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iLife support offered for older phones

Most of us treat our mobile phones as expendable, and for good reason: The average lifespan is 18 to 24 months, and the latest software isn’t usually available after a few years. But prolonging your phone's life beyond the two-year average doesn’t require the tech equivalent of an M.D.
By Megan Wiegand, Slate Published: April 12, 2014
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When reports appeared last month that the next generation of iPhone would likely debut in September — complete with larger screen and higher resolution — I was giddy.

But for my beloved but battered iPhone 4 (age 102 in smartphone years), September is a long way off.

Most of us treat our mobile phones as expendable, and for good reason: The average lifespan is 18 to 24 months, and the latest software isn’t usually available after a few years.

When iOS 7 was released last year, Apple only extended updates back to the iPhone 4 — the 3GS, which sold from 2009 to 2012, was rendered a dinosaur. Thanks to carriers’ upgrade discounts and the dangers inherent in being a small object subject to constant abuse, many flit from one phone to the next without an eye on resources required or waste involved.

But prolonging your phone's life beyond the two-year average doesn’t require the tech equivalent of an M.D.

If you need your “legacy” iPhone to limp through to September and beyond, there are methods to keep it on life support. It's time to break out the bandages, scrub in, and patch up your patient by following these steps.

Triage the patient

It may seem obvious but it’s worth repeating: Purging unused apps and downloading those selfies to your computer can give your phone an extra spring in its step. Removing several gigs’ worth of music, podcasts and unused apps seems to be the best thing I’ve done to improve my phone’s performance.

Check its vitals

Battery life is the problem child of every smartphone. With life cycles never quite seeming to reach the purported number of charges, batteries do not age gracefully. BuzzFeed and Gizmodo both had good, overlapping guides for diving into your phone’s innards to squeeze out more battery life. But in a wonderfully sharp post on iPhone battery woes, former Apple Genius Scotty Loveless approaches hemorrhaging battery life with a scalpel rather than an ax. Loveless recommends examining your phone’s usage (Settings > General > Usage) to get a feel for your phone’s battery performance before looking at settings for specific apps (such as Facebook) that can stress a battery more than others.

Loveless and others have also noted that manually managing multitasking (hitting your home button twice to get the list of open apps, then swiping up to close ones you don’t need) isn’t necessary to preserve battery; Loveless actually discourages it, which took this multitasker by surprise.

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