So, you have purchased your new phone and you want to take great care of it. It will probably stay with you for 2 to 3 years, and you want to maintain it for the length of them. There are numerous ways you can do that but I have compiled the most effective ones in my opinion. Let’s take a deeper look on what to do and what not to do for maintaining our smartphones.
Maintaining the Physical Condition
The first thing that came to your mind upon reading this title is probably a case. That is true. If you know that you tend to drop your phone a lot, or if you work at a construction site, or maybe you are outdoorsy, get a case.
There are plenty of case manufacturers out there, and many of which have military grade certification. UAG and Spigen are great examples of this and can offer great protection in style. Even if you do not drop your phone often, getting a slim back case is always a good idea. They are often cheap and can protect your phone’s frame and back, which is much needed if you have a glass back phone.
You might also think about screen protectors. I have covered the topic of screen protectors in more detail here, so go check that out if you have not. The verdict here is to either use an expensive, high-quality screen protector or not use one at all. In the previously mentioned post, you can read about an incident I had, in which the use of a screen protector harmed a phone, rather than helping it.
You don’t have to use a case to protect your phone if you do not want to. Companies like dbrand offer high-quality skins with various designs available. Skins tend to be more expensive and long-term than cases, and they might be hard to find for every phone. However, if you can manage to find one for your phone, it can provide decent protection, without adding much to the thickness.
Maintaining the Software Experience
This is more geared to Android phones. Maintaining your software keeps your phone fresh feeling for longer. We Android users love to fiddle with our phones and tinker every bit of them. However, if not done in the right way, our phones can get slow, laggy and buggy. Here is what to do, and what not to do.
Installing APK files
For a really long time, the ability to install applications without going to the Play Store was a feature of Android. It enabled us to get apps for free, cracked apps and ones that were never in the Store or removed from it. This is great but can be very harmful if not done properly.
There are a lot of bogus websites out there, trying to get into your phone to take your information. When downloading APK files, make sure you are getting them from a reputable website. Of course, you should avoid getting APK files in the first place, but I understand the need to get an app sometimes by any means possible.
Viruses and Malware
When using a web browser, trying to watch your favorite movie, you will encounter on-click ads. Those will lead you to various websites that you are never interested about. Some will even display pop-ups regarding a fake software update. You should always back off from those web pages, and close the tabs they are open in.
You also must make sure they did not download anything without your permission. This happens a lot, where you would find a file with an unknown extension in your file manager. If such file was downloaded, it will be in the notification tray and downloads section in your browser. But what if you missed one of them?
This is where Anti-Virus Software come in play. Do not download an Anti-Virus app that keeps running in the background. Instead, download one that only works when you open it. This is to avoid damaging your battery life and to keep your phone running smoothly. Samsung has the Device Maintenance app built into all their phones, and available for other phones to download. The app only works when you access it from the settings menu, something you should do every 2 to 4 days on your Galaxy.
It is powered by Clean Master, and what it basically does is clean your phone from any viruses and malware. The app can also detect apps that are draining your battery, and even free up some storage space. It gives you an overall score of how good you are maintaining your device and offers to help you fix it.
When downloading an application from the Play Store, you might get a pop-up displaying the permissions needed by it.
For Android Lollipop ( 5.1.1 ) or older, you should read them carefully, and see whether they are necessary for the app to function. If not, try to find a different app of the same functions. If you fail to find one, fear not. Just make sure that once it is downloaded, it is not opened before to disable permissions given to it. This can be done through the Apps section in Settings. Disable the permissions you do not see reason for, and then open the app,
For Marshmallow ( 6.0.1 ) or newer, you will not get the pop-up before downloading the app. Instead, you will be asked to give the app each permission individually on the first start. If you are downloading a doodling app, and it asks for permission to access your contacts and make phone calls, prevent it. Other obvious permissions should not be given.
It is worth noting that some apps need Storage access (sometimes called Media and Files) to function. Such apps include File Managers and Note Taking apps. They need this permission to save the files you create and access them later.
