Tips for Extending Your Cell Phone's Battery Life
by Power SuperSite
Many of us have replaced our old dinosaur land-line phones with newer, more modern and versatile cell phones. Not only do these tiny wonders of modern technology wow us with their ability to connect us to anyone, anywhere, at any time, they also allow us access to the vast knowledge base of the World Wide Web, the ability to stay connected via email and instant messages and keep us entertained. However, with all of these modern advances aside, the primary benefit of cell phones is their portability. How many times have you needed to access your phone and found it all but useless thanks to a flagging charge on your battery? The good news is that you can maximize the life of your battery by taking a few simple steps to prevent premature discharge. Here are a few of my favorites:
Turn off the wireless Internet connection. Many phones today are equipped with both Wi-Fi access to the Internet as well as cellular connectivity. One of the biggest power drains on your cell phone is your Wi-Fi connection being engaged when you aren't using it. Simply turning this feature off until you need it will make a huge difference in the power consumption of your phone and the life of your battery between charges. The same goes for your other most power-draining antenna, the GPS.
Ditch the vibration. Vibrating alerts on your phone is another big power drain. And, while this is an incredibly useful feature when you visit the library or are sitting at your cubicle at work, it really isn't necessary to use while out on the town or during the normal course of your day. Turning off the vibrating alerts on your phone can prolong your battery life by several hours, so only use it when absolutely necessary.
Utilize power savers such as backlight control features. Having the display on your phone show all the time will deplete your battery faster than you can say "Where's My Charger?" So, set your display to automatically turn your backlight off after a predetermined period of time of inactivity, say a minute or so. Also, adjust your backlight to the lowest screen brightness possible as an additional power saver.
Ditch the animation. Animated screensavers are cool, but only if you plan to charge your phone every few hours. Instead of sacrificing your battery for a cool animated screensaver, find a pretty static picture instead.
Terminate applications on smart phones. The idea behind a smart phone is that they can do so much more than place a phone call to the ones you love. These phones help keep you organized and on track. In order to do this, they come equipped with a variety of applications designed to help you make the most of your time. The problem with this is that unless you take special care to terminate each of these applications when you are through with them, they continue running in the background, robbing your phone of vital battery life. Make sure that you terminate each application you use in order to lengthen the time in between charges.
Play games less. Okay, so we are all guilty of using our phones to while away the hours from time to time, but did you know that all of that game play really puts a drain on your battery? Reserve game play for when you have access to a charger.
Keep it out of the sun and out of the freezer. Keeping your phone's battery at the optimum operating temperature keeps it charged for much longer than when you expose it to extreme temperature situations. Never leave your cell phone in your car, regardless of the temperature outside and protect it as much as possible from overheating or freezing.
These are just a few of the things you can do to help prolong the life of your cell phone battery. Consult your manufacturer's directions for more tips for keeping your battery in tip top shape.
Here are a couple of apps that can help you to keep your power usage under control:
- Extended Controls: ($.99) Most Android UI's come with several power control widgets built in. Extended Controls takes it to the next level, allowing you to control more than a dozen settings that affect power use from one easy place, or create a custom widget with whichever settings you use most often.
- JuiceDefender: (Free) JuiceDefender controls many of the same things that Extended Controls does, but does so automatically. It can adjust settings automatically based on several factors, such as where you are, how strong your signal is, how you're using your phone, and how much battery power you have left.
- Advanced Task Killer: (Free) Advanced Task Killer, or ATK, was considered very important for early versions of Android, allowing the easy termination of other applications. However, since Android 2.1, most experts agree that ATK is no longer necessary, as Android's built-in task management has outstripped what ATK is capable of doing. If you're using an older phone with 1.5 or 1.6, you may still want to consider using ATK.
The iPhone OS allows apps less control over the system and does much more of these things automatically, so there aren't as many apps for battery management for the iPhone, especially that don't require jailbreaking. However, there is one great app that can help you out with battery management, myBatteryLife by KVapps. It gives a much more accurate percentage of remaining battery capacity than the built-in battery monitor, and also estimates how much actual battery use time that translates to for different tasks.
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