How Long Should a Smartphone Last? The Ultimate Guide

How Long Should a Smartphone Last? The Ultimate Guide

In 2021, over 80% of American adults say they own a smartphone. This is something no one could’ve predicted a decade ago, but the advancements in technology have made smartphones more accessible than ever.

But even with so many options out there, most of us want our phones to last as long as possible. It seems like no matter how hard we try, we can’t get our smartphones to last as long as we want to. 

So how long should a smartphone last? What affects their lifespan and what can we do about it?

That’s what we’re here to look at today. Read on to find out how long your smartphone should last and how you can manage its health. 

How Long Should a Smartphone Last?

Smartphones nowadays are built and advertised to be a durable and sustainable product. However, a lot of different circumstances affect how long people keep their smartphones.

This is why the absolute minimum a smartphone should last, assuming you don’t drop or lose it, is about 2 to 3 years. A smartphone that doesn’t even last a couple of years before dying out is unheard of these days. 

This goes for iPhones, Androids, and other smartphone brands that populate the market. The 2 to 3-year threshold is often used because phones these days need a lot of battery power to perform their many advanced functions. 

After a couple of years, smartphones begin to slow down and are unable to operate as efficiently. Users will take notice, and many are prone to looking for new phones after a few years’ time. 

But what causes these slowdowns? Why are smartphones’ lives only a few years? 

Factors That Affect Smartphone Lifespans

While every phone goes through its own unique life cycle, there are plenty of consumer commonalities that affect many smartphone lifespans. That is to say, the reason our phones slow down is a lot more homogenous than you might think. 

It all comes down to things like physical damage, battery life, and operating issues. Let’s break them down here:


Like a car and its engine, a smartphone and its battery share the most crucial relationship out of any part. Batteries will degrade and slow your phone down with time, and there’s hardly anything you can really do to stop that. 

The extent to which this becomes an issue depends on how often you use your phone. Most people spend hours on their phones, whether intentional or not, so we’re often inclined to notice. 

If your iPhone or Android only holds a charge for a couple of hours or less, that’s a definite sign that your battery is shot. Things like usage and temperature are the biggest factors.

Operating Issues

Batteries aren’t the only thing that affects your smartphone’s lifespan. Simple operating issues often force people to trade their phones after only a few years. 

If all of your phone’s features and functions hold up well even as the battery ages, you’re likely to keep it for at least two years. If there are constant system crashes or interface issues, however, there’s a slim chance you’ll keep it for very long. 

Phones that need constant troubleshooting for unprompted actions like automatic restarts often aren’t worth the trouble. While software updates might be a partial fix, there comes a point where even doing that doesn’t seem worth it. 

Constant operating issues significantly cut down the lifespan of your phone, and it’s no secret that many opt for trade-ins when this occurs. 

Screen Damage

Of course, one of the most common issues any smartphone owner has to face is screen damage. This is the worst nightmare for any user who just got a new phone. 

The sad truth is that phones can’t escape constant screen damage. Internal issues rarely spell the end of a phone’s life, as warranties help you pay for replacement parts. Broken screens and cases, however, are a little different. 

A completely shattered screen is hard to fully replace, and you might look at replacing the entire thing at that point anyway. This isn’t always the case, as a slightly cracked screen might be pretty cost-effective. 

But a cracked screen puts your fingers at risk, and it might even affect your phone’s functionality. All of these factors ultimately shorten a smartphone’s life from lasting a handful of years to maybe one or two 

How Do I Make My Smartphone Last Longer?

It would be reductive to say something like “just don’t drop your phone” or “just charge your phone less” when addressing the issues mentioned above. There are a lot of factors you can’t control when owning a smartphone, but there are also plenty of strategies to make them last. 

Let’s break down a few of those strategies here:

Save Battery Life

The number one strategy you hear most often is to try and preserve your battery. This can be done by keeping it out of hot temperatures. Plugging them in before they completely run out of battery life is also a viable option.

If you aren’t sure what’s going on with your phone’s battery life, follow these tips to see if you can troubleshoot. 

Closing Apps

To reduce strain from your phone, you can close out apps when you aren’t using them. You’d be surprised how taxing it is for phones to keep up with background tasks and how that affects their overall lifespan. 

Update OS Frequently

If you find your phone bugging out a lot and you can’t figure out a fix, updating your operating systems, or OS, is a good place to start. This can definitely affect your iPhone lifespan but is a viable strategy for Android users as well. 

Make Your Phone Last Longer Today

A smartphone is a necessary investment in today’s day and age, but it’s never cheap. Use this guide to help you get the most out of your device and answer the age-old question of “how long should a smartphone last” today. 

For more information on the latest tech trends, check out the rest of our site!

Known for his amazing writing and technical blogging skills, Edward Thompson is the admin of the Techenger. Joined back in 2019, after moving from San Francisco to Chicago to switch from his role of staff writer to a guest blogger. Since then, he never looked back to his past. In nutshell, he is a tech enthusiast who loves to write, read, test, evaluate, and spread knowledge about the growing technology that surrounds mankind.

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