Technology is not cheap to maintain.
Just like any investment, you want to get the biggest ROI possible when you buy new equipment. One big variable in your IT ROI equation is your devices’ lifespan. How long should your business tech be lasting you? While we would like to think that, with proper care and maintenance, our technology might last forever, but that isn’t always the case. Here are some facts and factors to consider that need to be taken into consideration about the lifespan of your technology.
Many companies intentionally design their technology to be non-durable. Additionally, some companies prevent third parties from repairing devices to intentionally cause devices to become obsolete faster. This idea is known as “planned obsolescence,” and it is often done by tech giants with near-monopolies in the industry. Some common examples of planned obsolescence include:
- Phone batteries that cannot be replaced
- Phone processors that are designed to slow down over time
- Requiring repairs to be done by the manufacturer
History buffs might recall another famous example of planned obsolescence: the incandescent light bulb.
Many governments have begun proposing right-to-repair laws that allow for third parties to repair or provide parts to fix devices to fight back. These regulations aim to protect both consumers and the environment.
Wireless routers have an intended lifespan of three to five years. Keeping your router cool and dust-free can help to improve its lifespan. Making sure it is not against a wall can help improve airflow that ensures the device stays cool. If your router stops working before the end of its natural lifespan, a power surge could be the culprit. Sudden power surges as a result of storms can cause the router to be overloaded. To protect your new router, make sure it has adequate surge protection.
Many tech companies like Apple and Samsung release a new phone at least once a year. While it may be tempting to hand in your current model for the newest one, you should not need to rush. In reality, the average smartphone can last much longer, usually averaging two to three years. If properly taken care of, your phone could potentially last five years or even more. Aside from physical damage or diminishing performance, phones may become obsolete for planned reasons like a major upgrade in the carrier’s network or the end of support from the manufacturer.
Here are some tips to help improve your phone’s lifespan:
- Keep it clean: Keep dust and grime from accumulating and destroying your device’s internal components.
- Protect your battery: Many phones are designed with batteries that are intended to hold a certain number of charges. Prolong the use of these charges by not constantly charging your phone to 100% or charging it less often.
- Use screen protectors and cases: One of the most delicate parts of any phone is the screen. It is also one of the most integral parts of the device. Many companies will make you send in your entire phone even if the screen is the only part broken. To avoid being separated from your beloved device for days, keep it safe under a screen protector or inside a quality phone case.
- Be gentle with accessories: Constantly plugging and unplugging accessories into the various ports of your phone can wear them out. Be gentle when plugging in and out of your device to help these ports last longer.
The average expected lifespan of tablets is around seven years. However, most people end up replacing their device after three-to-five years due to issues like poor battery life, screen freezing and slow processing. The same tips that help you get more life from your cellphone can be applied to tablets, too.
Lifespan of PCs
PC or desktop computers have a very long lifespan compared to other devices. With proper care, the lifespan of PCs can last between 5 and 8 years. Unlike most phones and tablets, most PCs have the luxury of repairability. Parts and components can be swapped out or upgraded without replacing the entire computer. However, your PC’s hardware will eventually fall out-of-date with new software, become incompatible with new parts, or just get outpaced by new tech. Slowing operations, loud fans, port problems, and out-of-date security can be good indicators that your PC is nearing the end of its lifespan.
Most laptops have a life expectancy of about five years, similar to the lifespan of PCs. The benefits of laptops and PC desktops are that many parts in them are replaceable.
If you want to prolong the life of your laptop, here are some quick tips:
- Keep laptops out of sunlight and away from heat
- Keep them in a padded case when carrying it
- Clean your laptop frequently and avoid eating near it
- Keep your laptop away from dusty areas
- Do not use your laptop on uneven surfaces to prevent it from falling
A printer’s lifespan can depend on multiple factors, but most last around three to five years on average. From the manufacturer to your frequency of use, there is a lot of variation in how long a printer can last you.
Here are some healthy practices that can help extend the longevity of your printer.
- Clean the Inside of Your Printer – Keeping the interior of a printer clean goes a long way. If you use your printer often or are printing items on a large scale, check the interior at least twice a month. Look for excess paper dust or debris and gently wipe it off with your fingers.
- Replace Ink Cartridges Before They Dry – Most printers notify you that your printer ink or toner is low when it has about 20% remaining. While you do not have to replace the cartridge immediately, be sure to plan to replace it soon as dry cartridges can wear on your printer head.
- Keep Your Printer on Standby Mode – When left on, printers generate a lot of heat. This can cause cartridges to dry faster than normal, clogging the header and other issues. Constantly turning your printer on and off is bad for it. If you do not plan on using your printer for days at a time, switch it to standby mode to prevent damage from excessive heat.
- Close the Manual Feed Tray – Keeping the manual feed tray while not using the printer can prevent it from being broken. Common in printers that print labels or legal documents, the tray that protrudes can often be knocked over or broken by someone passing by. While closing the tray every time may be a hassle, it can help prevent unnecessary damage to your printer.
If Your Electronics No Longer Work, Contact Rocycle
While there are many precautions you can take to prolong the life of your electronics, they won’t last forever. If the lifespan of your PCs, printers, tablets, smartphones, or other business electronics has come to an end, contact Rocycle and ensure they are properly recycled at our NAID-certified facility and have their data securely erased. Just tell us which electronics need to go and we’ll handle the rest.