You know how every new gadget that comes out makes your old one look slow and dingy…even if it’s only slightly better? You don’t need to be independently wealthy to always have the latest iMac, or upgrade to the newest Nexus every time it’s announced. Here’s how to get on the upgrade treadmill and always have the latest and greatest gadgets.
We’ve shown you how to get off the upgrade treadmill, and it’s a good mindset to have. Personally, I hate seeing great new phones come out only to know I’m a few months into a new contract and won’t be able to upgrade for years. Well, there’s no reason to be a slave to someone else’s timetable. We’ve decided to offer an alternative viewpoint: upgrade whenever you want to, even if it’s every time a new flagship device comes out, without paying a boatload of money. It works for more than just phones, too: you can use this for laptops, tablets, or even the graphics card in your home-built gaming computer. Here’s how it works.
Make Your Data Portable, Accessible, and Frequently Backed Up
Before you do anything else, back up your data and put it in as portable a format as possible. If you want to upgrade ereaders, make sure they’re in a format that you can take to any other gadget, and that you’re not swimming in unnecessary DRM. The same applies for your music and your movies. Yes—we know that telling you to essentially jailbreak your media so you can use it wherever you choose is walking the line on the DMCA, but it’s essential to getting the freedom we want here. Photo by Gavin Baker and Defective By Design.
Once your data is free, make sure it’s backed up and easily retrievable. We like Crashplan for local and offsite backups, iCloud does a great job for iOS devices, and Titanium Backup (with Dropbox) works great for Android backups. Remember, the more recent the backup, the easier it is to move to a new device. Keep your data accessible and easy to restore so getting a new gadget and setting it up will be a joy, not a hassle.
Buy Out of Pocket and Avoid Subsidies, Protection Plans, and Extended Warranties
It may come as a shock to the system, but the upgrade treadmill requires you to start buying gear at full price, without discounts that tie you to retailers or carriers. That’s right: no more carrier subsidies, no non-transferrable “replacement plans” from your local electronics store, and no expensive warranties. That means the $99 Android phone you were going to pick up is now $599, or possibly more. It stings a lot at first, but don’t worry—you’ll get a lot of that money back…
Read more: Life Hacker