What Does Restarting Your Phone Do

A recent document from the National Security Agency (NSA) advises that Android and iPhone users should restart their phones at least once a week. (Document Link)

But why is this recommended? What does restarting your phone do? What happens if you skip a weekly restart? Is it really necessary to reboot your phone that often?

Let’s find out why restarting your Android or iPhone matters.

What does the National Security Agency document say?

According to the NSA, “Restarting your device every week can help prevent zero-click exploits and malware that might be running in the background.

If you’re not familiar, a zero-click exploit is a type of cyberattack that can hack into your device without any action from you, such as clicking a link or opening a message.

This means attackers can gain control of your phone, steal your information, or spy on you without your knowledge. These exploits are especially dangerous because they’re hard to detect and prevent. It’s like someone breaking into your house without even needing you to open the door.

Restarting your phone can be beneficial in guarding against some types of zero-click exploits. It clears temporary data and can halt malicious processes that might be active in the background.

While a restart isn’t a complete solution and won’t fix all vulnerabilities in your phone’s software, it can disrupt ongoing attacks and provide an added layer of defense against certain exploits.

In many situations, disrupting an ongoing attack can be crucial, and a simple restart can help achieve that.

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What else can restarting your phone do?

  • Clears RAM

Restarting your phone clears out the RAM, which can free up resources and make the device run more smoothly. Over time, apps and processes consume memory, which can slow down performance.

  • Stops Background Processes

A restart will close all apps and background processes. This can help resolve issues caused by apps that might be running improperly or consuming too many resources.

  • Fixes Minor Glitches

Many minor software issues and glitches can be resolved by restarting the device. This includes problems like unresponsive apps, slow performance, and connectivity issues.

  • Re-establishes Network Connections

Restarting the phone can help re-establish network connections. This can fix problems with Wi-Fi, cellular data, Bluetooth, and other connectivity issues.

  • Clears System Cache

The system cache stores temporary files used by the operating system. Restarting can help clear this cache, potentially resolving issues related to corrupted or outdated cached data.

  • Resolves Overheating

If your phone is overheating, a restart can help cool it down by closing all running processes and giving the hardware a brief rest.

  • Refreshes the Operating System

Restarting ensures that the operating system starts fresh, which can enhance overall stability and performance.

  • Software Updates

Most of the time, updates require a restart to complete the installation. This ensures that your phone is running the latest software with all the latest fixes and improvements.

  • Battery Calibration

Occasionally, restarting your phone can help recalibrate the battery sensor, giving a more accurate reading of the battery level.

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What happens if you don’t restart your phone?

Skipping a weekly restart of your phone can cause issues but over time. It can lead to several potential problems. Here’s what could happen if you regularly skip restarting your phone:

  • Reduced Performance

Applications might not release all the memory they use, leading to memory leaks. Over time, this can cause your phone to slow down as available RAM decreases.

Background processes and services that remain running can consume resources, which can lead to slower performance.

  • Increased App Crashes and Glitches

Apps that have been running for an extended period without a restart can become unstable and crash more frequently.

Minor software bugs and glitches may persist and accumulate, which affect the overall user experience.

  • Battery Drain

Background processes that don’t close properly can continue to consume battery power, which can cause faster battery drain.

Skipping restarts can sometimes lead to inaccurate battery level readings, as the phone’s battery sensor might not recalibrate correctly.

  • Connectivity Issues

Persistent network issues with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or cellular connections might not resolve without a restart. Over time, this can lead to connectivity problems.

Issues like lag in receiving notifications or slow data speeds can persist without a restart.

  • Uncleared Cache and Temporary Files

Temporary files and cached data can accumulate, taking up storage space and potentially causing slowdowns or errors.

Outdated or corrupted cached data might not be cleared, leading to performance issues.

  • Security Risks

Some security patches or updates might not fully install until the phone is restarted. Skipping restarts can leave your device vulnerable to security risks.

Some software bugs that affect security features might not be fixed until the phone is restarted.

  • Potential Overheating

Continuous running of processes and apps without a restart can lead to increased heat generation, potentially causing the device to overheat and throttle performance.

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Is It Necessary to Restart Your Phone That Often?

Now that you understand the benefits of rebooting your phone regularly, we believe weekly reboots can be beneficial, though they may not be essential for everyone.

Modern phones generally perform well with less frequent reboots, while slightly older devices might benefit from more frequent restarts depending on their usage patterns and the apps installed.

While it’s not necessary for there to be any malicious apps running on your phone, it’s possible, especially considering how easy it is for anyone to unintentionally click on suspicious links.

Although not mandatory, we recommend restarting your phone regularly. Our personal suggestion is to reboot your phone twice a week.

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