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4 simple ways to help your iPhone last longer

Ivana Pino@ivana_pino
Twenty/20

When the the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max launched earlier this year, some users were eager enough to wait in line for the latest in smartphone technology.

But the latest iPhones come with a hefty price tag. Each version of the phone has been slightly more expensive than its predecessor. The iPhone 4 was priced at $499-$599, according to Statista, when it was released in 2007, while the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max retail for a whopping $999-$1,349, depending on the phone's storage capacity.

The latest iPhones feature new colors, dual and triple-lens cameras, and a longer-lasting battery life. But if you're not sold on — or can't afford — Apple's latest models, there are steps you can take to extend the lifespan of your current iPhone. These simple strategies can keep your old phone running like new for as long as possible.

1. Replace or repair parts

"If you take good care of the hardware on your iPhone, there's no reason why the same phone can't last you five years," says Kay-Kay Clapp, director of communications at iFixit. "Updating your software regularly keeps your phone running smoothly, but I tell people all the time and feel like this will be on my tombstone: You need to replace your battery."

You can replace a broken screen or an old battery for significantly less than replacing the phone. Apple says battery replacement should cost $49-$69 and screen replacement runs $29-$329, depending on your iPhone's model and whether or not your phone is still under warranty.

"Replacing the battery is the best way to extend the lifetime of your phone," says Clapp. "Batteries come with about 500 charge cycles, which is about a year and a half to two years, so people should really be replacing their batteries the same way they're changing the oil for their cars."

2. Keep the temperature under control

"Batteries are temperamental little creatures and they don't like being in extreme heat or extreme cold," says Clapp.

Your device performs best between 62° to 72° F (16° to 22° C), according to Apple. Exposing your phone to temperatures outside of this range can permanently damage your battery and could even prompt your phone to shut down altogether.

If you plan on taking a warm beach vacation or a ski trip⁠, make sure you have a safe place to store your phone. And if you keep your phone in a bulky, insulated case, it could overheat while charging, so it's best to remove your case when powering up.

People should really be replacing their batteries the same way they're changing the oil for their cars.
Kay-Kay Clapp
director of communications at iFixit

3. Don't ignore software updates

It's tempting to hit the "later" button when a software update reminder pops up, but ignoring critical updates might actually cut down your iPhone's lifespan. Upgrades increase your iPhone's security, protecting it from hackers, malware, and memory corruption flaws.

The longer you wait to update your iPhone's operating system, the more your iPhone's overall performance will be compromised, and your phone could become susceptible to battery or system performance issues, according to Apple.

The time it'll take to update your iPhone to the latest iOS version can range from a few minutes to over an hour, depending on your operating system, battery level, and Wi-Fi connection. Make sure you budget time for an update, or hit "install tonight" and let your phone update while you sleep. You can do this by tapping the "settings" icon, hitting "general" and then "software update."

4. Spring for the Apple charger

One area Clapp recommends spending money on is an MFi-certified charger, meaning a charger that's made for your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. That's because cheaper chargers do not have the proper chip that governs the flow of electricity into your phone.

"If you buy a charger at the gas station or at the grocery store, that can actually ruin your phone," says Clapp.

On that note, Clapp says people should be more diligent about cleaning out their charging ports. They can easily become blocked by dirt or lint, making it impossible to charge your phone.

If your current phone can't be salvaged, or if Apple no longer supports it, a refurbished phone may be the answer. Apple offers $220-$240 savings on refurbished iPhone models, which come with a new battery and are backed by a one-year warranty.

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