Common Phone Damage

iPhone with cracked screen

The 10 Most Common Ways to Damage Your Smartphone

We’ve all done it, or know someone who has. You ruin your expensive and socially essential smartphone in a completely avoidable way. At UK Repairs we’ve handled hundreds of such cases, so we thought we’d compile a list for you of the ten most common ways people damage or break their phones, in the hopes that it will help you to avoid the easiest pitfalls. They are in order of most embarrasing to least.

Pocket Damage

We all know about Bendgate: the stories of iPhones bending in people’s back pockets, and greeted these revelations with a mixture of eye-rolling and humour. Be aware that, yes, metal can bend and smartphones aren’t made of adamantium. Besides being breakable, another less known danger is the smartphone flying out of your pocket unexpectedly and dropping on the floor. Consider wearing a shirt with a front pocket, or a jacket with sturdy pockets so that you can protect your valuable phone without having to lug the thing around everywhere.

Getting it Wet

Dropping a book in the bath is one thing – you can pop it in the airing cupboard and it will still probably be useable. But smartphones, being electronic devices, are the natural enemy of water. You know that you shouldn’t use your phone in the bath, or while drinking a glass of water, yet the phone is always there, tempting you to check social media or take a selfie at the swimming pool. But ensuring that phone and fluid never meet is the way to peace of mind, as well as not getting a hefty repair bill.


Exposing your phone to the elements, to the extremes of hot and cold temperatures, is unacceptably negligent. While your device is an emotionless automaton, it would be wise to treat it like a pet, at least when it comes to its environment. Don’t leave your smartphone in a car during the heights of summer or the depths of winter, take it with you. Phones can’t handle temperatures of -40 or 45 degrees celsius. If it’s very hot outside, turn your device unless you absolutely need to use it.

Not Turning it Off

This isn’t the most embarrassing way to damage your phone, but it does suggest that you use it too much or just leave it running and forget about it. We all need a rest sometimes, even smartphones. You should reboot or ideally shut down your device for an hour or more regularly, at least once a week. This allows diagnostics to be run, systems to be checked and caches to be cleared. It also increases the longevity of your device’s RAM

Locking Yourself Out of Your SIM Card

You can place a lock on your SIM card to protect your phone from being used by anyone you don’t want to. You can go to the settings on your device and from the security option put a lock on your SIM card. However, make sure that you don’t lock yourself out, because then you’ll have to replace the SIM card, data and all, to use your phone again.


It may be able to play all the music that’s ever existed while also fitting into your (sensible) pocket, but smartphones actually have a relatively small amount of storage space. An SD card will help to conserve that storage space, but also transferring your photos to main storage can help.

Plugging it in Wrong

USBs only seem to plug in on the third go. You try plugging it in, turn it over and try again, then turn it over again and it works. Why this happens is still a mystery, but it can be easy to get frustrated and jam the plug into the port. If this happens take a breath, have a lie down, make a cup of tea or do whatever you need to do to approach the issue with care, because the USB, particularly micro-USBs, are delicate and are literally your phone’s lifeline.

Rooting Risks

Rooting your smartphone allows you to have privileged control over your phone’s subsystems. But this is high-level, only advisable for the techies among us. It may be tempting to use some very easy and accessible software tools to make rooting a doddle, but even then if you don’t know what you’re doing you might end up with an expensive, shiny device for fixing uneven table legs.


ROM (Like CD-ROM. Ask your parents) is a way of adding functionality to your phone. You can ‘flash’ ROM onto your phone, effectively burning it into the software. But you should be wary of any activity involving your phone and burning. If you flash the wrong kind of ROM onto your phone, it’s toast.

Malware is no small matter. It can damage your phone and also allow hackers to get access to very sensitive information, including your location at various times in the day and any passwords you might use. You can never be sure that you’re fully protected from malware, but you can take precautions including downloading security apps. But make sure that they’re legitimate security apps from trusted sources, and not themselves malware.

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