For as much as we use our smartphones, it’s amazing they don’t break more often. Nevertheless, most people will eventually need to have a phone repaired or replaced. Although there are plenty of edge cases, most phone problems fall into a small group of categories. Here are some common issues and steps you can take to deal with them.
Smartphone screens have become incredibly rugged over the years, and dropped phones are far less likely to have cracked screens than in the past. However, dropping a phone at certain angles and above certain heights can still damage even the toughest of screens. If the touch sensors in the screen continue to work, phones with cracked screens can often still function adequately. However, cracks also spread over time and can lead to further cracking in the future. In addition, a cracked screen can cause your phone to flex if put under pressure, leading to more problems.
Fortunately, nearly all popular phone manufacturers sell replacement screens, and they aren’t as expensive as many people imagine. Furthermore, repair technicians have extensive experience replacing screens, so you can expect good service when receiving a replacement.
Battery technology has improved significantly over the years, and most people can make it through their day without having to track down a charger. Unfortunately, the nature of batteries means they degrade over time, and it’s common for batteries to drop below adequate levels. Furthermore, a certain percentage of batteries will have manufacturing flaws, causing them to degrade prematurely.
One feature to look for when buying a phone is user-replaceable batteries, which many Android manufacturers offer. However, Apple and other companies install batteries in such a way that users can’t replace them on their own. If your battery can’t be swapped out easily and you aren’t looking for a new phone, repair technicians can replace them. Again, most manufacturers provide replacement batteries, so experts will be able to track a replacement down should you need one.
Even phones that aren’t advertised as water-resistant can typically handle rain or brief immersion in water. However, water will eventually seep into the phone and cause problems. Furthermore, water-resistant phones are only designed to handle immersion for a certain period of time and at a certain depth, and small cracks or other problems can render their water-resistance useless. Often, phones with water inside will simply shut off and refuse to turn on again.
Fortunately, phones will often spring back to life after they’ve been allowed to dry thoroughly. The exception to this is salt water, as any salt that remains can cause irreparable damage to parts of your phone. Note that storing your phone with dried rice is a myth, as it isn’t believed to dry your phone any faster. Furthermore, small particles of rice can enter your phone and cause further problems. If your phone has fully dried and still won’t turn on, an expert may be able to repair damaged parts.
At first, new phones generally seem fast. Over time, however, performance can drop, leading to a frustrating experience. Often, the cause of the slowdown is the RAM becoming full. Take a look at your apps and try to uninstall some of them. Often, apps run in the background even when they aren’t in use, leading to a constant slowdown. In some cases, simply restarting your phone can have it running better. If all else fails, performing a factory reset on your phone and reinstalling your apps might restore its performance.
Unfortunately, manufacturers often provide updates to phones and place less of a priority on older devices. After all, updates that slow down a phone might lead the user to seek out an upgrade. If your phone’s operating system becomes slow due to updates, there’s often little that can be done.
People typically plug in their phone’s chargers about once a day. Although USB and other technologies provide a robust connection, mechanical wear can eventually lead connectors to wear down and eventually break. This is often a fairly slow process; you might have to wiggle the cable to get it to connect, for example. This can occur in other parts of your phone as well, including headphone jacks and ports for connecting SD cards and other devices.
While some connectors are relatively simple to swap out, others aren’t. Furthermore, such replacements typically require expertise with specific phone models. If your connector is degrading or has failed, make sure to seek out expert help to get your phone back up and running properly.
Being able to pair a phone with a speaker or headphones can be wonderful, and Bluetooth can also be used to transfer data to and from your phone. When pairing fails, however, your phone can be a source of frustration. Test out your Bluetooth peripherals on other devices to ensure they work properly. In addition, try pairing your phone in another location, as interference can be difficult to detect but lead to failures.
The Bluetooth radio in your phone is typically on the same chip as your WiFi radio, so if one fails, the other often fails as well. Unfortunately, it’s typically difficult or impossible to replace a broken chip on most phones. Still, talk with experts if you’re having Bluetooth or WiFi issues before paying for a new phone.
Although phones keep improving at a steady pace, people are using their phones for longer periods of time, as even older phones are more than adequate for most people. With this extra use, however, comes additional wear and the increasing likelihood of parts of the phone failing. While repairs aren’t always possible, phone technicians now have extensive experience handling a wide range of mobile phone repairs, and you might be surprised at how many problems experts can handle. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that some problems can be expensive to fix. If you’re planning on purchasing a new phone at some point in the future, it might be worth using the money you would otherwise spend on repair work toward the cost of a new device.