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We sit on our smartphones, toss them into a purse and sometimes, quite accidentally, douse them in the toilet. And that doesn’t include what grimy-fingered kids do to smartphones as they play games. Generally, we are not very nice to the technology that has become central to our lifestyles.
“Most smartphones are pretty durable, but they are not tanks,” says Iza Perez, a product marketing manager for Sony Mobile. “Smartphone damage is typically user-inflicted but they can be user-corrected just as easily.”
Here are three tips she recommends to reduce wear-and-tear on smartphones to extend their life:
1. Water salvage
Let’s be honest: 75 percent of us use our smartphone in the restroom, according to marketing firm 11Mark. And software-maker Plaxo found that nearly one in five people drop their phones in the toilet. Hey, it happens. So what do you do if you’re one of those unfortunate souls that wets their phone? (Don’t forget rain storms and swimming pools.) First and most obvious: Dry it immediately with a soft, absorbent cloth. Second, remove the battery and place the damp phone and battery separately into an uncooked bag of rice to absorb the moisture. Don’t be in a rush to put it back together. And if that doesn’t work, well, you’ll likely need a new phone. Fortunately, many case makers and smartphone makers are introducing water-resistant features to help minimize water damage. The Sony Xperia Z, for example, can stay submerged in 3 feet of water for 30 minutes, which should be plenty of time for a long bathroom break.
2. Keep it clean
Smartphones are germ magnets because they are constantly touched with unwashed hands. Did you know that the average smartphone user checks their device 110 times a day? That’s according to a 2013 study by Locket, an app maker, who checked how often its 150,000 users activated their phones by swiping the screen or tapping a home button. To reduce germs from clinging to your phone – they can live up to 48 hours, by the way – regularly clean your phone with microfiber cloth and a spritz of sanitizing screen-cleaning solution. Likewise, you can remove dirt and grime build up in crevices with a microfiber cloth or a cotton swap and a touch of solution. If you have a case, remove it every once and a while to thoroughly clean that as well.
3. Battery preservation
Aside from the cool touchscreen, the battery is a smartphone’s lifeblood. There are a few simple things you can do to extend battery life on a daily basis that will help reduce the number of times a recharge is needed. Dimming screen brightness and reducing the number of alerts you receive – particularly those that vibrate – will save a lot of juice. Closing apps when finished is also a plus, particularly those that use location features. Apps running in the background doing nothing still suck battery life. Also, check your settings menu for battery saving features. Most phone makers now include software to automatically adjust usage – but not close opened apps. When shopping for a new phone, consider one with advanced battery-saving features.