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Whether you like it or not, in 2018, we are pretty reliant on our smartphones. Not only do we expect them to do exactly what we want them to at the exact moment we want them to do it, we want them to anticipate our needs and fulfill them automatically (just ask Google’s predictive search). A lot of the time, they take care of us just fine, but how often do we return the favour? Sure, we try not to scratch them or — God forbid — drop them in the toilet, but in general, we don’t treat them as well as we should. If your phone is showing it’s wear — or you don’t want to reach that point — there are simple actions you can take so it keeps working like the little miracle of technology it is. Be good to your phone and your phone will be good to you (most of the time).

Battery Life

That whole iPhone battery fiasco might have you concerned about taking care of that little lithium package that keeps the whole thing running. While most batteries are good for up to 500 charges, for the average person who charges once a day, that’s only a year and a half. Here are a few things you can do to protect the most vulnerable part of your phone:

  • Monitor your battery’s health with an app like Battery Life for iPhone or Android. Apple also announced that they would be adding a function to check battery health in an upcoming January update.
  • Put your phone on “low battery mode” to make it through those last few hours before you can get to a charger. Dying fully is damaging to your battery.
  • Know where your power is going. In your phone’s settings, you can check which apps are draining your battery and adjust background activity accordingly. Facebook could be updating without you even knowing and draining valuable juice.
  • Be aware of temperature. Phones have difficulty functioning outside the range of 0 to 35 degrees Celsius. If they are too hot or too cold, batteries have been known to drain instantly. Especially during a winter like this one, keep your phone in an inside pocket to keep it above freezing.

Memory

How many times have you gone to take a photo at a crucial moment only to have your phone tell you you’re out of memory? Thanks for nothing. Unfortunately, there isn’t any super easy memory hack to clear a ton of space on your phone or get you extra gigs. Maintenance is the name of the game for keeping free memory space. Upload your photos and videos to either iCloud or Google Cloud and delete the ones you don’t need anymore. Only keep apps on your phone that you use regularly — they take up valuable space. Keep your operating system up to date too. It may be a pain, but newer technology often comes with smarter and better compression.

Ease of access

In a world of standardization, we really appreciate when we can customize things. So take full advantage of those situations when they are presented to you. To make your phone easier to use and give it a personal touch, organize your control center on iPhone or use an app launcher like Nova on Android. Through the settings on your iPhone, you can customize what functions present themselves when you swipe the control center up for easy access to the things you use the most. Similarly, the app launcher will let you customize your home screen to make it a perfect fit for you.

The dreaded data

There are few Canadians who have not known the feeling of going over on their data plan. It’s simply a fact of life. To stop that nasty habit (or at least curb it a little), download an app like My Data Manager to monitor your data use. The manager can tell you what apps are using the most data and when. Like your battery, some apps could be using data in the background without you even knowing (you can adjust which ones you let do that in settings). You can also set individual apps to only work on WiFi if you need a way to force yourself not to waste all your data scrolling through Twitter on the subway.

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