When you buy a new Android smartphone, you expect it to last—a high-quality phone should be useful for several years, at least. As times goes on, however, you’ll notice your phone starts to lose its shine, no matter how well you take care of it.
Replacing your device might be inevitable if it’s slow, damaged, or starting to struggle. Here are several major signs that it’s time for you to upgrade your Android phone to something better.
1. Battery Runs Out Quickly
If you’re a smartphone addict, you’re probably used to seeing your smartphone battery flashing red. There are ways to increase your battery life on Android, but it’s a little too late for that if you notice your phone isn’t retaining a charge like it used to.
The main reason for this is simple chemistry. Over time, the chemical components of your battery start to degrade, meaning they’ll hold less and less charge. After several hundred recharge “cycles” (roughly a year or two), the battery may have lost a fifth or more of its ability to hold a charge.
That’s why it’s important to avoid overnight charging to limit the number of unnecessary recharges.
If your battery doesn’t hold its charge like it used to, but you still use it in the same way, you’re going to notice. Rather than staying near your charger, heavy smartphone users should think about upgrading to get a phone with a new battery. A new battery will last longer, after all.
2. Too Slow to Use
Use a phone or tablet for long enough and you’ll start to feel the slowdown. Nobody wants to wait around for a smartphone to respond. Opening apps might take a full minute, or you may find touches are slower to register.
There are reasons why your phone might be slowing down and, in many cases, the age of your smartphone plays a part. Upgrading your version of Android (if you’re lucky enough to get offered updates) can put greater demands on your phone’s resources, including heavier RAM and CPU usage. New apps may also cause similar issues, especially if they’re resource-intensive. The latest Android games are often a culprit.
Another issue could be the number of background apps left running. The more apps that consume resources in the background, the slower your phone becomes. You can solve this by closing apps more aggressively, of course—but only if the apps running aren’t useful to you.
Replacing your phone will give you increased resources for your phone’s software to run with, whether it’s Android itself or the apps you install.
3. Outdated and Lacking Updates
A new Android release typically happens once a year around September. From Cupcake to Pie (and everything in-between), new Android versions come with flavorful names and new features. They also come with an increased demand on your phone resources.
Don’t expect endless updates, however. If you’ve bought a top-tier smartphone like a Samsung Galaxy, you might get an upgrade (or two) to a newer version of Android over the course of its lifetime. Not every manufacturer will bother with this, though, meaning your phone might be outdated as soon as you buy it.
What about security? Well, once a phone is outdated, your manufacturer probably won’t bother to release security updates for long, even if major upgrades aren’t part of the plan.
If you’re worried about an outdated phone, and you’re no longer getting updates, a replacement might be the best way forward.
4. New Apps Won’t Run
It’s still the early days of virtual reality, but there are some great VR apps available for Android already. Unfortunately, you may find that newer types of apps, like VR apps that are particularly resource-intensive, just won’t work effectively on older phones.
The same problem applies to Android gaming. Improvements to gameplay mean greater demands on RAM and your phone’s internal graphics. If your phone is older, it’s not going to do the job as effectively as a new phone that has the most up-to-date technology powering it.
The best way to test this is by installing some high-resource apps. Try out a few VR apps or high-resource games, and see how well they perform on your phone. If they don’t work well, it’s probably time for a new phone.
5. Apps Crash Frequently
Android smartphones are human-made, so they’re not perfect, and the odd app crash is inevitable. Your phone isn’t always the cause—sometimes, an app is buggy or badly designed. In other cases, phone compatibility is the issue. An app may only run on the most modern phones, for example.
If you’re noticing apps crashing on your phone all the time, however, it could be a sign of a bigger problem with your smartphone. Apps may crash because of the demand they’re placing on your phone, such as its RAM or CPU. If the resources available aren’t sufficient, the app will crash.
You might also see crashes when the storage on your device is low, especially for apps that save or access the storage often. Newer phones will have increased storage to resolve this particular issue.
6. Poor-Quality Camera
In the selfie era, having a high-quality camera on your smartphone is essential for even the most casual photography users. Unless you’re a hobbyist or a pro, most people take pictures with their phone. And as newer phones produce better photos, your snaps will stand out in a negative way.
There’s little you can do to improve your photos if your camera is poor. Photo-editing apps can help optimize your photos, but they can’t improve their resolution. This is most obvious to spot on front cameras, which have (in the past) been worse than those on the back.
The only option if photography is important to you is to look at a replacement phone. A newer phone will come with better cameras, both front and back, though this will depend on your choice of phone.
7. Phone Damage or Wear and Tear
While it’d be nice if our tech was indestructible, nothing lasts forever. Whether a smashed screen, worn-out button, or cracked case—if your phone has damage, the clock is running on how long it’ll last.
Natural wear and tear can also play a part. You might be sending tweets in the rain a little too often, or your fingers are pressing too hard on your phone’s physical buttons. There may not be an obvious cause—internal components like your phone’s flash storage will sometimes fail for no clear reason.
Damage, whether it’s over a long period or immediate, will limit the effectiveness of your phone. It’s up to you to decide whether you can cope with a damaged phone that continues to run. Eventually, though, broken components will force your hand, and you may have little choice but to upgrade.
No Smartphone Will Last Forever
Whether it’s wear and tear or just obsolescence, no smartphone will last forever. Some components, like your phone’s battery, have a limited shelf life. Other parts, like the CPU and camera, become obsolete when you compare them to newer phones.
Of course, not everyone has the opportunity to upgrade their smartphone right away. If you’re not ready to upgrade (yet), you can take steps to make your Android device faster if you’re feeling the slowdown.