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It’s Possible to Be Too Rich

  • September 23, 2021

Tip of the Week

What if I told you that your iPhone could feel like new even if you didn’t plunk down $700 for the “most incremental upgrade ever”? Brian X. Chen, The New York Times’s consumer technology columnist, tells you how.

There is a widely shared conspiracy theory that phone manufacturers deliberately slow down phones as they age to entice you to buy a new device. In reality, the opposite has been true. In the last few years, Apple’s iPhone software updates have made older phones faster, and Google’s Android 12 release, expected in coming weeks, was also designed to improve performance.

It is true that phones slow down over time — but for different reasons. Like a car, smartphones need maintenance to stay in tiptop shape. Here are some tips for what to do to give your phone a boost if it’s feeling sluggish:

Replace the battery. Some manufacturers, like Apple, slow down phones when the battery is on the fritz to keep the device running longer. A simple remedy is to replace your battery through the company or at a local phone repair shop. Depending on the phone model and the repair shop, a battery replacement can cost between $30 and $80.

Be mindful of your storage. Many people don’t realize that just because your iPhone or Samsung phone has 64 or 128 gigabytes of storage doesn’t mean you should fill it all the way up. The device will run faster if more of its storage is available. So at least once a year, purge the apps, photos and files that you no longer use.

Start fresh. Over time, phones can feel slow and buggy because of software updates, tweaked system settings and so on. If the basic maintenance steps above don’t help, try backing up all your phone data and completely erasing all the data on the device. Then reinstall the operating system and restore your data from the backup. This can solve software problems that would otherwise be tough to diagnose.

  • Germany wanted to stop the worst online abuses but fell short: The country passed a law in 2017 requiring companies including Facebook and Twitter to delete online hate speech quickly. My colleague Adam Satariano details the ways in which the law has not necessarily stopped all harassing online posts, including those that threaten female political candidates with violence. Free-expression groups also say that the law sets a dangerous precedent for government censorship of the internet.

  • There’s no magic fix to bring the internet to more Americans: Bloomberg News focuses on a rural area of Arkansas to explain why it’s difficult to build gold-standard internet pipes in every part of the United States. What’s needed is probably a mix of technologies, like a project in Arkansas to repurpose a U.S. Navy transmission spectrum to zap internet signals from water towers, flagpoles, a prison and other high spots.

  • Change these settings now: The Washington Post has a guide to the settings that are worth changing on Amazon, Facebook, Venmo and other popular websites and apps, and why we’re better protected if we do so.

My colleague Erin McCann regularly tweets photos of this charming dog that hangs out on its doorstep in London.

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