A Surprising Number Of People We Polled Said They Upgrade Their Phone Every Year

How often should you upgrade your smartphone? There are as many answers to that question as there are smartphone owners out there — because let's be honest, this is often down to personal preference. Smartphones, much like any other piece of technology, don't last forever and often show signs of aging as time goes on, prompting users to upgrade. We were curious to find out just how often our readers tend to trade up for a new model, and the results definitely surprised us, because a large number of people upgrade a lot more often than you might think.

Phone longevity is a bit of a controversial topic. Many have long speculated about this or that phone brand slowing down older smartphones on purpose. Not too long ago, as reported by the BBC, Apple was fined a whopping $27 million for deliberately slowing down older iPhone models without informing its customers. Apple itself has confirmed in 2017 that it deliberately slowed down some devices, but not to force customers to upgrade; it was allegedly done to prolong the lifespan of these older devices.

Whether you believe that manufacturers do this on purpose or not, it's hard to deny that older smartphones tend to slow down over time. Add to that possible cracked screens (although that can happen within the first five minutes of owning your phone, too), new software updates, and possible breakdowns, and you have plenty of reasons to trade up after a certain time passes. However, some users are quicker to make the switch than others, and the results of our poll make that crystal clear.

There's always a better phone out there

Based on the results of our poll, comprised of the answers from 631 respondents from the United States, most users (55.47%) choose to upgrade their phones once every two to three years. That, in itself, is not that surprising. Many of us wait for a new phone contract, and upon renewing it, we're given the chance to get a new phone as well. While you do have to pay off the phone over the next two years, it's often easier to do than to front the entire price of a flagship smartphone in one go. 

Some users keep things more conservative: 21.71% of respondents said they only upgrade once every four to five years, and 6.66% wait more than six years to buy a new smartphone. In four to six years, most smartphones start showing signs of aging, including slow performance and lack of access to newer features — but if you don't use your phone all too often, you might not even notice.

Meanwhile, a whopping 11.89% of respondents declared that they upgrade once a year, while 4.28% admitted to getting a new phone once every 6 months. Most of the biggest mobile tech brands reveal a new version of each of their most popular smartphones every year or so. As such, it would seem that some of the most hardcore fans drop cash whenever their favorite flagship's latest edition is released.