Unless you’re still using that faithful old Nokia 3210 you’ve had since the turn of the millennium, you probably find yourself constantly checking the battery life of your iPhone to make sure you’re not stuck on a desolate hillside in the middle of nowhere without being able call for help or (more importantly) left out of social plans, unable to see what your friends are up to or play Candy Crush Saga.
Battery drain for smartphone users isn’t a new phenomenon but since the launch of Apple’s iOS 7.1 mobile operating system iPhone users in particular have complained about dwindling battery life.
But according to former Apple Genius Bar worker Scotty Loveless, it’s not necessarily iOS itself that is causing batteries to drain quickly – but all the Apps that are running on it.
So does this mean we need to change the way we all use our phones and access the Apps we value so dearly or simply change our phones full-stop?
Here are nine tips you can try that might just increase the battery life of your smartphone:
1. Stop Closing Apps in the Background
You may have heard that closing Apps in the background increases your battery life – however, you may be surprised to learn the opposite is true.
In the same way that a car uses more petrol when you turn the ignition, a smartphone actually saps more battery life launching an App than keeping it “idling” in the background. So for Apps you use regularly, it’s probably best to leave them open, while closing the ones you only use once in a while.
2. Disable Push Notifications
If you can just about survive without constantly being told what the weather is doing, how your favourite team are getting on or the latest news headlines; then turn off your push notifications. Each time you get one of these push notifications, your phone wakes from sleep to illuminate your screen and wait for your potential action upon each notification. So think about it, receiving 50 notifications a day amounts to 8 minutes of your usage time.
3. Use Airplane Mode (even if you aren’t in an Airplane)
Should you find yourself somewhere with little or weak phone signal (that desolate hillside maybe?) your smartphone will increase its power to the antenna in order to maintain the strongest signal possible. When this happens then it’s time to cut your losses, as if you can’t make or receive calls or access data, then what’s the point in having the phone on anyway? Switch your settings to “Airplane Mode” in order to save whatever battery you have left for when you might need it most.
4. Disable Background App Refresh
This is a feature that allows Apps to check for new content and download updates even when they’re not running. All good in theory, but a terrible drain on your battery’s resources, especially if you have dozens of Apps installed. Facebook is one of the worst culprits for this, consuming a huge amount of memory and processing power, even when you’re not using it. So go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh to select the Apps you don’t want to automatically update.
5. Reduce Auto Lock Period
Obviously, for security reasons we all like to lock our phones and tablets when we aren’t using them. But most phones go into Auto-Lock mode after a period on inactivity anyway. So obviously the sooner the device goes to sleep the less battery it will drain. In order to reduce the amount of time before your Auto-Lock kicks in, go to Settings > General > Auto-Lock and set the interval to the shortest possible time.
6. Carry a charger
If the thought of not being able to use your phone when battery life becomes critical makes you go cold, why not consider carrying a charger around with you? This can either be in the form of a USB cable or there are some on the market that you pre-charge and can then use to boost your battery without the need for a plug. An external battery can also extend the life of your iPhone for almost twice the ordinary amount of time, though these will make your iPhone thicker in size and heavier to carry.
7. Turn off Location services
Smartphones use the inbuilt GPS for handy functions such as maps and weather updates. They also use this technology for updating pointless personal information or allowing people to know exactly where you are. It’s actually surprising how many Apps use the GPS and that all adds the pressure on your battery. Either turn off all of your location services or go into Settings and decide which Apps need to use it and, more importantly, which ones don’t.
8. Reduce the number of Apps you have
As we’ve established, Apps use up vital battery life. So if your phone is loaded with Apps you simply never use, have a good clear-out and get rid of them. Most Apps these days are free, so have a thing about what ones you don’t need – as you can always download them again (even those you’ve paid for).
9. Change your habits!
Maybe there’s nothing wrong with your phone battery at all? Maybe you simply use your phone far too much and should think about limiting the amount of time you spend on your devices?
Limit yourself and designate particular times of the day for tasks like checking messages, sending email and browsing websites. You’ll be amazed how much more use you will get out of your battery – as well as how productive your days can be.