This Is How Often You Should Restart Your Phone

We live and die by our cell phone, rarely giving it the chance to reboot and refresh. But are you harming the device without knowing it? We asked the experts.

For many of us, our smartphones have become a touchstone of life. It affects how we do our jobs, interact with our friends and family, and even how we access important information like our banking, and healthcare. But are you taking proper care of it? Experts say that knowing simple care tips, such as how often to shut it down, can drastically affect how well your phone will continue to perform the older it gets. That means the simple knowledge of when to turn it on and off, can cost you hundreds of dollars in pre-maturely replacing your phone.

But just how often do we need to shut off our smartphones? As opposed to how often you need to shut down your computer, your smartphone has a more hard and fast rule you should live by: once a week, shut it off, let it rest at least one minute, and then you can fire it back up.

There are multiple reasons why you’re supposed to restart your phone at least once a week, and it’s for a good cause: retaining memory, preventing crashes, running more smoothly, and prolonging battery life.

Let’s talk first about all the apps you use on a daily basis. “In most cases, the app isn’t really closed but rather, it’s put into a state where it can be restarted faster,” says Bob Motamedi, a Los Angeles-based tech consultant. “Now think about how many apps are open, slowly eating memory and battery power on the phone, and think about all those times you’ve thought that your phone drained entirely too fast that day.” Restarting the phone clears open apps and memory leaks, and gets rid of anything draining your battery. Here are other things you can do to help prolong your smartphone battery.

Crashing happens for various reasons, but not restarting your phone can definitely have an effect here as well, as every update, page loaded, and app installed or deleted will add and remove code in the operating system of the phone. “Sometimes these remnants are incompatible or improperly removed after installation or un-installation,” says Motamedi. “Restarting your phone will eliminate most of these issues and will get your phone working better.”

The good news is that even though failing to restart your phone periodically could zap memory and cause crashes, it won’t directly kill your battery. What could kill your battery is always rushing to recharge. “If you never let your battery drain fully, it will never ‘learn’ to recharge fully and will shorten the battery’s life,” says Motamedi. “It’s recommended that you let the battery drain down to 0 percent, and then refill it back up to 100 percent.” The same is true for laptops, according to Josh Davis of Abt Electronics in Glenview, Illinois. “After a couple of years of leaving your laptop plugged in all the time, you can expect it not to hold much of a charge at all when you go portable.” In a crunch and need to charge up fast? Check out this trick to charge your phone in just 5 minutes.

To help preserve memory and prevent crashes, consider restarting your smartphone at least once a week. We promise you won’t miss too much in the two minutes it might take to reboot. Meanwhile, you’ll want to stop believing these phone battery and charger myths.

Aly Walansky
Aly Walansky is a lifestyles writer with over a decade of experience covering beauty, health, and travel for various esteemed publications. Her blog, A Little Alytude (www.alytude.com) was launched in 2006 and continues to be a strong voice in the lifestyles arena. Based in the ever-trendy Park Slope area of Brooklyn, she divides her time between her shih tsu Lily, her soap opera addiction, and scouting out fun new martini bars.
Isabel Roy
Isabel Roy has been a writer and editor for RD.com since February of 2019. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Rhetoric. She is thrilled to be living and working in the Big Apple although she misses the easy access to freshly made Wisconsin cheese curds and Kopps Custard. When not at the Reader’s Digest office, you can find her downing too many chai lattes and rereading her favorite Harry Potter books.