It’s 6 AM, and it’s time to wake up. You unplug your phone, do your morning routine, and head off to work. Throughout the day, you use your smartphone quite often: Office documents, e-mails, messaging, maybe a little Pandora or Spotify, taking a few photos of that project you need to send to the boss, and - dare I say it - phone calls, your smartphone may very well play a vital part of your daily work life. And when you’re not at work? You might even be using your phone even more with games, Netflix, and social media.
Regardless of whether you’re using your phone for work or play, many users find that come mid-day to early evening you’re running a little thin on battery life. If you find that you’re one of the many smartphone users who struggle to keep their phone chugging safely throughout the day, check out these tips to help keep your phone afloat longer.
It has long been debated whether Wi-Fi helps or hurts your battery life. As it turns out, for most people, keeping it on is going to end up helping. A solid Wi-Fi connection is going to be less taxing on your phone’s battery than using your cellular network. Many work places, as well as home ISPs, provide free Wi-Fi service, so if you’re in range of a Wi-Fi network you can connect to you’ll be doing yourself a favor by using it rather than your cellular network.
If you’re not anywhere near a Wi-Fi network (and you won’t be anytime soon) you actually would be better off using your cellular network instead. However, turning off WiFi in between commutes won’t really help or hurt enough to notice, so you can just keep it turned on in such instances.
For most smartphone users, the screen is going to be one of the biggest (if not the biggest) offenders when it comes to loss of battery life. For most people, automatic brightness is a good solution if you travel between varying light sources. Alternatively, you can turn off auto brightness and adjust the levels yourself. Obviously the lower the brightness, the better. I generally keep mine very close to the low end of the spectrum, and I turn it up only as high as necessary to be able to see the screen comfortably. If you can do this, it should help preserve battery life considerably. Still, auto brightness is much better than having the brightness turned up all the way all the time.
To save more battery life, you can also play with the settings regarding how long your phone’s screen stays on before it locks.
A good chunk of smartphones these days run on LTE, or in the very least some form of 4G speeds. Enabling these higher speeds is a contributing factor in how long your battery can last; fortunately, most phones give you the ability to turn off LTE speeds if you want.
For most devices, you can navigate the settings and turn LTE down to HSPA+ speeds, 3G speeds, or even just 2G speeds. The lower the better, and if you’re often connected to a solid Wi-Fi network you probably won’t even notice that it’s been switched to something slower.
Smartphones are great for location-based services – when you want them. When you don’t, though, it can be a drag on your battery life. Social media apps, messengers, personal assistants like Siri and Cortana, and your browser all utilize location services if they’re enabled.
Most phones will allow you to control which apps can and can’t use your location services. Turn off as many of these as you can (but be aware of the loss of functionality you may experience by doing so; for example, “Find My Phone” type apps might be disabled as a result, but a warning should pop up to let you know what you could be losing as a result).
Opening up and switching apps can take its toll on your battery if you use a lot of them throughout the day, particularly if you have background data refreshing enabled on most of your apps. By going through the settings and configuring which apps can keep running in the background, you can save yourself some battery life by turning off the ones you don’t need.
This also goes hand in hand with how often your e-mail data is fetched. If you don’t often need your e-mails immediately, you can change how often e-mails are pushed through to you. A manual push (only when you open the e-mail app) is best if you can handle it.
When we download new apps, a lot of the time we brush past the part where we agree to the terms and conditions and yadda, yadda, yadda. Because of this, we often agree to let the apps update automatically. This can be troublesome in two ways: battery life and data usage. In general, I recommend just manually updating the apps yourself by checking every few days. This way you always know when it’s happening.
Cloud storage is a popular option when it comes to transferring and extending the amount of data we have in our smartphones, but many of these services make it so you’re automatically backed up. While convenient for backing things up without putting much thought into it, it’s not so convenient for your battery life. If you find that you need more battery life than you need your data backed up, consider turning off auto-sync and manually uploading the data whenever it’s convenient for you.
A lot of manufacturers have recently added in special power saving modes in their phones. Most will cost you certain features like automatic syncing, notifications, visual effects, and more, but when you’re running out of power they can be a huge boost to your battery life.
These are pretty much the heaviest hitters when it comes to preserving that precious battery life in your phone. Smartphones are heading towards a good place in regards to battery life, but we’re still in a spot where most smartphones leave much to be desired. If these tips still leave you needing a charger in the middle of the day, you might also consider a battery case for your phone.