Tech expert reveals the five dumb mistakes we’re all guilty of that kill your expensive devices
You wouldn’t buy a nice car and skip oil changes. So why do we treat our tech so badly?
If you want your expensive phone, computer and all the rest to last, keep reading.
1. You’re always plugged in
Don’t fall into the (bad) habit of plugging in your phone whenever the battery isn’t topped off.
Apple says that battery health can be affected when your iPhone ‘remain(s) at full charge for prolonged periods of time’.
The same advice goes for Androids. Samsung says not to leave your phone connected to the charger for long periods of time or overnight.
Huawei says: ‘Keeping your battery level as close to the middle (30 percent to 70 percent) as possible can effectively prolong the battery life.’
The official word is to keep your phone charged — but not fully charged all the time.
The good news is most devices are smart enough to start charging again only once they reach a certain battery level.
But unplug your devices after they are fully charged.
2. You wait too long to charge your laptop
If you frequently let your laptop battery entirely run out of juice, it diminishes its intended lifespan. Like phones, laptop batteries are only meant to charge so many times.
Your laptop battery can also lose efficiency in another way. Say you regularly charge your laptop from 30 percent to 50 percent, or about 20 percent each time.
Do that five times, and you’ll have completed one battery cycle because you’ve charged your laptop 100 percent.
A good rule of thumb? Keep your battery charged to at least 40 percent most of the time.
Pro tip: Don’t always keep your laptop connected to a charging cord, either. This can shorten the battery life, too.
Want to know how your laptop battery is doing? This trick shows you when you might need to replace it. Check it out here.
3. You’re superficial
Wiping the fingerprints off your screen isn’t enough.
Dirt, dust, and other gunk can build up in ports, speakers and other small crevices on almost all our daily devices. Don’t just ignore the mess – clean it up the right way.
You may be tempted to grab a toothpick or Q-tip since you have them around. Be careful.
The fragile ends of toothpicks can break off into your electronics or even damage small speakers. Q-tips often leave behind lint that’s tough to remove.
Follow this smart plan of attack to clean your phone inside and out.
4. Your phone gets too much sun
Most smartphones are rugged. Yours can probably stand up to dust and a bit of water. One thing it’s not built for is sweltering temperatures.
Leaving your phone in a hot car or the sun can cause severe damage. The battery could overheat, and you can even lose or corrupt your data.
Extreme cold temperatures are rough, too. Lithium-ion batteries can stop discharging electricity in freezing temperatures.
This can shorten your battery life, lead to display problems, and even crack the display glass. Yikes!
5. Your router is wide open
You’d be surprised how many people never changed their router’s default password. Bad move.
Sure, someone can more easily mooch your Wi-Fi, but a particularly nefarious hacker can use your network to attack your gadgets. They could even download dangerous files or visit illegal websites through your router.
Step one: Create an original password that’s hard to crack. You can change this on your router’s admin page. Need help? Here’s how.
While you’re at it, look for ‘Remote Administration’. This allows you to log into your router over the internet and manage it.
If you’ve ever called tech support, you may have experienced something similar: A technician speaks with you on the phone and then operates your computer as if they’re sitting right next to you.
Remote administration is a handy tool, especially when fixing a problem, but it leaves your computer vulnerable to hackers.
Unless you need it, turn this feature off. You can find this under your router settings, usually under the ‘Remote Administration’ heading.
You can always switch it on again if the need arises. The last thing you need is to invite strangers onto your home network.
Kim Komando hosts a weekly call-in show where she provides advice about technology gadgets, websites, smartphone apps and internet security.
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