10 tips to make your smartphone battery last much longer

Whether you are going on holiday, visiting a festival or planning a weekend away, follow our tips to make sure your smartphone never runs out of juice.

Smartphones aren’t just for calls: we use them to photograph our lives, following directions, listen to music and keep up with news.

Demanding so much of our handsets takes its toll on battery performance and although phone batteries are getting better and last longer, some struggle to last a day. Follow our simple tips below to ensure your battery lasts much longer. 

Tip 1: Flight mode isn't just for aeroplanes

The quickest way to start saving battery power is to turn on Flight (or Aeroplane) mode. This turns off all the radios in the device, so you won’t be able to do anything that needs a connection, such as using wi-fi, making and receiving calls and pairing with Bluetooth devices. To find it look for Flight mode in the menu, or an aeroplane icon in your control panel or quick-settings menu (swipe down on Android and up on iPhone to acces this).

Tip 2: Kill any connections you aren't using

If turning off flight mode is too extreme you can save battery by switching off individual connections like wi-fi (and Bluetooth). You can do this in the Settings menu or in your quick-settings menu.

Tip 3: Turn off location services until you need them

Almost all smartphones include GPS (or aGPS) chips that can pinpoint your location, but which drain your your battery in doing so. 

These aren’t just used in navigation apps like Google Maps, AirBnB, Instagram, Strava and Trip Advisor all use location info to help create a more personalised service - such as finding nearby restaurants on TripAdvisor or adding a location to your Instagram shots. There are probably more apps than you realise using your location on your phone.

Screenshot showing Location Services

To save battery, search for Location in your Settings and either turn it off altogether, or see what individual apps are using it and turn off in the ones you don’t use very often

Tip 4: Save eye strain and take screen brightness down 

Reducing the brightness of the screen can also save battery life, you can do this using the slider in the quick-settings menu.

Tip 5: Stop your accounts from syncing automatically 

Features like Google Docs and Google Calendar update automatically in the background without you having to press a ‘sync’ or ‘receive’ button.

Screenshot App sync

If you are on holiday or away for the weekend, you may not need to use this feature, which uses up your battery power.

On an Android phone turn it off by looking for Accounts and an option like ‘Automatically sync data'. Alternatively you can turn Sync off for individual features.  

By turning if off you won’t get notifications, so remember to reactivate it again when you need it.

Tip 6: Stop automatic app refresh

Apps often refresh their content in the background, so when you load a News app, you’ll see the latest stories.

Find this on an iPhone by looking for Background App Refresh. You can turn it off altogether, but most apps use it carefully, so turn it off for the apps you don’t use very much.

Tip 7: Your smartphone can help - enable Battery Saver mode 

The majority of modern smartphones include a power-saving mode, which let you see exactly what features consume power. When activated, the phone will automatically shut down power-hungry features when the battery falls to a certain level.

Android Battery Saver mode

The location of power-saving mode varies from phone to phone, so head to the Settings menu and look for Battery Saver on an Android phone, or Low Power Mode on an iPhone.

Google’s Android operating system also has a feature called Adaptive Battery, which limits the battery use for apps you aren’t using.

Tip 8: Turn off vibrate

Turning off your ringtone and using vibrate is far more discreet than constantly being interrupted by beeps, but it does use battery. So switch it off and use silent mode or reduce your call and notification volume.

Tip 9: Update your software to stay safe and save power

Software updates are really important: they add new features, but also can fix security flaws and sometimes include tweaks that make your battery last longer.  If you see a message alerting you to a software update, make sure you download and install it.

Tip 10: Be prepared with a portable charger

Taking a back-up battery with you is an effective way to ensure you don’t run out of power.

There are numerous devices around, some small enough for your pocket. Depending on the size of your smartphone battery, a small portable charger may not charge it fully, but will boost the battery level to maybe 50%.

Available in black, silver and rose gold, the Belkin Pocket Power 10K Portable Power Bank Charger has 2x USB ports for plugging in your smartphone. Belkin says the 10,000 mAh battery can recharge a smartphone three times. Other options include the Anker PowerCore 20100 and the tiny Veno Pebble Ministick Portable.

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