‘Tis the Season? Is My Cellphone Due For a Replacement?

September 22, 2022
Brenda Eisenschenk

It’s Fall, time for pumpkins, changing leaves and…It’s almost phone season again, the time of year when companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung bombard us with glitzy marketing campaigns to persuade us to upgrade.

The pitch is always roughly the same: The phone you have is no longer good enough because this new one has a fancier camera and a brighter screen, plus it’s faster. So, give the “old” one to a less tech-inclined member of the family or trade it in for credit toward a shiny new gadget.

This gives the techy in the family the itch: Is it time to upgrade? We all know that after a few years, our phones no longer work as well as they used to. It might not be able to run the latest apps. It can feel sluggish. Some components, like touchscreens, may begin to fail.

At some point, it does become practical to get a new phone, like when too many negatives add up or the cost of fixing a broken part is too high. But often, upgrades may be unnecessary because the elements that make us unhappy with our phones can be remedied with some care.


But how often should we replace them?

Some technology addicts upgrade their phones every year. That’s an expensive habit. The technology has matured so annual upgrades are less game-changing than they used to be. Shoppers have noticed. On average, consumers replace their phones every 3 years.

So, when is it time to replace an old phone? The three main things to consider are:

  • screen damage
    • Screen cracked but not broken? The cost to replace a screen is somewhere between $150.00 and $400.00. Even less is the prevention of a cracked or broken screen by always using a good screen protector.
  • battery life
    • Batteries degrade over time. Happily, battery replacement is much cheaper than a screen repair. The average battery replacement cost is around $85.00.
  • New cell phones can easily cost over $1000.00.
    • Does your phone take two minutes to launch an app that once took it seconds? Unlike the battery, physical degradation isn’t the main culprit here. Rather it is because software keeps changing: app developers optimize apps so that they work well on more recent chips. Older chips struggle to keep up with modern memory requirements. There are tricks available to speed up a slowing phone (purging apps you don’t use, for example) but, eventually your phone will be outdated.

Operating systems Tiramisu (Android) and iOS 16(Apple) take a large part of your phone’s memory. I always recommend getting the largest available memory to suit your needs.

When a repair is more than half the cost of a new phone, it may be time to think about trading in your beat-up gadget for credit toward a new one.

Software updates are crucial

Although they are a nuisance to install, software updates are essential to protect against the latest attacks. A smartphone is a miniature computer, and it can get viruses the same way your computer does. If your phone is older than three years, then it is worth checking to see if it is still getting security updates.

Some manufacturers offer longer support: Apple is still supporting the iPhone 7, so you don’t have to panic just yet. Samsung Galaxy phones released since 2019 should get four years.

It is important to imagine what your life would look like with a new phone. If you have a newborn on the way and your phone camera takes blurry shots, an upgrade with a better camera will probably change your phone experience in a remarkable way.

Don’t replace something that works just fine just because there’s a newer, shinier version. When the time comes for your new phone, we can assist you in making the best buying decision.

Always happy to peek at your bill as well. Never hurts to see if we can save you a few dollars.

Todd Fritz

Intelligent Wireless Management


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