Charging phone close up

 The INSIDER Summary:

  • Many people wait until their smartphone is dead to charge it.
  • However, this can actually damage your phone’s battery and shorten its lifespan.
  • INSIDER’S beauty writer Brianna Arps lost about 33,000 photos, and almost everything else on her phone, after charging her phone incorrectly.
  • To avoid losing all your data, charge your phone whenever you can and avoid charging it to 100%.
  • You should also back up your smartphone regularly, ideally to an external hard drive.

Small changes in the way you use your smartphone can go a long way. Without realizing it, you may be slowing down your iPhone or damaging your phone’s battery.

INSIDER’s beauty writer Brianna Arps learned this the hard way.

Arps, who spends much of her time taking pictures of products or snapping the perfect selfie, lost about 33,000 photos in February, after charging her iPhone 6 incorrectly.

“I’m notorious for not charging my phone and using it until the battery’s very, very low,” Arps told INSIDER. 

The night of February 18 was no different: Getting ready to go out, Arps was “blasting music” on her phone and taking selfies while her phone was at 3% battery. When her phone eventually died, she plugged it into a wall charger. When it turned back on at 5%, she unplugged it again and went back to taking selfies.

“That happened about five times. Like off and on, off and on, off and on,” Arps explained.

The sixth time, however, Arps’ phone did not turn on when she plugged it into a charger. Eventually, after 25 minutes and a hard reset, her screen lit up. But this time, Arps saw the iPhone Recovery Mode screen, prompting her to connect her phone to iTunes.

iPhone Recovery Mode

After following the steps of setting up her phone, Arps immediately went to her Photo Album. However, while she saw the selfies she had just taken, she couldn’t find any of the other 33,000 pictures she had saved — pictures from her college graduation, senior year, and more.

“I freaked out,” Arps said. She soon realized her entire phone had been wiped; she lost everything from data stored on apps to contact information to “precious memories from videos.” All she had left were a few Notes and the selfies she took before her phone died.