When it comes to smartphones in 2013, battery size is all the rage. No matter your mobile OS, the amount of time you can spend away from a wall outlet is easily one of the most important reasons to choose one handset over another. But before you reach for that external battery or spare juice pack, don't you want to know a few ways you can save some power all on your own?

Let's be real. Between texting your squeeze (or video chatting), streaming Ultimate Dog Tease (maybe that's just me), and tweeting celebrities (because they can run, but they can't hide), battery life ranks at the bottom of my list every single time I drain it dead. Do we really need to surf Reddit, or Instagram our Salmon sashimi?


So, is there really any legitimate way to save power for extended periods of time without significant trade-offs?

There is a slight glimmer of hope if a group of researchers at Stanford have anything to do with it, and it has to do with nanostructures. But first, here's how our lithium-ion batteries work. Present day lithium-ion batteries are rather inefficient in that discharging them moves lithium ions from the negative electrode to the positive side. This movement creates dispelled energy that powers our mobile devices. As if the process didn't sound odd enough, batteries have the innate tendency to retain less power the more times they're charged and discharged. This is where Stanford has made significant progress.

According to MIT Technology Review, nanostructures could boost battery life fivefold and help store upwards of twice the amount of energy as lithium-ion batteries currently do. The science behind nanostructures is in the sulfur by-product of lithium batteries, lithium sulfide, which causes intermediary compounds called polysulfides to form, thus limiting the amount of lithium which can be stored in a lithium-ion battery.

If I lost you, don't worry. In lamens terms, batteries have a limitation of storage capacity due to the chemical reactions which take up space in each lithium-ion battery. The nanostructures help increase storage capactity of lithium-ion batteries after multiple charges. The Stanford researchers have primiarly focused on electric vehicle batteries, but have said that they can "retain 80 percent of their capactiy for as many as 3,000 charging cycles."

It's quite a relief to hear that battery technology is not being left in the dust. Far too many times have I heard stories of friends and family strolling into any of the Big Four wireless carriers and being told to "adjust system settings." Most of the time, adjusting system settings will get you by with noticeable results, but it's a farcry from a solution. In my experience, I simply do these tweaks without even noticing it because I've grown so accustomed to saving power throughout each day. Reducing display brightness (or turning off auto-brightness which is a known battery hog), turning off data when you don't need it (or 4G LTE/using Wi-Fi as often as possible), and disabling apps which automatically sync to only update manually are some of the most popular ways to save some Lithium for later.

But realistically, the last thing you need to worry about is a dim display in a hot summer day (especially if you have an smartphone with an AMOLED screen). So, there are apps on all mobile operating systems that supposedly help, though your results will vary.

On Android, apps like Juice Defender and Qualcomm Snapdragon's Battery Guru (if you have a Snapdragon-powered smartphone) claim to save you some power in a variety of ways. Each of these apps syncs with your apps and mobile connections to learn your habits with functions that claim to make a difference in the end. By switching on and off data after a set amount of time, limiting app syncs in the background, and disable other functions like Bluetooth and location-based services after a battery threshold, battery life should be improved.

On iOS and Windows Phone 8 devices, there are equivalent battery-saving apps like Battery Doctor Pro and BatterySense which operate in a similar fashion to their Android counterparts albeit with less control. You're more likely to run into a "battery-saving" app in Apple's App Store which itemizes system processes and gives you a rundown of how much battery usage you're pacing throughout the day, than an app that will intervene in background processes like Android. And Windows Phone 8 has a built-in Battery Saver Mode along with the ability to turn off background tasks, so that's always helpful.

But in the end, saving battery often times comes down to whether or not your smartphone has a removable battery, and it shouldn't. There are plenty of outside sources that allow you to save battery while keeping the svelte profile of a smartphone with a nonremovable battery.

Manufacturers are no doubt moving towards built-in batteries, with Apple staying steadfast and true to their initial ploy in the mobile spectrum of nonremovable power packs, and HTC/Motorola leading the Android pack.

