How Long Should a Smartphone Last?

If you’re anything like me, you invest in a smartphone with the idea that it is going to last you a good couple of years. By then, there will be a new model on the market with even better specs, and you will have had enough time to save up for it. But how long do smartphones actually last? Are they really built to be durable, to stand the test of time?

How Long Should a Smartphone Last 1 How Long Should a Smartphone Last?

Table of Contents

How Long Should a Smartphone Last?

The average smartphone is built to last for about two to three years. Given that the usual phone contract lasts 18-36 months, this is how long a phone should last – if not longer. If you take good care of your phone, though, it could last longer than three years.

As it turns out, some smartphones tend to last longer than others. For the most part, you can expect your smartphone to last about two or three years on average. Some smartphones might last less than two years, while some could go on for four or five years.

Of course, how you use your smartphone matters. If you take good care of it, you could prolong its lifespan by a year or two. But if you put it through a lot of wear and tear, it might not even make it to the two-year mark. Rule of thumb? Be good to your smartphone, and – hopefully – it will be good to you.

What else might stop a smartphone from lasting two or three years? How exactly can you make your phone last longer? Let’s delve in and find out.

How Long Does the Average Smartphone Last?

As I already mentioned, the average smartphone is designed to last about two to three years. Given that phone contracts last 18-36 months, this makes sense. But, since a brand new smartphone can cost around $1,000, you probably want to get as much life out of your smartphone as you possibly can.

A lot of people will, of course, change their smartphones once their contracts are up. But some people will still buy a new phone every year – or as soon as a new model gets released – regardless of how well their current phone is functioning. 

That being said, the lifespan of a phone can actually be longer than the time of ownership.

What Stops a Smartphone From Lasting This Long?

There are several factors that can prevent a smartphone from lasting a couple of years. Outdated software, a failing battery, or physical damage to the internal components can cut a phone’s life short.

Outdated Software

Smartphone OS manufacturers like Android and Apple like to update their operating systems as needed. If you don’t have your phone set to automatically update and aren’t manually running the updates as they roll in, you could be cutting your phone’s useful life way down.

Phones do stop receiving automatic updates after about two years, so you will start struggling to handle newer features and apps. This can result in crashes and slow processing speeds.

Battery Failure

A failing battery can happen over time. Battery design is honestly about the same as it was back in the 1990s, and they go through a lot of cycles (charges followed by drains). 

On older phones, batteries wouldn’t drain quite as quickly since they weren’t laden with graphics-heavy apps and features. But these days, phones are loaded with this kind of data. And that can lead batteries to fail more quickly.

Physical Damage

How Long Should a Smartphone Last 1 1 How Long Should a Smartphone Last?

Quite naturally, physical damage can cut a phone’s life short. Many phone owners damage their phones within the first year of ownership, and even if the damage doesn’t impact functionality right away, it can over time. 

You might notice your phone slowing down, crashing, or struggling to hold a charge. One accidental drop or water spill can take your phone out of the game all too early.

How Can I Make My Phone Last Longer?

There are a few ways that you can make your phone last as long as possible. Conserving the battery life, getting phone insurance, and updating your software on a regular basis can help keep your smartphone living longer and operating at its fullest potential.

Battery Economy

If there are apps or features you aren’t using and that could be running in the background, turn them off. This can help conserve battery power and ultimately make your battery last longer. 

Using battery-saving apps or modes can also be beneficial in this regard. You might also want to set your screen brightness lower than default to help save the battery. This can lead to fewer cycles and charges throughout the day, which will benefit your battery in the long run.

Phone Insurance

One of the things I recommend that people do – especially if they just invested hundreds of dollars in a brand new cell phone – is to get phone insurance along with it. 

This can help cover you in the event of theft, loss, accidental damage, or break-downs in hardware components. Basically every manufacturer offers these, and it is worth some consideration.

Of course, getting a durable case and screen protector takes it the extra mile in terms of protecting your phone – which is indeed something else I recommend doing for any smartphone. In fact, this is something I personally do every time I get a new phone. It has saved me from the stress of losing a new, expensive iPhone countless times.

Update Software

Make sure you run software updates as soon as they roll in. Don’t put it off. Set your phone to automatically run updates if you must, or get into the habit of checking for updates in your Settings app. Doing so can help extend the life of your phone.

Closing Thoughts

A smartphone should last for at least two years, if not more. Even if you only plan on keeping your phone for a year, you should be taking the proper measures to protect it.

Accidents happen, and of course, even the best smartphone can have issues within the first year of ownership. Take care of your phone and see if you can make it last at least two years, if not longer.