Who knew upgrading your cell phone contributes to the rise of carbon emissions, leading to the destruction of our planet? The manufacturing of phones and mining for the metals that make up the phone are contributors to a warming planet. So why not make the one you have last as long as possible?

Making your cell phone last can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars. For instance, for the iPhone series, the lowest purchase cost starts at $429 with the iPhone SE. What’s more, the iPhone14 ProMax is at the highest price, reaching $1,599. Likewise, the Samsung Galaxy S22 is over $1000.

Now, you may ask, “what about a free upgrade?” As this quote says, “everything comes with a price.” In order to get a “free” phone, you need to turn in your recent phone, and not just that; you’ll most likely end up paying some amount if the new phone you are getting is more expensive than the phone you are trading. Moreover, to receive a promotion, you will most likely end up having to get the most expensive phone plan.

Now, making your cell phone last as long as possible sounds like a better idea. Below are five different actions you should take in order to have a lasting phone.

Be aware of storage space

On an iPhone, to check the amount of storage space you have left, you would go to settings, general, and device storage. For an Android, you would navigate to settings, device care, and tap on storage. In order to delete apps on either an iPhone or Android, you keep your finger pressed on the app until an icon pops up that says, “Remove App” or “Uninstall.”

Save off photos and videos to a hard drive, too!

Protect your screen

A case for your phone is a must if you don’t want your screen to crack in one of those falls. A screen protector is a plus. You don’t want a cracked screen, do you? With a cracked screen, you might start thinking that a new phone sounds better than repairing your screen. Not to mention, repairing a phone screen could cost hundreds of dollars, depending on what type of model you have.

University Wireless, iFix, and Davis Cell Phone Repair are businesses in Davis where you can get your phone repaired. To get a cracked screen repaired at University Wireless, the range could be from $70 to $160, depending on the model. An iPhone 8 would be $88 while an iPhone 12 would be $225 to fix a cracked screen at Davis Cell Phone Repair. Not to mention, an S22 Ultra would cost you $565 to repair the screen. This is why a phone case is ideal to have on your phone, and you can purchase it for a few dollars, compared to hundreds for a repair.

Clean ports and keep your phone clean

If you’re having trouble with charging your phone, it could be that your phone’s charging port is clogged. If that’s the case, with a toothpick, carefully get out the dirt. You can also use a toothpick to clean the headphone jack. To get rid of the smudges on your phone from using it, you can use a lint free cloth to clean the camera and phone screen. These cloths can be purchased at a dollar store or you may already have one if you have glasses. If you want to sanitize your phone, you can use alcohol-based wipes, but just make sure to stay away from the ports.

Replace the battery and dispose of it properly

Are you aware that a phone battery lasts about two years before it starts breaking down?

If your phone’s battery is draining quickly, it might be time to get a new battery. If you’re having trouble charging your phone, that could also indicate that your battery is worn out. Just make sure that it’s not your charger that could be defective or your ports that could be clogged with debris. For iPhones users with models 6 or above, you can navigate to settings and go to Battery Health to see your battery’s performance.

If you have an iPhone, it might be easier to get your battery replaced by a service, but if you’re up for the challenge, you can do it yourself. Just keep in mind that you’ll need a toolkit and probably need to watch YouTube videos alongside (see links below). If you have an Android that is an older model, like the Samsung Galaxy S5, then it’s easy to replace the battery yourself simply by opening the cover and popping the battery out. However, newer Android models are as tricky as the iPhone just because there are several steps you need to do to get to the battery, and you need specific tools for that.

At the end of the day, it’s way cheaper to get your battery replaced than to buy a new phone. Depending on the model, the price to get your battery replaced will range. For An iPhone 8, the fee would be $78 at Davis Cell Phone Repair. A newer model, like the Samsung Galaxy S21 would be $288 at the same business. This is still much cheaper than buying the phone brand new. If you pay to have the battery replaced by a service, likely they will dispose of the battery for you!

To dispose of a phone battery yourself, you need to take it to a hazardous material disposal center, because it simply cannot be thrown in the trash safely. In our area, hazardous waste must be taken to the Yolo County Landfill just north of town off Pole Line Road every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday between 7:30am and 3:30pm. Just drive up to the kiosk and tell them you have to dispose of a battery. There is no fee!

If you ever come across a swollen battery, make sure to shut down your phone, stop charging it, and get your battery replaced. A battery in this condition could explode or light on fire, so you need to take action by having it replaced. A sign of a swollen battery is when your phone does not lay flat.

Update operating system and apps

Whenever your phone notifies you of an update, make sure to let it update. Both Android and iPhone automatically let the user know that there is an updated version. You have the control over what time you want the installation to happen. Being up to date with the newest updates can keep your phone running smoothly.

Reduce mining and usage impacts

A phone is made up of metals such as gold, cobalt, lithium, and copper, to name a few. These elements are mined in different countries around the world. The top three producing countries for gold are China, Australia, and the United States of America. Cobalt mostly comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Chile is the #1 country for both Lithium and Copper mine production.

Mining not only affects health but emits greenhouse gasses as well. Worldwide, 4 percent to 7 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are due to mining.

According to an article by Matt Thorne on reboxed.com, most of a phone’s carbon footprint comes from manufacturing, between 76 to 86 percent. Cell phone usage comes up next accounting for between 10 and 20 percent of the total, due to the networks and data centers that smartphones connect to and the electricity they use. Matt gives lots of specifics that reduce energy use that you might not have thought about.

The last word: So why make your cell phone last instead of buying a new phone?

Buying a new phone contributes to the rise of greenhouse gas emissions, and if there is a way to help our planet, then you can start by making your phone last as long as possible. It’s cheaper, sustainable, and better for you.

More reading

The carbon footprint of your phone – and how you can reduce it

Cell phone repair shops in Davis

Davis Cell Phone Repair (530) 341-3384

Address: 140 B St suite 4, Davis, CA 95616

iFix Electronics (530) 753-9999

Address: 603 4th St, Davis, CA 95616

University Wireless – Cell Phone Repair Shop (530) 746-2388

Address: 716 2nd St, Davis, CA 95616

YouTube videos on how to replace the battery

iPhone – https://youtu.be/e743HCkxfks

Android – https://youtu.be/B7Mkp3wdwu4


Source: Thorne, 2021