is about the sweet spot to improve the battery’s lifespan.

Keep your phone at room temperature

That's right, keeping your iPhone at a moderate temperature can stop your phone from dying an early death!

At temperatures outside of the norm (below 0°C and above 35°C) your iPhone battery starts to degrade and you'll lose energy - your battery won't be able to generate as much power as it could previously.

snowy train 4_3If you're using your iPhone in lower temperatures, you'll notice that the condition is temporary – but if you're using your phone in 40-degree weather, you might want to stick it under a fan or keep it in the shade!

While it's definitely important to keep your iPhone protected in a case, you might want to pop it out when charging. Some cases act as insulators that stop heat escaping from your charging phone – which can be just as harmful as leaving it out in the sun on a hot day.
Update your iPhone software

Apple release new software updates all the time – and while not every update will bring a ton of new features with it, quite often there will be energy-saving or speed-enhancing tweaks hidden in the background.

Having the latest firmware on your phone means you're taking advantage of all the tweaks that Apple have engineered to preserve your iPhone for a little bit longer, and if you're using a recent version of iOS, you'll also get access to things like Apple's ‘Low Power Mode’. Speaking of which...

Use 'Low Power Mode'

Low Power Mode is a one-touch function designed to preserve the last few percent of your battery life by disabling some of the phone’s more power-intensive functions.

This means your apps may not sync, your emails may not be downloaded automatically and things like screen brightness and animations will be reduced. The basic functions of your iPhone, however, will still work in Low Power Mode – so you can still make and receive calls and texts.

If you put your iPhone in Low Power Mode and then charge your handset, the function will be automatically switched off when your phone reaches 80% charged. You can access Low Power Mode by heading into Settings > Battery > Low Power Mode.

Turn off the stuff you don't need

Low Power Mode does a great job of disabling all the stuff that affects your battery in a big way, but sometimes this can be a bit heavy-handed.

If you know what you want from your phone and what you want to disable, head into Settings and turn off the features you're not using right this second. Some of the more popular features to disable (or turn down) are Bluetooth, screen brightness and mobile data.

Protecting the screen

iphone cracked screen 4_3One of the most fragile parts of the device is the lovely glass screen on the front, which is also the hardest part to protect! A serious crack or smash or will require a proper repair – but even minor scuffs and scratches can leave your phone looking old before its time, and can even affect the responsiveness of the touchscreen.

Fortunately, there are a few gadgets and accessories you can buy which will protect your iPhone's screen through plenty of bumps and scrapes.

Use a screen protector

Apply a clear screen protector to the front of your iPhone to protect against unwanted scratches – particularly from keys and loose change you might keep in the same pocket as your smartphone. These are inexpensive, easy to apply and practically unnoticeable in day-to-day usage.

Prevent water damage

Use a super-hydrophobic spray, like the Splash! water-resistant coating from Reviveaphone, on and around your phone screen to decrease the chances of water damage. A super-hydrophobic spray actively repels water, and can prevent water from seeping into the gaps around your phone screen.

Another good tip is to keep your iPhone out of the bathroom when you're bathing, as steam is extremely pervasive and will find its way into the toughest iPhone with ease.

Repair your phone when it needs it

Take advantage of repair services. If your phone is damaged, it can be best to get it looked at by an accredited professional, rather than attempting something you're unsure about.

Of course, we have to recommend our own iPhone repair and replacement service! Unlike many high-street repair outfits, all our repairs use genuine Apple parts – and because we're an official Apple repairs partner, our fixes won't void your warranty. In fact, in-warranty repairs are entirely free – so check out our iPhone repair and replacement options today.

Keeping it snappy

Even if there’s nothing physically wrong with the hardware, phones often seem to slow down and lose their ‘snappiness’ as they get older.

Sometimes, this is simply down to outdated hardware struggling to keep up with the demands of the latest software – in which case, there’s not a whole lot you can do – but often, you can make a big difference with a little iOS housekeeping.

Check your battery usage

iPhone 6 Battery UsageThere's a common myth that your iPhone will slow down if you have lots of apps open, and many users force all their apps to close when they're not being used. But in reality, this actually has very little impact on the performance of your smartphone unless one of your apps is hogging a massive amount of resources!

Head into Settings > Battery and check which apps are using the most of your battery life. If you spot something out of the ordinary, that's the app you want to make sure is fully closed (or even uninstalled if you don't need it).

Clearing the cache

If you've had your phone for a while, you may find that the biggest issue with it is the storage space! Apps and updates take up a surprisingly large amount of data, and when there's not much space left for more data, your phone will struggle to operate as efficiently as it used to.

The app which tends to fill the most space is the web browser Safari, as it saves a lot of content when it loads a website for the first time. Also high up the list is the App Store itself, which can hold temporary data for longer than needed and contribute towards your phone running out space sooner than expected.

  • To clear the Safari cache, go to Settings > Safari > Advanced > Website Data, scroll to the bottom and tap Remove All Website Data. Confirm you'd like to clear data and your phone will breathe a sigh of relief!
  • To clear the cache for the App Store, open the it up and take a look at the bottom of the phone screen. You'll see five buttons or shortcuts, but you'll only need one. Pick any one and tap it ten times in a row – and if you were successful, you'll see the screen flash white. Once this is done, your app cache will be cleared and you'll have a bit more free space on your iPhone.

Turn off animations and other graphics

If you're using an older iPhone which is struggling to keep up with the latest version of iOS or the apps you're running on it, try turning off some of more intensive graphics options. While these can certainly make your phone seem more attractive, they also require a fair amount of processing power!

Head into Settings > General > Accessibility and tap on Reduce Motion to cut down on how much effort your phone puts in to make the screen move around so nicely.

Back up and reset your iPhone

If you're tried everything and nothing makes a difference, worry not. This is a good time to back up your personal files on your iPhone, then restore it to its default settings!

Admittedly, this is a last resort: and it’s certainly a little heavy-handed for something trivial like an app which is using too much battery – but crucially, it does restore your iPhone software to exactly how it was when you first received it.

First, you’ll want to back up your data. To back up your iPhone to iCloud, open the Settings app and tap on iCloud. Choose Backup, then tap Back up now to start the process. When this has finished, you're free to reset your phone.

To do so, head into Settings again, and this time tap on General. Scroll down and tap on Reset to view the various options. The one we're looking for is Erase all content and settings. Tap on it, enter your passcode if prompted and choose Erase iPhone to wipe it clean.

And there you have it – a comprehensive toolkit to keep your iPhone feeling fresh and snappy for years to come! Anything we’ve missed out? Let us know your own tips and tricks in the comments below.

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