Save Your Phone's Battery While Using It as a Hotspot

What to Know

  • One action: Disable Wi-Fi.
  • Alternatively, lower the brightness. In iOS: Settings > Display & Brightness. In Android: Settings > Display > Brightness level
  • Or, turn off Location Services: In iOS: Settings > Privacy > Location Services. For Android: Settings > Location > move slider to Off.

This article explains how to save battery while using your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Being able to turn your Android phone into Wi-Fi hotspot or use the iPhone's personal hotspot feature to share its data connection with other devices (like your laptop and iPad), is convenient practical for the modern, mobile lifestyle. However, it can wreak havoc on your phone's battery life.

Smartphones already use more battery when using the internet than when not, but a hotspot demands much more than the phone's standard internet use. The phone is not only relaying data from in and out of its hotspot network but also sending information to the connected devices.

If you make heavy use of the hotspot feature of your phone and battery life is an ongoing issue, it might just make sense to get a separate mobile hotspot device or a travel wireless router.

These tips apply to Android and iOS devices.

Person in a parka looking at their laptop, phone, and tablet
Lifewire / Brooke Pelczynski

Battery Saving Settings

One of the most common tips on improving your cell phone battery life is to disable unneeded services that are running in the background.

For instance, shut off Wi-Fi if you don't need to connect to any nearby networks. You're already set up as a hotspot with your mobile carrier, so you don't need to be using Wi-Fi in the mix as well. Keeping it on is just using up that portion of the phone's "brain" and keeping your phone constantly searching for a wifi network, which isn't necessary.

Location services might not be a priority of yours during a hotspot setup, in which case you can shut those down. On an iPhone, go into Settings > Privacy > Location Services to shut down GPS for all your apps or just certain ones that you know are using it and draining the battery. Androids can access this by choosing Settings > Location > move the On/Off slider to Off.

Believe it or not, the phone's screen uses a ton of battery. Your phone could be on all day downloading emails but wouldn't be affected as much as if you were watching the emails come through with the screen on. Adjust the brightness to save even more battery life to maximize your hotspot battery.​ The brightness can be adjusted on iPhones through Settings > Display & Brightness, and on Android devices through Settings > Display > Brightness level.

Speaking of the display, some people have their phones configured to stay on all the time instead of going to the lock screen after a specific number of minutes. Make this setting (called Screen timeout, Auto-Lock or something similar) as short as possible if you have trouble locking your phone when it's not in use. The setting is in the same place as brightness options for the iPhone, and in the Display screen on Androids.

Push notifications take up a lot of battery too, but since they're useful most of the time, you don't want to disable them for each app and have to re-enable them again when you're done using your phone as a hotspot and your battery life isn't at stake. You can instead just put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode so that every notification is suppressed.

Other Battery Tricks

Another battery-saving tip is to keep your phone cool. As a phone warms up, it sucks away even more battery. When using your phone as a hotspot, put it on a flat, dry surface like a table.

When your battery gets really low, to avoid disabling the hotspot completely, you can connect your phone to a laptop to charge, even if the laptop itself isn't plugged into power. The phone can suck away at the computer's battery for as long as the laptop has a charge.

Another option for getting additional juice to your phone is to use a case with a built-in battery or to attach the phone to a mobile power supply.

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