How to improve your smartphone battery life
Phones these days, eh? You can browse the web, watch movies, find your nearest coffee shop and play the latest games, all on one pocket-size device. Some mobiles even let you make phone calls!
One thing you may struggle to do, is get more than a day’s battery life out of your smartphone. Gone are the days of the hearty Nokia that would last four 4 weeks and keep going despite being dropped, washed or kicked along the way, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a few little tweaks to get the best out of your battery.
Here’s our guide to squeezing every last drop of juice out of your smartphone battery.
General smartphone battery tips
There a few simple things you can do to enhance a smartphone's battery life, regardless of which make and model you have:
Disable any un-needed connections
It’s amazing how much battery life can be used just by having things enabled that you will never use.
- If you’re not using mobile internet, drop the signal down to 2G or turn it off all together.
- If you’re not connected to a wireless network, disable your Wi -Fi
- GPS Bluetooth and NFC can all be turned off when you don’t need them. If you do get hopelessly lost you can always turn the GPS back on and let your little mobile Columbus guide you home.
- Live Wallpapers are pretty and they make your phone background look a fish bowl, night sky or charming field, but they can pummel your battery. Sticking to a still image will help your battery life
- Setting the screen to auto-brightness will ensure your phone reacts to the light around it and dims accordingly. Setting the brightness to minimum will do wonders for your phone's battery, but don’t bank on being able to see the screen on a sunny day.
- You can alter the frequency with which your phone checks Facebook, Twitter and emails. The minimum is usually best, as the app will update when you open it anyway, meaning you’ll always be seeing the latest information. Unless you’re someone with millions of followers like Barack Obama or Peter Andre, it’s unlikely that you need your social feed to update every 10 minutes.
There are also a few things specific to different phones that can help your battery life:
Apple iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S battery optimisation
- Ensure your phone is running the latest version of its software, Apple have released a few fixes that should stop unnecessary battery drain.
- Turn the equaliser setting off in the settings menu. The equaliser alters the sound of music output but can also alter the life of your battery.
- Some apps continue to run in the background even after you press the home button to close them, so it’s best to double check these are closed down. To do this, double tap the home button and a row of icons will appear, simply hold your finger down over one of the icons until a red circle shows up in the top corner, then tap this circle to close each of the apps individually.
Android battery life boosts
- Homescreen widgets are handy, as they let you see your news feeds and emails at a glance. Activating too many widgets at a time will drain your phone's battery life, as each one is likely to be regularly downloading data in the background.
- Like the iPhone, Android smartphones can run apps in the background while completing other tasks. To see which apps are currently running, simply go to settings and then tap 'applications', followed by 'manage applications'. You will then be presented with a list of running applications and have the choice to close any that are particularly power-hungry.
- There are also apps that claim they can help your battery life and, though most will probably use more battery than they save, Juice Defender has received good reviews but has varying levels of success depending on your handset. Still, if your mobile's battery life is really getting to you then it’s probably worth a go.
If you have a slightly older BlackBerry smartphone, chances are you’ll be getting days of use out of your battery anyway. If you have one of the newer, more powerful models, such as the 9900 or 9790, then you may be getting less battery than you bargained for. Included in the latest Blackberry software update (7.1), which is rolling out to phones now through the blackberry desktop software, is a battery saving mode. By default this is set to kick in when your battery drops below 20%, although setting this to ‘always on’ can have a massive impact on extending your battery life.
Windows Phone 7
For the most part, the steps mentioned above are the best way to preserve your battery life on a windows phone. If you have a Nokia Lumia there is also a battery saving mode which you can turn on, although it’s much stricter than the blackberry equivalent - meaning that you won’t get any emails or notifications unless you manually check for them, but texts and phone calls will come through fine.
If you follow the steps above then you should see an improvement in your battery life, although at the end of the day, smartphones are basically tiny computers that you hold in your hand so they tend to use a lot of power in comparison to phones of the past. But let’s face it; Angry Birds is worth it, right?