Making your smartphone battery last longer

CBS MoneyWatch
Smartphone Battery

(Photo: Aaron Yoo - Flickr)

Yahoo editors have selected this article as a favorite of 2013. It first ran on Yahoo Shopping on July 17th and was one of the most popular stories of the year. The story offers simple tips on how to prolong your smartphone's battery.

We're a smartphone society now -- people do everything on their phones, from checking e-mail and Facebook posts to watching video and surfing the Web. All that comes at a price, though: bear attacks and woefully short battery life.

While there's little I can do about the bears, I can offer a near-dozen practical tips for extending the battery life of your phone, which reduces the frequency of charges (and hopefully let's you make it home at the end of the day before the juice runs dry).

Adjust the screen brightness. The default setting for your screen is probably brighter than it needs to be, and the display is the single largest consumer of battery power on your phone. Turn it down to the lowest level that still comfortable to see.

Sleep sooner. Your phone lets you specify how quickly to turn off the display and put the phone to sleep. You can extend the life of your phone significantly by ensuring the phone turns itself off quickly rather than staying on for several minutes every time you check the time.

Turn off notifications. Many apps enable display notifications. Most of the time, these are pointless and a waste of battery power since they force your screen to light up briefly many times throughout the day. Disable apps' notifications to extend  battery power.

Disable any antennas not in use. Never (or only rarely) use Bluetooth. Make sure it's turned off in your settings. The same is true of Wi-Fi, though if you're like most people, you probably use that quite a bit. If your battery is near death, though, and you need to keep it alive as long as possible, you can enter Airplane Mode (which turns off all the radios, including voice).

Minimize the gadgets your phone syncs with. The new Pebble smartwatch is great, but it imposes a battery penalty on your phone to the tune of about 10 percent of battery life per day. There are also Bluetooth headsets, your car and other high-tech conveniences that consume power. If you want to maximize battery life, minimize the number of gadgets you connect to.

Say no to location requests. Many apps ask permission to detect your location so they can provide more targeted information. That might be useful, but every time an app has to ping your GPS chip, it uses power. Unless you really need that location function, just say no.

Sync less frequently. Most smartphones are designed to check for e-mail and apps data every 15 or 30 minutes. If you can live with less frequent updates, extend those minutes to a full hour. This will have a noticeable effect on battery life.

Lower the volume. Turn down your phone's overall volume, including the ringer.

Turn off vibrate. You might need this feature -- especially if you leave your phone in your pocket all the time -- but making a mechanical vibrator jiggle takes a lot of juice. Turn it off for more runtime.

Keep it cool. A hot battery drains faster than a cool one -- so if your phone is hot to the touch, it's running inefficiently. That can happen when you leave it in your car, in your pocket or on top of another hot gadget, like a laptop. Running the phone continuously can also make it heat up.

Turn it off completely. If you know you won't use your phone for a while -- like in a meeting or at the movie theater -- shut it off rather than just quieting the ringer.

Photo: Aaron Yoo on Flickr

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • 12 Secrets Costco Shoppers Need to Know

      Stu pendousmat via Wikimedia Commons A Costco membership opens doors, quite literally, to a vast selection of bulk-size groceries and household goods selling at discounted prices. But buying potato chips ...

      Kiplinger
    • The Messy Truth About Van Jones

      They never learn. The grand journalism pooh-bahs at CNN were humiliated this election cycle when WikiLeaks revealed that former CNN contributor and interim DNC chair Donna Brazile had shared a question with the Hillary Clinton campaign in advance of a March Democratic primary town hall debate. According to CNN, "activist anchor" Roland Martin and his production team at CNN's debate partner and identity politics network TV One were responsible for the leak. CNN host Jake Tapper called the episode "very, very troubling" and condemned the breach: "Journalistically, it's horrifying," he told WMAL radio. CNN president Jeff Zucker declared after an internal investigation that the network "would not

      CNS News q
    • Teen Accused of Beheading Classmate

      Mathew Borges will be tried as an adult.

      Cosmopolitan
    • Ladies European Tour event suspended after on-course caddie death

      The Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour was suspended during the first round on Wednesday following the on-course death of a caddie. The caddie’s name was not released, but Dubai media reported the caddie was carrying for Anne-Lise Caudal. The Omega Dubai Ladies Masters began on Wednesday.

