Smartphones are finicky devices. Many people have faced the situation in which their phone takes damage and, to their relief, the phone seems totally fine. It’s not until hours or even days later that something small starts to misbehave like a flickering screen or a fast-draining battery. Naturally, they suspect the fall as the culprit and start thinking in terms of smartphone repair, but this isn’t always the case. There are settings on any mobile device that, if changed without your knowledge, could masquerade as damage. Before you commit to taking or sending the phone in for repairs, check your settings and make sure everything is where you intend it to be. Other People and Your Phone You are probably not the only person who has held your smartphone. Sure, some people hold it with a death-grip and are loath to part with their beloved texting apparatus for even a moment, but even these people need to eat and sleep. The vast majority of people are alright with lending their phone to friends for a few minutes and many wouldn’t think twice about leaving their phone with a relative if they need to shower while waiting for a call. Modern parents often hand phones to their children as entertainment during waiting times and often these kids aren’t old enough understand an accidental settings change. If you’re in the habit of leaving your phone in one place while you’re at home, a family member or visitor could easily pick it up and change a few things while you’re busy. In other words, don’t assume that your phone has been in your hands alone unless it has been physically strapped to your body the entire time. If your smartphone has been in the hands of another human and has started acting up, there’s a reasonable chance that your buddy, relative, child, or even a pranking coworker changed an important setting. Other people in your life are potential sources for settings changes, and they often don’t realize the long-term impact of their short-term decision. Unwanted Automatic Updates Apps are also capable of changing your settings, as are automatic phone updates. If your phone has recently changed behavior, take a look at your installed apps. If there are any new ones, newly updated ones, or a few with questionably accessible permissions, this might be the cause. The problem here is that even if you find the correct setting and change it back, there is a chance that the app will change it again or another update might do so in the future. Keep an eye on automatic settings changes and double-check the permissions on an app before installing it. Diagnosing Screen Behavior Some screen issues are definitely damage. There is no setting that can crack your screen or warp your case, but there are many that affect the brightness, background, behavior, and sleep patterns of your phone. If any one of these is changed, you may be experiencing broken-seeming phone symptoms. If your phone screen has recently gone unreadable dim, for instance, seek out the brightness setting and turn it up until the phone is useful again, though there is usually no need to turn it all the way up. While flickering is usually a sign of damage or a battery issue, some functions like an incompatible animated wallpaper can be part of the problem. Trying to work with your smartphone acting up is no one’s idea of a good time. Fortunately, there are professionals who can help. Join us next time for the second half of this two-part article where we’ll cover a few more things you can check at home before seeking repairs!