If you are suspicious about whether an app needs a permission or not, disable it. If it needs it, it will tell you to enable it from the settings, which you should do. However, if an app obviously does not need a permission it is asking for, ignore it. If it does not work afterward, uninstall the app and get one with similar functionality.
Keep free storage space
While it might seem obvious, keeping free storage space is essential. However, you do not have to keep a minimum of 4GB or so as some people say. In most phones, 500MB is acceptable, and 1GB is great. This has to do partly with the speed of the phone. The rest is mainly for convenience. A full device will take longer to load files or apps, and the same goes for writing them. Still, the difference is not all that noticeable.
The reason I keep around 1.5GB free is for peace of mind. Sometimes, I just want to try out an application, without having to delete 3 others. The same goes for photos and videos. You never want to try to shoot a short clip and not have any space available.
If you struggle to save some storage, get a MicroSD card if your phone supports it. Move all the apps to it, along with the photos and videos. This will free some much-needed space. What if I don’t have a MicroSD card slot, you ask? You have other options. For example, upload your older photos to Google Photos, and only keep the ones you need offline. The same can be done with a PC. Move older photos and videos to your laptop, and keep the ones you need on the go. These tips are mainly for those with 16GB or less on their phones, such as myself.
This is a quick one. I would heavily advise you to drain your battery completely every once in a while. I do it twice a week, and it has helped me tremendously. This makes the battery last longer on the last %20 or so. Also, try to charge it at as low levels as you can, and let it charge up to a %100 when possible. This will heavily improve your battery life and maintain it.
What is rooting/ Jailbreaking?
Rooting is a huge part of the Android community. It is the base of many websites and YouTube channels. Rooting your phone is a subjective topic. Unless you are experienced in that kind of work, do not root your phone. It voids your warranty, so any mistakes you make are your problem.
The same goes for Jailbreaking, the equivalent of rooting for iOS devices. The warranty is voided, and the risk is high
Why would I want to do it?
Rooting and Jailbreaking a phone opens the door to infinite, limitless customization. For iPhone users, it is because they either want to add more features to their phone, improve existing ones, or to mimic features from the newer iPhones.
For Android users, it is quite a bit different. Most of us do it to get our phone to the latest version. Most Android OEM’s stop updating their phones after one or two years. For this reason, foundations such as Lineage OS ( previously called Cyanogen Mod ) were formed. They used the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) to get almost all older devices to the latest version of Android. Features were also added, along with theme engines.
They used the base of installing ROM’s to do this. However, since it is a ROM after all, it remains unstable and risky to install. When installing it, or other ROM’s, make sure to get them from reputable, well-known sites. You MUST check that the ROM you are downloading and about to install is for your phone. Using a ROM that is not for your phone can end up with you and an unusable phone.
Rooting also opens the doors for other add-ons. Those can be added via Xposed as Modules. Other services are also present, but Xposed is one of the more popular ones. When using services like those, make sure that the Modules that you apply to your phone have been tried and tested. Check out YouTube videos, reviews, and comments on them.
Should I Do it?
The answer depends on your experience with your phone. If you have not done this before, I would recommend using your old phone as a test subject then applying to your newer phone if successful. I would not recommend you doing this within the 1st year of ownership, in order to keep your warranty.
If you are inexperienced, and you do not have a testing phone, forget it. Unless your phone is really slow and old, you are probably better off without root. That is because if you make any small mistake while installing a ROM, Custom Recovery, or even the Root itself, you can end up phone-less. The risk of soft-bricking or hard-bricking your phone is very high, and the errors in most cases are irreversible.
If you are lucky enough to make a reversible error, it would cost you quite a bit to actually reverse it. Make sure that you can do it before you try, and do it at your own risk!
For most people, software maintenance is the place to start. Hardware is easy to maintain in general. Maintaining your phone would help it last longer, and will improve resale values by a huge chunk. I for myself live by those tips I mentioned and tell everyone I know to follow them too.
Which of those did you just learn about? Were you surprised, and are you going to apply any of them in the use of your phone? Make sure to let me know down in the comments section below, I would love to know what you think!