With over 700 million sold globally, the iPhone will go down as one of the greatest innovations of the 21st century. And like every great invention, it's destined to suffer abuse and misuse -- eventually becoming devoid of functionality by way of broken screens and unintended trips into the toilet.
However, it's not too late to save your iPhone from yourself. We gathered some pearls of wisdom from tech experts, consumer feedback, and research on proper phone etiquette so you can cut back on all those trips to the Apple Store. Your iPhone will thank you.
Maxing out your storage
It’s no secret the iPhone comes with precious little storage space. Problem is, the handset requires a good amount of it to continue functioning. Spare yourself the torture of deleting photos to free up space and just pick up a Mophie Spacestation for the extra memory (32GB/64/128GB) and power. An iCloud account works, too.
Cleaning the screen with household products
Common sense should tell you that Windex isn’t the ideal solution for removing touch-screen smudge. The chemicals found in cleaning products eat away at the coating on the panel. Invest in a streak-free cleaner or Otterbox’s Alpha Glass screen protector to keep the retina display looking sharp.
Damaged power cables
The only thing that suffers more physical abuse than your iPhone is the charging cable you leave dangling off the wall in your bedroom. Malfunctioning power cords are dangerous for any electronic device -- they can insert a negative charge that causes harm to the phone. So check the bottom of your cords for any lumps or tears. Good news is Apple offers a guarantee on its accessories and will more than likely replace them.
Activating push notifications
As if you really care about Starbucks receipts or who the top players are on the Candy Crush Saga leaderboards. These alerts drain your battery life and your data plan, so turn 'em off if you think you can live without them (hint: you can).
Exposing it to extreme weather conditions
Look, we’re not saying keep your phone in your pocket at all times -- that would be way too polite. But when it's under 32 degrees or above 95, use your iPhone outdoors sparingly. Leaving it in the sun to catch a tan will overheat the device and ruin the circuitry inside, while keeping it out in frigid weather will freeze the handset.
Keeping it around during showers
And now for some basic science: hot water produces steam. Steam can either cause wear-and-tear to the design or seep into the device and convert into water, possibly short-circuiting hardware. Overheating is another issue since steam can inflame the surface your phone is laid out on.
Overcharging the battery
We’re all guilty of charging our smartphone overnight while sleeping. Here’s the thing though: keeping it plugged in after 100% degrades your battery life. Experts advise charging and discharging in small quantities, but if the urgency is there to wake up to a fully powered iPhone, consider dropping $10 on the Belkin Conserve Socket. It preserves juice by automatically turning off after a set time.
"Couldn’t resist modifying your iPhone to run Android or play GameBoy games, huh? That's a shame. Now you can’t receive future software updates or security patches. All those unofficial apps you downloaded from the Web... loaded with malware. Oh yeah, did I mention jailbreaking causes iOS to crash on occasion as well? Please sir, no sobbing in the Apple Store." That's exactly what the Genius Bar rep told the jailbreaker.
Not powering off
Most of us treat our iPhone like our MacBook and dismiss the idea of shutting it down when not in use. Only problem is Apple’s smartphones are temperature sensitive. Leaving it on 24/7 not only stresses the battery, but in theory also shortens its life span. Additionally, to keep things running smoothly you should let the battery fully drain once every month or two.
Keeping too many tabs open
Do you really need Chrome, Facetime, iMessage, Instagram, Pandora, Snapchat, Trivia Crack, and Twitter all open at the same time? Rhetorical. Keeping too many apps running in the background takes up RAM and can result in anything from freezing iOS to performance lag. Familiarize yourself with the Multitasking feature so you can close apps simultaneously.
Ignoring all malware
Like the Net, the mobile landscape is a malware cesspool. Android more so than iOS, but that’s not to say your iPhone can’t become infected. Be it an app, suspicious web domains (aka porn sites), or random Whatsapp messages -- malware can strike and unleash a bug programmed to destroy the operating system. Hell, it might even brick your iPhone. Step up your anti-virus game and download Avira.
Using third-party cables and chargers
Apple’s already gone on record warning consumers that using non-Apple power adapters and USB cables can lead to safety issues such as burns and electrocutions. UK repair company mendmyi even claims these accessories might ruin the U2 IC chip on the logic board -- ruining the device's ability to boot up or charge past 1% after the battery dies. I think you know what brand to stick with.
Ignoring iOS updates
We get it -- after years of incessant pop-up alerts asking you to update iTunes, you're pretty much oblivious to any and all iOS system upgrades. But updating your iPhone can be the radical solution that prevents your device from crashing frequently or running slow. Not to mention the latest round of iOS features tend to improve system performance and security. Tap the "Install" button next time, you won't regret it.
Dropping it... constantly
Even with a sturdy protection case, the iPhone is still susceptible to taking damage when hitting the ground. And we’re not just talking a broken Retina screen. Dropping it on a regular basis will affect internal components and result in any of the problems we’ve already listed. Never let go, Jack.