If you're anything like us, your smartphone is your precious baby. Unfortunately, you probably don't treat it as well as you should. Here are some things you might be doing wrong:
1. Never turning it off
You really should be turning your phone off at least once a week, or your battery will die faster than it should. Leaving it on and idle stresses the battery, experts say. If you, like us, use your phone as your alarm clock, consider picking up a cheap (or fancy -- why not?) alarm clock, or turning it off for another period of time during the day.
2. Leaving the WiFi and Bluetooth on all the time
When your iPhone has WiFi and Bluetooth enabled and isn't using one or both, it's just wasting energy. As you wander around in your daily life, you're not likely to need or want WiFi or Bluetooth all the time. Better to leave both off and just turn them on when you need them.
3. Using it outside in extreme weather
Your iPhone isn't meant to withstand super hot or super cold temperatures, and using it outside on a day that's under 32 degrees or above 95 degrees Fahrenheit isn't recommended. This could drain the battery or cause your device to shut down temporarily. If you know you'll be out in extreme weather, try keeping your iPhone off or at least in your pocket, away from the elements.
4. Leaving it plugged in overnight
Letting your iPhone charge while you sleep might be convenient, but some say it's not a good idea. There has been much debate regarding the issue, but many argue that keeping your iPhone plugged in after it's already fully charged can damage your battery over time, and it could start dying more quickly. "Your battery will behave the best if you take it off the charge before it hits 100 percent, and leaving it plugged when it's already full is going to cause a little degradation," Gizmodo wrote last year. Try charging it during the day so you can unplug it once it's fully charged, or using an outlet that shuts off via a timer.
5. Fully charging or fully draining the battery
Lithium-ion batteries -- which are used in iPhones -- work best when powered between 50 and 80 percent, Shane Broesky, founder of Farbe Technik, a company that makes charging accessories, told Digital Trends. Fully discharging your battery, on the other hand, could also allow your battery to fall into a "deep discharge state," which makes the ions incapable of holding a charge, Apple noted. Topping up your battery in short spurts give the battery's ions just enough energy to work continuously and protect your battery life, he added. In other words, think about charging your phone the way you do about eating and snacking throughout the day.
6. Using a non-Apple charger
Apple chargers might be expensive, but they're worth the investment. Using off-brand chargers can do damage to your phone, and fake chargers have been reported to cause fires and explosions. Apple has even created a USB Power Adapter Takeback Program, in which it asks people to hand over counterfeit chargers, and, as of last August, offered people who brought in their non-Apple chargers a discount on a real Apple charger.
7. Not cleaning it
Your iPhone is disgusting. Like, really disgusting. Toilet seats and pet food dishes contain fewer germs per square inch than your iPhone. Apple recommends that you use "a soft, lint-free cloth" to clean your device. There are also products that claim to use UV lights to sanitize your phone. But don't forget to clean your phone's charging port! Debris from pockets and purses can get stuck in there and build up over time, which may cause connection problems when you plug something into that port. Use a toothpick, small needle or even the back of an earring to scrape all that grossness out.
8. Walking around absentmindedly while holding it
Whether or not you realize it, iPhones are a hot commodity on the black market and are a huge target for thieves. Around 40 percent of the robberies in major cities in 2013 involved mobile devices, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission reported last year -- so it's actually pretty dangerous to walk around carelessly with your iPhone out.
9. Not protecting yourself with a passcode
Half of iPhone users do not lock their phones, Apple reported in 2013. If you don't have a passcode on your iPhone and it's stolen, your identity and personal information are completely open and available for the thief to grab. It's a simple way to protect your privacy.
10. Allowing location services on all your apps, all the time
Apps like Uber and Maps need access to your "location services" to work properly, and they'll tell you when they need you to turn on that feature. Others can function just fine with location services turned off. Head over to Settings > Privacy > Location Services to deactivate the feature or simply switch it off for all your non-essential apps. Your battery will thank you.
11. Enabling push notifications on every single app
Push notifications effectively keep your phone on high alert and require a constant data connection, which can exhaust your battery. Your display also lights up every time your phone receives a notification, guzzling up more battery life. Researchers have even found that notifications can destroy your focus. Go to Settings > Notifications and select only the important apps.
A version of this post originally appeared here.
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