Top Five Ways to Destroy Your Smartphone

By Hailey Keller
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Your smartphone has quickly become your best friend, taking the place of your laptop for web browsing, your calendar for keeping track of appointments, your iPod for listening to music, your camera for taking pictures, and traditional ways of communication in exchange for texting and emailing on the go. You download so much personal information onto your phone that losing it or having it damaged in any way seems like the worst possible thing that could happen. Well, it does happen, and here are the top five ways that you can destroy your new BFF:

Downloading Apps – No, we're not joking. From social media apps to apps for news, games, weather, shopping, finance and so on, every app that you download has the potential to harm your smartphone. The apps that you download, including those from reputable sources such as Google Play and iTunes, come with a long list of permissions that we all should read but don't. You would be amazed at what you allow these apps to access when you electronically accept their terms and conditions.

Mobile security software, such as McAfee Mobile Security, will actually scan every app you download before it becomes a fixture on your phone. After the scan, a report is created with information regarding permissions. Many apps, for example, require access to your contact list, text messages and other personal information. Some can even use your phone's camera to take pictures of your daily activities, make phone calls without your consent or use the phone's microphone to listen in on your conversations, as well as turn your GPS into a serious threat by tracking your location.

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Overcharging the Battery : A Refreshed Perspective – A couple of eternal truths about how to handle a rechargeable battery have turned out to be not-so-eternal. Older cell phones were equipped with Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) or Nickel –Metal Hydride (NiMh) batteries. Those batteries were good for their time but they were plagued by a characteristic known as battery memory. If you didn't let them get pretty close to dead before recharging, they'd become habituated to the early charge points and gradually lose the ability to provide power below that point. Those days are gone with the Lithium ion batteries that are now in virtually all phones. You can charge them any time that meets your needs. Indeed, it's best not to wait until the batteries get too close to dead since most devices will shut down at a predetermined point to save the battery. Generally, overcharging isn't an issue but here's no benefit to charging them longer than it takes to get back to 100%. Indeed charging them longer can produce excess heat which on very rare occasion has resulted in fire.

Heat Exposure – Do you think you could perform at optimal level after being left in a hot car with the windows rolled up and no air conditioning for hours on end? The answer, of course, is no. The same applies to your phone. Humans don't like heat, and neither do electronics. Even leaving your phone in direct sunlight in an air-conditioned building can lead to it going on the fritz.

Browsing the Web – The webosphere is so vast that the word "vast" doesn't even begin to describe it. Due to the millions or billions of websites docked in this webosphere, it is quite simple to accidentally access dangerous ones. As you navigate from site to site, you can easily pick up a virus, malware or other malicious code that can latch on and slither its way into your smartphone's data center and even your SIM card. To protect your phone from these unknown but dreadfully damaging agents, we suggest that you purchase and download mobile security software, such as BullGuard Mobile or Lookout Premium. These applications protect your phone and your personal information from any threats you may encounter when browsing the web.

Water Damage – "Well, obviously," you may be thinking. Yes, yes, you know that dropping your phone into the tub or, more commonly, the toilet (gross, right?) can destroy it. Did you know that even the smallest bit of moisture can also damage your phone? The condensation from a window sill where your phone is resting, the dampness of a freshly laundered pair of pants where your phone sits, and even the cup holder in your car where your 42 oz. Coke just sat and where your phone now currently resides, for example, can harm your phone.

Your smartphone is capable of many things. An astonishing number of things, really. However, like everything, it has its limits. Your phone can pick up viruses, malware, spam, spyware and other malicious code within seconds of downloading an app or entering an unknown site. To keep your mobile device protected, we suggest investing in mobile security software that has the features and functions you need to keep your phone and the information on it safe.

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