How to Make Your Phone Last Forever: 6 Simple Tips
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How to Make Your Phone Last Forever: 6 Simple Tips

OK, maybe not ‘forever,’ but the average American phone is only used for 2½ years. This guide could help you keep yours working a lot longer.

By JUSTIN POT
Thu, Dec 28, 2023 7:00amGrey Clock 3 min

THE MARS rover Opportunity, launched in 2004, was only designed to complete a 90-day mission. But thanks to the efforts of many engineers and scientists, it wasn’t until 2019, 15 years later, that it finally stopped sending updates to NASA.

The more these scientists worked on the device, the more connected they felt to it, says Janet Vertesi, a sociologist of science and technology at Princeton University whose research included NASA’s rover programs. After all, she said, “you don’t just go to the Genius bar and get another one.”

Her reference to Apple’s Genius bar is telling: No matter how connected we get to our phones, most people accept that they’ll soon seem obsolete. The average phone in America is only used for around 2½ years, according to data published by intelligence platform Statista.

But a smartphone can last much longer. I should know. I used a Pixel 2, which came out in October 2017, as my primary phone until this summer. I loved how well the small phone fit in my hand, was happy enough with the photos it took and appreciated the speedy Android apps. My friends occasionally teased me for using the “dated” gadget (“Aren’t you a tech journalist?”). Unfortunately, it stopped receiving software updates this fall. It was time to shop for a new phone.

I ended up getting the third-generation iPhone SE from 2022. I like its smaller size, and that Apple promises it will get software updates for at least five years. To try to keep it for longer, I reached out to experts for advice.

Save Your Phone’s Life: Easy-to-Follow Tips to Keep It Going
Tip 1: Check for updates.

Your phone stores info about every aspect of your life. Without security updates, it’s all at risk, says Thorin Klosowski, a security and privacy activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy organisation. Apple offers software upgrades for at least five years and security updates for longer. This year’s Google Pixel eight will get updates through 2030. Samsung promises security updates for four years minimum.

Tip 2: Put a case on it.

Every expert I spoke with said that getting a case and a screen protector are the most important steps to maintaining a phone’s life economically. Investing in this combo rarely exceeds $50, while repairing your screen can top $200.

Tip 3: Clean your filthy, disgusting charge port.

If you’ve ever had trouble getting your phone to charge, even with endless cord fiddling, you might have thought it kaput. But the port itself, whether Lightning or USB-C, might not be broken. Try gently inserting a straightened-out paper clip along its sides to see if it’s full of pocket lint and random dust. (A can of compressed air works too.) Then, use a lint plug, a removable piece of rubber that can sit in your port, to prevent more buildup.

Tip 4: Monitor your battery health.

“Many problems that appear to be defects in [a] phone are really problems with dying batteries,” said Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of the Repair Association, a New York-based trade group that advocates for right-to-repair laws. You can check your battery’s health in the settings menu on both Apple or Android phones. If your iPhone says your battery’s “Maximum Capacity” is 80% or less under “Battery Health,” it’s probably time to replace it.

Tip 5: Know your repair options.

If you do need to replace a battery or screen, don’t accidentally overpay to fix it. Apple has a tool on its website that will quickly estimate the cost of common repairs for your specific phone. (It says it will cost $69 to repair the battery on my new SE.) You can maybe get things fixed cheaper at local shops, but there might be quirks. After a non-Apple repair person replaces an iPhone battery, for example, your phone might send a warning it’s “unable to verify” whether it has a “genuine Apple battery.”

Tip 6: If all else fails, repurpose.

When your phone’s maker declares it obsolete, and stops sending software and security updates, don’t just accept the death sentence. Compromise on some of its capabilities. Start, Klosowski says, with a factory reset, and update your OS as much as you can. Then, you can download apps that will let your phone replace or augment your primary devices. It can be a dedicated alarm clock, smart home hub, remote control, digital picture frame, or even an extra camera for your home security system.



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Boost for World Economy as U.S., Eurozone Accelerate in Tandem

Surveys point to a fresh acceleration in the U.S., even as growth in the eurozone strengthens

By JOSHUA KIRBY
Sat, May 25, 2024 3 min

Global economic growth is becoming more broad based, with surveys indicating that business activity in both the U.S. and the eurozone gained momentum in May.

The eurozone economy contracted in the second half of 2023 following a surge in energy and food prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the subsequent rise in interest rates intended to tame that inflation.

By contrast, the U.S. economy expanded strongly over the same period, opening up an unusually wide growth gap with the eurozone. That gap narrowed as the eurozone returned to growth in the first three months of the year, while the U.S. slowed.

However, surveys released Thursday point to a fresh acceleration in the U.S., even as growth in the eurozone strengthened. That bodes well for a global economy that relied heavily on the U.S. for its dynamism in 2023.

The S&P Global Flash U.S. Composite PMI —which gauges activity in the manufacturing and services sectors—rose to 54.4 in May from 51.3 in April, marking a 25-month high and the first time since the beginning of the year that the index hasn’t slowed. A level over 50 indicates expansion in private-sector activity.

“The data put the U.S. economy back on course for another solid gross domestic product gain in the second quarter,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Eurozone business activity in turn increased for the third straight month in May, and at the fastest pace in a year, the surveys suggest. The currency area’s joint composite PMI rose to 52.3 from 51.7.

The uptick was led by powerhouse economy Germany, where continued strength in services and improvement in industry drove activity to its highest level in a year. That helped the manufacturing sector in the bloc as a whole grow closer to recovery, reaching a 15-month peak.

By contrast, surveys of purchasing managers pointed to a slowdown in the U.K. economy following a stronger-than-expected start to the year that saw it outpace the U.S. The survey was released a day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a surprise election for early July, banking on signs of an improved economic outlook to turn around a large deficit in the opinion polls.

Similar surveys pointed to a further acceleration in India’s rapidly-expanding economy, and to a rebound in Japan, where the economy contracted in the first three months of the year. In Australia, the surveys pointed to a slight slowdown in growth during May.

Businesses reported that they were raising their prices at the slowest pace since November, which should reassure the European Central Bank. However, the eurozone continued to add jobs in May, suggesting that wages might not cool as rapidly as the ECB had hoped.

The ECB released figures Thursday that showed wages negotiated by labor unions in the eurozone were 4.7% higher in the first quarter than a year earlier, a faster increase than the 4.5% recorded in the final three months of 2023

The ECB has signalled it will lower its key interest rate in early June, while the Fed is waiting for evidence that a slowdown in inflation will resume after setbacks this year.

Nevertheless, eurozone businesses and households shouldn’t bank on successive cuts to borrowing costs, ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos said. “There is a huge degree of uncertainty,” he said. “We have made no decisions on the number of interest rate cuts or on their size,” he said in an interview published Thursday. “We will see how economic data evolve.”

Continued resilience in the eurozone economy would likely make the ECB more cautious about lowering borrowing costs after its first move, economist Franziska Palmas at Capital Economics wrote in a note. “If the economy continues to hold up well, cuts further ahead may be slower than we had anticipated,” she said.

– Edward Frankl contributed to this story.

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11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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