July 16, 2020

How to Get the Most Life Out of Your Phone Battery

We’ve all experienced that frustration when we need our phone and it gives you a low battery warning. How did it get so low so fast?

There are a lot of things that can drain your battery, and not all of them are obvious. Here are three lesser-known things that drain the life from your battery, and what to do about them.

What drains your battery?

While the batteries in the latest Apple and Android phones can easily last a day with moderate usage, some things drain your battery faster than others. Playing videos, streaming music and making calls are the most energy-intensive tasks your phone can do. But there are also a few things you may not notice that can use up your charge quickly

Signal Hunting

Your phone is always passively searching for and connecting to cellular and wifi networks to make sure you always have smooth, uninterrupted service. What you may not know is this function is fairly energy-intensive. This isn’t as draining in urban areas where signals are plentiful and your phone doesn’t have to work hard to find one. But if your phone leaves your coverage area or is in an area with a weak signal it will continue to send out “pings” until it finds a new connection. This can drain your battery surprisingly quickly.

What can you do about it?

If you know you’re going to be outside of your coverage area, or where you know you’ll have poor reception, consider putting your phone on airplane mode to save your battery until you get back to somewhere with consistent service.

App Updates

Your phone regularly checks your apps and will install updates when they are available. This is normally good: you get the latest features and are protected against bugs and security vulnerabilities. The problem is, while convenient, automatic downloads can drain your battery very quickly (as well as eat into your data).

What can you do about it?

Go into your settings and check how your phone manages app updates. Ideally, you want to limit your phone to only update when your phone is plugged in (and on wifi) so it doesn’t drain your battery.

News, Email & Push Notifications

You might like getting breaking news, email alerts and push notifications on your phone throughout the day. However, what you might not notice is your phone consumes a lot of its battery’s charge to do this.

What can you do about it?

Instead of having your phone constantly fetch the contents of your inbox and news feed, set them to fetch only when you have the app open (also a great way to avoid being distracted by the hundreds of work emails). After that, be choosy about what apps and feeds are allowed to serve you push notifications on your phone.

While managing battery life is a modern challenge, a few changes in habits and some optimized settings can go a long way to keeping your phone alive longer. Portable power banks are one way to quickly top up your charge so you can last the day. If all else fails, or your phone is getting old, you might want to consider replacing the battery. Most modern phone batteries start to lose capacity after a few hundred charge cycles, with a loss of 20% or more being common after 400 cycles.

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