Five Tips To Conserve Your Smartphone’s Battery Power

By on Nov 4, 2011 in How-To Guides |

Smartphones are great pieces of technology, but with so much whizzing and banging going on they often barely last the day. You could just use it less, or turn off all of its features, but surely there are better ways of improving battery performance?

To an extent, this is indeed true – there are a variety of ways in which you can improve battery performance, and the best of these won’t change how you use your smartphone. Read on to discover five ways you can improve your phone’s battery life!

1. Turn off non-essential services

The number one killer of smartphone batteries are unwanted and unneeded services running rampant. These are things like WiFi, mobile data, Bluetooth and GPS. It’s often wise to only make use of these services when you need them, and have them turned them off at all other times. Even if you’re not using the service, they may be working in the background, continually scanning for networks, satellites or other devices. So shut them off via the Settings menu of your phone.

JuiceDefender's profile options

You can also use applications like JuiceDefender to automatically turn off 3G and WiFi when these services aren’t in use.

2. Adjust brightness

Most smartphones these days have this handy feature, which utilises a brightness sensor to adjust your phone’s display to your ambient environment. The brighter the environment you are in, the brighter your phone has to be to keep up. If you’re using your phone out of direct sunlight or at night, then auto-brightness can help keep the power down.

Enable automatic brightness by going to Settings – > Display Settings -> Brightness in Android. For iPhone, go to Settings -> Brightness.

Setting a custom display brightness in Android

If this isn’t enough, take full control. Manually set your phone to its lowest brightness setting that you can read, and only increase it when you have to.

3. Upgrade to the latest firmware

There are many instances in which excessive battery drain was caused by a bug in the phone’s operating system.

Apple is currently fixing this problem with the first patch to iOS 5, after location services were mistakenly being activated much more often than they should have been.

Checking for a software update in Android

Always ensure that both your operating system and apps are kept up to date. As well as ensuring you’re not using more battery than you should, you’ll also get new features and protection from security exploits.

4. Close battery-draining apps

On Android, this is a relatively simple procedure. Simply go to Settings -> About Phone -> Battery Use. There you’ll find a clever list which shows precisely how much battery life is being consumed by each app, as well as other services such as the display or the mobile connection.

For Apple, it’s more complex, but you can figure things out with a bit of common sense. Any application that uses 3D rendered images (e.g. games) or makes extensive use of your Wi-Fi or data network will drain more battery than apps that don’t connect to the Internet or have 3D graphics.

Apps running in the background can still use your mobile’s data connection or CPU, draining the battery. This is especially common in apps like email, chat and RSS. Turn off push support for these apps, and instead fetch messages from the server every hour or so instead.

Android's useful Battery Use screen

To close down background apps on iOS, double click the home button. A second dock will appear, with icons representing apps running in the background. Just hold down on an app until it has begun to jiggle in fear, then press the red minus symbol to close it.

On Android, just go back to the Battery Use app (or Settings -> Applications -> Running Services, or Task Manager if you have it) and click on a task to select it, then hit stop (or exit).

5. Purchase a battery-extending mobile accessory

If you’ve tried everything and just can’t wring enough juice out of your smartphone, then it might be time to get physical. You can extend your battery life by one of a few ways:

a) An external battery pack that stores extra charge separately, letting you recharge on the go. These can be an ideal solution as you only need to connect the battery pack when you’re running low, where other solutions will be a permanent addition or replacement. The amount of stored charge is also quite high, as the whole device can be devoted to storing charge instead of having to fit inside whatever area is available.

A battery case for the iPhone 4S

b) A replacement battery for your phone. If your phone is old, a new battery should work; if your phone is still quite new, you might be able to find a higher capacity battery than the stock one. These sometimes require you to replace the back cover as well, so ensure that all of your accessories will remain compatible. Generally the gains in battery life will be the smallest here.

c) A battery case for your phone. This is essentially a protective case that you can slip your phone into, which will contain an integrated external battery. This is a nice middle ground, offering you extra battery power without needing constant replacement.

Thanks for reading!

I hope you find these tips useful – if you’ve got your own, why not leave them as a comment?

This article was written by William Judd. William writes for MobileFun.co.uk, the UK’s leading online retailer of the BlackBerry 9900 sim free and the new Kindle cover, the Kindle cover with light.