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How to extend the battery life of your mobile phone

31 July 2020

If your phone battery just won’t last the day, here some simple tips to help extend the battery life.

Mature cyclist using phone
Follow our five 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 and we're unable to check our email or access our contacts. 

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

Make your battery last all day

There's nothing more annoying than seeing your smartphone battery getting critically low at 2 or 3pm and knowing you can’t recharge it. 

Here are five things you can do to squeeze a few more hours out of it:

Adjust brightness

Adjust 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's in your pocket but every time your phone vibrates, it’s draining power from your battery.

Switch of unused functionality

Turn off functions you don't need. If GPS, Bluetooth or WiFi functions are left on, they are quietly gobbling up power. If you don't need them, turn them off while you're not using them.

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. Games and videos can be great when you need to pass some time, but they’re also a surefire way to cut your battery life in half.

Switch to dark mode

Lots of apps, such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Reddit, now come with a 'dark mode' option which will display white text on a back background instead of vice versa, which will help conserve energy.

Turn on battery saver mode early

Smart phones will often go into battery saving mode when the battery is getting low, usually when there is 15% - 5% battery remaining, but you can preemptively 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 setting and decide when you want it to kick in earlier. 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

And 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 reduces a battery’s life more than heat. Although storing your phone in the fridge isn’t practical, 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.

Switch off apps not in use

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.

How to extend your phone's batter 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 preemptively
  • Don't keep switching your phone on and off
  • Don't let your phone overheat
  • Turn off apps not in use

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.

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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.