Each of us from time to time realizes that it is necessary to buy a new phone. Let's figure it out: what reasons can be significant for the upgrade cycle and how to extend the life of your old gadget. 

The phone lifespan on average is two and a half years. This does not mean that by the end of the third year the gadget will necessarily fail. But there is a risk that it will stop satisfying you. For example, the battery capacity may decrease, photos from the camera may not be as beautiful as those of friends on social media, and apps may start launching more slowly and lagging. In the end, you may simply want to get a new cell phone.

How often should you get a new phone?

Gadgets develop quickly, but they become obsolete just as fast. Unlike cars that can drive for decades until they completely break down, smartphones have an "expiration date."

Manufacturers support their devices for different periods, but this time is generally increasing. For example, updates came for the iPhone 3Gs for three years, while the iPhone 8 received updates for a whopping six years, up to iOS 16. Since 2023, the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and previous models are considered obsolete; they did not receive iOS 17. All apps will not be disabled at once, of course, but gradually smartphones will start losing functionality.

The hardware installed in the gadget is important, but modern gadgets depend more on software and operating systems. If a company stops software updates, the phone loses even those functions it initially had. For instance, apps may start working slower or stop launching altogether. Additionally, the device becomes more vulnerable to viruses.

Developers of messengers, browsers, games, and other programs usually target relatively new devices and develop their products taking into account their capabilities. Current versions of applications are much more complex and demanding than those you used four years ago. And an old phone simply won't handle them. The same goes for services like YouTube and social networks.

How often should I get a new phone

Here are the current support timelines for smartphones from popular manufacturers:

  • Samsung: four years of Android updates and an additional year of security patches.
  • Pixel: three years of updates. As the smartphone is directly produced by Google, updates will come to it the fastest.
  • OnePlus: four years of updates for all smartphones.
  • Apple: five years of updates.
  • Xiaomi: usually two years of updates, but flagships are supported for a longer period.

For Android phones, there are loopholes to bypass the discontinuation of OS support. You can, at your own risk, install modified firmware, which can be found in abundance on specialized forums.

So, if you are wondering, "how often should I get a new iPhone?" without any other damage to the phone, the timeframe will be approximately around five years. In Android, it all depends on the specific manufacturer and its support, as well as the desire to customize the device independently.

How often should I get a new phone: important reasons for replacement

important reasons for replacement

Reasons for replacement can vary greatly. For example, if you simply no longer like the design of your gadget, and you want to buy a new iPhone, that's also an upgrade incentive. However, your device may still be perfectly functional.

There are more serious reasons, though, after which it is worth seriously considering the purchase of a new gadget.

  • The battery charge is quickly decreasing. If, at the time of purchase, the phone used to last a day or even two, and now it discharges within 5-6 hours or even faster, the cause may be battery degradation. This is a natural process for electronics, and it can be resolved by replacing the battery. Another reason could be software that is too demanding for an outdated processor. Programs, operating systems, and even internet pages continually become more complex and demanding, forcing old and weak processors to operate at maximum power. This increases their energy consumption and discharge speed, and a new battery won't save the situation. If the phone is constantly hot in the area near the camera, it's time to consider replacing it.
  • The phone is slow and frequently lags. Over time, the gadget's performance slows down, and it starts experiencing more glitches. This can be due to system overload, which often occurs after a year of use. In this case, you should check the memory and possibly clean the phone by removing unnecessary apps, games, photos, and videos, as well as clearing the cache. Another reason could be the model's moral obsolescence, and this problem is difficult to solve. Yes, you can look for lightweight versions of programs, but overall, such obsolescence may already be irreversible.
  • The phone is damaged. Cracked glass, a swollen battery, or a loose charging port are significant reasons to replace the phone, especially since sometimes the cost of repair is nearly the same as that of a new device.
  • A cracked screen is a common issue. Authorized services may suggest replacing the entire display module, which can be very expensive. However, in large cities, there are private workshops that can replace only the top glass, leaving the intact matrix in place. This option is two to three times cheaper, but finding a reliable service can be challenging.
  • Charging port problems can arise for different reasons in various phones. iPhones have robust connectors but often get clogged with debris and dust, which can be easily removed with a toothpick. On the other hand, older Android phones with MicroUSB ports can develop a fragile port over time, requiring a complete replacement. This, by the way, is a relatively inexpensive operation.
  • A swollen battery makes the device unusable. Even if you replace the battery, the screen, casing, and internal components may bend or suffer other damages. Such a device won't last long, and it's better to replace it as soon as possible. Moreover, it can be dangerous as the battery may explode.

Another important reason is the lack of functionality. Modern models are usually better than older ones and come with new phone features. With each passing year, the quality of camera shots improves, and the cost of phones with good cameras decreases. In 2024, even mid-range devices take better photos than flagship models from 2018. The year-to-year difference in cameras may not be overly impressive, but if you change your phone every three to four years, the improvements will be noticeable.

Water resistance is more common in modern devices than before. For instance, even mid-budget models from Samsung can withstand being dropped in water, whereas previously, it was an exclusive flagship feature.

Fast charging is getting quicker every year. Flagships from three years ago might require around two hours for a full charge, whereas the mid-budget Realme 11 Pro+ can fully charge in half an hour.

It's also worth noting faster modern communication standards like Wi-Fi 6 and 5G, which are not present in old gadgets. Tech advancements are also a significant reason for an upgrade.

Environmental impact of upgrades

Caring for the environment involves not only separate waste collection and the adoption of energy-efficient technologies but also making conscious choices in consumer behavior. When it comes to smartphones, regularly replacing devices can be a negative factor for the environment.

The average lifespan of a modern smartphone is around two and a half years, but this does not necessarily mean that every such period should be accompanied by device replacement. Considering that the production and disposal of electronics have a significant impact on the ecosystem, it is worth contemplating how to extend the life of your phone.

How to extend the life of a gadget?

Depending on the reason, you can take the following actions to extend the device durability:

  • Replace the battery: Experts have found that lithium-ion batteries are designed for about 400 charge cycles or two to three years of use. After this, they lose about 20% of their capacity. Battery fatigue becomes noticeable: the charge is not sufficient for a full day of use. It is best to replace the battery at an authorized service center. Modern smartphones are not designed for user self-repair. Even with all the necessary tools, there is a high risk of damaging the casing or fragile electronics inside rather than improving battery life.
  • Clean internal storage: The fuller the storage, the slower the phone operates. It's best to keep the phone's storage half-empty. Modern versions of Android and iOS handle cleaning well with built-in tools—avoid downloading additional programs for phone acceleration and cleaning, as they are often not very useful. Simply go to the settings and find a section like "Storage" or "Internal storage." Additional cleaning options for phones with Google and Apple operating systems can be found on the developers' websites.
  • Buy a protective case for your gadget and cover the screen with additional protection: Of course, it's better not to drop the phone, but accidents happen. Even a silicone case can soften the impact, not to mention a reliable shockproof case. Additional screen protection will prevent cracks and scratches. In this case, you will only need to replace the coating, and the screen itself will remain undamaged.

How often do you get a new phone: Conclusions

How often do you get a new phone

If you have noticed any of the important signs of damage to your gadget described above, it means it's time to buy a new phone. However, before doing so, try to extend the life of your device to reduce the negative impact on the environment. You can also consider purchasing a refurbished gadget or take advantage of the Trade-in program—these are very popular trends.