Top 5 ways to improve your smartphone battery life

Mobile phones, Smartphones, Top Fives


It’s perhaps one of the most frustrating problems of the modern world (along with people not thanking you when you give way to them when you’re driving or losing your wireless connection when you are trying to work). You desperately need to make a call or check your email/Facebook/Twitter account and your phone suddenly dies.

Here we look at five ways to eek a little bit more out of your smartphone’s battery – though we still can’t guarantee you will get through the day without having to charge it at all! Sorry but modern life is rubbish sometimes..

1. Reduce screen brightness
You may love your smartphone’s colourful display and that picture of your child smiling oh so cutely up at you but the fact is it really kills the battery. Most phones include an auto-brightness feature that automatically adjusts the screen’s brightness to suit ambient lighting levels. But better still is to turn it down to the lowest setting possible.

2. Reduce access to GPS
Various apps use your phone’s GPS (Global Positioning System) to provide useful services such as nearby restaurants, petrol stations, local weather etc. But it’s worth reviewing which apps use the GPS and switching it off for those that you really don’t need GPS for. If, for example, it’s a screensaver or even a game then it’s unlikely you will need the app to have GPS access.

3. Turn Bluetooth and Wi-Fi off
Of course sometimes you do need to have these switched on, such as when you want to make a hands free call in the car or access the internet over a wireless connection without using your phone’s 4G connection. But they both seriously drain the battery. When you’re not using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi it’s best to switch them off completely. Android users can add the Wi-Fi toggle widget to their home screen to make this a one-tap process.

4. Turn off non-essential notifications
These days we’re all inundated with notifications from apps. If it’s a new What’s App message or maybe a news alert then fair enough, but if it’s a notification that lights up your screen to tell you that someone has a higher score in a game that you’ve been playing then it may not be essential! What’s more, if you do need to keep notifications turned on then it is – strangely – best to use a ringtone rather than vibrate mode. The vibrate function may be less anti-social than a ringtone but unfortunately it uses more energy.

5. Download Battery saving apps
By manually adjusting all of your phone’s settings it may be possible to to squeeze a few extra hours from your battery each day. Newer Android phones also include a Power Saver mode that helps manage the phone’s various power-sapping features by automatically dimming your screen and reducing the screen timeout setting. Alternatively you can look at downloading an app that will help you manage and optimise your mobile phone’s battery. These include apps such as Battery Doctor (available for Android and Apple iOS) and JuiceDefender (Android only).

And if all this fails look at investing in a portable battery charger..

If your smartphone really won’t hold its charge all day even after implementing all of the tips above, then maybe it’s time to consider a portable phone charger which can you keep in a handbag or suit pocket. Costing around £20-£40, these can usually be charged via the mains or your computer’s USB socket. Models include the Veho Pebble, Samsung’s ‘Panda’ external battery pack and Anker’s lipstick style charger.

Another solution that’s coming this summer is a wearable battery from Ampy. The manufacturer, which recently attracted $300,000 of investment via Kickstarter, says the device is capable of generating enough electricity from a day’s worth of walking (about 10,000 steps) to charge a smartphone for three hours. Price start at $95 (with an extra $15 to ship to the UK).

Chris Price
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