How To Make Your Phone’s Battery Last Longer And Hold More Juice


How often do you recharge your smartphone?
It’s different for everyone; personally
speaking, my phone is charged (on average)
every other day, but of course this changes
when I’m working “on the road” (conducting
interviews or just hanging out in cafes working
on my tablet or just with pen and paper).
A few years ago I worked as an IT technician,
something that required me to have my phone
switched on 24/7. This also meant almost
perpetual charging, whether at home, in the
office or in the car. That’s a lot of recharging;
a lot of energy.
In a society where energy costs are rising,
brownouts and blackouts are more common and
the urge to stay connected is ever-greater,
knowing how to manage your mobile phone’s
battery as effectively as possible is
increasingly important.
This isn’t only to keep costs down – it’s also
about staying in communication with emails and
social networking services as well as text
messaging and phone calls.
 Why Battery Life Decreases Under
Different Conditions

Smartphones almost exclusively employ
Lithium-Ion (aka Li-ion) batteries as these
offer an affordable, high capacity solution for
the various functions, services and
connections that smartphone users expect
from operating systems.
Battery charge decreases on a day-to-day
basis through constant use – but what
factors affect the life of a Li-ion battery?
The age of the battery is most important, as
this can affect that maximum charge. A 2010
study demonstrated that from a starting
capacity of 88-94%, battery life after 250
charges reduced to 73-84%.
Internal resistance and self-discharge is largely
redundant in modern batteries, and while age is
something that cannot be easily managed
(batteries can sit on shelves in their
smartphones for months before purchase) all
of this means that managing your battery life is
something that you will need to monitor closely.

 Looking After Your Battery
A few years ago I was convinced that full
battery discharge from time to time was the
best way to maintain long life for the power
cell – I’ve since learned, however, that this is
not the case. Instead, avoiding full discharge
and charging regularly is apparently the best
way to keep the battery working longer.
However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t
fully discharge your battery every couple of
months. Doing so enables the device hardware
to recalibrate capacity, thereby ensuring that
the correct charge is displayed on your
smartphone.
Interestingly, temperature will affect your
battery life; even occasional use in hot
conditions will drain the battery faster…

 Native Tips and Tricks for Maintaining
Battery Life on Your Mobile Phone

There are various ways provided by mobile
phone operating system developers that you
can employ to lengthen the time between
charges.
Sadly this means a trade-off with
functionality.
The most obvious thing to do is make sure your
screen is set to switch off after a certain
amount of time unused – perhaps after 30
seconds or a minute. You can also disable the
phone’s vibrate mode and any vibrate/haptic
feedback designed to help you determine when
software buttons have been pressed.
After this, it’s time to turn your attention to
connectivity. Bluetooth will drain your battery,
so if this isn’t in use, disable it. Similarly, Wi-Fi
will severely deplete battery life, especially if
you have a few rogue apps or games
maintaining a connection with a remote server.
Mobile Internet such as EDGE, 3G, 4G and
beyond will also lead to faster depletion of
battery life. If you’re not using these
connections for anything (i.e. your phone is
sitting idle) then disable them.
Finally, take a look at the apps you have
installed, and determine whether or not they
require localization services. These are
typically provided by GPS, one of the biggest
drains on your phone’s battery. If you’re not
using GPS, switch it off!

 Battery Management Apps
Pretty much all mobile platforms have battery
management apps available for them. These
are available either as third party apps that
can be installed from the corresponding app
store or provided as a native option.
Sadly, these apps don’t really do anything
magical. Typically they will restrict data
transfer on mobile Internet services, or at best
all but disable non telephony connectivity in
order to maintain battery life for as long as
possible. After all, smartphones are basically
for making phone calls, so as long as this
fundamental function is available with a low
battery, there isn’t an overwhelming need to
recharge.

 Can I Recharge My Phone in the
Freezer?

As crazy as the idea of placing an expensive
piece of hardware in a coolbox might sound, it
is actually possible to get more battery life
from a smartphone by placing it somewhere
cold for a while.
While a freezer is unsuitable – it is likely to
cause the casing of the battery to crack – the
principle of keeping a Lithium-Ion battery cool
will increase the amount of power that it
delivers to your phone. Li-ion rechargeable
batteries generate heat when in use,
something that is mitigated by internal
resistance (this is also why charger voltages
are so low; a high voltage would result in a
faster charge but also a higher temperature –
above 30 degrees Celsius/86 degrees
Fahrenheit – reducing the life of the battery).
This causes the battery to discharge more
quickly while simultaneously providing energy for
the normal functioning of the device.
Using the phone in a cooler environment or
storing the battery itself in a cool place when
not in use can extend the charge and the life
of the cell.

 Conclusion
Keeping your smartphone battery charge going
for as long as possible isn’t just
environmentally sound, it is financially sound
too. While recharging from a modern car battery
might not cost as much as recharging your
smartphone from the mains electricity every
day, understanding what services and
functions impact battery power the most and
taking steps to minimise these is the best way
of increasing the life of the current charge.
As for your battery itself, regular top-up
charges, with occasional recalibration
discharges will increase battery life, as will
storage in a cool place away from heat.

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Follow our writers on Twitter Peter Haloway @Tickcles @IamMrNiyi @Jobzschmo

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