Saturday, September 20, 2014

Getting Better Battery Life from Your Smartphone

Getting Better Battery Life from Your Smartphone

 As technology continues to improve in the wireless industry, cell phones and tablets are doing much more in less time.  We have the ability to make payments, unlock applications through fingerprint scanners, and read barcodes from our mobile phones.  Take a guess at how many applications are available through all the app markets...over 1.7 billion!  So our phones have more functionality, access to more applications, transmit more data, have better processors, and run faster upload & download speeds, but one thing hasn’t improved – battery life.

As phone technology has developed at an amazing rate, battery life seems to have gotten worse.  My iPhone 5S battery seems to have about half the life of my iPhone 4, which I was using 4 years ago.  And compared to the flip-phone I used 8 years ago, where a full charge would last days, new 4G phone batteries can be dead after hours of heavy use.  This is no shocker, as phones are doing more and transmitting data at all times, but here are some tips to help save battery life when you need it.

  1. Set the “sleep mode” on your phone to 1-2 minutes.  When your phone’s screen is turned off, it’s using much less battery.

  2. Turn the backlight brightness down.  If the screens brightness is turned all the way up, you’re using more battery while your phone is turned on.

  3. Kill background apps when they’re not being used.  If you just were using Waze, the CNN app, or google maps, programs will continue to run in the background.  You can kill these apps after your done using them, and it will help to save on battery life.

  4. Perform backups at night, using wifi, when your phone is on the charger.  Backups through gmail, icloud, Verizon cloud, and backup assistant use a good amount of battery life, especially when it’s done on your service provider’s network.  Set automatic backups to run on wifi, and do them when you’re phone is normally on a charger (i.e. in the middle of the night).

  5. If you’re really in a pinch to conserve battery life, turn off wireless data for your applications.  Almost all aps transmit data, even when the applications are not open and being used.  You can turn off data to applications, or you limit the data to wifi.

  6. Don’t worry about waiting until your battery is dead to charge it.  Phone batteries are typically lithium-ion these days.  The old rule, waiting until your phone is dead to charge it, no longer applies.  It’s good to occasionally let it fully run down before charging it, but don’t worry about doing it every time.  If you expect to use your phone a lot, or you need as much battery as possible, fully charge it regardless of how much battery life you have left.

  7. If you’re in a remote area with bad coverage, turn off the data and cellular signals.  Your phone is going to spend a lot of effort and battery life trying to find a signal, and if the coverage is really bad, you probably won’t get a signal anyway.  Restrict the data and cellular signal, or put the phone in airplane mode, and you’ll have some battery life left when your back in service and need it.

  8. Things like GPS apps, streaming video, and streaming music will deplete your battery life quickly.  Anything that constantly relies on data transmission will use up the battery faster than normal.

  9. Choose the right phone.  If battery life is extremely important to you on a daily basis, look into phones that come with extended batteries.  Phone like the Droid Maxx, LG G2, and the HTC One Maxx all have larger stock batteries for better life.

  10.  Extended batteries and external chargers.  Aside from a few phones with internal batteries (i.e. iPhones and some Android devices), most phones have an extended battery which will provide longer battery life.  It is even possible to put en extended battery in an iPhone or android phone with an internal battery, although it’s a lot of work and it may void the manufacturing warranty.  In additional to extended batteries, you can purchase an external, portable battery pack. 


     These are very common and I use on all the time.  Anytime I travel, or know that I won't have access to a power source (car or home), I bring my portable charger with me.  They are small, have mulitple connection ports for different devices, and can fully charge a device 1-3 times depending on the portable charger. 


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