As smartphones have become more capable - for playing gaming, watching movies and shooting video - battery performance has worsened and now most modern smartphones won’t last a full a day before you need to reach for a charger.
Phone manufacturers are working hard to improve battery performance - Motorola in particular with their RAZR i and RAZR MAXX - but if you buy most other smartphones, be ready to charge every evening.
Here are some tips to help conserve your mobile phones battery life:
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Modern Android and Windows Phone smartphones include power or battery saving modes typically located in the Settings menu. It is activated once the battery reaches a certain level, forcing battery intensive features - including push email, screen brightness and Facebook updates - to switch off. Unfortunately Apple doesn’t include any such power or battery saving features on its smartphones, although free apps like Battery Life Pro help monitor performance and shut down applications.
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The biggest drain on a mobile phone battery is the screen and unfortunately the bigger and brighter the screen, the more battery life it uses. Save battery power by selecting ‘Automatic brightness’ and the screen will adjust the brightness automatically depending on the lighting conditions.
Alternatively, if the battery indicator is reaching precarious levels turn the brightness down as low as is comfortable to conserve as much power as possible.
Make sure auto lock is activated, so when your phone isn’t being used the screen shuts down saving power.
If you’ve got a phone with an AMOLED screen (such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 or S2) using a dark wallpaper may also help save battery.
In a working environment where loud ringtones are frowned upon, instead of popping your mobile phone in vibrate mode, which uses your battery, use silent mode instead.
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Stop email sync
Your phone probably checks for emails every few minutes or if you’ve got a smartphone that supports push email, constantly. Every time your phone syncs or an email is ‘pushed’ though, it uses battery power. To change the rate of email syncing or to switch it off, go into the Settings menu of your smartphone and increase the interval your phone checks email, it varies from phone to phone, but we would suggest setting it to check every half hour, or to switch off sync completely. You can therefore manually check your email as and when you choose and save a sizable chunk of battery life in the process.
Reduce social networking updates
Getting Facebook and Twitter notifications delivered to your phone automatically (like push email) uses your battery, so turn notifications off. Most phones allow you to switch off all syncing with a simple toggle.
Turn connections off
WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth are found on most modern phones. Forget to turn your WiFi off when you leave the house and it will continually look for a WiFi connection, using the battery. So make sure you turn any connections off when you are not using them.
Shut down apps
Even if you are not using an application it may still be running in the background using the battery, so close any apps you aren’t using. Do this on an iPhone by double tapping the menu button, pressing the program icon and click the minus button.
On older Android smartphones, you may need a task manager to do this, however newer handsets running Android 4.0+ allow you to pull up a task manager by simply long pressing the home button. You can then thumb through your open apps and swipe them off screen to close them. You can even see what apps use the most battery in the settings of your Android smartphone.
Don’t download pictures
Downloading pictures when browsing or using email is something most of us do without thinking, but every time you download a photo it uses both data and power. So if you can live without pictures, turn them off in the internet browser’s settings menu.
When taking photographs using your smartphone, be conservative with your flash use. In digital cameras the flash is a huge battery drain and the same applies to phones, so instead of leaving it in automatic mode, turn the flash off when taking photographs, only turning it on when necessary.
Night time = downtime
Night time is the time most people charge their smartphones, but if you don’t have a charger to hand make sure you turn your phone off at night.
Smartphones are always trying to connect to a network, be it a cellular network, a wireless network or a data network. The harder they try and connect, the more battery they use. A
great way to save your battery is to switch on aeroplane mode when reception is poor or you’re underground. This stops your phone searching for signal when there’s none to be found and makes the best use of whatever battery you have left.
If you’ve followed the above tips and your phone battery still doesn’t last very long, it’s time to consider a charging accessory. The Mophie JuicePack Air (£40) fits over your smartphone, doubling the battery life, alternatively if you don’t fancy changing the look of your phone consider a portable battery charger like Proporta TurboCharger 7000 (£54).