Welcome to the first blog in a new weekly series called “Friday Feature.” On rotating Fridays, we'll be sharing how-to’s, tips and news bytes about electronics, jewelry, travel, housewares and other products that we all love and use in our everyday lives. Happy reading!
Almost all of us have smartphones today. We use them everywhere — and for EVERYTHING — in our social, professional and financial lives, and we often forget that the very intelligent toy in our hand is actually a 600-ish-dollar computer. And just like a computer, any false move can send it to the garbage quicker than your spilled coffee pours all over your PC’s keyboard. The first step in protecting your smartphone is investing in a sturdy phone case and scratch-protector, but that’s not the end of the story. Here are 11 essential tips to protect your smartphone from damage during the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
1. Keep track of it. Know where your phone is — all the time — and better yet, always keep it within your field of vision. If you can see it, there’s less chance of your kids or someone else accidentally getting their hands on it. Plus, if you can physically see it, you’ll be less likely to accidentally knock it off the table/step on it/drop a brick on it when you’re not aware that it’s right in front of you.
2. Have a “home” for it. Designate a special pocket in your jeans, purse or backpack for your phone. Keep food, drinks and sharp objects away from this pocket. Keys, credit cards and even loose change can scratch your phone, so just keep them separated.
3. Don’t take it in the bathroom. For goodness’ sake, nothing good can come from bringing your phone into the bathroom! The sink and toilet are just waiting to swallow up your phone, and we don’t even need to get into the amount of germs breeding in there.
4. Keep it away from liquids. Sound obvious, right? But chances are you know someone who accidentally knocked over a glass of water onto their phone and that was the end of it. When hanging out at home or work, keep your phone on the opposite side of your table/desk from your drink. And when eating or cooking in the kitchen, keep it away from your sink and food prep area.
5. Don’t use it with wet (or damp) hands. Again, the obvious things are sometimes the ones we take for granted. If you use your phone even when your hands are barely damp —out of the shower, coming in from the rain, or just washed your hands — you can transfer even the smallest amount of moisture into your phone, causing permanent water damage.
6. Be careful with “impromptu” photo moments. You probably know not to use your smartphone when skydiving, but even using it to snap shots from your car window or at the top of that gorgeous mountain you just hiked is risky. One shaky movement of the hand and that phone is on the ground — slightly damaged at best, at worst gone forever.
7. Don’t use it when in motion. When you’re biking, crossing the street, or walking up the stairs while also on the phone, you’re doing too many physical things at once with too many distractions. In one split second, your phone can drop from your fingers and make friends with the hard pavement or go bouncing down the stairs.
8. Be careful with it in the natural elements. You’re hopefully smart enough to keep your phone in your pocket when it’s raining or snowing outside, but how about at the beach? Water can damage your phone, no doubt, but so can sand — it’s essentially glass, and can cause unexpected scratches to your phone.
9. Clean your phone, screen protector and case regularly. Your heavy-duty screen protector and case may be keeping your phone scratch and ding free, but they are certainly not keeping out the dirt and debris which can build up over time. Make an effort to clean the components of your phone and its protective gear once a month, and you’ll be amazed at the gunk that you find in there. You’ll also get a glimpse of any damage on your phone that you might not have been aware of yet.
10. Beware the garage! PC Mag found that 59 percent of men who damaged their cellphones did it in the garage. Why is that? Lots of hard surfaces like cement, wood and various hardware tools, no doubt. Whatever the cause, keep an extra eye on your phone when working in there.
11. When all else fails … consider phone insurance. Nope, insurance won’t prevent your phone from impending doom, but it will cover your loss in worst-case scenarios. You can find insurance plans nowadays that include water coverage, even if it was your fault that you dropped it into the toilet. Definitely worth considering for those of us who just can’t detach from our phones, even if we are bike riding on a mountaintop in the bathroom while drinking hot coffee.