8 smartphone grievances and quick solutions to try

Taylor Gadsden

Nov 22, 2020 — 5 min read

Sometimes you can be your own tech support.

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With tools like navigation, calendar alerts and a smorgasbord of apps, it’s no secret that smartphones are a necessary part of everyday life for many of us. So when they glitch or break down on us out of nowhere, it can feel like we’re falling asleep with no alarm clock, driving around without a map and generally, up the river without a paddle. 

We’re breaking down the most common smartphone problems and some quick fixes to try without breaking the bank. 

Wet cellphone

Smartphones are like mini supercomputers so they don’t exactly mix well with water. Even models that are supposedly “waterproof” have a suggested time limit as to how long they can withstand exposure to water. So when you drop your phone in the pool, tub, toilet or sink, panic can set in immediately. Try a few things before you start shopping for your next device.

Take the phone out of the water as soon as possible and take the battery out if you’re able. If you own an iPhone or are unable to remove the battery, power down the device. Dry off any visible moisture to prevent further damage. 

Next, you can wrap your phone in a paper towel and try the very popular method of dry rice. Many people have found success with leaving the device completely submerged in the rice for at least 36 hours to absorb water from the places you can’t see. 

You can also try a synthetic desiccant like the Bheestie Bag or Dry-All. Both of these are affordable options and work similarly to the rice method to dry out electronics. Simply seal your phone in the airtight bag provided and wait 72 hours for the best results. 

Full storage space

The fastest way to clear up storage on your phone is to delete things that take up the most space. Deleting old videos, photos, files and songs can free up a good bit of space right away. Also, evaluate the apps on your device and which you can live without for the sake of your storage. 

The Storage Screen on iPhones will tell you exactly how much room each app is taking up. Apps like Facebook and Facebook messenger are infamous space hogs. If you’re not comfortable with deleting an app completely, off-load it to delete the app but keep the data related to it. The absence of the app will free up the majority of the space. 

Slow response

If your phone isn’t exactly brand new, you may find that it’s performing a little bit slower than it was fresh out of the box. This could be an indication that your RAM or Random-Access Memory is full of unnecessary weight in the form of apps, files and data. 

Speed up your device by freeing up storage space in the same ways mentioned above. Remember to focus on apps and other large files to maximize your efforts. The lighter your device is, the quicker it’ll be able to move.

Freezing

This is often a symptom of an older device. But just like a router or modem, if your phone is acting up, a quick restart and battery removal (if you’re able) may be all you need to get back on track. Also, do a quick software update on your device and your apps if one’s available. It’s possible that your phone is just missing a few quick fixes from the manufacturer. If you find that your problems continue after a hard reset and update, it may be time for an upgrade.

Crashing apps

First, check your apps for updates. Old apps will start to glitch pretty shortly after updates are released so keep your favorites up-to-date for best performance. The simplest way to do this is to go to your app store and head to the updates tab. Accept all pending updates. 

If you’re having an issue with a particular app, try deleting and reinstalling it. If the app relies on the cloud for storage, you won’t lose any local data. Make sure the app is still available in the app store before you delete or you won’t be able to get it back once it’s gone. 

Poor battery life

When your battery starts to inexplicably perform poorly, it can feel like your phone is on its last leg, especially when it’s been fully charged. First, try a few simple solutions to make sure there is a problem with your battery and not an error with how you’re using your device.

Turn down the brightness on your phone to conserve battery power. Also, go through your available apps and disable anything that runs in the background once the app is no longer in use (i.e. Waze). While you’re in your settings, enable Battery Saving Mode so battery-draining settings automatically adjust when you’re low on power. If you find that your battery is still rapidly dying after some adjustments, it may be time for a new device or an investment in a new battery. 

Loose charging port

A damaged or loose charging port is something that comes with normal wear and tear. Improperly removing your charger or built-up dirt within the port can cause your port to loosen or operate poorly. If you’re not in the market for a new device and cleaning the port with a cotton swab doesn’t do the trick, a professional will need to remedy this for you. 

Overheating

If you find that your phone is getting hot to the touch, it’s likely that the culprit is either the screen, battery or processor. You can narrow down the problem quickly based on the location of the heat.

If the heat is coming from the back, it may be the battery. Modern lithium-ion batteries are usually safe but can malfunction after some time. A piping hot battery could be a sign that it’s time to replace the battery or your device, depending on what’s most affordable.

If your phone is overheating near the bottom while charging, the charger may be causing the issue. Find a branded replacement from the phone’s manufacturer, if you can. Third-party accessories will do, but they often aren’t as reliable for long.

Other sources of heat may be an indication that something is wrong with your device that will need professional attention. Also remember that processors and batteries put forth a lot of heat, especially when a lot of things are going on at once. So don’t be alarmed by a little heat. Anything up to 109 degrees Fahrenheit could be completely normal.

Taylor Gadsden

Written by:

Taylor Gadsden

Writer, Broadband & Wireless Content

Taylor is a veteran member of the Allconnect content team and has spearheaded a number of projects, including a data piece on the top fiber cities in the U.S. and a troubleshooting guide on how to connect your p… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband & Wireless Content

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