When is a smartphone not a smartphone? When it’s also a data storage center, high-end camera, computer, calculator, weather station, message center, jukebox, and bookstore. It’s difficult to imagine getting through the day without a smartphone, which makes running out of juice so much more distressing. If you feel as though you are perpetually looking for an outlet to charge your smartphone, you’re not alone.
- Change Settings. Every modern cell phone comes equipped with a battery saving mode. This mode modifies how the central processing unit is used for screen brightness, notifications, and the many different apps available for download. The battery saving mode is often found in Settings and turning it on may be one of the easiest ways to extend battery life.
- Get Personal. Sending a text or email may be faster than making a call, particularly if the person you’re calling tends to be a talker. Before you send that email from your cell phone though, remember this: using your data connection (by emailing) uses between two and four times the battery power as calling someone.
- Make Updates. Manufacturers tend to improve power consumption capabilities with each new smartphone version released. Take the time to update your operating system. The latest version can save battery power.
- Be Picky About Pushing. Just in case the phrase is new to you, a “push” notification is a message that pops up on your smartphone. It may be that you have an incoming email or text, or perhaps a message from one of the apps installed on your phone. All pushes are battery drains. For example, if you’re one of those people whose smartphone is set to check for messages on a near-constant basis, you’re draining your battery.
- Change Defaults. There is a better than average chance that you never changed the default settings on your smartphone following its purchase. If you’ve discovered that you can live without knowing every time someone posts something on Facebook and would be just fine without hearing a “ding” every time a new email comes in, switching the default settings on your phone will save your battery while removing some of the white noise from your life.
- Keep Ringtones Simple. Consider using one of the standard ringtones that came with your fresh-from-the-factory smartphone. Those musical ringtones you download may be lovely but — because they use the phone’s processor — require greater battery strength.
- Control Information Services. One of the marvels of smartphones concerns the sheer amount of information they provide. If you are constantly reminded of how your stocks are doing or what’s going on in the news, you can save your battery by closing the sites and apps feeding that information to your phone.
- Watch the Temperature. The lithium-ion battery in your smartphone maintains its optimal long-term charge when stored in temperatures between 32 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit. It may not be uncommon to put your smartphone in your pocket or handbag on a cold day, but doing so is a bad idea. Once the temperature drops below 32 degrees, the amount of battery power is reduced. Conversely, leaving your smartphone out in the sun or mounted on the dashboard for hours can cause it to heat to temperatures over 113 degrees. Once it hits that threshold, the battery begins to degrade at a rapid pace.
- Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Go into “Settings” and switch Bluetooth and Wi-Fi access off when you’re not using them.
- Plug It In. Charge your phone whenever possible for hours of extra battery strength. There’s no need to worry about overcharging because your smartphone has a lithium-ion battery that thrives on being charged. If you don’t have an outlet nearby, remember to give it a charge in the car while on the road.
If your battery is dangerously low, there are two emergency steps to take:
- Switch to airplane mode. The moment you switch over to airplane mode, several battery-sucking services stop. The phone will stop burning energy in an attempt to find a cell tower, stop trying to figure out where you are based on GPS, stop syncing with Bluetooth, and will stop its search for Wi-Fi service.
- Charge as soon as possible. Charging your phone while it’s in airplane mode will cut the time it takes to get your battery back to 100 percent.
It’s nice to imagine a day when phone batteries will last for weeks or months, but until that time we can learn to conserve the battery strength available to us.