Smartphone Battery Life

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January 12, 2011

If you are a smartphone user, you have probably noticed that the battery life isn’t great, especially compared to regular cell phones. All those features and apps suck up power, and the small package doesn’t leave room for a large battery. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to keep your battery running longer between charges.

1. Adjust the brightness. A brighter screen uses more power. Turning down the brightness can make a big difference. Some smart-phones offer an Auto-Brightness setting that adjusts to ambient light.

2. Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi until you need them. Both of these features use power to scan for connections all the time. Turning them off until you can connect to a Bluetooth headset or Wi-Fi network will save power. When you have a Wi-Fi network available, using that service rather than the cellular network will give you faster Internet and use less power.

3. Change the frequency of updates. Every time your phone checks email, it uses power; the more often it checks, the shorter your battery life. Consider changing your settings to check email every 15 minutes, or even every hour. Apps that automatically refresh, such as Facebook or Twitter, can also be power drains, so check their refresh times or even turn them off.

4. Turn off GPS and Navigation. It’s one of the great features of a smartphone, but it also drains batteries quickly. Turning off the GPS until you need it can help the battery significantly. The same goes for location features like those in Twitter or stand-alone services like FourSquare or Loopt.

5. Keep the battery from getting too hot. Heat can also kill a battery, so avoid leaving your phone out in the sun or in other places where it will stay above room temperature for long periods.

If you’ve tried all these and your battery still won’t last long enough, try refreshing the battery by draining it completely, to where the phone shuts off, then giving it a full charge. Also, Android phones offer a Battery Use feature that will show you where your battery charge is being used. Utilizing that tool will give you a good idea of where you might want to make changes.