Weighing the benefits of a phone upgrade against the cost of a new one can help anyone struggling to decide when the best time is to purchase a new model. An outdated device starts making everyday tasks less efficient well before a smartphone user asks, “When is it time to upgrade my phone?” Know the signs that a phone is on its last leg and start planning for a replacement by using these guidelines.
How Long Should a Cell Phone Last?
Most cell phones should last for two or three years, but factors like wear and tear and the make and model determine whether devices will meet or exceed those limits. Smartphones that are well cared for can last five years and still maintain most of the original functionality, but the processing speed and battery capacity could be degraded. After five years, a smartphone should be upgraded because essential components will likely begin failing if they have not already and users could even lose files and photos if these are not backed up properly.
To prolong a phone’s life, the user should:
- Invest in a phone case and screen protector to minimize physical damage.
- Restart the phone periodically to clear out bad data, halt apps running in the background and improve the phone’s overall performance.
- Go through old files and applications to remove unnecessary items to free up storage space.
- Wipe down and clean the device regularly so ports and speakers do not fill with dust and debris.
- Repair or replace a damaged case or cracked screen to prevent moisture from getting into the inner workings of the phone.
When a phone frequently crashes, is out of storage space for files or photos, or components like charging ports, mics and speakers begin to fail, it is time to upgrade the device.
Signs It Is Time To Upgrade to a New Phone
While a phone that is a few years old will not work as seamlessly as a brand-new device, there are some telltale signs a phone is failing. Smartphone users should prepare to update to a newer model when they notice these signs:
- Dwindling battery life
- Cracked screen or physical damage
- Unresponsive or delayed touchscreen
- Out of storage space
- Applications crash or restart frequently
- Phone frequently overheats
- Cords disconnect from ports and jacks
When a Phone Must Be Replaced
There is no set number of years or frequency to upgrade a new phone, but carrying around a device that no longer functions well is a good indication it is time to upgrade. When the quote for a repair is more than half the cost of a new phone, it is time to replace it. Even a smartphone in good physical condition can be out of date internally. Also, if the manufacturer no longer provides support or software updates for a device, it is susceptible to hackers and becomes a security risk.
The Best Time To Upgrade to a New Phone
Phones change significantly every two or three years, and that trend is not going to slow down anytime soon. Rather than jumping for every new device, a smartphone user should consider delaying an upgrade to catch a promotion or new release. Anyone who switched to a new 4G phone right before 5G service rolled out will agree that research is an important step in planning a device upgrade. Waiting to purchase a phone during a carrier’s promotional period can provide a customer account credits and device discounts worth waiting for.
The Benefits of Upgrading to a New Cell Phone
Getting a new cell phone affords benefits beyond the latest camera and playback capabilities, offering users improved privacy features and protections against malware and hackers that are well worth the cost of an upgrade. Even if new technology requires a steep learning curve, most users are glad to have the latest enhancements and applications.
Upgraded phones are more user-friendly than outdated models. A phone with a faulty battery and apps that persistently crash can ground anyone’s productivity. Also, a phone with a faster processer makes the most of a family’s investment in their internet connection.
Unlike phones in the past, newer devices are designed to last longer than a minimum of two-plus years. Android has announced it will support software for its Pixel 8 into 2030, and Apple agreed to provide support for devices for up to eight years. Components are also designed to last, especially with the recent push to titanium cases, and peripherals and batteries can be replaced as needed so the devices continue to perform with proper care and maintenance.
How Phone Upgrades Work
Smartphone owners can upgrade devices at any time, but doing so outside of a promotional period or while under contract can be a costly decision. The process and stipulations vary by provider, but nearly all phone upgrades work by offering customers an incentive, such as a reduced device price, in exchange for a contract renewal. A consumers who is happy with his or her wireless carrier should take advantage of these offers because they are a win for the provider and for the customer.
The cost of upgrading a phone varies depending on the make and model and whether the phone will be financed or purchased outright. Financing a phone can cost between $30 and $50 a month, but purchasing a device can provide some savings in the long run. Most wireless providers make it easy to check for phone upgrade eligibility. This often requires a portion of a contract to be completed, a trade-in device, an existing device to be paid in full or some combination of qualifications.
Whether a new phone is needed or simply desired, customers can find promotions at FTC.net to make the most of their choice to upgrade. The excellent selection of devices, including smartphones for teens, keeps a family connected and the wireless plans make it affordable.