Software

How to keep your iPhone running and looking like it's new

If you didn't get an iPhone X or an iPhone 8 this year and don't have plans to purchase a new Apple mobile device soon, check out how to refresh your iPhone.

Apple recently announced the iPhone 8/8 Plus and iPhone X models, but not every budget supports getting the latest model of iPhone when it is released. Unless you're among the lucky ones who have an iPhone 8 or an iPhone X, here are five steps you can take to refresh your iPhone and help return the device to looking and running like new.

SEE: Hardware purchasing task list (Tech Pro Research)

1. Begin with a physical cleaning

Despite best efforts using often sophisticated third-party cases and screen protectors, iPhones get dirty—this is particularly true when using open-face cases. I know that cleaning an iPhone is boring, but it makes a difference.

Begin an iPhone refreshment by removing the smartphone from its case. You are using a case, right? If not, make that the preliminary step of renewing your iPhone.

Once all cables are disconnected and the phone is turned off, use a clean and non-abrasive cloth to wipe the entire iPhone. Apple officially only recommends using a soft, lint-free cloth. The company instructs iPhone users to avoid using compressed air and avoid spraying any cleaners directly onto the iPhone. Newer iPhones are treated with fingerprint-resistant oleophobic (oil repelling) coatings on the front and back. The coating wears with normal use, and cleaning chemicals can further reduce the coating and even scratch the display.

That said, heavily used iPhones possessing fingerprints, makeup, lotion, oil, or other substances sometimes need additional cleaning help; in such cases, I've found a damp (but not dripping) lint-free cloth, such as microfiber fabrics intended for eyewear, cameras, and other optical equipment, work well.

Under no circumstance should you let liquid enter any iPhone opening. Use only a dry Q-tip or a dry cloth to clean an iPhone's Lightning port. For more specifics, read Apple's iPhone cleaning instructions.

2. Remove unnecessary programs

We all download and install a variety of apps we believe we need. Over time, these apps can take up storage space, require their own updates, slow overall performance, consume cellular data by operating and updating in the background, and generate unnecessary notifications.

If you haven't used an app for three or four months, odds are you don't need it—unless, you use the app when you travel or to perform a task on a semi-regular basis. Remove all the apps you no longer use or require. You can typically add apps back, if need be.

SEE: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (free PDF) (ZDNet/TechRepublic special report)

3. Download all iOS updates

Next, download and install all iOS updates. Tap Settings, select General, and tap Software Update. The iPhone will check to determine which iOS performance updates, bug fixes, and security patches are available. Download and install any available updates.

Note: Before you can download and install updates, the iPhone might need to be connected to its charger. Also, it's always a good idea to be sure a strong Wi-Fi connection is available, as some of the downloads are sizable.

SEE: New to iOS 11? Change these privacy and security settings right now (ZDNet)

4. Download app updates

After removing unnecessary apps and downloading iOS updates, you should update installed programs; developers provide application fixes and performance updates just as Apple does for the iOS platform. Download and install the updates to help ensure the iPhone runs smoothly.

To download app updates, tap the App Store icon, tap Updates from the bottom menu, and tap the Update All or Update button that appears. Again, it helps to ensure your iPhone is charged, connected to the charger, and possesses a strong Wi-Fi connection.

5. Review Cellular Data and Location Services settings

Last, review the Cellular Data and Location Services settings configured for each application. You can reduce data usage and improve battery life by ensuring that only the apps you wish receive cellular data access. Further, you can specify whether location services are enabled for each app, and if those services are enabled all the time or only when the application is running.

To configure Cellular Data, tap Settings, tap Cellular, and scroll to the Cellular Data section. Ensure you disable (the gray setting) the radio button for each application that you don't wish to connect using the cellular data network, which can increase your cell phone bill. Set to green, or enable, those applications that should receive Cellular Data access, such as is often the case for Mail, Maps, and Weather.

To configure Location Services settings, tap Settings, scroll down and select Privacy and tap Location Services. Ensure only the apps you intend to enable tracking and location services are set to Always or While Using (the App). Disable apps that you don't want to use battery power tracking your location by selecting Never. You should select While Using for those occasions when you want an app to operate only when in use.

Also see

apple-iphone-7plus-cnet.jpg

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Image: CNET

About Erik Eckel

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

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