Technology is not infallible. It does not matter how much is spent on smartphones; they are bound to function erratically after a certain period of usage. It is a quite common practice to replace phones a few months after they start causing trouble without knowing the reason behind those issues and attempting to resolve them. Also, users often remain ignorant about some issues which are not the device’s flaw but the ramifications of its rough use.
Some common user issues
Rubya Faiz is a housewife from Kalabagan. She bought the Xiaomi A1 two years ago. After only three months of use, the phone began exhibiting multiple problems.
“It all started with touchscreen issues when my phone calls would get interrupted with the screen taking me to random apps and typing randomly on the keyboard, “she said.
“Then came the overheating and poor battery life followed by app crashes. The last straw was when I was waiting for an important phone call but could never answer it because the screen froze”, she said.
These are some of the most common problems faced by smartphone users.
IBA student Fariha Tasnim said, “I have been using my iPhone 6 Plus for over three years now. The initial problem I faced was a decreased battery life followed by random app crashes and connectivity issues with Bluetooth. Then, my phone ran into storage issues. New apps wouldn’t download. Apps that I commonly use got uninstalled automatically.”
On the other hand, professionals who use their phones for office work find their devices getting slower within a very short time.
“I own a Samsung J8. After about a year of use, I noticed my phone began functioning slowly. Apps took longer to open. Wi-Fi took longer to connect. Eventually, my phone would overheat when it’s being charged up,” said Asif Mahmud, senior vice president of ONE Bank Limited.
Most of the common smartphone problems people face occur due to the device’s arbitrary usage, said Sajjadur Rahman, CEO of Solar Electro Bangladesh Limited (SEBL), nationwide distributor for Xiaomi phones.
“A smartphone is always being used for network reception. Every generation of network is better than its previous generation with higher power consumption. Even in standby mode, network reception consumes charge. Wi-Fi and running background apps drain charges too. But the most battery hungry component of a smartphone is its display", he said.
Director of Fair Electronics Ltd Khandaker Hafiz Al Asad, who is taking care of the after-sales service of Samsung products, proposed some ways to decrease battery consumption.
“There are several ways you can conserve battery power, such as optimising the device using the device care feature, activating the power saving mode, closing unnecessary apps, deactivating the Bluetooth feature when not in use, deactivating auto-syncing of apps, reducing the backlight time, and decreasing screen brightness”.
Overheating can occur in two cases - during charging or during use. When more power is used, SoC (system on chip) needs greater power to run. Phone’s battery provides that power. Battery, Soc and display are the parts that actually heat up during operations.
During wireless or fast charging, the device may feel hotter. This does not affect the device’s lifespan or performance and lies in the device’s normal range of operation. If the battery becomes too hot, the charger may stop charging.
Mr Khandaker said, “When the device heats up disconnect the charger from the device and close any running apps. Wait for the device to cool down and then begin charging the device again. If the lower part of the device overheats, it could be because the connected USB cable is damaged. Replace the damaged USB cable with a new one. When using a wireless charger, do not place foreign materials, such as metal objects, magnets, and magnetic stripe cards, between the device and the wireless charger. The wireless or fast charging feature is only available on supported models.”
When several apps run in the background, they use more RAM and processor which refrains phones from running smoothly.
“To prevent slow down, close or force close unused apps. Go to device maintenance and optimise. Apps Cache files consume lots of RAM. Clearing cache files can solve slower performance,” Mr Khandaker advised.
Sometimes, rebooting the phone into safe mode (when only the necessary software and programmes run) can make the touchscreen work properly. This indicates a third-party app is likely at fault.
“App crashes can occur due to bugs in it or the incompatibility of the app’s latest version with the phone’s operating system. A good old fashioned way to deal with app crashes is to restart the phone or reinstall the app. You can also visit the App Manager and stop the app or clean cache data,” said Mr. Rahman.
It is also possible for apps to not download for reasons other than storage.
“Check the software version for the desired apps compatibility. Sometimes you need to clear the Play Store cache file,” said Mr Khandaker.
More often than not, Bluetooth connectivity issues are blamed on the phone. However, there can be other significant reasons. Mr Khandaker advised to check the Bluetooth versions of the devices meant to be paired.
“Some devices, especially those that are not tested or approved by the Bluetooth SIG, may be incompatible with your device. If Bluetooth versions in the devices are not the same, it could be difficult to pair. Devices from two different manufacturers (for example, Samsung to Huawei/iPhone or iPhone to Samsung/Huawei) could not connect or data transfer speed could be slow due to their security policy. If the WiFi type does not match, then the device will not connect to the internet. Before connecting, always check device compatibility for that WiFi network.”
Maisha Fairooz Khan is a second-year undergraduate student at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka.