Tech Magazine

How to Extend Battery Life: Easy Tips to Fewer Charges

Posted on the 04 October 2011 by Nerdywerds @NerdyWerds

Want to make your battery last longer? Read on!

Have you ever had that friend that won't shut up? The one that just continues conversations minutes after you're ready to be done with them. Most of my friends will tell you that person is me. And true as that may be, no one seems to mind my long winded nature when their computer won't work. But back to the matter at hand; have you ever tried to get rid of this person? I don't mean in a mob sense, I mean by making up a reason you can no longer talk. My personal favorite is "my battery is dying". I actually heard a couple of people at the store this weekend use that one.

That got me thinking; how many people know the best practices for extending their battery life? I'm assuming not many since people continue to buy that excuse as a reason to stop talking. I think it is about time I address this issue. So if you wish to extend your battery life, but possibly lose an excuse to cut sit talksalot off, read on; I'll even give you a new excuse for getting off of the phone.

Daily Use

I've broken this article up into two sections, a guide for extending battery life on a day to day basis, and a section for the long term health of your battery. We're first addressing daily usage. These are the tips you should integrate into your daily routine. These same tips got my wife from having her phone die at work to making it home with almost half her battery life remaining.

Turn it off

This one seems kind of foreign to people, but is really your best bet for conserving battery life. People seem to have the mentality that since you have a cell phone, you should be reachable 24 hours a day. I do not subscribe to that theory. There are times when my phone just doesn't need to be on. Like when you're sleeping. The only thing my phone does during that time is wake me up, which I could certainly do without. I know many of you probably use your cell phone as an alarm clock, but most modern ones can actually turn the phone on to alert you, and then go back to being off. Another time to turn it off is at work. There are large portions of the day when your phone just sits in your pocket doing nothing. You are basically giving away battery life like this. I would suggest turning your phone off during the majority of the day, and on breaks or when yo go to lunch, turning it on to check in. Your loved ones should have the line to your work in case of an emergency, and most of the texts you receive can be answered whenever is convenient for you.

You should also turn your phone off if you are in an area where you don't get service. If you work in a steel building and you fight to get even one bar of service, just turn the phone off. Odds are, no one can get through to you anyways, and you're killing your battery searching for signal. If you're a road warrior or just someone that relies on the PDA functionality of your phone, you should put your phone into airplane mode. You won't receive calls or texts, but can still view your calendar and all of that good stuff.

Stop incessant searching

Your phone was designed to have signal. Without it, you're just toting around a PDA. To achieve this constant state of connectedness, your phone is programmed to repeatedly search for better service. This will kill your battery as fast as anything else. I mentioned in the previous section turning off your phone if you don't get service, and this is why. If you don't have full service, your phone is going to continue trying to find it. So if you are in an area where you don't get good service, you should either turn your phone off, put it in airplane mode, or you can look into a cell phone repeater. This is a device that amplifies cell signal and ensures you have excellent service almost anywhere.

turn off Unnecessary features

This is one of those, the total is greater than the sum of it's parts kind of things. If you disable one of these features, you'll see a marginal gain, if you disable all of them, you'll notice significant results. Start with your phone's backlight. This is the lighting that makes your phone easier to read in at night, or in direct sunlight. But it does tend to use a good bit of battery to accomplish that. I recommend shortening the duration of the backlight staying on, mine is set to 5 seconds I believe. I've met many people that have there's set to be on for a minute of two; coincidentally, they were the one that had to charge their phone at lunch. If you can get by without it, you should definitely turn it off altogether.

Most people have their ringtone set to vibrate and ring; which aside from being convenient, is very bad for your battery. You should choose one or the other whenever possible. Also, many people have their ringtone volume turned up to 11, which worked for Spinal Tap, but not so much for you. The louder your ringer, the more battery required. If you get a lot of calls and texts, this can really add up over the course of a day.

Most phones have features like Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi and infrared. Turn them all off. Only turn them on as needed. Because your phone will search for these technologies like it does for signal; and this can kill your battery. Besides, do you want people being able to pinpoint your location at all hours? These are all features that can be switched on only when needed, and then returned to their dormant state. This is a big one for saving battery by the way. This is the one that saved my wife the most battery life. Also, while we're at it, don't use your camera as much. Snapping hundreds of pictures of yourself will really wear down a battery. If you have to use the camera though, turn off the flash.

Limit 3G/4G usage

Mobile internet is awesome; there is no denying that. But the faster your internet, the more battery it seems to use. So turn off your 3G or 4G connections unless you really need the added speed. Using your phone in 3G/$g mode as opposed to a slower version can use around 50% more battery. I don't know about you, but getting an email faster is not worth half of my battery life.

Keep it in the dark

Most phones use much less power displaying black as opposed to white. And if you think about it, it makes sense. White is a combination of the full amount of red, green and blue your phone can muster. Black is the absence of color, requires no red, green or blue. When possible, use for your searching needs. Bgoog is a black background having, battery saving alternative to the regular Google search. A plain black background can also save you significant battery. Also, you smartphone owners, turn off the cute moving backgrounds. These require constant battery and are quite bad for your batteries health.

Prolong Your Batteries Life Span

If you've ever had to replace a laptop battery, you know that these things aren't immortal. Most rechargeable batteries have a finite amount of charges in them; after which they just won't hold a charge.

Be cool

Heat is terrible for your batteries health. Whenever possible, keep your phone in a cool place. Your car in the summer or next to fire in winter are bad places to store a phone; direct sunlight is also a no-no. Room temperature seems to be the best climate for your battery, so don't go leaving your phone in the freezer all day either. But, if your phone is overheating, a quick stint for your battery in the fridge may not be a bad idea.

Charge your battery properly

This one may seem obvious, but how many of you know the factory recommended charging procedures? I had to go find my phone's manual to learn mine. If you have a lithium ion battery, and most newer phones do, don't let it fully die before you charge it. Many people believe that you're supposed to fully deplete battery before recharging, but this isn't the case with these batteries. Lithium ion batteries seem to dislike being fully charged too. A lot of people throw the term "memory effect" around without understanding it's meaning. Memory effect is supposedly a phenomenon that involves repeated short charges of a phone, never to full power though, over time. It is said if you do this, you're phone will "forget" that it can fully charge. This is where the complete discharge and recharge thing comes from. This is supposed to "recondition" your phone and "remind" it what it's full capacity is. Neither nickle based or lithium ion batteries suffer from this "memory effect", so don't believe this is helping your phone.

You should only use the appropriate charge for your battery. Using a different charger can cause overheating, which we spoke of earlier.

Store batteries properly

If you're in a situation where your battery won't be in use for a while, maybe you broke your phone and are waiting for the replacement, or you dropped your phone in water, you should store the battery properly. This does not mean leaving it in the device. You need to disconnect a battery that isn't in use. It then needs to be stored in a cool, dry place, like your refrigerator; but not in a freezer, cool, not freezing. Don't store it near other metal objects that could short circuit the terminals; though I don't know why you'd be storing more metal in your fridge. Let the battery warm up to room temperature before reuse; lithium ion batteries aren't meant to operate below a certain temperature. Also, find out an ideal storage charge to minimize oxidation. For lithium ion batteries, that's at about 40%. And never store a lithium ion battery at low voltages. Whenever you're ready to reuse the battery, charge it first.

Clean the terminals

Much like the terminals on your car battery, your phone's battery terminals can get dirty. Any dirt on the terminals will hinder the efficiency of energy transfer. Just pop the battery off and clean them with rubbing alcohol, isopropyl alcohol will work too. Take a Q-tip and dip it in the alcohol, then gently swab the terminals. If you have different metals covering each terminal, you may experience more advanced corrosion. This will require cleaning with a solvent like nail polish remover or acetone. just do the same thing you would with alcohol, but be careful; these solvents dissolve plastics.

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