How to Make the Most of your Old iPhone

October 26, 2013

10:00 am

By now, everyone’s heard about the latest updates from Apple – we’ve got not one, but two new iPhones.

There’s the 5C, which Apple’s chief designer called “beautifully, unapologetically plastic.” It comes in five nearly-neon colors – blue, green, pink, yellow and white – and has all the capabilities of the iPhone 5. An added bonus? It starts at only $99.

And then there’s the 5S – the real upgrade. Starting at $199, the iPhone 5S is equipped with an A7 processor, making it twice as fast as the iPhone 5. It also has a fingerprint sensor and an advanced camera with a dual-LED flash and a 28-megapixel panorama mode. And it comes in three luxe shades – silver, gold and space grey.

Whether you value hues or hardware, Apple’s updates sound big. But not everyone is in the market for a new iPhone – after all, the iPhone 5 only came out a year ago.

Not planning on lining up for a new iPhone any time soon? You can still upgrade your old iPhone in a few easy steps. Follow these tips to make your iPhone faster, smoother and more efficient – without shelling out for a new one.

Download the latest iOS

The easiest way to improve your existing iPhone? Keep it updated with the latest operating system. The newest version, iOS 7, is available for download – and it’s compatible with the iPhone 4, 4S and 5.

iOS 7 has a simpler, minimalistic design with new icons and a new font. A Control Center puts your most-used apps and settings in one place. The Today feature summarizes all your need-to-know information – including birthdays, traffic and the weather. And you can use AirDrop to automatically exchange files between iOS devices.

Not all iOS 7 features are available for the iPhone 4 and 4S – but the software upgrade can still give your old iPhone a new look and feel.

Get rid of unnecessary files

Every so often, you clean out your closet and get rid of the clothes you don’t wear. It frees up space in your closet– for newer, better stuff. And the same is true for your phone.

Everyone has apps they don’t use on their phone, whether it’s the hottest game from last year or the countdown app you used exactly once. Getting rid of these apps can make your iPhone run faster and your battery last longer. And the apps you do use? They’ll work much better.

Take a cue from iOS 7 and minimalize your phone even further by deleting music you don’t listen to, photos you don’t need and old messages you’ll never look at again. You can also clear your phone and browser history and reset your settings to improve your phone’s performance.

Connect to Wi-Fi

It’s easy to keep your iPhone connected to your 3G or 4G network all the time. It’s automatic, there’s no password to remember, and it works just fine.

But do you really just want fine? Connecting your iPhone to a wireless network can make getting online mobile access faster and easier. Wi-fi bandwidth usually provides faster speeds and lower latency than mobile LTE networks. And more people can log on without slowing the connection, making it perfect for crowded locations like airports, shopping centers and stadiums.

You can upgrade your iPhone by connecting to Wi-Fi at home, too. Whether you have fiber Internet from Verizon FiOS or cable from Time Warner, getting online on your home network can mean faster speeds for browsing, downloading, and streaming – and it can help you save on your phone bill.

Adjust your settings

If battery life is your biggest issue with your old iPhone, adjusting the settings can be a lifesaver. Many automatic settings – like notifications and screen timers – can be a drain on the battery life of your old phone.

There are a few changes you can make to your settings to maximize battery life. First, adjust the screen brightness. The brighter your screen is, the more battery it uses. Not sure how much light you need? Select Auto-Brightness, and your screen will automatically adjust depending on your surroundings.

You can also save battery life by reducing the number of notifications you get. Do you really need to be notified every time someone follows you on Twitter or likes a Facebook post? Save it for when you sign on – the anticipation will be way better, and so will your battery life.

Not an iPhone user? No problem. These tips will work to upgrade any smartphone.

What are your tricks for improving your phone’s performance?

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This article was contributed by Chris Beck who is a Content Producer/contributor and also a well published freelance writer in the insurance and tech space. Originally from Asheville, NC and a University of South Carolina Alum. I am also an avid Gamecock sports follower... I have a family of four including a twin brother, 6 if you include our Fox Hound and German Shepard.

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