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15 Things You’re Doing to Your iPhone That Apple Experts Wouldn’t

These very common mistakes can cause some very big problems. Avoid them to keep your iPhone running smoothly for as long as possible.

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Save your smartphone!

Since iPhones are incredibly expensive, you’re probably doing everything you can to take care of yours…or are you? Proper iPhone care isn’t as intuitive as you might think. And, of course, an iPhone isn’t going to take care of itself, though many people seem to forget that. If you’re not updating, safeguarding, and cleaning your smartphone the right way on a regular basis, you might be inadvertently contributing to its untimely demise or, at the very least, not getting it to run as efficiently as possible. Here are 15 things you’re probably doing to your iPhone that Apple experts wouldn’t dream of doing—and what you should do instead. Once you’re up to date, learn these 17 hidden iPhone hacks you probably don’t know about.

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Using a non-Apple charger cord

It might be tempting to buy that less expensive, generic iPhone charger on Amazon, but resist the urge. “Using generic chargers can cause your battery to overcharge, shortening the life of the phone and the battery,” says Burton Kelso, a technology expert based in Kansas City, Missouri. If you want to extend the life of your phone, stick to an Apple charging cord instead of buying another brand. And if you want to extend the life of your charger by preventing it from breaking, check out this genius hack.

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Not using a protective case

OK, we all love the way a naked iPhone looks. However, there is no better way to kill your communication device than by leaving it caseless. “If you don’t have a case for your iPhone, you’re just asking for trouble,” explains Kelso. “iPhones have shatter-resistant glass, but a good drop can render your phone useless or leave you with an expensive bill.” If you want to avoid costly repairs, he encourages keeping a case on your iPhone at all times. While a protective case is essential, these other cell phone accessories will make your life a lot easier.

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Exposing your iPhone to extreme temperatures

Treat your iPhone like a small child: Don’t leave it in a super hot or cold car! Similarly, avoid leaving it out in direct sunlight or in freezing temperatures. “Extreme heat and cold weather can shorten the life of your phone because the delicate circuits in them weren’t designed to withstand extreme weather conditions,” explains Kelso. Always take your phone with you and keep it on your person when you’re in extreme weather. If your phone does overheat, here are 7 easy ways to cool it down.

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Not backing up your information with iCloud

While iPhones are pretty reliable devices, Kelso points out that technology isn’t perfect and can fail at any time. He suggests ponying up and paying Apple that 99 cents a month to get your information backed up. “Backing up to iCloud will save your data in the event of device failure and will also make transitioning to a new phone easier,” he explains. Here are other time-saving and efficiency-boosting iPhone features you might not know about.

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Using Windex to clean your screen

Want to ruin that perfect display on your iPhone? An easy way is using Windex or another glass cleaner to clean your screen. “The harsh chemicals in Windex can damage your screen and void the warranty,” says Kelso. Instead, use water and a microfiber cloth to remove the dirt and grime to get your iPhone back to pristine shape. Make sure you know these 14 other things you should never clean with Windex either.

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Using disinfecting wipes on your phone

Nobody likes germs on their iPhone, but if you wipe it down with disinfecting wipes, you’ll ruin it. According to Kelso, this will happen even with wipes that claim to be safe for electronics. “If you want to keep a germ-free phone, invest in Phone Soap,” suggests Kelso. “This handy device uses UV rays to zap all of the germs off your phone and charges it at the same time.” These are 10 other times you should never use antibacterial wipes.

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Avoiding those pesky iPhone updates

It seems as though there’s another iPhone update every other week. While it can be super annoying to download and install them, Burton says it’s crucial to do so. “Updates for your iPhone are important because they download patches that keep it safe from hackers and malicious bots,” he explains. Whenever you see an update for your iPhone, download it immediately to keep your phone safe and secure. Of course, not all notifications are important. Here are 6 ways to get rid of the annoying iPhone notifications you really don’t need.

