9 easy ways to boost your smartphone's battery life

Julio Franco

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Our phones are such a huge part of our lives that seeing 7% on the battery indicator can be as alarming as feeling ourselves about to pass out. But while we all know what to do to boost our own energy, it's not always obvious how to keep our handheld devices fully (or partially) charged.

See Your Biggest Drains

Knowledge is power! Before you start tweaking things to extend your battery life, see where your power is going. This process varies a bit from phone to phone, but in general:

This will give you an idea of what your biggest drains are and let you effectively target your battery conservation efforts.

Reduce Screen Brightness

Manually reducing your screen brightness is one of the most effective things you can do to improve battery life, though you'll likely have to manually increase it again when you're outdoors in order to read the screen. Some people have found they can nearly double their battery life by going from maximum to minimum brightness.

Turn Off Unused Hardware

GPS is usually the largest and most noticeable battery drain, but Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and your mobile data antennae use power, too. While you may be loath to cut yourself off from the world, you probably aren't using Wi-Fi during your nature hike, and some people may rarely use Bluetooth. If power's tight, cut down your data links to what you're really using.

Turn Off the Vibrate Feature

The motor that makes your phone vibrate actually takes a fair amount of juice to power, and can drain your battery quickly. If you're low on battery, make do with visual or audio alerts.

Turn Off Notifications

Do you really need to know instantaneously when someone has "liked" your Facebook status? If you can wait until you open the app to get updates, you'll save a little juice. You may need to leave some of them running (like your email), but you may be able to do without others, like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

  • Android phones: Settings > Apps. Then choose individual apps and uncheck "Show notifications." (Note that this process can vary depending on which Android build you're using.)
  • iPhones: Settings > Notifications

You may find you can further preserve battery life through individual app settings. For example, you could reduce email sync frequency or disable auto-upload of photos.

Keep Your Apps Updated

This one's simple enough: Make sure you're running the most recent version of all your favorite apps. Developers often optimize old code to run more efficiently.

Enable "Power Saving Mode" (If You Have One)

Not every phone has a power saving mode, but if yours does, it can be a quick way to drastically decrease your drain in a pinch. Besides throttling down the phone's processor, this kind of feature usually works by turning off some of the non-essential, aforementioned features on a single tap. Check your "Settings" menu to see if the option is listed.

Beat the Heat

While it might not make a difference to an individual charge, heat can degrade battery performance over time. Try not to leave your phone lying in direct sunlight, and consider changing or removing your case if you frequently notice it running hot.

"Captain, She Needs More Power!"

Don't want to fiddle with all these settings? Pick up a portable charger and keep it topped off, so you always have an extra power source in a pinch. Many modern cell phones have between 2,500mAh and 3,000mAh batteries, and DealNews regularly lists battery backups even above that range for under $10.

If you're willing to pay a bit more, you can easily find portable power banks that have 20,000mAh or more. That's enough for a day's use of even the most power-hogging applications, or more moderate use for extended periods — such as camping trips or power outages.

Erin Coduti is a contributing writer at dealnews. Republished with permission.

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amstech

IT Overlord
I've had my S6 for less then a year and the battery life is about 60% compared to when it was new, and the phone is tweaked to save power. Good thing I got my S5 waiting in the midst.
 

Kibaruk

TechSpot Paladin
I've had my S6 for less then a year and the battery life is about 60% compared to when it was new, and the phone is tweaked to save power. Good thing I got my S5 waiting in the midst.
I've actually found that uninstalling everything you are not really using can make that 40% battery. Updates to software for better and newer phones is also part of it, bad coding is most of it.
 

Skidmarksdeluxe

TS Evangelist
I've found that using the power saving mode at night's does absolutely nothing for battery life on both my Galaxy A3 & HTC 10 but possibly that's due to the doze mode inbuilt into Android these days. Having said that, not being a heavy use... err, I mean power user, both devices last two days easily on a single charge with the 10 often lasting almost 3 days and that is the device I use the most although I actually prefer using my A3.
 

jobeard

TS Ambassador
  1. Turn off WiFI & Bluetooth if not required
  2. reduce all notifications to Pull and avoid Push (heavy server access even when there's none to be sent).
  3. reduce email to Pull / Manual ( it will update when you access email)
  4. turn off Location services in general (like pictures) and ONLY use if were really useful; Maps & GPS
  5. restrict Location to 'While Using' for App Store, Maps, Safari, SiRi
In General: Stop applications rather that allowing them to run in Background.
 

mrjgriffin

TS Evangelist
If you have a samsung phone you can download a package disabler to disable whatever preinstalled built in crap you don't want and reduce battery usage that way too. some other phone companies have package disabling software on the play store as well.
 

ypsylon

TS Addict
Good tip. After you disable/remove bloatware: Use a phone as a phone and you'll discover that battery can sustain device for up to 2 weeks or so.

My iP7 is used only for calls and day organizer, not for anti-social networking, not as a 4K camera, not as e-book reader, photoshop replacement, hi-fi studio system, etc, etc, etc...

Week on one charge no problem whatsoever. I laugh my backside off when people crying about how short is battery life. Get a life people. Stop trashing phone needlessly for 20h/day and suddenly battery will not die every day because 5h of Tw****r, 5h of Face****, 5h of YT, 3h trying to be next George Lucas and actual phone calls close in 2 hours or less.
 

Kibaruk

TechSpot Paladin
WiFi is a big drainer as it keeps scanning for networks to log in, but BT should not be a big drainer as to need to have it off all the time. It's amazing to read that myth in here.
Good tip. After you disable/remove bloatware: Use a phone as a phone and you'll discover that battery can sustain device for up to 2 weeks or so.

My iP7 is used only for calls and day organizer, not for anti-social networking, not as a 4K camera, not as e-book reader, photoshop replacement, hi-fi studio system, etc, etc, etc...

Week on one charge no problem whatsoever. I laugh my backside off when people crying about how short is battery life. Get a life people. Stop trashing phone needlessly for 20h/day and suddenly battery will not die every day because 5h of Tw****r, 5h of Face****, 5h of YT, 3h trying to be next George Lucas and actual phone calls close in 2 hours or less.
Hi and welcome to a TECH forum...... you know.... where we get TECH related news...... where TECH related people actually uses technology..... if you believe anyone in here is spending 10 hours between twitter and facebook....
 

Darius Moon

TS Member
Had a 3yr old Samsung Note 3 that was not lasting the whole day. I ordered a brand new Samsung battery for it. Big big difference. It's great. It's like as if it is new
 

Darius Moon

TS Member
There are apps on the market that you set a schedule to automate the turn on or off of your wifi / bluetooth based on location or business hours. For example, 8am to 5pm Mon to fri, wifi is off since work does not have wifi.
 

Kibaruk

TechSpot Paladin
I have a 5 year old Galaxy S8 and the battery is just fine, I don't know what you all complain about /s