How to Make Your Cellphone Battery Last Longer

Try these 7 tips for improving your phone's battery life

A common complaint of smartphone users is that the battery doesn't last as long as promised. Right when you need to send a critical email or make an important call, you get an obnoxious low-battery warning. If you don't want to walk around with an adapter, looking for an outlet to recharge, try these tips to prolong your phone's battery life and combat the biggest causes of battery drain.

Turn Off Features Not in Use

Turn off Bluetooth. Kill GPS when not in use. Shut down Wi-Fi. You might even consider disabling your hotspot features. These are some of the biggest battery killers on smartphones because they are always looking for possible connections, networks, or information. Turn off these features in your phone's settings except when you need them to save power.

Some phones, such as Android smartphones, have widgets that offer toggles to turn these features on or off so you can switch on Bluetooth when you're in the car for hands-free driving or GPS navigation and then turn it off to save your phone's battery life.

Turn On Wi-Fi When You Can Connect to a Wi-Fi Network

Having Wi-Fi turned on drains your battery if you're not using it, but if you're on a wireless network, it's much more power-efficient to use Wi-Fi than to use cellular data, so switch to Wi-Fi instead of your mobile network when you can to save your phone's battery life. For most people, that means when you're at your house, use Wi-Fi, but when you aren't near any Wi-Fi networks, turn Wi-Fi off to keep your phone running longer.

Adjust Your Display Screen Brightness and Screen Timeout

As with laptops and TVs, the screen on your phone drains a lot of its battery life. Your smartphone probably auto-adjusts its brightness level, but if your battery starts dipping to levels that make you anxious, you can adjust the screen brightness lower to conserve battery life.

Another setting to look at is the screen timeout. That's the setting for when your phone's screen automatically goes to sleep—1 minute, for example, or 15 seconds after not getting any input from you; the shorter the time frame, the better the battery life. Adjust to your level of patience.

Turn Off Push Notifications and Data-Fetching

One of the conveniences of modern technology is having everything delivered to us instantly, as it happens. Emails, news, the weather, celebrity tweets—you are constantly getting updates. Besides being bad for your sanity, the constant data-checking depletes your phone battery. Adjust the data-fetching intervals and push notifications in your phone's settings and individual apps themselves.

News apps and social media apps are notorious for regularly checking in the background for new information. Set those to checking manually or hourly. If you don't need to know the second every email comes in, changing your email push notifications to manual can make a huge difference in your phone's battery life.

At the very least, you can turn on Do Not Disturb to prevent your screen from waking up each time your phone gets an alert.

Don't Waste Battery Life Searching for a Signal

Your poor phone is dying, and it's trying to find a signal. When you're in an area with a weak cellular signal, turn cellular data off altogether by going into Airplane mode. Airplane mode turns the cellular and data radio off on most phones, but it leaves Wi-Fi access on for some devices.

Buy Apps Instead of Using Free, Ad-Supported Versions

Shelling out a couple of bucks for apps you use may be worth it. Research suggests free, ad-supported apps drain battery life. In one case, 75 percent of an app's energy consumption was used just to power the ads. Even in the case of beloved Angry Birds, only 20 percent of the app's energy use may go to actual gameplay.

The other option is to use an ad blocker to see if it reduces the drain on your battery.

Keep Your Phone Cool

Heat is the enemy of all batteries, whether it's your phone's battery or your laptop's. You might be able to eke out a bit more life from your phone if you take it out of a hot case or your pocket, don't leave it overheating in a hot car, and can manage to find other ways to keep it cool.

As a last resort, turning your phone off when it is not in use can cool it down and conserve the battery.

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