10 Ways to Extend Your Phone's Battery Life

Follow these steps to get the most out of your cell

As smartphones become more multitasking (at this point, what don't they do?), a notable tradeoff has been a decline in battery life. We all want high-performing phones that we can use to make tons of phone calls while running apps, streaming music, and surfing the web, and have a battery that lasts for a couple days. But unless you want to go back to Zach Morris-style headsets (which could house super-large batteries), you'll have to settle for recharging at least once a day.

But there are things you can do to increase your phone's battery life. Here's where to start:

Be more aware.
Make sure you close out of all apps when you're not using them. It's also smart to install a basic app on your phone to monitor what applications you're using that are draining your battery the most. On an iPhone, for the most basic information, go to your Home Screen, Settings, General, Usage, and then look at the time since last full charge and see just how much you use your phone and how much standby time you have. Other phone brands have similar settings for monitoring usage.

Upgrade the software.
Engineers are constantly optimizing phone software, and with those updates, there are often battery improvement fixes. Look for alerts from your phone to make updates under its settings or when you connect it to your computer.

Minimize location-based services.
While there are definitely apps with which you'll want to use location services (like maps!), it's better for you to only activate these services only when you need them. In the meantime, go under your phone's settings and look for "Location Services" to disable them.

Turn off push notifications.
"Push" means updates are constantly being added to your mail and apps. And yes, it's great to know there are updates waiting for you on Facebook, but it's even better to have a battery charge that lasts for more than a day! So, look under your settings area and notifications, and select "off" to disable push notifications if you are on an iPhone, or adjust your settings similarly on other phones. Don't worry: When you go to Facebook you'll get updates, they just won't be there waiting for you as soon as you open the app.

Optimize your data-fetching intervals.
In layman's terms: For apps that don't rely on info being pushed to them, updated data is fetched at specific intervals — like your phone checking for new email messages every few minutes. Fetching data more often will drain the battery more quickly. So for things like mail, make sure your phone is not fetching too frequently. On an iPhone, you can find it under Settings, Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Fetch New Data and choose "manually" or "hourly" depending upon your needs. For services that rely on push (like many mail accounts), follow the same path but set Push to "Off" so new data comes in based on your fetch setting. And if you have email accounts on your phone that you don't use anymore, turn them off or delete them altogether.

Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you don't need them.
If you don't use Wi-Fi frequently, turn it off. However, if you're always on the web, it may be advantageous to keep it on since it may give you more life than surfing over the cellular network. Ditto for Bluetooth: If you don't frequently use it, turn it off, too.

Pay attention to where you are.
When your phone is searching for a signal, it drains the battery. So if you have a 4G phone and are in an area with spotty service, turn 4G off. Same goes for 3G. If you're in an area with low, or even no coverage, turn on Airplane Mode. Just, remember to turn it off when you want to make or receive calls.

Adjust your brightness.
While it's nice to have a super-bright screen, you'll pay for it with battery life. If your phone doesn't default to auto brightness, choose it as your setting and the screen will adjust itself depending on the lighting conditions.

Charge appropriately.
Make sure to fully charge and fully drain your battery at least once a month. It's also smart to take your phone out of its case when it's charging, so that it won't generate excess heat. (Never let your phone get hotter than 95 degrees Fahrenheit or you risk permanently damaging it and reducing the battery capacity.) Keep in mind that like all rechargeable batteries, eventually your phone's battery may need to be replaced.

Lock your phone.
While this may seem like common sense, make sure your auto-lock setting is as low as possible given your needs, like locking after one minute.

By Rachel Rothman

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Tech Magazine: 10 Ways to Extend Your Phone's Battery Life
10 Ways to Extend Your Phone's Battery Life
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