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Failing to close out your apps

The good thing about the iPhone is that you can flip from app to app with ease. However, according to Kelso, the bad thing about iPhones is that you need to close down those apps once in a while—and many people forget to do so. “When you jump from one app to another app, those apps don’t close down on your phone, they continue to run in the background which can slow down your phone,” he explains.

In order to free up memory on your phone, you need to close out of your apps occasionally. You can do this by tapping the Home button, which will show you which apps are running, and then swiping up to close the apps you’re not currently using. For iPhone 10 and above users, swipe from the bottom of the screen to show your running apps, and then swipe up to close them out. Here are a few other easy ways to free up space on your iPhone to keep it moving faster.

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Not keeping your apps updated

When you download updates to your iPhone, this only updates the operating system (OS) on your iPhone—it doesn’t update your apps. “If you don’t keep your apps updated, you run the risk of them not working with the OS you’ve updated your phone to,” Kelso explains. Visit the App Store to see which of your apps need updates, and download them. “This way, you know your phone is updated, as well as the apps you use.” And speaking of apps, be smart and be careful: Scammers are making fake versions of your favorite apps to steal your data.

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Not keeping lint out of the charging port

When you stuff your iPhone in your pockets or purse, there’s always a chance for lint to get caught in the charging port. “Lint or dust in the charging port will cause your phone not to charge or for the speakers/microphone to malfunction,” says Kelso. While newer phones have wireless charging, it’s always a good idea to keep that port clear. To clean it out, simply use a toothpick to remove any dust or lint caught in that spot. By the way, don’t freak out, but your phone screen is way dirtier than you thought it was.

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Not turning on “Find My iPhone”

Smartphones may be larger than they were a few years ago, making them harder to lose, but it’s still a good idea to turn on the Find My iPhone feature. “People are constantly losing their iPhones, but if you have Find My iPhone enabled, you can quickly locate that lost iPhone,” says Kelso. To locate a lost phone, just log into your iCloud account on another device and you’ll see where it is. But before you do that, make sure you know how enabling the option can make you a target for scammers.

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Not knowing your Apple ID and password

Many people will set up an Apple ID and password as soon as they get an iPhone…and then promptly forget this information. “Your Apple ID comes in handy if you need to download apps from the App Store, or when transferring your information from an old iPhone to a new iPhone, backing up your information to iCloud, and locating your lost iPhone,” points out Kelso. If you set up an Apple ID and forget your password, just visit iforgot.com to reset it. If you always seem to be losing your smartphone (and everything else), check out these 9 ways to never lose anything ever again.

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Not resetting your iPhone from time to time

Don’t keep your iPhone on all the time! According to Kelso, it’s a good idea to turn off your iPhone on occasion to give it a break. “Turning off your iPhone allows your phone to rest and shuts down any apps that are running in the background that are slowing your phone down,” he explains. In fact, this is how often you should restart your phone.

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Not connecting your iPhone to Wi-Fi

Since so many people have unlimited data, they don’t feel the need to connect their iPhones with their home or office Wi-Fi. However, according to Kelso, this is a mistake. “Many download features on your iPhone won’t work unless you connect to Wi-Fi,” he points out. For example, updates and iCloud backups won’t occur unless you’re connected. “This feature is set up because not everyone has an unlimited data plan,” he explains. Luckily, this is an easy fix. To connect your iPhone to your network, just go into Settings and then Wi-Fi. Did you know you have an Internet hub in the palm of your hands? Here’s how to turn your smartphone into a mobile hotspot.

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Not setting up your medical and emergency information on your iPhone

Did you know that iPhones allow you to keep your health information on hand in case you have a medical emergency? “When you fill out this information, first responders know what medical conditions you have and will be able to help you,” explains Kelso. It’s also a good idea to set up the Emergency SOS feature so you can call for help when you need it at the touch of a button. This amazing feature could save your life one day—and here’s how to activate it.