Manufacturers like Anker and Mophie are at the forefront of improving battery life if you're away from a wall outlet. But even these options are somewhat limited in that there is a trade-off associated with power packs (an increase in size) and external batteries (an extra device to carry around).

In short, battery technology has not been forgotten, and if the mobile industry's prowess in delivering the latest technological frontiers is any inclination as to what's to come, battery life isn't too far behind as evidenced by the researchers at Stanford.

So, reader - how do you manage to save battery throughout day? Does a traditional Li-ion battery that can be recharged many more times while retaining significant battery capacity sound like the right direction to solve our battery woes? Hit the comments below!

Image via Engadget.

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58 Reactions to this post

"What do you do to increase the battery life of your smartphone?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Solomon Daniel
Solomon Daniel Also remove the sim card from your phone, helps.
Solomon Daniel
Solomon Daniel Turn of WiFi, turn of gps , turn of 3g, lower screen brightness, close active apps, delete all apps, don't answer phone calls, don't make phone calls, get about 5 hours...
Curtis Owens
Curtis Owens Removable batteries a gimic? ok just because you do not find it useful does not mean that there arent just as many people out there wanting or needing that feature to keep their phone usable for their needs. Thinness is also a gimmick.
Curtis Owens
Curtis Owens turn off the radios i do not use.
Mason Fant
Mason Fant Not check Facebook every two minutes!
Myron Black
Myron Black just gt a nokia 5165 that sucker last 7 days on a charge
Alberto Garcia Flores
Alberto Garcia Flores Turn off the LTE
Mark Manson
Mark Manson iphone users... so silly.
Jamie Crane
Jamie Crane Htc one has good batt no issue's still use batt guru which is first batt app that works it's for devices that use snap dragon processors
Martin Smeaton
Martin Smeaton Like others have said, with the note 2 this is a non issue. But rooting and a custom kernel help too!
Marcus Samual Winchester
Marcus Samual Winchester I found that staying with a default launcher does wonders for battery life. At first when I hated Touchwiz so I used Holo Launcher for a while and this robbed me of battery life during offscreen time. To put this into perspective, when I used any launcher from the Play Store and I tested them all with network and data off, I lost 1% battery per hour over 8 hours. So I tested Touchwiz out in the same timespan under the same conditions and battery loss was 2% over 8 hours, equal to 4 times less battery being lost per hour. This may just be me with my S3 but Touchwiz has become quite battery efficient, though it still looks ugly as ass.
Marcos O. Vasquez
Marcos O. Vasquez Just ordered a 7000mAH battery from zero lemon. This battery is a beast!!! 3 days of heavy use in a single charge... gs3!!!
Nisha Collins
Nisha Collins Take a charger everywhere I go lol
William Smith
William Smith have the note 2 and every thing then on accept the GPS and it lay all day!
Lukasz Dudek
Lukasz Dudek Nothing.
Steve Coyle
Steve Coyle Turn Display half way down to 20-30% until i need it
Teron Facey
Teron Facey Get a RAZR MAXX HD problem solved.
Adrian Gonzalez
Adrian Gonzalez Use my MAXX
Syed Mubashir Ali
Syed Mubashir Ali Just turn off the fucking phone then u have battery life for years LOL
Trevor Lazar
Trevor Lazar Sold my old phone for a note 2
Luis Robles Figueroa
Luis Robles Figueroa Turn off services that I don't need at the time. So when I need them turn them back.
John Smith
John Smith Put it down.
Alvin Lam
Alvin Lam My htc one has sufficient battery life for my college life style. I have an external battery charger that I've yet to use since I got the phone
Jose Calderon
Jose Calderon Nothing, my iPhone lasts pretty much all day.
