8 Ways To Improve Your Phone's Battery Life
Nothing is more frustrating than a phone that can’t even make it through a full day without needing a date with the charger. For those who are running out, there is a range of simple ways to dramatically improve your battery life, so read on!
Real World Battery Usage
Just in case anyone is suffering from any misconceptions, it’s OK to charge your phone at any level, not just when it is flat. It’s also perfectly fine to leave it plugged in to the charger, even when full charged. That said, Android’s inbuilt battery monitoring can get out of wack, but is easily recalibrated. Fully drain your device, until it turns off, then fully charge without turning it back on. Repeat this at least twice, and your battery monitor should be more accurate. If your battery simply won’t last, it’s worth considering getting it replaced — most phone repair shops can do it cheaply.
Android has loads of information about what’s eating through your battery. Jump into ‘Settings > Battery’ to get a breakdown. For many users, the screen will be the top result but look for rogue apps (such as Facebook) that are using more than their fair share. Tapping an entry brings up more data, and also allows you to force stop the app. A common way apps can use too much power is by keeping the GPS on permanently. High battery use for Cell Standby (or similar) could indicate you have poor reception, and the phone is needing to boost its signal. Apps such as music or video streaming can also stay active in the background when they should be sleeping. Under Battery, open the settings sub menu (three dots top right) and select ‘Battery optimization’, and let Android handle it for you.
That display backlight is a power hog, so try turning down the brightness and minimising the time it is on. Head into ‘Settings > Display’ for further options, such as enabling adaptive brightness if it’s not already on. Reducing the time it takes for the phone to sleep saves further battery, as does turning off Ambient display, which briefly turns the screen on when you receive a notification. Not directly screen related, but active wallpapers can also use a chunk of extra power.
Another big user of power is your cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and even NFC connections. Simply turning everything off does not make for a very usable device, but a few simple tweaks can help. Connecting to Wi-Fi where possible generally reduces power use compared to mobile data. Having Wi-Fi disconnected, but still active, uses a little power too, as it’s always searching for connections. The free app, Smart WiFi Toggler (smartwifitoggler. com) can be used to automatically turn Wi-Fi off when not at home, and only turn it back on when you are in a location with a known network to connect to, such as work. Keep NFC and Bluetooth off unless you use them frequently. You can also save power by going to ‘Settings > Location’ and changing from high accuracy mode.
Sync or Swim
A common unexpected battery drain is background syncing. Having your email and Facebook pop up new notifications right away is handy, but also uses extra battery power in the background. Backups also can consume power, such as Google Photos automatically uploading your happy snaps. It varies from app to app, but most have an option to limit background syncing — check in the Settings menu. Turning on Android’s Battery optimisation (‘Settings > Battery’) also helps restrict background activity.
Emergency Power Saving
Found under ‘Settings > Battery’, the emergency power saving mode can be set to turn on automatically at 5% or 15% capacity or be activated manually. The mode goes all out to minimise power use and even scales back performance. It also turns off location services, limits vibrations, cuts down background data use and kills background syncing.
Battery Saver Apps
There are loads of apps that promise the world when it comes to power reduction, but most don’t deliver. Android 6 and newer also has loads of built-in ways to optimise battery life, but there are still a few third-party apps worth a look. One of my favourites is Greenify (goo.gl/LSsNw), which has a unique way off-putting selected background apps into ‘hibernation’. This means that even if an app is a battery hog, it’s cut off unless you have it open. This is very handy for apps that you need to use, but keep using too much power without another fix. Another option for those who just want an all-in-one solution, is Avast Battery Saver (www.avast.com), as well as the Intel backed Mobile Booster (www.mcafee.com). It’s a bit gimmicky, but ‘Battery Doctor (Battery Saver)’ (www.cmcm.com) make it easy to schedule different power saving modes to enable automatically — such as when at work.
All the battery savings techniques in the world can’t stave off the need to charge forever. For those always on the go, a power bank is a must-have accessory to keep your phone topped up.But not all models are created equal and there are some key points to look out for. First, buy a decent brand, not a no-name cheapy, as it is unlikely to have the stated capacity. Depending on your smartphone, a 5,000mAh battery bank is about the minimum to give a full charge(with a bit leftover)—but double this for tablets. Look for a power bank with dual USB ports that output at least 2A. If your phone supports fast charging, a fast charge power bank can help bring back 20% or more battery in minutes. Ideally get a power bank that supports pass-through charging, so it can be charged while also charging your phone. My favourite fast charge model is the XiaomiPower BankPro, or for high-end quality, the Belkin MIXIT Power Rockstar range.