How often do you buy a new laptop, tablet or mobile phone? Does it seem like there’s an internal alarm clock that predicts the time of your next purchase? We can help you hit the “snooze” button and save more money.
Apple made news recently with an admission of its practice to release updates that would slow performance of older phones as a byproduct, indirectly increasing frustration and thereby prompting consumers to “need” to upgrade their phone. It’s been a long-running joke that, with two-year contracts with mobile service providers, consumers could count on increased frustrations near the 18-month mark to build anticipation for the next smartphone iteration.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of consumer goods relies on the basic elements of supply and demand. While consumers maintain the mentality of “upgrade every two years”, manufacturers released new products on a set timetable, and subsidized costs helped to feed our appetite for the newest, fastest tech with the coolest features. Who doesn’t love a built-in schedule feeding supply and demand? Desktop computing systems experience the effect, as well, though the phenomenon doesn’t receive the same coverage, perhaps because these systems have been around for longer than mobile devices and consumers have just come to accept the situation.
Now that the days of service contracts and subsidized phone costs are over, consumers hold more control over their technology – and their wallets. With the barrier to entry centering on higher costs — that are no longer subsidized — consumers are looking for ways to make all types of tech last longer. This is especially helpful given that the cost of tablets, most notably the iPad, continues to inch higher as our dependency on mobile technology increases. How can we make our smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop tech last longer and run more smoothly?
Desktops and Laptops
Review your system using these guidelines as a checklist, and see how some light housekeeping may help:
- Is your system freezing or crashing more often?
- Crashes and freezing can be a reminder to reboot, allow your applications to restart and reset, clear your memory cache and cookies, and just give your machine the chance to let go of anything it’s been unnecessarily holding onto in temporary files.
- These can also be a sign of something more serious, and it may be a good idea to run an antivirus program, like Avast, to make sure you’re not a victim of malware, viruses, or ransomware attacks.
- Is your storage nearly full?
- When a hard drive fills over 75% capacity, the effect on a system is an overall slow-down. Consider moving to a free cloud-based storage solution, like Dropbox or Google Drive. If you’re an Amazon Prime user, take advantage of your benefit of unlimited photo storage that also offers you the ability to organize photos into albums that you can share with friends and family with just a click.
- When was the last time you checked for and installed system updates?
- Outdated operating systems can significantly decrease a system’s performance. Check for updates and install them, since these almost always contain updates that improve performance and maintain security.
- Is your computer clean?
- We don’t mean viruses here – we mean “clean”. Dust and particles can get down into crevices and gunk up innards. This can impede airflow, causing a system to overheat, and make your system work harder than it needs to operate effectively. A can of compressed air can do wonders with hidden dust particles in the tiniest of spaces.
Smartphones and Devices
Much like with any computer, smartphones and tablets need routine maintenance to perform at their best. Sluggish and slow speeds hinder your ability to get things done. Never is the phrase “time is money” truer than when trying to send an email or make a call, in attempt to conduct business and finalize a transaction.
Keep your mobile devices operating at their peak efficiency by regularly checking through the following areas:
- Photo storage
- Ever wondered why smartphones still offer the option of the shutter sound when taking pictures? The sound is both nostalgic and satisfying. We take photos of moments to help us remember – but we take more photos now compared to the days of film.
- Our digital memories are eating up our digital storage. Cloud storage is an easy solution, but few take advantage of the opportunity. As we mentioned earlier, Amazon Prime users can take advantage of free unlimited photo storage and create shareable albums. This is a safer option than Facebook, given it’s a service you pay for, and you retain control of the account!
- Email Inbox(es)
- A single email message has an almost undetectable impact on your phone’s operation, but how many emails do you get in one day? A hundred? More likely a few thousand messages or more come to you throughout the average work week, and that fills space quickly in your device’s memory. De-clutter your inbox, and start seeing a difference.
- How many applications do you have installed that you don’t use?
- Applications can take up a lot of memory space. You can see which applications have the greatest impact on your phone’s settings, and eliminate applications that you haven’t used. Regain screen real estate, too!
- How many applications are running?
- Not only can applications take up space, but they can also drain your battery faster. Over time, this can wear down your battery which means it will just drain faster and faster, regardless of how many applications are running at any one time.
- Internet windows
- Much like on a desktop where you may have more than a dozen tabs open and running in a single Internet browser session, your phone will open a new window as many times as you like. Again, much like with your desktop browser that stores cookies and browser history that takes up RAM, your phone keeps this data stored, as well, slowing down operations.
- When in doubt, restart
- The occasional restart can act as a “reset” for your phone, and you may see an improvement in performance after rebooting.
- Are there updates available?
- Whether for an application or your operating system, there are reasons that updates are made available to consumers. Updates are intended to improve the overall operation of your mobile device, and it’s recommended that you keep your phone’s operating system and applications up to date.
- Is your device clean?
- Keep your screen wiped, your speakers clear of debris, and your camera lens and charging port clean. Dust and grime can creep into the tiniest of crevices and build up, affecting the interior workings of your phone.
Keeping your technology operating efficiently takes effort on your part, but the return on your time investment will extend their lifespan and decrease the long-term maintenance costs you would need to spend otherwise. Following these basic preventive maintenance tips will make your tech last longer and save you time – and money.