You need to care for your iPhone. After all, they cost a lot of money. You probably want to avoid splashing out on a new one every 12 months.
To prolong the life of your iPhone, you should to perform some regular maintenance tasks—both for the hardware and software.
Physical iPhone Maintenance Tips
Let’s begin with some physical maintenance tips that’ll help keep your iPhone looking great and working well.
1. Clean the Charging Port
If you’re having difficulty charging your phone, something as simple as a clogged Lightning port is often to blame.
To dislodge the gunk, your first port of call should be a toothpick or the SIM removal tool that came with your phone. Take care to act very delicately. Make sure you don’t damage the contact points with over-zealous actions.
If this doesn’t work, you can try a can of compressed air. Apple recommends against using canned air and other cleaning products, but a quick blast might help dislodge particularly sticky debris. Hold the can close to the charging port, but don’t put the nozzle inside.
And if you still can’t charge your device, you might have a hardware issue. Contact Apple Support for assistance.
2. Clean the Speaker and Microphone
Cleaning an iPhone’s speaker and microphone is important. Failure to do so can affect call quality, music playback, and your ability to control Siri.
To begin the cleaning process, grab a soft-bristled toothbrush and (very) gently rub it over the two openings to loosen the debris. Next, grab a piece of tape and gently press it over the area to collect the dust and lift it away.
Do not use compressed air. The powerful force can damage the speaker and microphone’s membranes.
3. Clean the Phone
Phones are dirty and germ-ridden because we carry them everywhere. You need to give your device a bit of a polish every so often.
Apple recommends that you use a soft, damp, lint-free cloth. Avoid getting water in the various ports, buttons, and other openings. And never use anything that’s abrasive, as iPhones are coated in a fingerprint-resistant oil repellent. It’s natural to see it wear down over time, but heavy cleaning could prematurely remove this.
4. Clean the Headphone Jack
If you own an iPhone 6s or earlier, your device still has a headphone jack. You should clean it out regularly to prevent a buildup of dust and fluff.
To clean the headphone jack on an iPhone, use the same compressed air method as described earlier. A cotton swap can also prove useful. If you’re not having any luck with those, you can use a toothpick as a last resort.
iPhone Software Maintenance Tips
The four physical tips we discussed cover the basics, but there’s a lot more you can still do. (Check out our guide on how to clean a dirty iPhone to learn more.) Now it’s time to cover some other virtual and software-based iPhone maintenance tasks you need to do regularly.
5. Manage the iPhone Battery
Often, people’s biggest gripe with their smartphone is the battery life. If you’re a heavy user, it’s a struggle to make your battery last all day. The situation only worsens as your battery ages.
One way you can alleviate the problem slightly is to recalibrate your iPhone battery on a regular basis. The process can help the battery drain more slowly and increase its overall lifespan.
The iPhone also comes with a bevy of battery settings. Fiddling around with them can help you squeeze out a bit more juice. To learn about these and more, check our complete iPhone battery guide.
6. Create More iPhone Storage Space
iPhone: need more storage, delete videos
Me: delete all my photos?
iPhone: naw need more storage, delete the videos
Me: you want my first born son in exchange for more storage?
— ?? Bhark ?? (@bpmharkin) December 4, 2018
The high price of top-tier iPhone models leads many to settle for one with less internal storage.
That storage fills up quickly, especially if you take a lot of photos and receive constant messages from friends and family.
You don’t want to hit your storage limit in an inopportune moment, leaving you unable to take photos or download new apps. Therefore, it’s wise to spend some time pruning your phone’s data every now and again.
In addition to media files, you can clear out browser data, delete apps, and remove offline files. We’ve written a guide on how to create free space on iOS if you’d like more information.
7. Back Up Your Data
It’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of backing up your data. I speak from personal experience after putting my wife’s iPhone through the washing machine a month after the arrival of our new baby. Goodbye, precious photos.
There are two primary ways to back up iOS—using iTunes or iCloud. You can also use a third-party option.
We looked into the pros and cons of each approach when we explained how to back up your iPhone or iPad.
8. Restart Your Phone
“Have you tried turning it off and on again?” is the oldest advice in the book. It’s also surprisingly apt for smartphone maintenance. How often do you really restart your phone? If you don’t let the battery run out, the answer is probably “never.”
Rebooting your iPhone has a ton of benefits, including fixing memory leaks, freeing up RAM, preventing crashes, and improving battery life.
9. Update Your Apps
This one is a no-brainer. However, it’s amazing how many people let dozens of updates sit without taking the trouble to download and install them. Updated apps bring new features, better security, and a more stable user experience.
You can see if you have any app updates pending by opening the App Store and tapping on the Updates tab.
We recommend turning on automatic updates. To enable automatic updates on iOS, go to Settings > [Name] > iTunes and App Store and slide the toggle next to Updates into the On position.
10. Check App Settings
Apps’ settings menus change over time. Thus, you should occasionally run through menus to ensure that apps are still set up in the way you want them to be. You might even find some settings that let you use less mobile data.
This is especially true for social media apps, which have a nasty habit of automatically opting you into their privacy-eroding “new features.”
Learn How to Tweak Your iPhone
If you follow the tips discussed above, you’ll be well on the way to a smoother iPhone experience. And if you want to improve your experience further, there are lots of other tricks for this. We’ve explained the best tweaks all iPhone users should make. Of course, good maintenance of your device can only take you so far. Eventually, you’ll need upgrade your phone. And when that time comes, we’ll help you solve an important dilemma you’re sure to face: should you buy your iPhone from Apple or your carrier?