Without our devices, most of us would be lost, literally and figuratively. These devices are so central to many aspects of our lives, that without them, most things that we do would have to be done in completely different ways and on totally different timescales.
So to keep our devices working optimally, we need to make sure we’re giving them the right opportunities to do system maintenance and refresh their inner workings. On many devices, this refresh happens during the reboot cycle, or when it is shut down completely and restarted. But it seems like everywhere you look there’s different advice on how often this should be done, so we’ve done the digging for you and have the ideal frequency at which you should reboot your home computer, smartphone, and tablet.
How Often You Should Reboot Your Computer
The short answer is once a day is best, at a minimum once a week.
For anyone who was around during the heyday of Windows 95 or Windows XP, you are probably highly familiar with the old standard of shutting your computer down when you’re done for the day, leaving it off, then booting it back up again when needed. Generally, this was done at the end of the workday for office computers, or in the evenings for home computers. This is not the case any longer, however, and while shutting the system down will save negligible amounts of power overnight, this was also the modus operandi for a time when computers were far less efficient.
These days, Windows computers, are much more energy-efficient and many are even on solid-state hard drives, which have no moving parts, unlike the older hard disc drives which could be damaged from extended use or repeated shutdowns and startups. Nowadays there are generally power options for sleep, hibernate, and shutdown. Many people often opt for sleep or hibernate since it will keep your work state the same as when you left it, removing the requirement to start up programs or open files again.
These states are also super-efficient concerning power usage, Windows 8 and Windows 10/11 are all designed to use nearly no power to effectively retain the system state. Sleep and hibernate modes also have a shorter time the user needs to wait before using the system once started again.
However, even with newer operating systems, you must allow your computer at least one full reboot cycle per week. This will help your computer run faster and smoother, and it will allow the apps that are used to clear or “flush” their cache of data, which can also free up incredible amounts of space and will help your computer perform better.
How Often You Should Reboot Your Smartphone
The short answer is that you should not have to restart it often, if at all.
Most smartphones are designed to stay on all the time, for the most part. This isn’t to say that restarts won’t be needed, however, and there are some situations where restarts can be crucial to smooth operation and reliable performance. One of these situations is when OS or kernel updates have been installed if previously downloaded. A reboot will be needed to fully install the downloaded components.
Another potential scenario when a restart can be advantageous is if your phone begins acting “buggy” or “weird”, or just running slowly. Sometimes users will go into the application manager or application settings, and begin shutting down apps manually or “force stop” them. In cases like this, when you restart will accomplish the same thing, but it will also free up any RAM that has been clogged with cache data or fragmented app data.
Other, more rare situations where you may need a restart are if your phone is running much hotter than it usually is. Although, if that begins happening more and more often, you may be experiencing a problem with a deeper cause than can be solved by rebooting your phone.
While there are some benefits to rebooting your phone if you’re experiencing sluggish performance, it’s not the ideal solution, and multiple reboots can even have a negative impact. Rebooting your phone, particularly the startup processes, can tax your battery more than simply leaving it on.
How Often You Should Reboot Your Tablet
The short answer is that you should reboot them approximately as often as your phone.
Since tablets and smartphones use largely the same CPU architecture, they are both designed to be left on nearly continuously and left to sleep when not used. Although, just like your phone, if your tablet becomes slow or acts buggy, you should consider a reboot. This should also be done after any major updates or patches to the OS.
The only difference is tablets that operate on the x86 Windows platforms, such as some tablets in the Surface family. Since they run similarly to Windows 8 desktop and laptop PCs, they only need to be restarted after big installs or for security scans.