It’s very clear that most tech companies would prefer us all to upgrade our devices year-on-year. Apple releases a new iPhone pretty much every year, and many other companies follow this approach. This way, they can keep the revenue coming in, and the ecosystem developing.
But of course, most people know that this isn’t absolutely necessary to take part in. If you currently own an iPhone 13, you could probably skip a couple of generations at least. Some people still use their phones from five or more years ago, and that’s absolutely understandable too.
That said, no technological device lasts forever. From planned obsolescence, an inability to be supported by continual security updates and patches, and the general wear and tear of using these devices, you can probably expect to need a new ‘thing’ in some time. After all, tech and the foundational innovations they are based on are simply treated as more disposable than ever before – but that’s a whole different can of worms.
Let’s just bring the conversation back to its basic level and discuss – how can I improve the longevity of my tech devices? In this post, we’ll discuss all of that and more, and hopefully, save you some money and stress in the process. Without further ado, let’s begin:
General Protections As Required
If you can add a second accessory to help protect a tech device, then you may allow it to operate longer than you might have expected. So for example, if you purchase a brand new phone or sign up to a new contract with that, you may purchase a simple but robust phone case for it. With a screen protector, you can also more easily protect against scratches should you drop the phone.
These general protections really do make a big difference in the long run. They can protect against drops and falls, and may also provide an easy grip so the chance of a drop are reduced. Make sure you don’t cheap out here, as a good case can last years, and accept a majority percentage of any shocks.
Sometimes, a device has to be repaired, which is why it’s good to make sure you have appropriate insurance against damage that you yourself cause, or that may occur as a result of user fault.
This way, you may not have to worry about repairing the device yourself, you can always have that secondary option. Let’s say you’ve just purchased a CPU, but upon trying to gently bring it out of your computer to clean, you bend the pins. With insurance, you may be able to replace some of those pins or at least find a replacement for a small premium.
Sure, this might not be the same component, but if you get a replacement very cheaply due to good insurance, then you can consider this lengthening the lifespan of this tech component or device.
Clearing Storage & Good Software Maintenance
There’s actually a great deal of influence you, as the end user, can have over the operation of your device. For example, cleaning the storage of your Mac device can help the hard drives run more quickly, and take less time to find stored items.
You can see how to do that within the latest software updates here. Software maintenance also includes regular virus scanning (even if on Mac devices this requirement is less common), making sure that you have the correct BIOS installed, installing updates to your operating system on a timely basis (this also helps with security), and diagnosing issues if there are any.
For more rudimentary devices, an incorrectly functioning device (for example two wireless earbuds where sound only seems to be coming loudly from one bud), may require a firmware reset, the guide to which can be found in the manual. In the long run, this may help a seemingly faulty device renew and feel absolutely functional in light of everything.
Defragmenting Hard Drives
It’s good to defragment your hard drives. Make sure not to do this on SSDs, as this can erode their functional capabilities given how the solid-state disk architecture has been designed.
For regular devices, however, a defrag can make a great deal of sense. Defragmentation reformats the software architecture of your hard drive that was previously split by its storage of data, theoretically improving its shelf life and repurposing it after you’ve freed up some data.
This can be a worthwhile means of helping the device renew itself, think of it as a mini software reset for the hard drive itself. While the practice is less common now due to how many SSD’s are present in modern computing, it’s absolutely an important and helpful practice to engage in from time to time, perhaps once or twice yearly or less.
Basic Hardware Maintenance & Right To Repair
You can also undergo basic hardware maintenance if you wish to do so. You’d be surprised just how this can help a device become much more functional. For example, opening up a desktop computer with some isopropyl alcohol and a cloth to carefully wipe the thermal paste from the CPU and reapply a pea-sized amount in the middle while replacing the cooler, as well as using compressed air cans with a nozzle to safely remove build dust, you may be able to keep your hardware functioning for longer and long over time.
This is just one example, of course. In fact, basic hardware maintenance is now being considered more and more of a right, with the ‘right to repair’ sweeping many European countries as new legislation is put in place. Put simply, companies must design certain appliances and devices so that users can more easily replace parts and identify issues should they occur, as opposed to requiring the aid of a serviced professional charging an extensively high markup for the privilege.
So, it’s worth looking online to owner’s forums and even platforms like Reddit to better understand the internals of certain devices, or simply look to online guides should you need to replace a fuse or another component.
In many cases, replacement parts that function just as well as proprietary replacements can make a big difference. So for example, it might be that finding the exact voltage and fit for a replacement laptop battery can ensure it keeps functioning over time.
If we can do this with cars, why not our tech devices? Provided you know how to install them safely, you may just develop a consistent approach towards maintenance, and at least know where to begin should an identified issue rear its head.
Always Get That Second Opinion
It’s important to avoid being cheated out of your money when it comes to repairing or replacing certain goods. For example, it’s common knowledge that in the Apple store, they are allegedly instructed to tell their tech helpers to make a mountain out of small device molehills, so that repairs cannot take place and upgrades or replacements, with added cost, are advised.
Meanwhile, if you head to the basic store around the corner, they may be able to enact a solution in minutes with a quick replacement of a part, and charge you three times less. It can never hurt to get that second opinion, to answer a question online, and to move on with confidence thanks to the effort. In the long run, you don’t know just how much money you can save via this method.
With this advice, we hope you can continue to improve the longevity of your tech devices in the best possible light.