Though many of our gadgets are pretty self-sufficient these days, there are a few key ways to prolong their lifespan. To keep your devices performing at their best, book a little time for annual tech maintenance into your calendar. Think of it like spring cleaning—but for your tech.
1. Run & Dust Your Printer
Regardless of the make or model, three quick tasks will keep your home printer in good shape:
Print a Document
The first (and easiest!) printer maintenance task is to send a document to print. While it may seem simple, many of us use digital documents now. And this may mean your printer has been sitting dormant for a little while.
Run a test page every so often to get things in motion (or discover that the toner needs replacing). That way, when you need a hard copy, you won’t be stuck doing maintenance when you really need to be printing already.
Remove Dust From Your Printer
Next, use a microfiber cloth or the nozzle attachment on your vacuum to remove dust from the exterior panels. Dust and grime wreak havoc on printers, so make sure to do this at least once a year (monthly, if you print regularly).
Consider Your Printer Placement
Finally, check where you’ve placed your printer. Is it close to other appliances or in direct sunlight? Consider moving it to a more spacious, well-ventilated spot. Plenty of space helps prevent overheating, and you’ll avoid inhaling particles the printer releases while in use.
2. Oil Your Shredder
Unless you’re stuck in a literal jam, you probably don’t think about oiling your home office paper shredder very often. Fortunately, this important tech maintenance task only takes a moment. And it will keep your shredder running smoothly and avoid burning out the motor.
Start with a non-flammable, vegetable-based oil—preferably an oil made specifically for shredders—and follow these simple steps:
- Hold down the reverse button as you would when clearing a paper jam.
- Continue to hold the button and carefully apply a small amount of oil across the paper entry slot.
- Keep holding the reverse button for another 10 seconds or so until the oil distributes across the cutters.
3. Check Battery Health on All Your Devices
Monitoring battery health and keeping tabs on your device’s power settings will go a long way towards extending the battery life of your devices.
If you’re on a Windows OS, explore the settings in your Battery Performance Slider. You’ll find four different modes to adjust according to your usage needs. Mac users will see similar options in Energy Saver preferences.
If you’re wondering about your iPhone’s status, visit Settings > Battery and tap on Battery Health. If action is required, you’ll see a warning message or service options. Android users can go to Setting > Device Care and tap on Battery to explore power mode options and limit the battery usage for infrequently used apps.
4. Say Yes to System Updates
Automatic system updates on newer devices are a huge time-saver, but sometimes a manual update is necessary. Maybe you have an older device, or an update appeared at an inconvenient time, so you put it off. Either way, make sure you’re getting all the latest bug fixes and security updates.
From TVs to tablets, Androids to iPhones, visit your Settings and look for available updates. Rebooting will involve some downtime, so it might be best to tackle this tech maintenance on an evening or weekend. But it’ll be worth it to know you’ve got all the latest features and patches working.
5. Sanitize Your Devices
User research group Dscout recently studied 100,000 participants who interacted with their smartphones. On average, people touched their phones 2,617 times a day. Combined with the fact that most handheld electronics harbor more bacteria than a typical toilet seat—yuck—it’s wise to start sanitizing your devices routinely.
Start this tech maintenance now and round them all up: phones, remote controls, earbuds, keyboards, e-readers, and game controllers. Often, a pre-moistened electronic wipe will do the job just fine. Never spray or put any kind of cleaning liquid directly on your device.
Be sure to check your manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations online. For example, Apple recently changed their advice on how to clean their products, allowing for the use of disinfectant wipes.
Whether you’re going to focus on your home office, or tune-up an entire household, making time for these tech maintenance tasks will keep your devices running in tip-top shape.
Imagine all the future frustration you’re saving yourself by preventing hassles like paper jams, batteries that won’t hold a charge, or crashing apps. Take a look around right now and see which of your gadgets could use some attention.