Byte Me Article 265 – Phones #3

26th March 2016 

This will be the 3rd article in the 4 part mini-series on phones, so we will look at some tip and tricks to save money and keep you phone in good condition.  Firstly we should look at the updates that are released for smart phones.  While Microsoft is busy releasing new Windows versions every 2 to 3 years the two major phone software companies – Android and Apple appear to be releasing major updates around every 6 months.

These updates are very worthwhile and can often fix little problems (bugs) such as higher than normal battery life as well as offering new features or again fixing existing features that don’t work so well.  Be sure that you have plenty of battery life or have your phone plugged into power before embarking upon an update as running flat half way through can spell disaster.  While on the subject of battery life I have found my new Samsung good for around 3 days even with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi features left turned on.

If you find that battery life is not what it used to be and your phone is running the latest software then consider a new replacement battery which is usually around the $40 to $50 mark from some of the specialist battery shops.  If you have a phone model that does not have a user replaceable battery then you are less fortunate and I urge you to consider this factor when getting your next new phone.

As far as IT equipment is concerned smart phones get a bit of a hiding as they are pulled out of pockets not only for calls and texts but for browsing and emails as well.  This leads to occasional drops and bumps no matter how careful you are.  Again there is a huge accessory market for the most popular brands and this includes phone wallets, secure cases and screen protectors.  Samsung has their ‘Gorilla Glass’ touch screen material and I have not bothered with a screen protector for this ultra-tough surface and have never had one scratched.  Although I do use a phone wallet which gives excellent protection to the entire phone.

With increasingly busy lifestyles (despite so many time saving devices in our lives?) we still spend too much time searching for keys, wallets and now phones.  It is a great idea to make a particular shelf or part of the kitchen bench the ‘regular’ place for your phone and this is also a good habit to have in the car or if you carry your phone in a hand bag – always keep it in the same pocket.  This will not only save frustration but can save money with less missed calls that otherwise would have required a call back.

Even when going shopping or leaving a location get into the habit like I do of counting to 4 – wallet 1, keys 2, phone 3 and glasses 4 (or 3 if your eyes are still good) to save leaving anything vital behind and worse still losing it altogether.  If you become a creature of habit here you are unlikely to ever lose your phone by leaving it on your car boot lid for example!

Modern phones have ‘modern batteries’ that do not have the ‘memory’ problems associated with earlier phone models – so they do not need to be run flat and fully recharged on a regular basis.  Again it is good practice to have a regular charging point and to do this every night or every second night if that works for you.  There is nothing worse than running low on battery half way through the day and especially if you are travelling and the phone is vital for work or for safety.

Another tip that can save money is to link your phone to available Wi-Fi networks to save using up the normally ‘skinny’ data plans the come with phones as opposed to typical home Internet plans.  Also don’t forget that the operating systems for smart phones have become very complex so a weekly reboot of your phone (if you don’t turn it off at night) can help to keep it running at its most efficient.  Next week we look at some handy ‘apps’ for your phone. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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