Preserve your tech gadgets for longer

Preserve your tech gadgets for longer

Technology is an important part of all of our lives so it is quite surprising how many people don’t know how to preserve their gadgets properly. So, we thought we’d educate you on some of the things you might not know you’re doing incorrectly and allow you to start doing them right from now on.

Making a move

Whether you are travelling from home to work or going overseas, your tech needs to be protected. This means always carrying your laptops, tablets and other gadgets in proper cases. Don’t skimp by using something that is not meant for that particular gadget. Get the bag or case that was specifically created for that product because that way you know it will be a proper fit. If the bag is, for example, too big for the gadget it will slide around and may become just as damaged as if it were not in a case. If the bag is too small, there might always something pressing on the touchscreen or the buttons. This can damage your battery by keeping your screen on all the time or even damage the screen itself.

Clean as a whistle

Many people make the mistake of using the wrong type of cleaning products for their laptops, tablets or smartphones. You cannot use the same products you use for your kitchen on your devices as the harsh chemicals will surely damage them.

Stock up on some microfiber cloths or use the cloth you get for cleaning your eyeglasses with. They are soft, won’t leave any lint residue and do not create scratches on surfaces like monitors. Never press too hard on monitors or touchscreens when wiping them off as you can burn out the pixels. Having a soft makeup brush handy (guys, ask the girls in your life to help you find one) next to your laptop also helps to clean off dust particles every now and then.

Compressed air (or canned air, if you like) is also a great item to have in your cleaning arsenal as this helps to get into those hard-to-reach places (like within your keyboard). Use toothpicks to get into small corners and tweezers to pick up small pieces of dirt.

Rubbing alcohol is also useful but be very careful with this. Not every surface can be cleaned with this product. If you do use it, always dilute the product. Use one part rubbing alcohol with one part water and apply with a cotton pad (which reduces the chance of creating scratches). If you want to go more natural, use a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water. It’s not harsh and is environmentally friendly but really gets rid of grime. Never use a spray bottle to apply any of these solutions because any overspray will go into cracks that you don’t want it to go into.

Always switch off devices if you plan on cleaning them. You can also clean the fans of your desktop PC if you are confident enough to do so. Cleaning the fans regularly can help to increase the performance of your PC. Rather leave taking apart your laptop to the professionals.

Charged up

The battery life of your smartphone, tablet or laptop will eventually decrease over time simply because you are using the battery. But what actions make it decrease faster than others?

There is conflicting information about whether or not leaving your battery on charge the whole time will make your battery deteriorate faster than usual. One of the problems with leaving your battery on charge constantly is that the overheating will cause delicate structures to deteriorate within the battery and make it less capable of holding a charge. However, modern technologies now have features that circumvent this by keeping the battery from charging even more once it reaches capacity (for example, Samsung laptops have a feature called the Battery Life Extender).

Some people also believe that one should charge a battery to 100% and then leave it to discharge completely every time. This is not recommended in the long-term but can be done once in a while. With modern batteries that are usually made of Lithium-Ion or Lithium-Polymer, this is not necessary even though some manufacturers will still recommend this method to clients. Modern batteries are often required to only be kept within the centre of their range (about 40% – 60%). Try to never go below 10% charge and don’t go higher than 80%. This will also help you save time because the last 20% usually takes the longest to charge.

We have all heard that once you get your new smartphone or whichever device, you need to leave it on charge until it’s 100% before using it. This, however, is not for the reasons that one might think. It doesn’t help to preserve the battery in the future. It is merely because you will be using the phone a lot at first (testing it out, playing around with settings) so, eventually, your battery will discharge. To ensure that you can use it for a longer period, manufacturers want you to charge your phone. Also, you might sometimes find that the battery is not charged when you receive the device. Charging your battery at first-time use thus has nothing to do with extending battery life at the end of the day.

There are other ways you can make your battery last longer while using your device or laptop:

  • Decrease your screen brightness
  • Avoid using screensavers
  • Switch on the power saving function (if your device has this)
  • Keep your laptop or other device in a cool place
  • Lower your screen resolution
  • Switch off wireless when you know you will not be using it
  • Turn off any scheduled tasks that run in the background
  • Use the hibernate function instead of the sleep function
  • Increase your RAM capacity
  • Disable any unnecessary startup applications
  • Defragment every now and then – this results in a faster hard drive and ultimately less battery consumption

Some more useful tips

  • Always eject your USB devices before physically taking them out to avoid damaging the USB (some people seem to think this is an unnecessary move but it’s quite the opposite)
  • When unplugging devices that have charged, don’t pull on the actual cord to unplug them. This can damage the cord and eventually it can be ripped out of the plug itself.
  • Try not to place your laptop on your lap or wrap it up in blankets (we know it’s a cosy thing to do on those cold winter nights). This will overheat the device much quicker and damage it. Also, avoid placing devices in direct sunlight.
  • Just as much as heat can be damaging, don’t expose your devices to extremely cold temperatures.
  • Try to be aware of how much pressure you put on a touchscreen or else it might be damaged and becoming slower to respond. If you have one, use a stylus because it prevents you from pressing too hard.