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How to Improve Your Cell Phone Battery Life

Estimated reading time: 14 minutes

Let’s face it. Nothing is more frustrating than a dead cell phone battery. We have become so reliant on these devices that anything that prevents us from being connected 24/7 is a problem.

And with all the new features included in modern cell phones, the battery drain is increased. So how do you make your cell phone battery last longer?

“There are a few tricks to increasing cell phone battery life.”

The first trick is the easiest. Just turn it off. If you are not expecting a call, or in a situation where you can’t take a call, turn it off. Your provider’s voice mail system will still answer the call. In fact, it will get to voice mail quicker.

The second idea involves the ringer and vibrator. First, don’t use vibrate if you don’t need it. The vibrator uses more power than the ringer. The second choice would be to use one or the other where possible. If the phone has to go through the vibrator and then all the way through the ring cycle, that’s a lot of power for a call you probably aren’t going to take anyway. And speaking of noises, turn off all the key and button noises. They are unnecessary and use power.

A major drain on power in any device is the light. Turn off the backlight on the phone if you don’t need it. And when you do need it, turn the power down as low as it will go and still be useful. Also, most functions that use a light have a timer on it. Set it as short as possible, so the light shuts itself off quickly.

Another huge drain on battery life are the various transmitters and receivers on the phone. The phone uses enough power just looking for a cell signal. If you don’t use them, turn off Bluetooth, and any Wi-Fi or infrared signal your phone might have. Also, this may take a little digging, but turn off the phones auto time setting function. If your phone has to check the time every few seconds, that can be another drain.

The screen is usually the single largest consumer of power on your phone.  When walking in bright daylight, maximum brightness is usually a necessity. Be sure, however, to turn it back down to a reasonable level once ambient light levels have fallen.  Features such as an automatic backlight can actually be a drain on the battery, as they use power to periodically check for changing light levels.  To save even more battery, go into the Display settings and change the Sample Interval to 5 seconds or more, or just disable the feature altogether and manage it manually.

Widgets are essentially small visual Apps that are constantly running on your desktop. This “constantly running” part is key–anything that is operating at all times also requires power at all times.  Try to limit widget usage to items that are absolutely necessary.  The greatest drain comes from Widgets which need to constantly update information, like Facebook or Twitter.  This continuous exchange of data means that your phone is accessing the internet and working away, even when you’re not actually using it.

The environment can also be a drain on a battery. Temperatures that are too hot or too cold will drain a battery quickly. Try and avoid situations where your phone will be left in a place where the temperatures are very hot or very cold.

Obvioiusly, how you use the phone can have a great impact on the life of the battery. If you are in a situation where you need to conserve the battery life, keep the calls short. Phone calls are the number one drain on battery life. Also, don’t waste battery life on other functions such as games, internet, or GPS features.

A little common sense and proper care can keep your battery charged and ready for that next important phone call.

The tips for extending the life of your smartphone battery

Smartphones are packed with features designed to make life easier and more enjoyable, while also increasing connectivity to other people.

Smartphones serve many useful functions, including the ability to make phone calls, send and receive texts and emails, access social networking sites, listen to music, watch videos, play games, download apps and even serve as navigation devices.

Unfortunately, these features place huge demands on the battery life of your device, causing the battery to drain quickly. The following tips can make a big difference in extending the life of your smartphone battery.

1) Activate energy-saving mode

Most smartphones come with a built-in energy saving option. Energy-saving mode will automatically tweak various settings to conserve the battery. However, this option may not be suitable for everyone, as it could alter essential settings and have an adverse affect on some applications.

2) Talk

Voice calls use up surprisingly little battery power compared with other forms of communication. Sending texts, for example, can use up to four times as much battery power as talking on the phone.

3) Disable animations

Animated wallpapers, screensavers and menu items use up extra battery power. Conserve your smartphone battery by using static wallpapers and turning off unnecessary menu animations and visual effects.

4) Update the operating system

Check for updates to the operating system, as newer versions often include improved energy saving options. Some, but not all, smartphones automatically check for updates.

5) Download a power-management application

There are several applications, or apps, available to help manage the power settings on your smartphone. Most free power management apps allow you to tweak settings to conserve the battery, while also offering a paid upgrade for more advanced options.

6) Keep it cool

Keep your smartphone away from sources of heat, as overheating can damage the battery cells. Store your smartphone in a cool case or bag when you take it outdoors, and try to avoid exposing it to strong sunlight.