Christopher Stowe
Christopher Stowe Chris hyson, you are so helpful! Thanks for letting me know that google now isn't an app. I was so lost.
Saurabh Bisht
Saurabh Bisht Just replace the Phone with Note2..never get a problem about battery life :D
Gordon Christie
Gordon Christie Switch off data unless I using it and juicedefender app
Jim Marshall III
Jim Marshall III Absolutely nothing! I own a note 2
Ale Zuvic
Ale Zuvic I turn them off :troll:
Bill Siembida
Bill Siembida Buy the note 2
David 'Providence' Figueroa
David 'Providence' Figueroa Turn off GPS, Brightness very Low, Turn Off Sync, Wifi and Bluetooth, which sucks because you can't enjoy your phone to its maximum capabilities..
Dee Nazario
Dee Nazario Bringing my charger wherever I go. Which is oathetic in this day and age. (Nexus 4)
Ricardo Alexandre
Ricardo Alexandre Note2 <3 no problem at all
Curt Popejoy
Curt Popejoy I plug it into my charger. Brilliant!
Nikola Karovic
Nikola Karovic Less playing games. Battery now stays 3 days on note2
John Dogbegah
John Dogbegah Carry my charger around .....
Jessica Wiseman
Jessica Wiseman Turn down brightness, Turn off data until I need it when im out and use WiFi at home
Chris Hyson
Chris Hyson if only you could remove those bloats and gain space....
Mark Fisher Jr.
Mark Fisher Jr. Nothin
Chris Hyson
Chris Hyson meaning you deleted the google app from your phone. There is no standalone google now app.
Jessica Wiseman
Jessica Wiseman Power saver on, disabled stock apps I never used, stop apps with stock task manager
Chris Hyson
Chris Hyson Removable batteries are a gimmik and pointless. The Razr gets great battery life and it doesn't have a removable battery. so it CAN be done. OEMS choose not too and rather create sexist skits about drunk middle aged women getting their nails wet.... i work nights so my days are spent sleeping with the phone charging. At nights I use my phone to check my messages/facebook/browse the web on my breaks and lunch. I listen to Slacker most of the night too and still have around 35-40% of charge left. Problem is that on android programs are always on even after closing them and some of those are location aware apps so they are constanly looking for a signal.
Malik Valbrun
Malik Valbrun Airplane mode, end all apps, brightness 30%, 3G instead of LTE - Iphone 5
Chris Mathews
Chris Mathews I got a Galaxy Note 2. Problem solved.
Joel Diaz
Joel Diaz I have mine set to auto brightness and disabled all unused apps including Verizon bloats. This has greatly extended my battery life.
Brain Roopull
Brain Roopull Purchased two spare "extended" batteries and that's about it. They're small enough to fit in my pocket. When the battery gets low, I just pop an extra in. On "slow" days, I don't have to do this at all. On busy days, I'll pop in the 2nd spare in the evening, but that's rare.
Moiz Ahmed
Moiz Ahmed Snapdragon battery guru, brightness to minimum, power save mode on: Samsung galaxy s3 SGH-I747M
Fonzy Paniagua
Fonzy Paniagua Underclock
Lakesha Jeffeirs
Lakesha Jeffeirs disable the data
Christopher Hilliard
Christopher Hilliard Easy battery saver
Jesse Ling
Jesse Ling Antutu Battery Saver.
Bike Maker
Bike Maker I have a Galaxy Note 2, so I don't have any problems. I have a 3100 mAh battery.
Abram Wenevermet Dennis
Abram Wenevermet Dennis Nothing. Galaxy note2 has great battery life.
Josh Billingsley
Josh Billingsley Have a note II and a p4k battery pack. I don't worry about battery life
Ajith P George
Ajith P George Turn battery saver on
Izaya Everage
Izaya Everage Nothing. My phone just dies with like 1 hour screen time 12-14 hours total. And its just me. Others with the E4GT can get 3-4 hours screen time with a total of 20-24 hours. Makes me mad. >=.( But I have a battery charger. =.)
Gary Brown
Gary Brown Turn the brightness down .
Christopher Stowe
Christopher Stowe Deleted google now from my iphone.

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