Smartphones are becoming increasingly more ‘smart’, and we’re relying on them to do more and more things, from surfing the web, to watching videos and taking photos, to even paying for things. But battery life is the limiting factor and there is nothing more frustrating when you run out of juice, especially when you need it most. This year there have already been a slew of announcements as the mobile industry look at how to improve battery life. On the charging side, earlier this year Chinese firm Oppo demoed its new battery charging technology which will charge up a phone in just 15 minutes. Always-on displays like those found in the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 also have AMOLED screens which can save battery life as you don’t need to keep powering up and turning on the screen to check notifications.
But while the industry works on a long term solution for improving battery life, here are a few simple tips on how you can help conserve battery life on your phone right now.
Dim the brightness: Your phone has thousands of pixels working all the time, regulating the colours it emits and the brightness of its hues. But most of the power does not go in to deciding the colours themselves – rather it is focused on regulating its brightness. If you dim the brightness levels, you can help conserve a large chunk of battery life by lowering the power required for the thousands of pixels to work. Also keep your phone’s timeout feature short, so that after a minute of non-use the screen switches off.
Turn off Bluetooth and WiFi when you don’t need them: No matter how much you love using Bluetooth with your wireless headphones, it’s constantly searching for signals from the outside world which can be a drain on battery. When you aren’t in your car, or when you aren’t playing music wirelessly, turn off the Bluetooth radio. The same goes for WiFi, which also drains the battery in the background when activated as it constantly searches for new WiFi networks to join. So if you don’t need Bluetooth or WiFi to browse the internet, just turn them off until you do.
Switch off apps running in the background: Closing an app is much like closing a fridge – you hide away its contents, but the app continues to run in the background waiting for your return. The actual amount of power apps consume in the background is minimal, but grow rapidly when a large number of apps have been opened and used. An efficient way of conserving life is to switch off the apps at the root, which makes sure that battery is drained at a much slower rate. So if you’ve finished using an app, shut it down properly as this will conserve energy.
Find out what is zapping your battery: If you have an iPhone running iOS 8, you can actually see which apps are eating up the most battery on your phone in the ‘Battery Usage’ feature. Just go to ‘settings’ and select ‘battery’ and you’ll see a list of apps which have been eating up the most power over the last day and week. You’ll then quickly be able to decide whether the app is worth the battery life! If you don’t have an iPhone, there are also plenty of apps which will tell you this on Android and help identify why your battery life is disappearing.
Turn off your phone: This is the simplest, most effective option. When working in an office in front of a computer for hours on end, do you really need to have your mobile phone on at all times? Switch it off, pop it in a draw and concentrate on work. Then turn it on every so often to check everything is OK, before putting it away again. A little digital detox is good for everyone – and we’re sure your boss will thank us for the tip!