7) Dim the screen

The backlight of your smartphone screen can place huge demands on the battery. Reducing the brightness of your screen will extend the life of your battery. In addition, you can reduce the timeout settings for your screen. Some smartphones automatically adjust the screen brightness in different situations.

8) Disable GPS

GPS location services can be useful for some applications. However, leaving GPS turned on constantly will drain your battery, as it constantly scans for your location. Switch off GPS when it is not needed.

9) Close unused applications

Unused applications often run in the background, draining the resources of your smartphone, including the battery. Check the list of running applications to see what is running. If there are unnecessary processes or services running, switch them off and prevent them from running at start up.

10) Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

When your smartphone has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, it is continually scanning for available networks and devices. This uses a large amount of battery power. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when they are not needed.

11) Disable vibrations

The vibrate function of your smartphone will use more battery power than audible notifications. Turn off the vibrate function, wherever possible, or reduce the amount of vibrations for each notification. Some individual applications also allow you to change the vibration settings.

12) Change auto-sync settings

Auto-sync settings vary depending on the smartphone, operating system and individual applications. Ideally, in order to conserve as much battery as possible, you should turn off auto-sync. Alternatively, increase the amount of time between auto-sync tasks.

Smartphone batteries tend to drain quickly, even with minimal use, but following these simple tips will help to conserve your battery power and increase the life of your battery. You should also aim to replace your smartphone battery every 12-24 months, as it will degrade over time.

13) Turn down the brightness of your display

You can save battery power by setting the brightness of your display to automatic. When the display brightness is set to automatic, your device will choose the optimum brightness depending on the conditions. Because most Android users spend a large amount of time indoors, this setting will be quite low. However, if you would like more control over how much power you save, the recommended setting for display brightness is 20 percent. To adjust the brightness of your display go to Menu > Settings > Display > Brightness.

14) Connect to Wi-Fi at home

Android devices use 3G or 4G mobile networks when on the move. If you are staying at home, however, you can save battery power by connecting your device to your home Wi-Fi. Android devices use less power when connected to a local area network.

One more thing you will need to do is to change the Wi-Fi setting to stay connected in sleep mode. This is necessary to avoid being disconnected when not using the device. When the device disconnects from Wi-Fi, it will automatically reconnect to 3G or 4G, and this will drain the battery much faster. To modify this advanced Wi-Fi setting, go to Menu > Settings > Wireless and Networks > Wi-Fi >  Menu > Advanced. Here you can change the Wi-Fi sleep policy to never.

15) Adjust application synchronization settings

Many Android applications continue to work in the background when not in use. This is called background synchronization. If your synchronization settings are set to automatic, applications will continually check for fresh data, which uses a large amount of power. While you can change basic synchronization settings from the Settings menu on your device (go to Menu > Settings > Accounts and Sync ), the settings of an application offer a much higher degree of control.

Applications like Twitter and Facebook allow users to set a sync interval time. For Twitter and Facebook the maximum sync interval you can set is four hours. This means that your device will load in fresh data every four hours. The minimum sync interval is 30 minutes. Facebook also enables users to set synchronization to manual. That way, you have to retrieve new posts yourself by refreshing the screen.

Adjusting the synchronization settings of your most important applications will stop the battery from draining so quickly.

16) Turn off the GPS

The GPS (global positioning) function of your Android device doesn’t just require a lot of power to run, it can also prevent your phone from going into sleep mode. That is why it is a good habit to switch of the GPS function when you don’t need it. Switching it off will keep applications that are working in the background from activating the GPS. If you don’t switch off the GPS, your device will keep using battery power while it is trying to locate satellites to connect to. The GPS settings can be found under Menu > Settings > Security and Location > Enable GPS satellites.

17) Don’t use task killers

Task killers are applications from which you can stop other applications from working in the background, thus improving the performance of your Android device and saving the battery at the same time. Unfortunately, in all but a few older versions of Android these task killers are no longer effective.

Android devices are designed to use mainly RAM (random access memory). Many Android users think that if their device’s RAM looks full, it will impact on performance, but that is not true. Performance is determined by the device’s CPU (central processing unit), and task killers have no effect on this. Instead the task killer is just another application using up CPU cycles and eating away at your battery life.

Tweaking the settings on your Android device can dramatically improve the life of your battery. You can use these tips separately, or together, in any combination. It is also worth it to look at each application individually to see if you can improve settings there.

Of course you can always keep a portable power pack handy for emergencies, but by applying these tips you should be able to get through a full working day with your device.

