How To Extend Smartphone Battery Life Substantially

Habit Adjustments Could Significantly Increase Your Battery Life

I see various articles recommend tips for increasing the battery life of smartphones and tablet PCs. However, they are primarily focused on settings such as backlight dimming time, aeroplane mode, and turning on power saving features. However, they seldom mention habits which affect battery life more than anything. New battery technology isn’t the answer to this problem, it is a change of habits.

My article below contains the techniques which make my phone and tablet last a week between charges, easily, and the batteries never die on me (because I keep them charged). My tablet battery started out lasting one day, now it easily lasts a week between charges with frequent use because of my power saving habits. If you take up all the habits below, your battery will never run out, and it won’t have to be replaced as frequently.

Adjusting Screen Brightness Will Definitely Increase Battery Life

If you intend to use your phone outside or on a veranda, feel free to crank the screen brightness all the way up. However, when you go back inside, remember to turn it back down to about 70% during sunny periods (especially if you’re near a window), and turn it all the way down to 10% in the dark (with your room lamps switched off). Turn the brightness down to 40% to 60% during cloudy weather (if indoors).

I know that this doesn’t sound convenient, but it isn’t as inconvenient as it sounds. If you get into the habit of opportunistically adjusting your brightness, it will be very easy for you (especially in Android, which offers easy access to brightness control).

A 3.7 volt, 3.8 Wh, 1.02 Ah Nokia cellphone battery (lithium-ion). Image Credit: Kompulsa.

If your device enables you to customize the interface so that you’ll have the quickest access to brightness control, that would be very helpful. During the week of Hurricane Sandy, I had no electricity.

This tip made my Kindle battery last the entire week on one charge by turning the brightness down and putting it in sleep mode immediately after I stopped using it. So, if you are checking Facebook every 45 minutes, still put it in sleep mode in between, it definitely helps.

Sleep Mode Increases Battery Life

Shutting the smartphone or tablet off, or using sleep/standby mode will substantially increase your battery life. Some people think turning electrical devices off and back on will increase power consumption. This is a myth which has been proven wrong multiple times.

It is a distortion of the fact that devices will initially draw more current than they usually do on start up, but this is only for seconds, so the power consumption caused by turning devices off and on is nowhere near as much as the power consumed by leaving them on for even a few minutes. You can learn more about this on the power consumption page.

Altering Charging Habits Can Significantly Extend Your Battery Life

Recharge your device opportunistically. Lithium-ion battery technology (which powers every smartphone) has no problem with this and will not suffer from the ‘memory effect’ that older nickel cadmium battery technology did. Once a month, it is good to discharge them fully, though, and don’t leave them plugged in. Learn about how to recharge lithium-ion batteries on Battery University.

I would recommend planning your Facebook visits, etc, and trying to group them into a certain time period so you won’t have to plug your smartphone or tablet in and out every hour. My tablet battery doesn’t die for several months of time because of this. My phone battery doesn’t die for a few months at a time too.

If your device has an available accessory such as a tiny, pocket-sized charger, then please buy it and carry it with you on long trips. You’ll be surprised at how small charger technology has gotten. It is very convenient.

Times at which I would recommend recharging include, but are not limited to:

  • Whenever the battery level drops below 50%.
  • When you’re showering.
  • While you’re outside mowing the lawn, watering flowers, washing the car, bathing the dog, and anything else that might take a little while.
  • When watching TV.
  • When laying on the bed and listening to music.
  • Every night while you sleep.
  • If you’re like most people, you could benefit from spending a little less time texting and browsing Facebook. I would recommend setting a time each day away from those things, and plug it in.

Apart from that, keeping your battery charged extends its lifespan so you can spend less money replacing it, and less time suffering with poor capacity. Lithium-ion battery wear worsens as state-of-charge (battery level) decreases.

Unnecessary Apps And Services May Drain Your Battery

In the case of Android, a Service is a program that will continue to run in the background until you stop it, unlike the other apps which Android will remove from memory if necessary. If you are low on battery life, I wouldn’t recommend leaving music playing in the background unless you really want to listen to it. In general, don’t leave anything that you aren’t using running. I would also recommend periodically uninstalling apps that you don’t use.

Conclusion: Despite the fact that new, energy-dense lithium-ion technology has the potential to increase battery life, people’s smartphones are using more power (partly due to the fact that they spend so much time doing resource-intensive tasks such as video playback, heavy downloading, among other things. This is why greater effort is needed to achieve acceptable battery life.

Leaving Wi-Fi On In Public Places

When you go out to public places, your smartphone will be busy scanning for Wi-Fi networks the whole time unless you choose one and sign in. This will drain your battery startlingly quickly (imagine losing half your battery life in only a few hours). The solution is to turn off Wi-Fi before leaving your home.

Wireless Charging Pads Can Keep Your Phone Charged

If you set up wireless charging mats/pads in the numerous places that you usually rest your phone, such as your night table, desk, dining table, and even your counter top and place your phone on them every time you need to put it down, you’ll find that battery life will become much more manageable. This may be one of the most helpful tips yet. This makes the opportunistic charging suggestions above much easier.

Read technology-related news in the technology category, and more technology reference articles in the technology library.

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