Smartphone Shelf Life – What is the Average Lifespan of a Smartphone?

smartphone shelf life

Smartphones are necessities today as we cannot do without them. With advancement in technology yearly, smartphone companies release newer versions and people change phones for different reasons. But what really is a smartphone shelf life and how long does the average smartphone lasts before it starts showing signs of deterioration?

Understanding Smartphone Shelf Life

Shelf life is an English word on its own and before we understand how it relates to smartphones, we have to know what shelf life itself means.

What is shelf life? According to Wikipedia, shelf life is the length of time that a commodity may be stored without becoming unfit for use, consumption, or sale. Oxford dictionary defines it as the length of time for which an item remains useable, fit for consumption, or saleable.

Now that we understand what a shelf life is, it can now be related to smartphones. A smartphone shelf life simply means the duration of time which a smartphone is fit to be used without any problems. Averagely, the lifespan of a smartphone is 3-4 years and many factors contribute to this. This will be explained below.

Signs Your Phone is Reaching the End of its Lifespan

When your smartphone becomes no longer enjoyable or starts giving you issues, it might be time to get a new one.

Operating System Issues

A phone cannot function without its operating system. There are two popular smartphone OS – Android and iOS. Whenever a smartphone is released it comes shipped out of the box with a version of an operating system. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S8+ ran Android 7.0 Nougat at launch. Samsung makes sure its smartphones get the latest version whenever a new version is available but sooner or later, they drop support for old smartphones like other manufacturing companies do. The reason is newer version of operating systems becomes advanced and comes with features which are power-driven and sometimes become too heavy for the hardware on older smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy smartphone
A Samsung Galaxy

Also, almost everyday smartphone applications get updated and newer functionalities are added. All these accumulated affects the smartphone in the long run. Applications crashes, the smartphone becomes slow, lags and it gets frustrating to use. Whenever this starts happening, your phone is nearing the end of its lifespan.

Battery Health

Smartphones are powered by batteries. Even though some batteries can be replaced, whenever a smartphone’s battery is no longer dependable or has to be charged several times a day it’s a sign the phone is reaching the end of its lifespan, this normally happens between two to three years.

Wear and Tear

You might be surprised, but the law of ageing applies to smartphones too. Over a long period of time, you may have used your smartphone ruggedly such that some parts have been scratched or broken. This may in turn start affecting hardware materials.


Smartphone manufacturers are constantly competing with one another. A smartphone you get today becomes obsolete when the same company releases another from the same series with better specifications tomorrow. The average smartphone shelf life is 3 years after which it starts deteriorating.


Posted by Biodun

Passionate about Technology and everything concerning it. Avid Gamer and Music Lover. Loves Chelsea FC. Overall, a nice guy. Find me on Instagram and Twitter.


  1. great post, durability on any phone is key, thats why i like this spark k7 i am using, i have been using it for over two years now with no issues.

  2. Nice work but i wanna ask, does it mean its not advisable to buy a UK used smartphone as we can not ascertain the shelf life of the smartphone?

  3. I am trying to observe mine . It has one year six months and it is still better. It can stay with charging.

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