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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# live a better life
Easy ways to stop your phone battery from ruining your day
Does your battery stress you out? Then read on for a solution.

#LIVE-A-BETTER-LIFE-banner-image-final (1)

SMARTPHONES ARE POWERFUL devices, so much so that they require a lot of power to run daily.

This means that our phones usually last only a day before we need to reach for the charger – or they need to be plugged in multiple times if we’re a heavy user.

Smartphone companies have developed new ways to help prolong battery life, but if you’re feeling like that’s not enough, there are other measures you can take. Tech issues can be stressful, and that’s why we’re focusing on them for the week.

If you’ve incorporated some of the advice from previous Live a Better Life pieces over the last two weeks, you’re already off to a good start.

shutterstock_288572945 Shutterstock / Georgejmclittle Shutterstock / Georgejmclittle / Georgejmclittle

Check your battery breakdown

Both iOS and Android have sections in settings dedicated to battery resources. Here you will be able to see which apps are taking up the most resources and in some cases, the amount of time you’ve spent using them in the background.

This is a good way to figure out which apps are using the most resources, so you can then reduce usage or remove them entirely. On both iOS and Android, you can check this by going into Settings > Battery. This is also useful if you want a breakdown of time spent on an app.

Don’t use auto-brightness

The screen is the biggest drain on your battery life. While auto-brightness may sound like a good idea, it usually ends up making the screen brighter than it needs to be which means more battery power is used.

Going into Settings > Display and turn off Auto-Brightness/Adaptive Brightness. If it’s on, your phone will adjust the brightness even if you change it manually.

Also, if you have a phone with an AMOLED screen, using a dark or black background can help. The reason for this is AMOLED screens only light up coloured pixels and not black pixels.

Disable background app refresh

Some apps like Gmail, Outlook, or Facebook do a lot of work in the background, mostly as a way to keep your accounts in sync when you’re out of it. For the most part, this is unnecessary, so if you can, disable them entirely or uninstall the app if it isn’t needed.

On iPhone, there’s a section which lets you turn off background app refresh (Settings > General > Background App Refresh). On Android, there isn’t a similar setting but you can go into Settings > App > Specific App and hit Force Quit. This will stop the app from running until you launch it again.

The same thing applies for location. While most apps now only activate it when you’re using them, some might have processes working in the background. Check to see which ones are doing that and disable them if you don’t need them.

Keep your apps updated

Developers don’t just update their apps to add new features, they also do it to help improve battery efficiency and memory optimisation. Keep them updated and if there are any apps you haven’t used in a while, you’re better off deleting them entirely as they could also be using up resources.

On Android, you can go a step into Settings > Battery > Menu (three dots at the top right of the screen) > Battery Optimisation. It’s good to check this with all your apps so you’re getting the most out of them.

Disable lift to wake

Both iPhone and Android devices now let you wake up your phone and see your notifications just by lifting your phone. While this is handy, the constant waking isn’t good for your battery.

On a related note, if you’re regularly checking your phone for the time, it’s better to just have a regular watch instead. Not only is it quicker, but the constant waking and sleeping of your screen isn’t good for your phone’s battery life.

You can also reduce the number of notifications that appear on your phone, something that is good for both your battery and attention span.

Reduce the number of widgets you’re using

shutterstock_559958506 Shutterstock / xtrekx Shutterstock / xtrekx / xtrekx

Widgets can be incredibly handy to have, but since they run in the background and refresh, they use up resources. In short, remove the ones you don’t need.

Make better use of battery saver mode

Battery saver mode – which turns off unessential features to help prolong battery life – usually activates around the 20% mark – but there’s nothing to say you can’t use it when you’re at a higher percentage.

If you know you won’t be able to charge your phone for a while, it can give you a lot of breathing space – so don’t forget to use it.

Limit vibrate or haptic feedback

The vibrate function is very useful for when you receive calls in silent, but do you really need it for messages or notifications? The likely answer is you won’t. For phone calls or texts, it’s allowed, but it’s unnecessary for every other app.

Airplane mode is your friend

Despite its name, Airplane mode isn’t just useful when you’re up in the air: it stops your phone from trying to connect to a cellular network whenever it can. This can be a particular drain if you’re in an area with low or no reception. If you’re in such an area, you’re better off activating Airplane mode entirely until you do need to make a phone call.

Remember that you can still connect to WiFi while in Airplane mode, though you will have to activate it as it doesn’t happen automatically.

What about battery packs?

shutterstock_524358085 Shutterstock / Nopparat Nakhamhom Shutterstock / Nopparat Nakhamhom / Nopparat Nakhamhom

If all else fails and the above doesn’t help, you could invest in an external battery pack. These usually charge your phone remotely and are handy when you’re on the move.

The two things you need to find out are how big of a battery you have – you can look up the specs for your particular model online – by referring to mAh (milliampere hours).

Once you know that, you’ll know how much your battery pack will charge. For example, a 3,000 mAh battery pack will completely charge an iPhone 7 (1,960 mAh) but would just about fill a Samsung S8 (3,000 mAh).

Also, keep amperage (A) in mind as the higher the number, the faster it will charge. This is important if you’re using your phone while charging it as a low amperage would only mean it’d slow down the drain rather than recharge it.

Did these tips help? Have you any of your own? Let us know in the comments.

Live A Better Life: The series so far>

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