Five ways to ruin your expensive phone, laptop, tablet and TV

How many smartphones have you dropped and broken? It’s a horrible feeling – to see him fall to the ground and know there’s nothing you can do.

Years ago I put a tempered glass screen protector on my phone. The best part is when you drop your phone and the glass gets nicked, you just remove the protector and it’s like new. Here’s a link to the brand I’ve been using for years, ESR.

Our devices are big investments. You need to treat your technology right to get your money’s worth. Regular maintenance is one way to stay one step ahead. Tap or click for six checks to do now to avoid a hefty repair bill later.

Based on calls to my show, emails, and questions posted on my website’s tech support forum, here are five common mistakes that could cost you dearly:

1. You are charging too much

Do you keep your phone plugged in all the time? Apple says that when your iPhone “left(s) fully charged for long periods of time, battery health may be affected.”

Android phone makers, including Samsung, are saying the same thing. “Do not leave your phone connected to the charger for long periods of time or overnight.” According to Huawei, “Keeping your battery level as close to the middle (30% to 70%) as possible can effectively extend battery life.”

The official word is to keep your phone charged – but not fully charged. Make a habit of unplugging your tech once it’s fully charged.

More technological intelligence: Tap or click for tips on keeping your phone’s battery in top shape.

2. You wait too long to charge your laptop

Laptop batteries have a finite number of charge-discharge cycles. If you frequently let your battery run out of juice, it affects the charge-discharge cycle and decreases its expected lifespan.

Your laptop battery can also lose its efficiency in other ways. Let’s say you regularly charge your laptop 30% to 50%, or about 20% each time you charge it. Well, do that five times and you’ll have completed a battery cycle because you’ve charged your laptop to 100% total.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your battery at least 40% charged most of the time. Tap or click here to check your laptop’s battery status.

3. You choose the cheapest option

If you lose your charger or a USB cable frays, resist the temptation to buy the cheapest replacement. The few dollars you save on a low-cost substitute can most likely negatively affect the performance of your device.

Manufacturers of one-size-fits-all chargers and cables don’t want you to know that often their products don’t have the proper voltage needed to work with your specific device. Why is this important? Your battery may end up not getting the juice it needs to fully charge. Worse still, it can erode battery life.

Cheap chargers can also be dangerous for you. Many generic phone chargers are less likely to meet established safety and quality testing guidelines than their branded counterparts, leading to serious shocks and burns.

Spend a little extra to get a replacement charger and cable from the device manufacturer or certified third-party manufacturers. Tap or click for a solid third-party recommendation for iPhone and Android.

4. You are careless

Today’s phones are quite rugged. They can generally resist water, dust and a little water. But leaving your device in a hot car or in the sun can cause serious damage. Not only can this cause the battery to leak or overheat, but it can also lead to data loss or corruption.

Extremely cold temperatures also wreak havoc on your phone. Lithium-ion batteries can stop discharging electricity in freezing temperatures, resulting in reduced battery life, display issues, and even screen glass cracking.

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5. You are a redneck

Is your technology clean or covered in crumbs and smudges? It’s not just about cleanliness either. Dust and dirt can seriously damage computers, televisions and other expensive electronics.

Here are some essential tools that I keep on hand to maintain my appliances:

Pressurized air: This is especially useful when you need to clean tight spaces and inside hard-to-reach crevices. If you don’t like the waste of regular compressed air, try an electric dust collector.

Isopropylic alcohol: Avoid household cleaning products on your electronic devices. Generally, if you use it to clean your kitchen, it’s not suitable for your computer or electronics.

Cleaning wipes: If you don’t want to get dirty with alcohol or water, try a cleaning wipe. I buy them all the time.

Distilled or purified bottled water: Tap water could leave mineral spots and stains.

Soft cloths: Lint free is your friend; do not use paper towels or tissues which scratch and leave particles. If you have a 100% cotton cloth, that works too. Here is an affordable clothing pack that I have bought many times.

Toothbrush: A soft toothbrush can be used on hard-to-reach areas and places that require light scrubbing.

When you’re ready to give your tech a good spring cleaning, I can help. Tap or click here for my tested steps to clean ports, headphones, keyboards, screens, and printers.

Bonus Tip: Ukraine War: The Dangers, Scams, and Hacks You Need to Watch Out for, and Your Calls

Russia has invaded Ukraine and there are fears that this could lead to cyber warfare, even here in the United States. Find out what this could mean for you. Also 10 new anti war scammers use to deceive people.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando”.

Discover all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For his daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit his website at Komando.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

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