The way you use your smartphone has a huge impact on how long its battery will last, and if you find yourself running out of power quickly it might be time to take a closer look at your device and its settings.
Smartphone Battery Drains
To get the most out of your smartphone's battery, you'll need to understand exactly where your power is going first.
Analysing battery usage is a great way to see which apps drain the most power from your device. Some apps tend to drain smartphone batteries faster than others due to their nature (e.g. games with detailed graphics or video streaming apps), while other apps can put strain on your battery due to heavy background activity - something you want to avoid.
So, how do you access this data? iPhone users can head to Settings > Battery to find their battery usage information, which Apple breaks down into percentages. Here, you can view which apps have used the most power in either the last 24 hours or over the past 7 days.
Android users can also view similar information by selecting Settings > Battery. You may need to tap 'Battery Usage' if you don't automatically see a list of apps here - options tend to vary depending on the Android operating system in use.
If an app is ranking highly because you use it frequently, take note of this and try to reduce time spent on it when you need to extend your phone's battery life.
When will we see longer-lasting smartphone batteries? We investigate here.
Minimise your notifications
Every time a notification pops up on screen, power is being used. While certain notifications are useful, many apps will send unnecessary alerts and every vibration, pop-up on screen or sound will have a negative effect on your battery.
You can disable notifications for the majority of apps on your device by turning them off in Settings. Just leave the important notifications on, such as messages and calls.
Disconnect When Necessary
4G and 3G, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi can eat away at your battery even when you're not using them, so turn off each connection whenever you don't need it. If receiving calls or texts isn't vital, you can completely disconnect by enabling Airplane Mode.
Knowing your Wi-Fi hotspots is a great way to manage battery efficiency. If you’re close to free Wi-Fi, make sure you’re connected – not only will it save your monthly allowances, but it also uses less power than mobile data. On the flip-side of the same coin, if you’re in an area with no Wi-Fi, be sure to turn Wi-Fi off on your device. This will stop your handset from regularly looking for Wi-Fi signal, which can be a battery drain itself.
Adjust Your Settings
Adjusting some of your device's basic settings can help to preserve power. Smartphones are generally built with beautiful, vibrant displays but using your phone on full brightness can have a dramatic impact on battery life. Dim your screen, or at least turn on auto brightness so you're not using full brightness 24/7. Android users may wish to remove their live wallpaper from their lock screen to save as much power as possible.
Vibrations are also major power consumers, in fact they use a lot more energy than a simple ringtone. Turn off vibrations for notifications, calls and texts and disable haptic feedback to keep your phone going for longer.
Disable 'Background App Refresh'
If you notice an app has a particularly high level of background activity, this means it is draining power when you're not using it.
You can cut down an app's background activity on an iPhone by disabling Background App Refresh. iPhone users should click Settings > General > Background App Refresh and either turn off individual apps one by one or disable all activity completely.
Meanwhile, Android users can disable background activity in multiple ways depending on the device they use. Background activity for individual apps on recent Android operating systems can do this by heading to Settings > Battery, selecting an app and then disabling its background activity with a simple tap.
Enable 'Low Power Mode'
One quick and fail-safe way to extend your phone's battery life is to enable a specialised power-saving mode, which can be found on most smartphones. For iPhone users, this is called 'Low Power Mode' and you'll find it under Settings > Battery.
For Android users, the title of this mode may vary from Battery Saver to something different entirely based on the company that created your smartphone. For example, Samsung has used both Power Saving Mode and Ultra Power Saving Mode on their devices, while Sony have chosen to preserve battery life with STAMINA. Some power-saving modes are customisable too, and you can select exactly what is switched on and off.
The majority tend to reduce power consumption by disabling non-essential processes. Background activity is often automatically turned off, downloads or updates are prevented, mail fetch is stopped and visual effects and haptic features are usually reduced.
Of course, turning off all of these processes and features on your phone individually via Settings would also help to extend your battery life.
Just as when we get too hot we become tired, so does your smartphone. When your smartphone is left in a place where the sun is shining on it, or in a hot car, it heats up which can damage the battery. If you're off on holiday, be sure to avoid direct sunlight, and your phone’s battery may work more effectively and last longer.