How to keep your beloved mobile device safe

Most iPhone owners know the heart-sinking feeling of watching their beloved device fall to the ground, seemingly in slow motion, as they sit by powerless to prevent a dent, broken screen or — worst of all — a plunge in the toilet bowl.

A brand new iPhone in particular seems to be a magnet for everything from minor scratches and scuffs to more serious damages, such as a dreaded cracked screen.

Luckily, there are measures you can take to prevent such tragedies. Below, we’ve spoken to tech experts and iPhone owners about the inventive ways they keep their devices safe, secure and scratch-free.

Optimize your settings and come up with a maintenance routine
A large percentage of increasing the longevity of your iPhone comes from taking preventative measures, such as keeping up with software upgrades consistently and optimizing your settings to ensure that you aren’t inadvertently draining battery or harming your device.

“There are three major areas [of your phone] to protect,” says Jeff Clemmensen, the MiPhone Doctor of Fresno and an expert on iPhone maintenance and repairs. The first of these areas is battery life, followed by ports and screens, he says.

For preserving battery life, Clemmensen suggests reducing the amount of time you keep your phone plugged in and charging. “How often and when you charge your phone affects the battery life. [Many users think they can] charge their phones whenever without a downside. But what we see now is that when you’re constantly charging your phone, the battery never gets a chance to rest. In extreme cases, this can cause the battery acids to produce gases that expand the battery and reduce its life. It can also place pressure on the back of the screen assembly and make it more susceptible to breaking,” he says.

There are also some measures you can take to optimize your phone’s battery life, such as not using the device while it’s charging, letting the battery drain down to 5% before plugging it in and reducing the use of “battery killer” apps and functions, including GPS or video streaming.

In addition to preserving battery life, below are a few suggestions for how to most effectively maintain your iPhone.

• One of the first things you should do after purchasing a new device is affix a screen protector. Follow the directions for adhering the protector so that no bubbles form and so that it is securely applied. A new, sturdy case is also a must, particularly when purchasing a new device.

• If you’re prone to keeping your phone on hard surfaces, turn off any sort of vibrating notifications. If your phone is precariously perched on a table or railing, the vibrations could cause it to fall off.

• Protect your ports by gently cleaning them every once in a while. “An old toothbrush and a little rubbing alcohol go a long way. Use a small amount of alcohol on the brush and then lightly brush grime away from the openings,” suggests Clemmensen. “Do not pour alcohol into the device,” he adds.

• Clean your phone daily with a dedicated screen-cleaning solution and a soft microfiber cloth that won’t scratch the surface. Not only does this help keep your phone looking shiny and new, it’s a good idea from a hygiene perspective (many smartphones house more germs than a toilet).

Avoid high-risk situations
Sometimes, keeping your phone screen intact and the exterior scratch-free comes down to simple common sense. Don’t keep your phone in your back pocket, for example — nearly one in five smartphone users drop their phones in the toilet at some point, in case you wondered about the statistics — or precariously balance your phone on a balcony ledge when you’re trying to set up the perfect city-scape Instagram. If you live an active lifestyle or have your phone consistently on your person, take proper measures to protect it with a case, screen protector, etc.

If you’re outside and in direct sunlight often, or leave your phone in a hot purse or car, you’re risking overheating your device — which can be harmful for your phone in both the long and short-term. Luckily, your iPhone will warn you if it’s becoming overheated. “Remember, if your phone feels hot on the outside, it’s hot on the inside,” says Clemmensen. Make sure your phone is protected by some kind of shield from the sun if you’re hanging out outside or sitting in a hot car.

Another high-risk place for your iPhone is inside a purse or bag that doesn’t have a dedicated smartphone pocket. “If you put your phone in the same pocket or purse compartment that you keep coins or keys in, you’re asking for a scratched screen,” says Jeremy Irons, a design engineer at Creative Engineering, a product development firm in New York. “To best protect your screen from scratches, the main thing you can do is keep it away from metal, or anything that is harder than glass.”

It’s also a good idea to avoid distracting situations in which you’re more likely to fumble or drop your phone. For example, if you’re a multitasker who consistently finds yourself balancing your phone between your shoulder and ear while on a call, while simultaneously washing dishes, walking the dog or getting in a workout, consider purchasing a hands-free device or putting your call on speaker.

Use protection
There are many products on the market that adequately protect your devices without detracting from the sleek aesthetic appeal that Jony Ive and Steve Jobs worked so hard to create. The type of case you choose for your phone will depend on personal preferences, but make sure that some key areas are covered and protected.

“When your screen cracks after dropping your phone, notice how the cracks usually spider out from one of the four corners,” says Irons. “This is because the corners are the points that will always hit the ground first because they stick out farther than the flat sides.” He suggests that iPhone owners choose a phone covering that is equipped to adequately protect these sensitive areas.

In addition to protecting your phone’s exterior, consider purchasing an armband for running or your daily commute, especially if you’re consistently pulling your phone out of your pocket to check emails or browse through apps. Look for a model that will allow you enough room to keep your phone’s protective screen cover or case on while exercising for added security.

“For screen protection, the best defense is a great offense. Keep it off the ground,” says Clemmensen. “However, if it’s too hard to hold onto all the time, we insist on a case and screen protector.”

It’s easy to forget that our phones are $600 devices — that is, until you’re walking into the Apple store to shell out a hefty sum for repairs. Your phone is an investment; treat it as such. Taking simple precautions and performing regular maintenance can help you squeeze extra weeks or even months out of your device.

Author: Stephanie Walden
Source: Mashable