Ever since smartphones appeared on the scene, mobile users have got used to charging their handsets on a daily basis. Big screens, powerful processors and a wealth of different connectivity options can be a drain on the battery, but the main reason for regular charging sessions is that we're all using a phones a lot more than we used to.

While mobiles were originally used primarily for calls and texts, they are now mini hubs for web browsing, video and music streaming and gaming. So does connecting to 4G drain your battery life faster, and are there ways to avoid worrying about your next charging opportunity?

Battery Issues on 4G phones

There is no doubt that although today's smartphones are well-powered, you will notice that being in a 4G area will have an unavoidable impact on the battery life of your phone.

Obviously this varies from handset to handset, because battery size and processor speed play a part, but the one consistent observation is that 4G activity can be a bit of a drain.

It is worth pointing out that while standby times for 4G phones can be reduced if they are left turned on, one reason for this sapping of battery life is down to the fact that 4G coverage won't cover 100% of your movements. This means that when you enter an area that isn't covered by 4G, or you head indoors and lose signal, your phone will constantly be trying to find the nearest 4G network. The same issue can arise with 3G, although the impact is lessened because 3G coverage is obviously much more widely available.

When it comes to downloading files, playing games or streaming video in 4G, you will find that battery life is impacted. This is generally a mixture of more time spent on any particular task, or in the case of downloading, being able to carry out more tasks in the same timeframe. If you're streaming video, your handset will be able to provide a higher resolution of content, which makes your phone work harder.

The battery size is again important in determining how long your handset can last before it needs to be returned to a charger, although there are plenty of other factors involved.

Improving Battery Life on a 4G Phone

Perhaps the simplest and bluntest way to make your 4G phone’s battery last longer is to turn off 4G networking when you are not using it, so your phone isn't constantly working to find a signal. This is particularly relevant if you are in an area with patchy or no 4G coverage, since having it turned on will be of little use anyway.

Another type of connectivity that you should turn off unless absolutely necessary is Bluetooth. A lot of smartphone owners rarely use this service, so keeping it disabled will further boost your battery life and 4G talk time potential.

The most extreme measure is to turn on airplane mode, since this disables all forms of connectivity at once. Certain phones will then allow you to turn them back on one at a time, so you could just keep Wi-Fi active for the ultimate battery life extension, although this is not going to be ideal for everyone.

If you want to keep using your phone to its full potential but extend the time between charges, then you can do things like reducing the timeframe setting before your phone’s display goes into lock mode, and dimming the brightness of the screen.

Various software processes can eat into your handset’s resources and also suck life out of the battery without you realising it, so remember to close apps once you have finished using them. You should even attempt to turn off your phone once a week to truly kill those background apps.

Having said all this, even the heaviest 4G phone user will find that modern handsets with this type of connectivity on board should be able to last a full day without needing to be recharged in the middle of it. Providing, that is, you use your phone in sensible moderation.