      Devil Ball Golf
    • Woman shuts down saleswoman who called her $130 engagement ring 'pathetic'

      When it comes to love, it's not about the money. Quinn and Ariel McRae dated for two years before tying the knot. But a saleswoman where the couple bought Ariel's rings tried to put a damper on the festivities by calling the jewelry "pathetic." "My husband doesn't have a lot, neither of us do," McRae explained in a Facebook post about the encounter. "We scrape and scrape to pay bills and put food in our bellies, but after almost 2 years of dating we decided that we couldn't wait anymore, so we didn't." "I wasn't even thinking about rings, I just wanted to marry my best friend," she continued, "But he wouldn't have it. He scraped up just enough money to buy me two matching rings from Pandora." The two headed to the store and picked out a pair of rings they could afford — two rings for $130. SEE ALSO: Little boy proposes to his classmate with his mom's diamond ring McRae was was thrilled to get her rings, and then, the couple encountered a saleswoman. "While we were purchasing my rings... another lady that was working there came over to help the lady selling them to us," she wrote. "She said, 'Y'all, can you believe that some men get these as engagement rings? How pathetic.'" "I watched my now husband's face fall," she continued. Quinn was already upset that he couldn't his fiancé a more expensive ring, so the saleswoman's words crushed him. "He was so upset at the idea of not making me happy enough and of me not wanting to marry him because my rings didn't cost enough money or weren't flashy enough," she explained. "Y'all I would have gotten married to this man if it had been a 25¢ gum ball machine ring" she proudly posted. "When did our nation fall so far to think the only way a man can truly love a woman is if he buys her $3,000+ jewelry and makes a public decree of his affection with said flashy ring?" McRae quickly shot down the pretentious saleswoman, calmly saying, "It isn't the ring that matters, it is the love that goes into buying one that is." "My husband was so afraid of me not wanting him because he couldn't afford a piece of jewelry," she posted. "But here I am though, courthouse married, $130 ring set, the love of my life by my side and happier than I could ever imagine." Looks like this marriage is off to a pretty perfect start. Mashable reached out to McRae for a comment, and will update the story when she replies. BONUS: Tom Hanks photobombed a wedding photoshoot in gym shorts

      Mashable
    • Dear Abby: May I fantasize my husband's a woman?

      DEAR ABBY: I’m a woman, twice married. My first marriage was to a woman who hurt me deeply by lying and cheating. I am now married to a man who, even with his faults, is a wonderful husband. My thing is, I am still strongly attracted to women. I consider myself to be bisexual. When my husband notices that I look at women, I’m honest and tell him what I admire about a particular woman. What I leave out is that I’m turned on by them. He is not open to my actively being bisexual, not even a threesome. Is it all right for me to fantasize when I’m intimate with him that he’s a woman? I know some people fantasize about being with a celebrity or a more attractive mate, but is it all right to fantasize

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • A new underwater robot captured eerie, high-def scenes from sunken ship

      A new type of underwater robot has made it possible to peer deep inside the USS Arizona, the sunken naval battleship that was bombed 75 years ago at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The remotely-operated submersible recently filmed sobering and previously unseen glimpses of the ship for the new documentary Pearl Harbor: Into the Arizona, a co-production of CuriosityStream and PBS.  SEE ALSO: Red-eyed robot snake designed to be a janitor for the ocean bed In the film, an officer's dress uniform, now covered in algae, still hangs from its hook in the living quarters. A crewman's hat keeps its shiny trim. A bathroom cabinet holds its original contents, while a blanket covers an intact bed. The Arizona was

      Mashable q
    • Constant Gym-Goer Ditched Her Cardio Workouts for Powerlifting and Lost 37 Lbs.

      For years, Alice Fields was a cardio queen, who would toil away on the treadmill in the hopes of slimming down. Fields tried this weight loss method unsuccessfully for around five years, and says she “felt trapped in my own body,” until a friend introduced her to powerlifting 18 months ago. “Not only had my strength increased dramatically, but my whole body composition changed.

      People
    • Gisele Bündchen posted the most heartwarming birthday photo of her daughter and it will make you smile

      Just after the world totally obsessed over Gisele Bündchen’s cute family photo of Tom and her babies after the Patriots’ win, the model…

      Hello Giggles
    • New Zealand passport robot tells applicant of Asian descent to open eyes

      A New Zealand man of Asian descent had his passport photograph rejected when facial recognition software mistakenly registered his eyes as being closed. Richard Lee's attempt to renew his passport was blocked after he submitted the picture to an online passport photo checker run by New Zealand's department of internal affairs. "No hard feelings on my part, I've always had very small eyes and facial recognition technology is relatively new and unsophisticated," Lee told Reuters.

