Our quick and easy guide to get better battery life from your iPhone, Android Phone or Windows Phone device.
As phones get smarter, battery life gets worse. It’s a simple fact of smartphone ownership. But there are simple steps you can take to ensure that your digital bezzy mate lasts your full work day, and we aren’t talking about lugging around solar panels or jumper cables. Here’s some quick and easy tips for how to get better battery life from your trusty mobile…
Extend battery life tip 1: Keep an eye on your apps
Most of us have a core set of apps that we rely on throughout the day, but the kicker is that some of them are really demanding on your battery. For example, some cursory digging recently revealed that Facebook’s iPhone app was slaughtering users’ battery life by arbitrarily running in the background, causing it to draw more power than it should.
The cure for this issue is relatively simple; just grab your iPhone and navigate to Settings>Privacy>Locations Services and revoke the Facebook app’s privileges, then do the same over at Settings>General>Background App Refresh. You can do this for other apps too, if you think they’re begging too much of your juice.
On an Android device you can go into Settings>Apps and see what apps are currently running and close them systematically if you don’t need them or think they’re hogging your power. Don’t use task killer apps though, because they will likely interfere with Android’s own controls and detrimentally affect your battery life.
Extend battery life tip 2: Manage your screen’s brightness
Smartphone screens are bigger, brighter and more beautiful than ever, but that means they need more power than ever too. By going into your device’s settings and dialling back your display’s brightness, you could buy yourself a decent chunk of energy – and your eyes might thank you for the respite too, as some experts have suggested that having your phone’s screen brightness up too high could contribute to short-sightedness!
Extend battery life tip 3: Install Software Updates
Software engineers are always looking for ways to extend a device’s battery life, so when a new update is pushed out for your phone you should install it. Sure, there have been some notable exceptions to the rule, but most of the time you’ll see improvements with new firmware.
Extend battery life tip 4: A bad signal could equal bad battery life
If your home or place of work is in an area with poor coverage, your device may be using up valuable energy trying to find and maintain a connection to the network. If this is the case you may be better off turning off your device’s cellular antenna and relying on Wi-Fi instead. If you don’t have access to Wi-Fi and you’re in a patchy area, try whacking your device into Airplane mode until you need it.
Extend battery life tip 5: Turn off Bluetooth
Bluetooth is fantastic but it can be a huge drain on your phone’s battery. If you’re not in the car or using a Bluetooth accessory, turn it off. If you’re an iPhone user you’ll notice that every time you install an update it will automatically start Bluetooth and leave it running in the background, draining your cell. Get it turned off and you’ll see a big improvement.
Extend battery life tip 6: Manage your device’s temperature
If your smartphone’s battery is too hot or too cold, it will discharge quicker. Keeping your device away from sources of heat or cold will ensure that you get optimum performance and allow you to retain power for when you need it most. If it’s a cold day, keeping your device close to your body will ensure that the battery doesn’t become too cold and on a hot day, keep your device in the shade.
Extend battery life tip 7: Shorten your screen’s timeout limit
If you go digging into your device’s display settings you’ll come across the option to manage your screen timeout. By lowering the time, you’ll ensure that your device automatically powers down the screen if it’s left unused, saving you plenty of mAh.
Extend battery life tip 8: Turn off Wi-Fi (and GPS)
Like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS are hugely helpful, but they also drain your battery when they’re not being used, by constantly searching for signals. If you’re out of range of your Wi-Fi access point, turn your device’s Wi-Fi antenna off. Sure, Google may like it on for the extra location awareness but what’s more important here?
Similarly, GPS can be toggled off if you aren’t using it. This will prevent errant apps from accessing your device’s location as and when they see fit, taxing your battery into the bargain.
Extend battery life tip 9: Choose when your apps sync/poll
If you’re using an email or social networking app you can choose to manually check for updates or new messages. This will allow you to control when the apps connect to your network and will save you plenty of battery life. If the apps are critical, you may be able to reduce the frequency that they contact the outside world whilst still maintaining a level of automation.
Extend battery life tip 10: Get rid of unused Widgets and Apps
Widgets are helpful but so often people forget about old ones, and they’re left on one of your quieter homescreens to silently sap your device’s battery without contributing a damn thing. The same goes for apps. We all download titles that seem useful or fun and then forget them if they turn out to be poor or unhelpful, but their permissions remain and they too will eat away at your battery if they’re left unchecked. Remove/uninstall them to take back control.
Fingers crossed our smartphone battery life will soon be measured in weeks, rather than hours – but until then, these tips should help to keep you going a bit longer. Feel free to share your own tips in the comments below.