Tips For Keeping Your Phone From Breaking
Your phone is worth much more than its retail cost. Its value has to be measured by what’s inside it: contacts, appointments, music, videos, and pictures. Phones may contain important personal or professional documents, as well as financial apps and other vital information — all of which is lost if you break your phone.
And break phones we do, with both regularity and inventiveness. Phones have been lost in snowdrifts, dropped in toilets, set on fire, and exposed to all manner of damaging dirt and debris. Knowing how to protect a phone goes a long way towards keeping your phone — and your data — in working order.
3 Ways To Break a Phone
Knowing how to protect a phone requires an understanding of the threats phones face in everyday use. The most common causes of damage include:
- Dropping phones on hard surfaces
- Getting phones wet
- Sitting on phones
If you can protect your phone from these three dangers, you’ll significantly reduce the risk of cracked screens, bent phones, and internal damage.
Buying a Case
A sturdy phone case is your phone’s first line of defense against the world. When choosing a case, look for models made from shock-absorbing materials. Silicone and rubber are good choices. Avoid plastic if possible; rather than absorb damaging impacts, plastic is more likely to pass the impact force on to your phone (rather like the way a pool player can strike one ball, which transmits force when it hits another ball).
A screen protector also helps prevent damage. Look for a screen protector that’s rated 9H for hardness. Tempered glass screen protectors cost a little more than plastic, but are much more resistant to scratches.
Carrying Your Phone With Caution
Many people use the back pocket of their jeans or pants to store their phones, and while that’s convenient, doing so is like playing Russian Roulette with your smartphone.
Most obviously, there’s the danger of sitting on your phone if it’s in your back pocket. Many a bent, broken phone met its end when its owner sat down suddenly.
Even if you don’t sit on your phone, carrying the device in your back pocket poses risks. As you move, your glutes put pressure on the phone. Combine this pressure with a tight pair of jeans, and you can crack a phone screen. While this might provide an opportunity to boast about the strength of your glute muscles, it’s a pretty expensive way to gain bragging rights.
Instead, we recommend carrying your phone in a side pocket. Use the pocket only for your phone, and carry keys or other hard items in another pocket to prevent screen scratches. If you keep your phone in a handbag, designate a side pocket for phone use and put nothing else in that pocket. Alternatively, some protective cases come with holsters so that you can strap your phone to your belt.
Keeping Your Phone Clean and Dry
While a case helps prevent physical damage to your phone, it’s not impenetrable. Over time dirt, debris, and moisture may get trapped between the case and the phone, where they can work their dark, destructive magic.
To prevent dirt build-up, periodically remove the phone from the case and give both a good clean. Wiping with a slightly damp (not wet!) cloth and then air-drying works well for both phone and case. You can get at the dirt in hard-to-reach places like charging ports with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
How to protect a phone from water damage? Well, for starters, keep it well away from water sources. This includes the bathroom, where a slip of the hand can lead to your phone recreating Titanic in the toilet bowl (try not to think too hard about what’s playing the iceberg).
Running hot water in the bathroom produces steam, which can seep into your phone and cause internal components to short circuit. If you really want to listen to music or a podcast while you shower, buy a waterproof Bluetooth speaker to stream music and keep your phone safe, dry environment.
If your phone gets wet, turn it off immediately to reduce the risk of short circuits. Leave it at least 24 hours to dry out before trying to turn it back on.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Temperature extremes can damage touch screens, cause internal circuit failures, and even kill your battery. Avoid exposing your phone to freezing temperatures or heat over 95 °F.
If your phone is exposed to temperature extremes, turn it off for 24 hours. Once it’s cooled down or heated up, try a reboot. Depending on how much damage the temperature caused, you might be able to salvage the phone.
Caring For Your OS
Protecting your phone doesn’t just mean shielding it from external threats. You also have to consider the health of your operating system. Outdated apps, temporary files, and limited storage space all reduce your phone’s ability to operate.
Protect your OS by keeping your apps up to date and downloading any OS patches. Turning off the phone once a week and rebooting will clear temporary files out of the cache and help apps boot up properly.
Memory space affects OS performance. Generally, you should leave at least 10% of internal storage free — any less and the OS may stop syncing email and automatically updating apps. Removing unused apps helps reduce stored data.
If your phone has an external memory card port, use a memory card to store photos, music, and videos. If not, save your audiovisual data in the cloud, using Google Drive, Dropbox, or a similar service.
Even people who know how to protect a phone are susceptible to the unexpected. No amount of protection will keep a phone completely safe. As extra insurance against phone damage, consider a protection plan. Services such as the GoAdvantage Program offer extended warranties, insurance against theft or loss, and a host of other extras and exclusive discounts.