Smartphones Are Like Cars. So why shouldn’t we maintain them?

Image: Derek Abella

A smartphone can be used in the same way as a car. Parents who deem their children responsible and mature enough may allow their children to have a smartphone. There are many ways to finance it, either by financing it or buying it outright. The phone models are nearly identical to cars and can be easily identified from year to year.

However, there’s a major difference between cars & phones or at least how people treat them. Car owners will take their car to a shop and have the vehicle repaired or serviced as needed. When a basic, inexpensive device like a cell phone’s battery is deteriorating, most people replace it.

“Everyone is aware that tires on cars wear out and that you need to replace them,” Kyle Wiens said, chief executive officer of iFixit. The site publishes instructions for repairing electronic components. “There’s an emotional delusion that electronics maintenance is not as important as cars.

Therefore, the average car ownership time before replacing it is eight years. This compares to the time before a phone update takes place, which is three and half years. A good phone can live up to six more years if it is taken care of properly.

Many times, replacing phones is expensive for our wallets and even more so for the environment. According to industrial design professionals, manufacturing a phone (which is made of at least 70 components) is extremely energy-intensive. It is often produced in countries where electricity production results is high carbon emissions.

We should stop and consider why we do not upgrade our phones as often as we should.

It turns out that there is an abundance of research in this field. Some factors, such as the high price of repairs, are not within our control. However, a large reason for this is behavioral. Academics claim that understanding the psychology behind our tendency to replace our phones without a second thought can help us modify our habits in order to save money and decrease our consumption.

Delft University of Technology did a 2021 study and surveyed 617 Western Europeans about their recent smartphone replacements. It asked users how long they have kept their old phone before upgrading and the reason they did so. People with damaged or malfunctioning phones were also surveyed.

The most common reason people give for replacing their phone is a reduction in performance. Only 30% of respondents who stated that their phone was partially broken (such a fast-depleting battery) admitted to having considered repairs.

The second most popular reason people give for replacing their phone is the desire to purchase a new phone.

Ruth Mugge from Delft, a professor in design and author, said that people had a misperception that three-and-a half years was the maximum time a phone could last. This was even true among people whose phones still worked after that.

She stated that an environment that stimulates the desire to upgrade is what creates this belief. One is the phone carrier’s marketing push, which reminds you to trade your old phone in for credit toward a brand new one. Another factor is peer pressure. Friends and colleagues will replace their phones every few months.

Dr. Mugge warned that people may find you strange if it is kept for a long period of time.

The second driver for upgrades is more complex to grasp: There are not many incentives for people who want to make repairs. This is because phones are hard to repair, as they are often sealed with tiny screws and glue.

Consumer Reports has found that while people want to fix phones that have broken, there are obstacles. 25% of respondents said that their phone was starting to break down within the last 5 years. 25% tried to repair the phone but were unsuccessful. 16% got the phone repaired. Rest of the population used the phone and did not attempt to repair or replace it.

What should you do? Consider treating your phone more like a vehicle. If your phone has not stopped working completely, you can maintain it by replacing the battery.

Smartphones do not have the same helpful reminders mechanics give car owners. For example, the sticker that shows the date for the next oil change. However, you can do this yourself. A calendar event can be set up to bring your smartphone to a repair shop to get a new battery. This happens when the battery is no longer in good condition.

You can also set up an annual calendar to remind you when your phone needs to be checked. You can do simple things like deleting photos and apps you don’t use to free up storage space. This will help your phone recover faster.

The math could be another motivator. The cost of replacing your phone’s batteries at a repair shop is about $70. This makes it an affordable fix. Let’s imagine that in two years you can trade in your $800 iPhone for $300 and get a credit toward the new $800 model. If you spend $500 each two years on your phone, then over eight years you’ll have spent $2 800 on phones. Contrast that with a $800 phone you can keep and purchase two replacement batteries for $70 each. You’ll be spending $940 over the same time period. It is an enormous savings for many, especially families who own multiple phones.

Lee Vinsel is an author of “The Innovation Delusion” a book on how our obsession for the latest has destroyed the art, maintenance. You must also resist the urge to criticize others who don’t have the latest gadgets.

Vinsel stated, “A culture shift must happen.” “We must not fall for the hype, but instead look at the bigger picture and consider the environment.

It’s worth noting that there are some phone issues that can be difficult to fix. Example: I spent about $300 on a replacement part for my iPhone 12’s screen when it was broken. An option to buy a replacement is to purchase a repair if the cost of repair is close to the cost for a new device. (That being said, I paid for the repair because I am attached to it.

But, things are improving in the field of phone repairs. The Federal Trade Commission said last year that it would clamp down on companies that block people from fixing products. Governor John Corbett is yet to sign the New York state law which requires tech companies to make available diagnostics and repair tools. Kathy Hochul.

The regulatory changes are slowly making repairs easier. The next thing that needs to be changed is our mentality.

Smartphones Are Like Cars. So why shouldn’t we maintain them?

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