If you’ve had your current phone for more than a year or two, you might have noticed its speed begin to decline. Maybe apps take longer to open, messages struggle to send or downloading anything has become a drag. Most people know that electronics slow down over time. It’s a fact of life, right? Believe it or not, what causes your devices to degrade isn’t entirely out of your control.
Let’s take a look at what causes smartphones to slow down with age and what you can do to keep your phone running faster for longer.
The Double-Edged Sword of Software Updates
We should start by clarifying one thing: old hardware will always eventually cease functioning. This is because the software you use improves over time, while your phone’s hardware stays the same.
If you’ve ever thought your favorite app was working slower after an update, you’ve experienced this effect. Phone manufacturers are constantly working to improve their hardware’s capabilities. So when a new generation of phones is released, software developers adjust their programs to take advantage of the newer, more capable hardware. As a result, older systems can sometimes get left behind.
Software updates allow users to enjoy more features, better graphics and all-around cooler functions. However, these benefits are often only useful to those who have hardware that can handle them.
If you’re using an old phone with new software, your device will have to do more work to achieve the same result. So, instead of seeing performance boosts after an update, you’ll likely see your phone slow down as it tries to do work it wasn’t originally built for.
How You Can Keep Your Phone From Slowing Down Over Time
Though endless software updates do eventually cause all phones to slow down, there are still some things you can do to keep your phone running well. Reducing the load of work your device has to do is one of many ways to make your smartphone last longer.
One thing that causes phones to slow down is the accumulation of user data over time. Your phone collects this data as you interact with different apps, and it can fill up a lot of space. Plus, if you’re like most smartphone owners, you probably add content to your phone actively by taking photos, trying out new apps, downloading podcasts and so on.
As your phone’s internal storage starts to run out, adding new data can take longer and longer, which can eventually cause noticeable speed drops. To fix this problem, clear cached data often, delete apps you don’t use, and store media on cloud storage or your computer’s hard drive instead.
You can also improve your phone’s speed by limiting the number of programs running in the background and using your phone efficiently. This means disabling things like location services for apps that don’t need them, using “background app refresh” more selectively, and not keeping apps open when you won’t be using them again in five minutes.
Eventually, you’ll still see signs that you need a new phone. After all, technology is constantly improving. However, when you care for your smartphone by keeping it clean and using it efficiently, your device can continue working at impressive speeds for years.