Enormous screens and faster processors have combined to make battery lives shorter on most modern smartphones. IPhone users seem to suffer more than anyone – but everyone wants to go longer between recharges and to spend less on their phone plan.
How to save battery life on your phone
The key thing you can do to save battery life on your phone is reduce the load that 2 factors place on the juice in your device.
1 ) Reduce the screen brightness: More than half of the load on your phone battery is used in simply keeping the screen lit. Any reduction in the brightness and / or colour saturation of your device will translate in to many more hours of usage.
2 ) The number of apps you’re using : You may have stumbled across the list of apps you have running at any one time and been amazed. When you exit them, they don’t always close. Keeping them ‘live’ is great for the people who own the app. They can monitor everything you do and send it back to HQ! For you, each app adds a load to the processor and that in turn uses more battery life.
At a basic level, most of the flexibility you have to influence the rate of data usage on your phone is available to you in your ‘settings’ whether you have an Android or iPhone device. Regularly review the apps you have running and get used to hitting the ‘close all’ button.
If battery life is an ongoing issue for you, consider getting a device with a ‘Super Power Saving’ feature, like the latest Galaxy S7. Samsung’s software allows you to turn off the colors on the screen, making your device black and white and put a hard limit on the apps which are open. Extending battery life in this way can give you literally days of usage!
How to reduce the amount of data you use
With almost all phone plans having unlimited domestic voice and SMS now, data really is the main thing people look for in plans and the main driver of cost in your monthly spend. Assuming you’ve got a plan with one of the more generous data allowances already, here’s what you can do to get the most from your data.
1 ) Be clever about the amount of data you use on videos: Almost all the data you use in your phone plan is watching videos. Estimates from Cisco say that more than 70% of all the data transacted over the mobile internet is from YouTube or a similar service. If you want to cut down the amount of data you’re using, make sure you’re attached to a free wifi hotspot before you watch video! If you need to watch video on the go make sure you set the streaming video to low definition. That’ll make a big difference, too.
2 )Install third party apps: There are a growing range of clever third party apps – like ‘Datally’ from Google. Datally says it can cut your data usage by 30% a month! If you’re downloading a lot of data ‘in the background’ Datally will tell you and give you the option to stop that usage. If you want to download a big file and you will be walking through a wifi hotspot in a few moments, Datally will tell you that and let you download your file later!
Bringing it all together
As recent news has shown, some manufacturers (we’re looking at you Apple) even slow the processors down on their phones to lengthen the battery life of their / your devices. Obviously, that’s frustrating to users in a different way. Their phone may last longer but it will crawl through the activities you’re requesting of it.
One idea which, for some reason doesn’t occur to many is simply getting the battery changed after a while. Some phones (for example, the Samsung Galaxy S5) has a user changeable battery. Others, notably iPhones, require a battery upgrade to be done by a professional. But batteries can cost as little as $100 – $200 – an inexpensive option compared to the annoyance of a slow device or the requirement to upgrade the entire phone to get ‘back to normal.’
Similarly, changing phone plans is often the easiest way to provide the data you need, rather than fiddling with the settings on your phone or downloading extra apps. Research shows that people who change their phone plans get given twice as much data per year, for the same cost, as those who don’t.