Helpful tips to preserve smartphone battery life

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| May 15, 2014


Battery life in smartphones have come a long, long way since 2007. In fact, even as recently as just a few years ago it would seems like battery life has done a lot of trekking. Still, not all batteries are created equal, and not all users use their phones alike either, so when one person claims that a phone lasts them “all day and then some” and you, unfortunately, discover that it only lasts you 5 hours, what exactly do you do? Whether you’re having battery woes or are simply looking for ways to make sure that your battery does indeed last you all day, you can try out some of these tips to stretch that battery and make it last.



Tip #1: Adjust your screen brightness accordingly


What a lot of people don’t realize is that a lot of battery power is unnecessarily drained because the user doesn’t realize that their brightness is up all the way, or even just more than it needs to be. The brighter your screen is, the more battery it uses up. You can leave it on auto adjust if you want, but the most efficient way to save battery life is to just keep it on the lowest possible setting you can stand at all times, and manually adjust it for when you need to. I find that screen brightness is quite easy to forget about, particularly if it’s so bright that you can see it clearly all the time.



Tip #2: WiFi over cellular data


If you have the option, and you’re around it enough, choose to use WiFi over cellular data. For the longest time I was always told to use cellular data over WiFi because WiFi was such a battery leech, but as it turns out, as long as your phone isn’t constantly searching for that signal then it can actually save your battery life instead. This is particularly helpful for people who have bad cell reception in an area and get better results from WiFi. However, if you don’t have access to WiFi, it’s best to keep the feature off; otherwise, your phone will keep looking for a signal it can’t get, and that’s bad.



Tip #3: Power Saving Mode


Another thing that people don’t realize is that most phones come with a power saving mode that you can manually turn on. You may have already noticed it turn on when your battery gets low on power, but you don’t have to wait until your phone is almost dead in order to take advantage of the power saving option. Both my HTC One M8 and my Moto X, along with several other phones, have a Power Saver mode in the “Power” or “Battery” section of the settings. Some phones nowadays, like the M8 or the Galaxy S5, even have extreme power saving mode. This mode is good if you don’t plan on using your phone for anything other than calls and texts.



Tip #4: Sleep mode


This goes along with the power saving mode, but sleep mode is a bit different. What sleep mode does is limit the amount of data being processed in the background. If you go a long period of time without using data, you don’t want your phone to keep looking for information to pull in - especially if you have no real need for it. To save even more battery, you can also opt to manually update certain applications that continually look for new information like social networks, weather, and e-mail clients.



Tip #5: Turn off location and Bluetooth


Unless you’re driving somewhere or have some other dire need to keep your location on, there’s no real reason to keep that running in the background either. Same goes for Bluetooth. Both of these features are features that are typically used in spurts at a time, so when you’re not using them it’s best to turn them off for the sake of your battery.



Tip #6: No animated wallpapers!


They’re pretty to look at, and they look really cool sometimes in the background, but animated wallpapers are a beautiful enemy to your battery. Just the other day my mother proudly showed me her beautiful new animated wallpaper, and while it was indeed fun to watch, she had already been having battery problems and this was certainly not going to help. I didn’t want her to have to get rid of it since she liked it so much, but I did remind her to keep an eye on her battery life; should it have gone down (it did) the wallpaper would be the first thing to go. Of course, as the saying goes, beauty isn’t cheap.



Tip #7: Turn off 4G


If you can (because not all phones allow this anymore) turn off 4G and only use 3G. This might seem like a waste, but if you’re having battery issues then this might be one of the best ways to help save your battery. 4G is fast - really fast - but it’s also not so great on some batteries.



Tip #8: Closing background apps


Remembering to close background apps is another important one that I forget. I’m not one to trust app killers much these days, so I opt to manually close them out. If you don’t plan on opening an app again anytime in the near future, try to remember to close the app completely when you’re done.



Tip #9: Adjust your usage


This one can be hard to do, but if you’d rather have your phone last throughout the entire day, it might be time to tone it down a notch on the usage until another solution is found. Multimedia usage (especially ones that run off of the Internet) such as Netflix, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, etc. are all major battery hogs when used for lengthy periods of time. If you find that even after all of the tweaks above you still can’t make your battery last as long as you want, this may be the adjustment that needs to be made.



Tip #10: Battery replacement


This isn’t much of a battery saving tip, but if you’ve had your phone for a while and nothing (and I mean nothing) seems to help your case, you might need a simple battery replacement. Unfortunately, a lot of companies seem to be doing away with removable back covers which would make for easier replacements, but some phones still have this trait. If you can replace the battery yourself, check the battery and see if it’s either bloated, really hot, or perhaps indicative of liquid damage. If you can’t remove the back yourself, check the warranty and see if the company or your carrier can help you check your battery for issues.


Readers, what are some of the ways that you save your battery life? Does your battery last you as long as you need it to throughout the day? Let us know in the comments below!


Image via Hardware Sphere

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