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How to extend the battery life of your mobile phone

22 June 2022

If your phone just won’t last the day try these simple tips to help extend the battery life.

Mature cyclist using phone
Follow our tips to squeeze more life from your mobile battery

Most of us are so accustomed to life with our smartphones we feel lost when the battery dies while we're out and about and we're unable to check our email, social media or access our contacts. 

If your battery often doesn’t last the day, these tips should help it go the distance.

Adjust the brightness

Turn the brightness level of the screen down to a readable level. Most of us really only need full brightness when we're out in the sun.

Turn off vibration

The vibration can be handy when your phone is in your pocket but every time your phone vibrates, it’s draining power from your battery.

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Switch off unused functionality

Turn off functions you don't need. If GPS, Bluetooth or WiFi functions are left on, they're quietly gobbling up power. If you don't need them, turn them off while you're not using them. Remember to turn your WiFi back on when you get home to avoid using up data unnecessarily. 

Don't use animated wallpaper

Animated wallpaper might be entertaining, but it’s an energy drain. A dark coloured background image will also save energy more than a bright one.

Don't watch multimedia content

Don’t play games or watch videos when you know you won't have a chance to charge. Games and videos can be great when you need to pass some time, but they’re also a sure-fire way to cut your battery life in half.

Switch to dark mode

Lots of apps, such as Facebook Messenger, Chrome, Instagram and WhatsApp, now come with a 'dark mode' option which will display white text on a black background, which will help conserve energy.

Turn battery saver mode on early

Smartphones will often automatically go into battery saving mode when the battery is getting low, usually when there is 15% - 5% battery remaining, but you can pre-emptively switch it on in advance if you know you're going to be away from a charger and want to save your battery. You can also go to your settings and set what percentage you want your battery saver to kick in at. Battery saver mode switches off functionality like vibrate and reduces a lot of background performance, so you might find messages don't immediately come through, for example.

Keep your phone on during the day

While turning your phone off for short periods of time can seem like a good idea, it uses a lot of power to start it up again. Only turn your smartphone off if you know you won’t need it for a few hours, otherwise don’t risk it. If you're not sure when you'll need it again try putting it in aeroplane mode to save a bit more juice. 

Keep your phone cool

Nothing degrades a battery’s life more than heat, so try to avoid letting it overheat. Leaving your phone in the sun or in a hot car will drain the battery faster and also shorten your overall battery life. If you're sat outside enjoying the sunshine keep your phone in a pocket or bag to keep it out of direct sunlight.

Switch off unused apps

There’s really no sense having a smartphone if you can’t use all of its features, but be sure you’re not accidentally using more features than you need and most importantly switch off apps you aren't using so they aren't running in the background.

How to extend your phone's battery life

In summary, here is a checklist of how to save battery power:

  • Turn brightness down
  • Turn off vibration
  • Switch off WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS etc when you aren't using them
  • Use a dark, non-animated wallpaper image
  • Avoid playing games and watching videos
  • Use apps in dark mode
  • Turn on battery saver mode early
  • Don't keep switching your phone on and off
  • Don't let your phone overheat
  • Turn off unused apps

Experiment for a few days and find the right balance between battery life and the things you need to get the most out of your phone. If your phone is losing charge extremely fast despite taking these precautions it might be that you need to replace your battery. Unfortunately it isn't as simple as it used to be so you should consult a phone repair specialist in your area.

If all else fails, invest in a battery pack. These portable batteries can be charged from the mains at home and used to recharge your phone while you're out and about. They come in a range of colours and designs, but be sure to check how much power they can hold (some will only charge your phone once, while others have enough for multiple charges) and make sure you choose one that is compatible with your phone or tablet's charging port.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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