Despite the leaps forward in mobile phone technology with crisp, clear screens and faster chips, batteries have made only sluggish progress. That has propelled a desire for longer battery life to the top of the list of factors considered by consumers when they purchase smartphones, according to a recent survey by the research firm IDC.
So why is battery technology still underwhelming? Plenty of companies have been developing smarter battery technology for years, including methods to increase battery capacity tenfold or charge devices by pulling energy from the air.
lithium ion, the technology that most mainstream batteries are based on, is low cost and easily reproducible while being safe — so we’ll be stuck with it for the foreseeable future, said Charlie Quong, an executive at Mophie, a battery accessory maker, in an interview.
In general, lithium ion improves about 10% a year in terms of the amount of energy that can be stored in a given space, which is partly why consumers perceive batteries as being far behind other technologies. So, with this, we will see the best we can do to increase the battery performance. In fact, we can reduce the battery use and improve its performance. The following are the methods we have tested and identified for the purpose.
Use auto-brightness for the screen
A smartphone’s screen consumes more energy than any other component, so the easiest way to cut down battery drain is to reduce your screen brightness. In an hourlong test, an iPhone 6S used 54% less battery power with the screen brightness at minimum as compared with maximum brightness. An Android test phone used 30% less.
But it’s tough to use a dim screen in bright environments, so most phones offer an auto-brightness mode that automatically adjusts the screen’s brightness based on ambient light. The Wirecutter found that enabling auto-brightness saved a good amount of battery life.
Block power-sucking ads
When browsing the web, your smartphone also burns through power when it downloads mobile ads on websites. Installing an ad blocker will greatly extend battery life.
Tweak your email settings
Email can have a major impact on battery life if you have multiple email accounts and receive lots of email. Your smartphone can update your email automatically using a technology called push, which brings new messages to your phone the instant they are transmitted.
Push can be a power hog because it requires your phone to constantly listen for new messages, so if you get a lot of email, there’s a good chance your phone is using lots of energy.
Play downloaded music instead of streaming
The next tip may come as unwelcome news. Nowadays, online streaming is the most popular way to listen to music, with services like Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music — but this method guzzles lots of battery power. In the Wirecutter’s tests, streaming music over a Wi-Fi connection for two hours used 10% of an iPhone’s battery reserves; streaming the same music stored directly on a device over two hours consumed only 5%.
Fortunately, streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music still let you listen to songs the old-school way: by storing the music right on your device.
Turn off wireless when reception is poor
You may have noticed that when you’re in a place without good Wi-Fi or cellular coverage, your phone’s battery seems to drain much more quickly. That’s because the phone uses energy searching for a good signal and, if the signal is very weak, trying to get a better connection.
To conserve battery life, disable the phone’s wireless circuitry. Airplane Mode, an option that will turn off all wireless features, is a quick and easy solution in areas with poor reception.
Check the battery usage lists
Consumers can get even better results with a bit of sleuthing. Both the iPhone and Android systems provide a simple way to see which apps are using a lot of battery power.
For iPhones and Android phones, open the Settings app and in the Battery menu, there are sorted lists of apps that are using the most energy.
Disable unnecessary location tracking
Watch out for apps that track your location. Your phone’s GPS circuitry, which determines your geographic location for mapping and fitness features, consumes a lot of battery power. A run-tracking program that monitors your precise location for the duration of an hour-long run will lower your battery level.
If a location-based app is using a lot of power, especially in the background, there’s a good chance the app is using GPS, Wi-Fi and the phone’s sensors frequently. You can decide whether to disable location features for it (either via your phone’s Location Services settings, or by changing settings in the app itself). On an iPhone, you can disable the app’s ability to track your location by going to Privacy menu and Location Services.
To disable location tracking on Android, go inside the Settings app, tap Apps, choose an app and select “Permissions,” then tap to disable Location permission.
Shut off unnecessary push notifications
Both Apple and Google recommend disabling push notifications, which are essentially app alerts, to conserve battery life. Notifications require regular communication with notification servers, and each notification causes your phone to wake up for a few seconds, including turning on the screen, to show you a message and give you a chance to act on it.
On an iPhone, open the Settings app, tap Notifications, tap the app name and disable Allow Notifications. On Android, disable notification in an app’s settings menu, or long-press the notification itself and select the “i” icon. This will send you to that app’s App Notifications settings, where you can block all notifications.