So you've stepped off the upgrade treadmill, but you're still a little jealous of all those people who splashed out for the new iPhone 5, or your Galaxy S II doesn't feel as shiny when the Galaxy S III is making big waves. This weekend, take some time to clean up your old phone and make it feel like new.
Photo by Peter Werkman
If you have upgraded recently, check out the cool things you can do with your old phone. This advice is for the rest of us who continue to make do.
Clean Up The Outside
Let's start with the outside, which is likely to become a little worn over time. You can make sure your screen and buttons are clean and shiny, and replace any parts that are truly broken. Heck, even a 10-year old can fix an smartphone screen for a small amount of money, so it's not an expensive activity.
If you just have a button or two that isn't working, you can apply a few software tweaks to make up for them. If you have a case, you should take that off and give it a good cleaning, too — you'd be surprised at the gunk that can build up in there. You don't need any kind of heavy-duty solvents to clean your phone — just a little water and vinegar. In extreme cases, you can use a dab or two of rubbing alcohol too, but don't go overboard!
Speed Up The Software
If your phone is running a little slow, you can speed it up by uninstalling old apps, freeing up some space on your hard drive or SD card, and (if you're on Android) making a number of deep settings tweaks. If your phone has specific problems, such as crappy GPS, we have ways of fixing that too. If you're running jailbroken iOS, you can speed up your phone by cleaning up some of your jailbreak tweaks. And if your phone isn't even turning on in the first place, don't worry! It isn't necessarily bricked yet. We've covered ways to revive seemingly bricked iPhones and Android phones before, so try those out before you toss it in the trash!
Make Your Battery Last Longer
Batteries, sadly, don't keep the same charge after a few years, which means your phone probably has a few battery annoyances by now. Turning off notifications, quitting open apps, and tweaking location settings can help quite a bit (especially if you have an app that is constantly using location services). Check out our guides for improving battery life on the iPhone and Android phones for more info.
You'll also want to make sure you're doing as much as you can to preserve your battery's health. That means performing shallow discharges, not leaving it fully charged, and discharging it about once a month — not to mention keeping it away from extreme heat. The better you treat your battery, the more life it will have a few years down the road.
Give It Some Pizazz
Okay, now that all that technical stuff is out of the way, let's have a little fun. One of the best ways to really make your phone feel new and fun again is to give it a little extra pizazz. We've shown you how to customise your iPhone inside and out, how to find awesome Android ROMs and themes, and we even feature a new, snazzy iOS or Android home screen every week in our Featured Home Screen series, so check those out for inspiration. You may need to root or jailbreak your phone for the best tweaks, but it's well worth it.