18) Charge Smart

Your battery’s potential hinges almost entirely on your charging habits. There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings floating around the Internet about proper charging technique. The most notorious of these myths (and potentially most detrimental) is the notion of the “battery memory effect.”

The memory effect postulates that a battery which isn’t charged above a certain threshold regularly will “forget” that it can use the extra capacity above the threshold. If a battery isn’t charged above 90 percent regularly it could lose the ability to charge above that mark. Eventually the battery will tell your phone that 90 percent is 100 percent. Therefore it is essential to charge your battery to 100 percent regularly, and keep it there as much as possible. The memory effect is a real and demonstrated phenomenon, and can severely limit the potential of nickel-based batteries. One problem, however, is that nickel-based (or NiCd) batteries are virtually nonexistent in current phones.

If your phone was manufactured after 2011, it almost certainly contains a lithium-ion battery, the new industry norm.

While the batteries have changed, the understanding of the technology has not. Lithium-ion batteries have made the memory effect a thing of the past, yet many people still keep their phone charged to maximum capacity as much as possible. This can be potentially damaging to your lithium-ion battery’s potential. Your battery’s life is harmed by continuous charging. This isn’t to say that your phone shouldn’t be regularly charged to full capacity- a full charge keeps your battery fresh by activating its entire capacity. Bring your phone to a full charge once a day, but do not leave it on the charger when not in use once your battery is full. Avoid “quick” charges, or short periods of charging to bring your battery life up just a little to get by. It can be tempting to charge your phone for 20 or 30 minutes when you find time, but doing so regularly is damaging to your battery. Only charge your phone when you know it can stay on the charger for at least an hour.

19) Discharge Smart

While proper charging is paramount to a healthy battery life, the subsequent discharge is critical in keeping your battery healthy for the long term. Do not leave your phone charging continuously once it has reached maximum capacity.

Though most modern chargers will automatically cut the current when the battery is full, it will reactivate the current once your battery dips below a certain threshold — usually 98 percent. This means your battery will be continuously charging and discharging only within 98 and 100 percent range. To keep your battery healthy, you need to allow it to charge fully and subsequently discharge to “work out” the entire spectrum of capacity.

Allow your phone to discharge through normal use on a regular basis, but set a capacity “floor” to decide when to start charging again.

Letting your phone reach a critically low capacity (under 10 percent) on a regular basis can be catastrophic for a battery’s capacity potential. Let your phone discharge to 20 to 30 percent capacity before charging, then use smart charging techniques to recharge your battery.

You’ve probably heard of the “full discharge” theory, which states that you must regularly let your battery completely die to preserve its capacity. While there is no evidence this technique will harm your battery, there is no concrete evidence that it will benefit your battery either. If you are regularly dipping below 10 percent it is a good idea to simply let the battery die as opposed to charging from there, but don’t worry about making an effort to execute a full discharge.

20) Use Smart

Modern cell phones have more capabilities than even the most cutting-edge technology of a few decades ago. There’s nothing wrong with embracing these features and getting the most out of your phone, whether it’s staying connected or passing time with a game. However, don’t go overboard. Games devour battery charge, making smart charging and discharging practices nearly impossible. If you find yourself playing over an hour of mobile games a day, it is probably worthwhile to invest in a handheld gaming system. Cell phones which are used for over an hour of gaming a day are more susceptible to battery damage.

Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not in use. If you know there is a network in your current location, turn on your Wi-Fi adapter and connect. If not, don’t leave your adapter constantly searching for open networks.

Avoid using your phone during charging. Many people avoid draining their battery by gaming with their phone plugged in; this is the cardinal sin of battery maintenance. Charging during use puts your battery in a sort of limbo, a high stress situation in which it is constantly losing and gaining charge. Not only does this state of limbo harm your battery’s potential, it causes your battery to heat up rapidly. Gaming and charging are the two activities that will heat your battery up the most, and combining the two can be catastrophic. Heating of the battery is not only damaging to its capacity potential, it can lead to death of the battery or even a battery rupture, which almost certainly will kill your phone entirely.

Your phone’s battery is a complex tool that is susceptible to damage just like any other piece of technology. Allow your phone to charge completely, but be sure to unplug it and subject it to normal use once it reaches 100 percent. Discharge your phone normally, but set a limit at which you recharge it, usually 20 to 30 percent. Avoid reaching critically low capacity, and if you do, let the battery die. Avoid using your phone (especially for gaming) while it’s charging.

By following these steps you can ensure that your battery will be capable of holding a charge all day for years to come.