Protect-SmartPhoneWhen you’re dropping some serious cash on the shiniest new piece of smartphone technology, you want to protect that purchase and make it last (until the next shiny and new piece of tech).  Protecting your new smartphone, whether it’s an iPhone, and Android, or even a Windows phone, there are plenty of ways to make that shininess last.

Cases

Cases generally do a decent job of protecting the externals of a phone.  They keep it from getting scratched up and keep it looking like the day you bought it.  Since there are tons of cases to choose from, you’ll probably find one in your favorite color or something that fits your personality (like a Hello Kitty case or an R2-D2 case or an R2-D2 Hello Kitty case…).  Not all cases are created equal, so be mindful.  Really cheap cases might have tiny plastic tabs hidden away on the inside.  Some cases can protect you phone if it falls a few feet and others can protect against water and other liquids.

Screen Protectors

Your screen will be the most touched part of your phone, so protecting it should be top priority.  While many newer phones use specially designed glass, there are no guarantees.  If your phone’s glass gets a scratch, there may be little options outside of replacing the glass or the phone.  Having that extra layer of protection, which shouldn’t cost more than a few dollars, is always worth it.  Now, if you’ll excuse me while I slip my iPhone into my diamond stuffed pockets.

Antivirus and Malware Apps

Protection doesn’t just extend to the outside of your phone.  If you plan on browsing the web or downloading apps, having a bit of extra security can be a phone-saver.  There are many options, free and paid.  A few free options include avast!, AVG, and Lookout Mobile Security, while paid options include: Kaspersky Lab, McAfee, Symantec, and Trend Micro.  Most of the companies are known for their antivirus software for PCs and are generally regarded as trusted.  Check your phone’s proprietary app store to see what’s available, as different platforms have varying options.

Location Tracking

If your phone ever becomes lost or gets stolen, with location tracking software or an app, you can track it down to within a few feet.  The iPhone has an free app called Find My iPhone, Android smartphone users can download Where’s My Droid, and Windows Phone users can find instructions to find a lost phone here.  It’s all fairly simple and as long as you have each app properly set up, you should be able to track down your missing phone.

Warranty

If you buy your smartphone new, then it should come with a warranty.  It might only be 30 or 90 days, or it might be 6 months to a year.  If an issue does arise, consult the warranty documentation to make sure you’re covered and can get your problem addressed at no cost to you.  Most warranties don’t cover accidental or user caused damage, but if something happens to your expensive device, but be sure to ask, as some manufacturers may be willing to work with you.

Insurance

Most people don’t think of insurance when it comes to their phones.  If you’re concerned about your phone on a day-to-day basis, maybe you work in a physical or caustic environment or an unsavory neighborhood, insurance could be a good way to go.  Most major cell phone providers offer insurance, with prices that vary between devices.  For example, you can get iPhone insurance on a Verizon iPhone for about $10 a month, while AT&T offers similar insurance for about $7.  With an insurance plan, you might be able to get a lost or stolen phone replaced or if damaged, you can get it repaired (or, again, replaced) at no additional cost.

Personal Management

Most of it comes down to common sense.  If you don’t use a case, your phone will accumulate blemishes.  If you browse questionable sites or download questionable apps from questionable sources, then you are likely to pick up a virus or other malware.  These things happen and being responsible with your phone and other devices will keep them protected—as well as the information you have stored on them.

Bilinda Shields is a freelance writer and a mobile technology expert.  She has written on topics ranging from potential cell phone apps to how to recycle cell phones.  When she isn’t writing, Bilinda enjoys taking care of her three adorable corgis and skydiving.