Tech-Friendly: Extend your smartphone’s battery life

Paul Gorski
Paul Gorski

By Paul Gorski

Not getting a full day out of your smartphone battery? You are not alone. Many smartphones are not designed to last a whole day without charging, but even those that are advertised to last a full day without a charge may not achieve that goal. I am going to give you a very short list of ways to extend your smartphone’s battery life.

First, tone down your screen brightness. The brighter your screen, the faster your battery will drain. Most current phones with the newest version of iOS and Android offer an auto brightness feature, but the phone manufacturer may not have properly calibrated this feature. If your auto brightness setting is not working very well, look to the app store to see if there is an app for your phone that might do a better job.

Second, turn off your Wi-Fi if you are not using it. Unless you are connected to Wi-Fi, your phone will be seeking out a Wi-Fi connection, and that can drain the battery. Some tech folks suggest you disable Bluetooth and GPS features, too, but so many apps today use one or more of these features that you might just as well keep these two features enabled.

Third, avoid a problem and buy a phone with a good antenna. Your phone will use more energy trying to maintain a signal in weak signal areas. The battery drain can be significant, too. This is why it is important to get a phone with a good antenna; most Apple and Motorola phones have good antennas. Sure, you can buy a phone with a big screen, but if the battery drains in half a day because the phone cannot find a signal, what good is it?

When shopping for a new phone, test drive your phone in the areas you will use it the most. Why buy a phone that will not work for you at home or work? I wrote an article on this topic last year, “Tech-Friendly: Test drive your next smartphone before you buy” from the Jan. 9-15, 2013, issue (http://rockrivertimes.com/2013/01/09/tech-friendly-test-drive-your-next-smartphone-before-you-buy/).

Sure, there are other phone features you could enable or disable to extend battery life, but try these items first. Let me know if these suggestions helped you.

Paul Gorski (www.paulgorski.com) has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple lle.

Posted Nov. 14, 2014

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