Whether it’s a busy workday or an international adventure, one thing’s pretty much guaranteed: your phone will be dead or dying when you need it the most. Here are some easy ways to power up fast and preserve battery life.
We all know the feeling: you’re lost, or bored, or observing an adorable moment. You pull out your amazing smartphone to get directions, play a game, or snap a picture, and you hear the dreaded beep. A beep that tells you your battery is on its last bar. You need power, and now! What do you do?
Smartphones add features almost faster than the market can keep up, but the feature that hasn’t really improved that much is battery life. Depending on how many bells and whistles you have running at any given time, your smartphone is likely to become real dumb before the day is over.
Thankfully, there are some tricks to extending battery life, and charging quickly when your phone is needed immediately. Study them well and share liberally–you’ll be the hero of your airport gate crowd.
1. Switch to airplane mode when charging
Switching to airplane mode disables all of your phones transmitting functions–no internet, no apps. This means all available power heads directly to the battery. You won’t be able to get any calls or texts during this time, but you’ll get the biggest charge out of the few minutes you can stay connected to the outlet.
2. Turn off radios you aren’t using
If you can’t go completely incommunicado, just disable GPS, Wifi, and Bluetooth functions (most advanced smart phones make it easy to pick and choose). On the iPhone this is in the Settings menu under Location Services. Lots of apps are constantly using GPS to determine your location, even if you’re not actively using the app. Disabling these functions ensures you can still get a call or text, but you’ll preserve power and charge faster.
3. Dim your screen
Most new phones come with the screen brightness cranked up high because it makes images on the screen look amazing. Unfortunately, that much light takes a big bite out of your battery. Set your screen’s brightness at half-mast or below. You’ll still be able see calls and emails, and your battery will thank you.
4. Limit notifications
Do you need to know every time someone likes a picture on Facebook or makes a move on Words with Friends? Limiting or disabling app notifications, especially those that update often like Twitter or email, can slow battery drain and reduce the amount of times a day you turn on the screen to find out which app is alerting you. Set them to only ping once (in the case of email or text) or not at all.
5. Pay for apps
That’s right. Research suggests that free, ad-supported apps drain battery life. In one case, 75 percent of an app’s energy consumption was used just to power the ads! That’s enough to turn anyone into an Angry Bird. If you know you’ll be using an app frequently, shell out the buck or two for the add-free version. Your battery will thank you.