Phone frustration? 7 easy solutions to common smartphone problems

Whether you want to improve battery life, speed up your phone, change the font or rescue a wet phone, we can help…

Smartphones are brilliant inventions - they enable us to keep in touch, take photos, keep us entertained and help us learn about the world.  But on occasion they can be frustrating.

Most of us want our phones to be faster, the battery to last longer or more storage space, and fortunately, many common smartphone issues are easy to fix. Keep on reading as we offer simple solutions to seven mobile-related issues.

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How can I make my phone's battery last longer?

To make your phone's battery last longer, start by activating battery saver mode, a feature common to new phones that automatically shuts down certain features to conserve battery when the power is low. On Android phones this is called Battery saver, on the iPhone this is called Low Power Mode.

Turn off connections:  Wi-fi, GPS and mobile data all use battery. You don’t need them on all day so turn them off when you don’t need them by swiping down and toggling them off, or by looking for Location services in the menu.

Turn off push email: Push email is when messages are sent to your phone instantly, which uses up the battery. Unless you need to stay in touch with work, you probably don’t need push email turned on, instead choose to sync manually so your phone will only search for new emails when you choose to. 

  • Android: Go to Settings – Users & accounts and turn the slider next to Automatically sync data to Off.
  • iPhone: Go to Settings – Accounts & Passwords and under Fetch New Data ensure Push is Off.

Turn down screen brightness: Swipe down to view the quick settings and turn down the brightness slider.

[Read more: How to make your smartphone battery last longer]

How can I improve my phone signal at work?

If you have problems with your mobile reception inside a big office building, a new BT service called Wi-Fi Calling lets you make calls over wi-fi instead.

With Wi-Fi Calling, any calls and texts you make come out of your monthly allowance, so it doesn’t cost anything extra or use your data allowance.

It’s available to BT Mobile customers who have the iPhone 5S or later or the Samsung Galaxy S9. To start using it ensure your phone has the latest software and turn it on in the Settings menu.

Find out more in our article: What is Wi-Fi Calling? New service will boost your smartphone signal

How can I speed up my phone?

If your phone feels sluggish, speed things up by closing any apps you aren’t using. Lots of open apps use your phone's RAM to operate and having too many open at once will slow down your phone.

  • Android: Tap the Overview button (the square icon on the right of the phone) to view open apps as thumbnails, and flick them left or right to shut them down. There may also be a 'Close All' option on this screen. 
  • iPhone: How to force-close apps

It can also help to clear your app cache: on an Android phone you can do this using an app such as Turbo Cleaner.

[Read more: Speed up your smartphone with these top tips]

How can I get more storage space?

The easiest way to get more storage space is to delete what you aren’t using.  Before you do this ensure your files are backed up.

Android smartphones allow you to automatically back up your photos and videos to Google Drive over wi-fi. When you started using your phone you’ll have been given an option to do this, and you can check it’s turned on by going to Settings – System – Backup.

If you are a BT Broadband customer you can get free storage space with BT Cloud, which you can use to back up your smartphone's photos and videos using the BT Cloud app. Read more in our article: Discover how BT Cloud can back up your documents easily and safely

How to delete files

Screenshot Android storage settings

Android: Go to Settings – Storage. You’ll see a list: Photos & videos, Music & audio, Games, Movie and TV apps.  Tap each one to see how much storage they are taking up.

Tap ‘Free up space’ and select the box next to the item you want to delete. Alternatively tap ‘Review recent items’ and choose items you want to delete.

Check what photos you’ve backed up at:

iPhone: How to get more storage space

How can I change the language on the keyboard?

The keyboard on some phones are automatically set to American English, fortunately it’s easy to change this and select another language.

Language settings Android

  • Android: Go to Settings – System – Languages & Input. Tap the language then Add a language and search for the one you want to use.
  • iPhone:  How to change keyboard settings

How can I make text bigger on my phone?

Some people find the default smartphone font is tricky read, particularly if your smartphone screen is on the small size.

Android phone screenshot change font size

  • Android: Go to Settings – Accessibility – Font size. Use the slider to choose an appropriate size.
  • Apple: How to change the font size

How can I fix a water-damaged phone?

Water damage is something that (unfortunately) happens too easily, but if you act quickly it’s possible to save your phone using the steps below.

  • Remove the battery, or if you can’t remove it, turn the phone off to cut the power.
  • Dry the water off by dabbing using a soft cloth or paper towel.
  • Put your phone in a bowl or sealed bag of uncooked rice. It sounds strange, but it can absorb water.
  • Leave it somewhere airy for at least 24 hours, then turn it on. Check that no rice has got into any of the holes on the phone such as the headphone socket or charging port. 

For more in-depth advice read: How to fix a water-damaged phone

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