10 Tips to make your phone battery last longer

Web Editor | ConsumerConnect

Experts have said that batteries are the fastest-degrading components of phones, smartphones, whether Androids, iOS, or otherwise.

It’s harder to replace your phone’s lithium ion battery than it is to treat it right in the first place. Many smartphones don’t provide easy user access to their batteries. According to Prof. Lauren Stephen’s piece at medium.com, these include all iPhones and many flagship Android phones from brands such as Samsung.

Official battery replacements can be expensive or inconvenient sometimes. There are also environmental concerns.

Smartphones are, frankly, an environmental disaster and extending the lifespan of your phone battery helps mitigate that.

Below are 10 top things you can do to preserve and extend the lifespan of your phone battery.

  1. Understand how your phone battery degrades. With every charge cycle your phone battery degrades slightly. A charge cycle is a full discharge and charge of the battery, from 0% to 100%. Partial charges count as a fraction of a cycle.

Charging your phone from 50% to 100%, for example, would be half a charge cycle. Do that twice and it’s a full charge cycle.

Some phone owners use more than a full charge cycle a day, others use less. It depends on how much you use your phone and what you do with it.

Battery manufacturers say that after about 400 cycles a phone battery’s capacity will degrade by 20%. It will only be able to store 80% of the energy it did originally and will continue to degrade with additional charge cycles. The reality, however, is that phone batteries probably degrade faster than that.

  1. Avoid extremes of heat and cold. If your phone gets very hot or cold it can strain the battery and shorten its lifespan. Leaving it in your car would probably be the worst culprit, if it’s hot and sunny outside or below freezing in winter.
  2. Avoid fast charging. Charging your phone quickly stresses the battery. Unless you really need it, avoid using fast charging, if you can.

In fact, the slower you charge your battery the better. So, if you don’t mind slow charging overnight, go for it. Charging your phone from your computer as well as certain smart plugs can limit the current going into your phone, slowing its charge rate. Some external battery packs might slow the speed of charging.

  1. Avoid draining your phone battery all the way to 0%, or charging it all the way to 100%. Older types of rechargeable batteries had ‘battery memory’. If you didn’t charge them to full and discharge them to zero battery they ‘remembered’ and reduced their useful range.

It was better for their lifespan if you always drained and charged the battery completely. Newer phone batteries work in a different way. It stresses the battery to drain it completely or charge it completely.

Phone batteries are best if you keep them above 20% capacity and below 90%. To be extremely precise, they function best around 50% capacity.

  1. Charge your phone to 50% for long-term storage. The healthiest charge for a lithium ion battery seems to be about 50%.

If you are going to store your phone for an extended period, charge it to 50% before turning it off and storing it. This is easier on the battery than charging it to 100% or letting it drain to 0% before storage.

The battery, by the way, continues to degrade and discharge if the phone is turned off and not being used at all. This generation of batteries was designed to be used.

Battery lifespan is also affected by battery life, how long your phone lasts on a single charge. Improving battery life extends the lifespan of the battery by slowing down those charge cycles.

  1. Turn down the screen brightness. A smartphone’s screen is the component that typically uses the most battery. Turning down the screen brightness will save energy. Using Auto Brightness probably saves battery for most people by automatically reducing screen brightness when there’s less light, although it does involve more work for the light sensor.

The thing that would truly save the most battery in this area would be to manage it manually and fairly obsessively. That is, manually set it to the lowest visible level every time there’s a change in ambient lighting levels.

Both Android and iOS give you options to turn down overall screen brightness even if you’re also using auto-brightness.

  1. Reduce the screen timeout (auto-lock). If you leave your screen on without using it, it will automatically turn off after a period of time, usually one or two minutes. You can save energy by reducing the Screen Timeout time (called Auto-Lock on iPhones). By default, I believe iPhones set their Auto-Lock to 2 minutes, which might be more than you need. You may be fine with 1 minute, or even 30 seconds. On the other hand, if you reduce auto-lock or screen timeout you may find your screen dimming too soon when you’re in the middle of reading a news story or recipe, so that’s a call you’ll need to make.
  2. Choose a dark theme. To display black, for instance, the Galaxy S7 with an OLED screen, doesn’t block the backlight with a pixel like some iPhones and many other types of LCD screens.

Instead, it doesn’t display anything at all. The pixels displaying black just don’t turn on. This makes the contrast between black and colour very sharp and beautiful.

It also means that displaying black on the screen uses no energy, and darker colours use less energy than bright colours like white. Choosing a dark theme for your phone, if it has an OLED or AMOLED screen, can save energy.

If your screen does not have an OLED screen — and this includes all iPhones before the iPhone X — a dark theme won’t make a difference.

  1. Look for other apps that waste battery. Look through your battery settings for other apps that use a disproportionate amount of energy and delete, disable, or restrict permissions where possible.

For apps you want to keep using, you can restrict permissions you don’t need. There are also ‘light’ versions of some popular apps that generally take up less space, use less data, and may use less power. Facebook Messenger Light is one example.

In general, though, the apps that use the most battery will be the apps you use the most, so deleting or reducing use may not be that practical for you.

  1. Disable Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and/or GPS. Leaving any of these services on when not in use uses your battery. Leaving Bluetooth on uses battery power even when you’re not paired, and having Wi-Fi enabled causes your phone to constantly search for available access points.

To disable Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, swipe down from the top of the home screen (Android) or open the Control Center (iPhone) and tap the Bluetooth (a sideways bowtie) or Wi-Fi (three curved lines in the shape of a pie slice).

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