Five tips to extend your mobile phone's battery life

Use power bank to charge mobile phone anytime anywhere, charge sharing concept
Are you making everyday mistakes that are damaging your phone's battery? (Getty Images)

Most mobile phone users are making simple mistakes that result in premature battery wear and the need to replace their handset every two to three years.

But it’s actually easy to take care of your device so that the battery life remains robust, says Kewin Charron, senior lead refurbishment operations manager at technology restorers Back Market.

Digital tech contributes up to 3.7% of carbon emissions globally, and the creation of a new smartphone causes 186.1lb of carbon emissions, Charron says.

He adds: "Making a conscious decision to extend the life of our mobile phones has a positive impact on both our bank balance and carbon footprint."

Below are five tips to lengthen the life of your phone's battery so you don't have to buy a new device prematurely.

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Clean your charging port

Charron said: "Crumbs and dust are the enemies of your mobile devices and your battery life. Dust accumulates in the charging ports of your phone, causing the device to overheat or stop charging. Cleaning your phone safely will ensure your battery isn't overheating, and prevent long-term damage."

He advises using a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth to wipe around the area of the charging port.

To remove the debris within the port, use a toothpick, moving it side-to-side, making sure you're gentle as this area is very susceptible to damage. As debris comes out, wipe it away with your cloth and go in again with a clean toothpick.

Don't overcharge your phone

Leaving your phone plugged in, or letting it die, rapidly reduces the lifespan of your battery. Instead, you should aim to keep your charge level between 20 to 80%, Charron explains.

He says: "Trying to keep your charge level between 20 to 80% might seem like a slog, however iPhones and Android devices have in-built settings so you can check your battery health and automatically optimise the battery charge."

For iPhones with iOS13 and above, go into iPhone Settings > Battery > Battery Health & Charging, and select Optimised Battery Charging. This setting will automatically reduce the wear on your battery, improving its lifespan.

Kewin Charron, lead refurbishment operations manager and tech expert at Back Market
Kewin Charron, lead refurbishment operations manager and tech expert at Back Market (Back Market)

For Androids, it might differ slightly between device models, but go into Settings, and then select Battery > Battery Usage to see your battery health. Then, under Manage Battery Usage, tap Optimised to automatically help extend the longevity of your battery.

Don't get your phone too hot or too cold

It's best practice to keep your phone away from extreme temperatures.

If the weather is hot, take the case off your phone before charging, and don't use wireless charging.

Charron says: "Below 0C is too cold, whilst anything over 35C is too hot, and both can damage your battery life.

"Keeping your phone out of direct sunlight for long periods of time and limiting use in hot cars or trains is really important – especially if you also want to use your phone for intensive activities such as GPS navigation, or playing graphics-intensive games as this can decrease the lifespan of your battery."

Clean out your phone's storage

Clearing out your phone's storage of photos and apps helps it run more smoothly, preserving the battery.

Finding which files are taking up the most space can be found via the storage settings of your iPhone or Android.

For iPhones with iOS13 and beyond, go into iPhone Settings > General > About > iPhone Storage.

Update, update, update

Despite rumours that software updates slow down older phones, it's actually best to update regularly, Charron says.

"Many believe updates cause devices to slow in the long run, while others worry their favourite features will change. But, updating your iOS and Android operating systems will ultimately increase performance and elongate the lifespan of your battery.

"Not only do updates improve the security of your device, but they also improve functionality, helping your battery last longer. As software developers become more conscious of power management issues, many are developing new tools to help extend battery life.

"So, updating won't just improve the performance of your apps, it will improve the overall health of your battery too."