Relationships are a tricky thing. Without the right partner, a willingness to listen, understand, forgive, and work together, a relationship is destined for failure. Because of these demands, it’s not surprising that many in society have a longer relationship with their iPhone than a romantic partner. My wife and I have been together for ten years now. Of course, when we first got together, I had an LG flip phone. If an iPhone was an option, would I have chosen the phone instead of her? Well, if she reads this, I might not have a choice! The point of this (total fiction of course) is that many of us rely on our smartphone every day for both work and play. Why then if it’s so important to us, do we take its safety so lightly? Today we’ll take a look at a few simple things you’d better start doing right now to ensure that this relationship has staying power.
If you’re going to use a smartphone, always use protection. I don’t have to tell anyone reading this just how expensive an iPhone is. The only thing worse than buying it once is having to purchase a replacement. While having insurance on your device is helpful, it’s less expensive (and you can limit the number of headaches) by having your phone in a proper case, and, if necessary, installing a screen protector. I only say “if necessary” because many cases have a built-in screen protector. I always have my iPhone on me, and I’m rough on equipment. As a result, my phone rests comfortably inside a LifeProof Nüüd case. If you’re prone to dropping your phone onto hard surfaces or into bodies of water (or pans of gear oil which I’ve also done), the $99 Nüüd case is cheap peace of mind. LifeProof makes cases for just about every type of mobile device, and I speak from experience because I’ve owned two cases myself. Otterbox offers a Defender series that protects against drops for around $50. I’ve used a couple of those in the past as well. Be aware that these cases aren’t water resistant like the LifeProof cases. That’s something to think about if your lifestyle involves spending time around water. While you may not need such extreme protection, everyone drops their phone, and you need to keep it in a case at the very least.
I’m on my third iPhone now, the iPhone 7. I’ve owned a 4S, a 6, and now the 7. The 7 is only about three months old after it replaced the 6 that fell into the toilet as you’d recall if you read “Sink or Swim“. Since the 7 is new, I haven’t experienced the same fate yet as I have with the other two, namely the fraying power cord. The casing around the cord has come apart, and I’ve tried a variety of fixes including electric tape to hold everything together. While this worked (it wasn’t pretty), I resisted the urge to buy a cheap replacement charger like the ones that are so prevalent in gas stations and rest areas. I’d encourage you to do the same. While it hurts to have to hand Apple more money for a replacement cord, it beats the alternative. At best, the cheap charger won’t last. At worst, it will explode or damage your phone. Yes, I’ve seen instances of both. “You get what you pay for” has never been truer than it is with this type of equipment.
One of the weak links of “new” versions of the iPhone is battery life. Lately it seems almost impossible to make it through the day without plugging your phone in to charge it. Did you know that apps may be draining your battery and using up data without your knowing it? It’s true. Tap “Settings” then scroll down and tap “Battery” . Look to the bottom of the screen for “Battery Usage”. This table shows which apps have used what percentage of your battery life in the last 24 hours or last week by tapping “7 Days”. Some apps may specifically say “Background Activity”. That means that the app is running in the background whether you’ve asked it to or not. On my phone, it shows that “The Weather Channel” has used 5% of my battery today with “Background Activity”. I did use the app to check the weather a few times, but apparently it continued to run unbeknownst to me. Could it also be using my data? You bet. In addition to removing battery sucking apps, limiting notifications on your phone can improve battery life, and even using a ringtone rather than using vibration can also help. Who knew?
Have a fear of commitment? Keep disrespecting your iPhone by not putting it into a protective case, using “knock off” chargers, and draining the battery unnecessarily. Making these simple changes, however, can help ensure a much more fulfilling relationship between you and your mobile device for many months to come. Anticipating your partner’s needs after all is a great way to show how important “it” is to you.