How to upgrade your old phone for an up-to-date option

Think twice before tossing that clunky old cellphone in the trash, especially if you are the type who uses your phone for work. It is possible to upgrade it with the benefit of improved performance …

Think twice before tossing that clunky old cellphone in the trash, especially if you are the type who uses your phone for work. It is possible to upgrade it with the benefit of improved performance and enhanced battery life. So if you need a much-needed upgrade, read on.

Mobile upgrades are relatively inexpensive, like most good electronics are, usually ranging from $50 to $100 for a new smartphone.

Finding the right one is more challenging than you think, since there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of smartphones available and an array of unique features.

First, we need to decide what we want. Before you buy, find out which phones you would be comfortable with and use — or are against. Ask your work co-workers, friends, relatives, neighbors and online community members.

Be realistic about the type of phone you will use and the amount of time you will spend with it. In addition, research phones through technical websites such as our partner site Avanade. Note that many phones come with a suite of free apps, so you can save money by getting only the apps you need.

Next, figure out how much of a jump you would like in performance. An upgrade to a new model from a previous generation would benefit anyone who has experienced significant increases in battery life or decreased price-per-gigabyte.

Smartphones with a design more suitable for business use — think phone cases with larger protective screens, business-grade keyboards, durable frames and enhanced security — are now affordable, typically ranging from $200 to $400.

Filling your phone up with premium applications and premium data plans can help drive the price up, but experts recommend a limited number of these apps, and keep in mind that the cost will drop as you access them over time.

Finally, protect your investment: With mobile devices, break-resistant cases and keyboards are a must. You should also buy a case that will protect the phone from the effects of stress (like a pocket protector) and don’t fall prey to unapproved case designs. And batteries shrink over time, so be sure your phone can be charged from anything but your standard USB port.

An extra million dollars in the bank is a good reason to consider an upgrade. Before you hit the phones, add a little support: Sign up for phone support at the company site and ask for the phone you use regularly. At Avanade, we offer live video support for nearly every model of smartphone. It’s easy for a technician to check the performance of your device and advise on any future upgrades or ways to reduce wear.

While you are waiting for the notifications about your new model, here are a few things you can do to extend your device’s life.

1. Check the software and settings

Many older models are marketed as having “end of life” software. In general, the software update system in most mobile phone manufacturers gives you enough time to do the necessary work in support. Other options may have to be added later to cover areas where the manufacturer has failed to honor its software upgrade promises.

2. Disable automatic data backups

Never backup your phone to the cloud, unless you need access to data that has already been backed up, and cannot otherwise get it onto your machine. You could end up losing all your data.

3. Increase the battery backup

There is a great example of the value of battery life in Apple’s iPhone 5 — it lasted longer than many users remembered when they upgraded. The phone had a standby battery. By combining two backups, the battery can hold more charge for longer.

4. Use the alarm feature

It may seem unnecessary to activate the alarm, but set it each night and you will have a backup — with the convenience of the notification when the alarm sounds. And if you ever forget to switch the alarm off the following morning, it will be there for you.

Buyer beware: If your phone is damaged by someone else, it will not be easier to track the source of the damage. Although the manufacturer and retailer likely offer support, there is nothing free about it.

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