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Long Live Your Phone Battery

In theory, modern smartphones can last hundreds of hours on a single charge. But in practice today’s top phones will squeeze out about 20 hours at best. With that in mind, we tested both Android (Google) and iOS (Apple) phones to pin down battery-saving tricks that actually work.

Long Live Your Phone Battery
Photo: Ali Blumenthal

1. Delete apps you don’t use

On average, smartphone users download about 42 apps but use only ten daily.

  • iOS Tap and hold the app icon, then tap the X in the top left corner.
  • Android Tap and hold any app icon, then drag it to the top right to uninstall or the top left to remove.
  • For both operating systems, note that there are built-in apps that you can’t delete.

2. Control which apps run all the time

Apps like Facebook and email continue to run in the background, even when you’re not using them, so you’ll receive a notification as soon as you get a new message or comment.

  • iOS You can turn off background data on an app-by-app basis. Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh to select apps to turn off.
  • Android You can ‘restrict background data’ for each app. Go to Settings > Data usage. Tap on your app of choice, then scroll to the bottom to restrict background data on cellular networks.

3. Disable notifications

Some apps, such as those for weather, news and sports, will automatically send you ‘push notifications’ throughout the day, unsolicited. If you’re not interested, disable them.

  • iOS Visit Settings > Notifications, and turn off notifications for all but your most important apps.
  • Android Go to Settings > Sound & notification > App notifications.

4. Turn off location services

Map and weather apps need to use your location, but do you need to geo-tag Facebook and Instagram?

  • iOS Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. You can either turn them all off at once or turn them off individually.
  • Android Go to Settings > General > Location. Then use the switch at the top to turn location reporting off.

5. Forgo vibrations

When it comes to battery life, ringing is a lot less taxing than rumbling.

  • iOS Go to Settings > Sounds, and then switch off the two vibrate toggles at the top of the menu.
  • Android Use the volume toggle to turn down the ringer, and you’ll see a menu pop up at the top of your screen. Here, you can either turn off all notifications for a custom period or receive only ‘priority notifications’ based on your personal preferences.

6. Dim the screen

Viewing your phone’s millions of pixels at full brightness is a guaranteed battery drain.

  • iOS Go to Settings > Display & Brightness. Turn off Auto-Brightness, and then dim the display to your comfort level using the slider.
  • Android Go to Settings > Display, and turn off Adaptive Brightness. Then tap on Brightness level and adjust to your preference.

7. Decrease display time

A phone’s single biggest battery drain is the display, and we often leave it on even if we’re not looking at the screen. Set your device to turn off its display after a short period of time, 30 seconds to a minute should be enough.

  • iOS Go to Settings > General > Auto-Lock.
  • Android Go to Settings > Display > Sleep.

8. Turn off Bluetooth

Bluetooth, a short-range wireless technology, doesn’t drain as much battery power as it used to, but if you don’t use it for external devices or data transfer, consider turning it off.

  • iOS Swipe up from the bottom of your screen, and tap the Bluetooth icon in the middle.
  • Android Go to Settings > Bluetooth, and toggle it off.

Source: TIME (May 13, 2015). © 2015 by Time Inc., time.com



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