Extend your cell phone battery life

September 29, 2016 — by KEN PERKINS


cell phone battery icon


I’m convinced cell phone users have been complaining about battery life since Martin Cooper made the first cell phone call in 1973.

While other cell phone technologies have advanced rapidly – as one example we have bigger, brighter, higher-rez screens than ever – battery technology advances haven’t kept pace.

Everyone needs their phone battery to last longer. Everyone also knows you can buy a battery case or an extended life battery for your phone.

But here are some not-so-obvious tips to help you extend your phone’s battery life.

cell phone battery use pic

The screen typically uses more power than anything else on your smartphone.

1. Dial down your screen
For most smartphone users, your phone’s big, beautiful display will suck away more battery than any other component of your device.

It takes a lot of power to light up that vibrant, high resolution screen. So to preserve your battery, turn down the brightness level.

But there is actually conflicting advice about how to best manage your screen brightness.

Some tipsters say you should TURN ON your phone’s auto-brightness feature to dynamically raise or lower screen brightness based on current local lighting conditions.

Ideally this will always keep your screen from being brighter than it needs to be, thereby saving power.

But others advise you to TURN OFF the auto-brightness feature, and then turn down your screen brightness manually.

Their thinking is that you will save battery power because your screen brightness will not automatically rise – you will have to adjust it manually if you need a brighter screen.

Whichever method works for you one thing is clear, to preserve battery power you must manage your screen brightness level.

In fact, if you activate your phone’s Power Saver mode, what happens? Your screen immediately dims!

2. Turn off unneeded transceivers
Before you say “What?,” let me explain. Your smartphone has multiple transceivers that send and receive signals which provide useful functions.

Examples are GPS, Bluetooth, and NFC, as well as the more familiar LTE and Wifi. GPS typically drains more power than the others.

So if you’re, say, riding on your commuter train and don’t need GPS, turn it off. Ditto for NFC.

If you’re not using any Bluetooth devices and your train has no Wifi, then turn those off too and save power.

Any time you can turn off transceivers you don’t need, you’ll preserve your battery.

3. Cut down on update notifications
Your messaging apps probably send you a notification whenever there’s a new email, or tweet or Facebook post to view.

Many other information or news apps also push out notifications of activity or updates. These can be wonderfully convenient, but your battery pays a price.

To save power, change the settings on these apps from auto notification to manual. This means you will have to specifically check each app for updates.

But the payoff is that it preserves significant battery life.

Now, you may not want to set ALL your apps to manual update. Your team at work won’t appreciate it if you fail to respond to Slack messages in a timely manner.

Strike a balance. You probably don’t need to immediately see every baseball score or each bit of political news. So cut down notifications and save power.

4. Treat your battery well
All cell phone batteries gradually lose their capacity to hold a full charge. That’s a fact and there’s nothing technology can do about it right now.

But you can slow this capacity loss by taking care of your battery.

Most important: AVOID HIGH HEAT. Heat damages all batteries. Don’t leave your phone where it could get really hot. Like in a parked car with windows up during summer months.

Second, if possible never let your battery fully discharge. If you’re under 5% charge remaining, turn your phone off until you can connect to a charger.

Finally, don’t worry about leaving your phone connected to the charger after the battery reaches 100%. The battery will NOT get overcharged or otherwise damaged when left connected to the charger.


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TAGS: understanding cell phone facts

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