      Reuters
    • The 62 Most Delish Taco Recipes (63 photos)

      Find how to make these creative and totally inspired tacos. From Delish

      Delish
    • Japan's sex problem is so bad that people are quitting dating and marrying their friends

      The Japanese sex problem has become so desperate that its young population are giving up on dating and are just marrying their friends. A Government survey found 69 per cent of Japanese men and 59 per cent of Japanese women do not have a romantic partner. One Japanese aggregator website has since been awash with stories of how people have simply got married to life-long friends. The country has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, with just 8.4 children being born per 1,000 inhabitants over the last five years. Its population of 127m people is predicted to decrease to 87m by 2060. The survey, carried out by the country’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, also

      Business Insider q
    • First round of Dubai Ladies Masters suspended after caddie dies on the course

      The first round of the Dubai Ladies Masters has been suspended following the death of a caddie, the Ladies European Tour have confirmed. The unnamed male, who was reportedly carrying for carrying for Anne-Lise Caudal, was attended to on the green by the on-site medical team before being taken to hospital where he was later pronounced dead. A statement from the Ladies European Tour read: "First round play was suspended at 10.30am on Wednesday at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters after a caddie collapsed on the 13th fairway.

      International Business Times
    • Boeing responds after Trump knocks contract for Air Force One jets

      Donald Trump declared Tuesday morning that the Air Force should cancel its contract with Boeing to build two new presidential airplanes, asserting that the agreement had a $4 billion price tag. “Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. It’s not clear how Trump, who frequently tweets exaggerated or baseless claims, arrived at that number.

      Yahoo News
    • The retirement issue that no one is talking about

      This gets no discussion during the holidays: The rising cost of health and long-term care.

      CNBC.com q
    • ‘This Is Us’ Fans Shocked by ‘Shocking’ Fall Finale

      On the midseason finale of This Is Us, Toby surprised Kate by flying across the country to declare his love for her during a Christmas party. "I can live without pizza and cookies and potato chips and whatever that brownie thing was that they were serving on the plane," Toby said. "The one thing I cannot live without, is you." After that speech, Toby and Kate snuck away to express their feelings without their clothes on, but when they were done, it was clear something was wrong. Toby was breathing heavily, and then later, he collapsed, presumably from a heart attack. Fans of the show took to Twitter to express their concern for Toby. Destinee Chrystal wrote "I'm going to be so upset if Toby dies. This is the worst cliffhanger ever," and KayKay tweeted "It took me 6 minutes to process that ending. All I know is Toby better be alive on January 10th."

      Superfan TV
    • Forget the NES Classic, this $49 console can play all the retro games you want

      Nintendo NES Classic is one of the hottest products of this holiday shopping season, and stores are hardly able to keep up with demand. But it’s not the only console you should consider to get your retro gaming fix. For as low as $49, the RetroEngine Sigma will give you access to a lot more game than Nintendo’s new NES. DON’T MISS: Amazon's 12 best daily deals: Black Friday returns for one 4K TV, deep Apple Watch discounts, more The campaign has a month left to hit the $20,000 needed to move forward with the project, and it already raised more than $13,000 in pledges on Indiegogo. The console is about as big as the NES Classic and supports as many as 28 distinct classic gaming consoles, so it should offer plenty of extra retro excitement, on top of what the NES Classic has to offer. On top of supporting a variety of old consoles, the new system is also supposed to make actual gaming a seamless experience for the user. The RetroEngine Sigma supports wired and wireless controllers, and can be used as an at-home media system. The system runs an Armbian OS desktop and would even let users browse the web, and “write a novel.” Sure, with crowdfunding campaigns there’s always the risk of not seeing the product delivered to your door. But assuming the team behind RetroEngine Sigma will be able to fulfill its promises, you’ll get your new “old” console in April. Head over to Indiegogo to read more about the RetroEngine Sigma console, and watch the following video to get a taste of this tiny desktop PC / retro games emulator concept.

      BGR News
    • Julianne Hough Shares Epic Dancing Throwback with a Young Mark Ballas — and They’re Both ‘Tan AF’

      Before Julianne Hough and Mark Ballas were Dancing with the Stars pros, the longtime friends danced side-by-side in competitions as kids — and Hough has epic evidence to prove it! Prior to becoming a household name, Hough and her brother Derek moved in with Ballas’ family (his parent’s Shirley and Corky were family friends) as children — Julianne was just 10 and Derek 13 — to train as ballroom dance pros at the prestigious London dance school Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. Witnessing their love be sealed under a beautiful Oak tree in front of family friends was such a special moment.

      People
    • 17 times Ariel Winter set the red carpet on friggin’ fire in 2016

      There’s so much to love about the hit show Modern Family. And one of our favorite parts is the insanely talented cast –…

      Hello Giggles
    • Texas deputy dies after car plunges into sinkhole

      Victim was trapped under 12 feet of water

      FOX News Videos