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[Tips] How to make your smartphone battery last longer

Carrying a power bank all the time? Tired of charging your smartphone a couple times a day? Here’s some simple tips and tricks you can use to make your smartphone battery last longer in a day.

Smartphone-Phone-Battery

Adjust Screen Brightness

Most smartphones includes an auto-brightness feature that automatically adjusts the screen’s brightness to suit ambient lighting levels. Bright screen is one of the major battery drainer in smartphones. Set the brightness level to lower level and adjust accordingly when necessary. This should help conserve a lot of battery power.

2G, 3G or 4G LTE? Monitor your signal strength

Apart from screen brightness, this is another huge battery drainer. Most people set their phone network to automatic mode which allows the phone to select 2G, 3G or 4G LTE networks. Some phones will lock on to poor 3G or 4G network even when signal reception is poor. If you are in an area where cellular coverage is poor, your smartphone will use more power to boost signal reception especially when your data is enabled, or during a call. Some smartphones will also continuously scan for a better signal, this makes your phone hot.

Generally, 2G networks gives you better coverage (your phone don’t need to use more power to connect to the network) however 2G networks don’t offer high speed Internet. The high speed networks, 3G and 4G, generally don’t offer seamless coverage all the time, which means you don’t always get good signal and this would drain your battery.

iOS-Cellular-Network-Setting

Personally, I would set my phone to lock on manually to 3G mode. You can set this in Setting > Cellular Network in Android and iOS. In general, 3G coverage of Maxis, Celcom, Digi and U Mobile are good in cities such as KL. Doing this means you have to monitor your signal strength all the time, especially when you are in a building or underground. If you notice the 3G signal is poor (1 bar or no signal on your phone), change your network mode to 2G (and connect to trusted Wifi networks). Switch back to 3G when you move out from that area. Set to 4G LTE mode (usually the 2G/3G/4G or sometimes Auto mode on some phones) only when you require faster speed, example if watching Youtube on 3G is slow or when tethering.

Turn on basic power saving at all times

Most smartphones comes with basic power saving features (all Samsung smartphones have it). What Power Saving does is that it limits processing power, adjust contrast ratio (display), among others. This could make your phone slower than usual, but it helps to maximise battery life. You should turn off Power Saving only when you are updating or installing apps because these requires more processing power.

Turn off Auto update apps

In Google Play, in Settings, there is a features that allows auto updating of application when a new version is available. This is a great feature, however it consumes battery power because it takes a lot of processing power to update apps. Turn this features off, but make sure to check for app updates at least one time a week.

Turn off unnecessary features

Your phone don’t have to be smart all the time. Turn off smart features like air gestures, smart scrolling (especially on Samsung smartphones), haptic feedback (that buzz you get from typing on the keyboard). Connectivity such as NFC, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth should be turned on only when necessary. Switch off vibrate if you don’t really need it (Yes, vibration takes more power too).

Uninstall or disable apps that you don’t need

Its high likely you have a number of apps that comes pre-installed on the phone, that you don’t use. Disable these apps because it may run in the background and consume battery power. By doing this, it makes your phone faster too.

Android-smartphone-battery-life

Both iOS (Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage) and Android (Settings > Battery) now have battery monitors, so you can check exactly how much each app is using and easily spot those which are using too much power. Then you can uninstall them if you don’t need it.

Turn off push notifications

Some apps like Facebook and Twitter comes with notifications. Which means these apps runs in the background and consumes battery. Turn these off if you don’t really need it. Enable the important ones, such as Email.

Less than 10%-20% battery left?

What to do if you have less than 10%-20% battery left? The best thing to do is to turn off mobile data and keep usage to minimum, for example calls and SMS when necessary. Keep brightness level to the lowest possible and set network mode to 2G only.

Make sure power saving mode is on. On the latest Samsung phones, such as the Galaxy S5, S6, the new Notes and the new HTC One(s), these smartphones have Ultra Power Saving and Extreme Power Saving modes, that limits the phone to texting, phone calls & others. This can squeeze extra hours from the battery.

Other Power Saving tips

  • On an iPhone you can disable the Raise to Speak feature in the Siri settings, which is said to increase battery life.
  • Don’t use live wallpaper (animated wallpapers)
  • Use dark themes if your smartphone uses Super Amoled screens (such as Samsung smartphones)
  • Reduce screen timeout
  • Keep you phone cool, don’t place it under sunlight
  • Carry an extra battery

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy