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staying power

10 ways to improve your smartphone's battery life

Give yourself one less thing to worry about the next time you check your phone.

WE’VE ALL BEEN there. You use your phone maybe a few times during the day and before you know it, you’re out of power. While smartphones have become more powerful and versatile over time, their batteries haven’t exactly kept up, to the point where you’re lucky if it lasts the entire day on one charge.

While you can’t change your battery, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure your phone is still ticking along by the end of the day.

Turn off your location services

While a useful feature, location services are probably the biggest reason your battery life disappears so quickly, especially if there are numerous apps using tracking your whereabouts. For iOS, you will find the setting under privacy while Android has an entire section dedicated to it. Windows Phone users need to go into the settings function to find it.

imageCheck battery use (Android)

Android users have it lucky as they can check to see which apps are using the most power. It’s probably a good idea to check this first to see which apps are putting the most strain on your battery.

Windows Phone also has the handy Battery Saver mode, which turns off certain features like email updates and apps running in the background. You can either set it so that it activates when the battery gets low or have it on at all times.

imageSwitch off auto-brightness

Auto-brightness is one of those features you don’t realise is a thing until it’s brought up. The idea is that your screen will brighten or darken depending on your surroundings, but the reality is this switching is an unnecessary drain on your battery. Turn it off and then reduce the brightness as it’s a feature you’ll rarely need.

imageKeep number of notifications down

Outside of messaging or social apps, the majority of push notifications are redundant. iOS has the notification centre while Android requires you to go into the apps info in settings, where you can tick or untick the notifications box for each one. imageKeep screen timeout low

Screen timeout is how long your phone stays activated after your last action. On Android, you can go into display and make your device go to sleep after 15 seconds. iOS’ version is auto-lock which you can find by selecting general in settings – the shortest time frame for locking is one minute – while Windows Phone users have to go to Lock & Wallpaper, found in settings.

imageTurn off background apps

If you haven’t turned off your phone in a while, you will have a large number of apps running in the background. On their own,  they’re not harmful, but since our modern attention spans mean we jump in and out of apps regularly, we could have a lot of them running without realising it.

While it’s handy to have a few running if you regularly access them, the majority can be turned off. Android has a button dedicated to it while iOS users must double-tap the home button to get the option. Windows Phone users, on the other hand, have to go into each app individually and press the back button to close it.

imageTurn off Wifi & Bluetooth

Similar to location services, your phone will be always searching for a WiFi or Bluetooth connection, even if you’re nowhere near a connection. If you know you won’t be near a WiFi hotspot for a while, you should switch them off.

Alternatively, switching on Airplane Mode will have the same effect, although doing this will mean you won’t be able to make or receive calls either.

imageTurn off email updates

Your email app is always searching for new arrival and refreshing every couple of minutes to ensure you’re constantly updated. Unless you absolutely need to know when new mail arrives, it’s better to switch updates off and visit the app itself.

Download a battery app

There’s an abundance of apps claiming to improve your battery life. While you shouldn’t take these claims too seriously, apps like Battery Doctor, Juice Defender, and Battery for Windows Phone do give you an overview on what services are using up the most battery, allowing you to make better decisions.

imageGet a battery pack

If all else fails, maybe you should consider getting a portable battery pack. The majority of smartphone manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung has their own official versions, and there are numerous third-party chargers for both Android and iPhone.

Read: Five smartphones battling for your Christmas stocking >

Read: Watch: A smartphone that can heal itself when scratched >

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