Six ways to extend the gap between phone charges

Six ways to maximise battery life

It’s a measure of how crucial smartphones have become that we’ve invented a term to describe the fear of being without them.

Nomophobia sounds like a name Charlie Brooker or Armando Iannucci might have come up with, but it’s a condition an estimated 90 per cent of people now suffer from.

Sadly, nomophobia isn’t simply cured by ensuring you leave the house with a phone in your pocket.

The real risk comes from low batteries – on-screen notifications that a phone has moved onto energy saving mode in an attempt to conserve whatever charge remains in its cells.

Finding a solution

Despite the best efforts of their manufacturers, many of today’s smartphones barely make it through a day of moderate usage without requiring a top-up.

Batteries are drained by high-definition screen displays, data transfers across WiFi and 4G, and the sheer amount of processing power required to run their complex operating systems.

Manufacturers have to strike a balance between achieving high clock speeds (making the device run and respond quickly) and maximising battery life.

(Note that battery life is very different from battery lifespan, which describes how long a battery will continue to function before it ceases to hold charge and requires replacement.)

Fortunately, maximising battery life is something consumers get to help with. These six tips should collectively serve to extend the gap between phone charges…

1. Install the latest operating system update. Google and Apple are constantly fettling and honing their respective Android and iOS operating systems.

Improvements typically include enhancements to operating performance and new battery life preservation processes.

Manufacturer-specific updates may also contribute towards maximising battery life, though these same firms are notorious for installing unnecessary and undeletable bloatware.

2. Prevent automatic app or device updates. Bloatware isn’t the only silent menace, stealthily munching through system resources and battery life.

Some installed apps are constantly scanning for notifications. Others regularly receive updates – and while these may be important, there’s a time and a place to install them.

Conduct app and device updates while the phone is on charge, but don’t leave it plugged into the mains overnight. This shortens the battery’s lifespan.

3. Disable or delete battery-intensive apps. Alternatively, consider whether you can live without programs which are consuming unreasonable quantities of resources.

Investigate the battery usage of individual programs on an iPhone by going to Settings > Battery. Android users should tap Settings > Device Maintenance > Battery.

Social media apps are notorious for hoovering up data and battery life. Delete them, storing login credentials for desktop platforms in your phone’s built-in web browser.

4. Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth when they’re not needed. Most of us are guilty of leaving home without adjusting our phone’s settings.

The device will be constantly seeking Bluetooth and WiFi connections when it doesn’t need to. Turning these off as you leave the house is an easy way of maximising battery life.

Just remember to turn them back on when you arrive home or at work, to prevent your monthly data allowance being rapidly depleted.

5. Reduce screen brightness settings. Lowering the brightness on your screen by just ten per cent could significantly diminish battery usage.

Those glowing screens are a huge drain on system resources, and it’s easy to underestimate how much of the day is spent staring at them.

Newer versions of iOS and Android include screen time recording tools. Looking at these acts as an incentive to reduce how long we spend idly scrolling without really concentrating.

6. Engage device energy-saving modes. Google has introduced an energy saving mode, while the iOS equivalent is referred to as Low Power Mode.

Both combine some of the preceding steps in this list with other clever tricks like lowering CPU clock speeds. This maximises the time a phone can remain operational between charges.

On a Samsung Galaxy S7 running Android Nougat, setting Power Saving Mode to Max could increase the lifespan of one charge by a remarkable 42 hours. No more nomophobia…

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