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

    • Deadly waves sweep father, son out to ocean, show dangers

      SALEM, Ore. (AP) — One moment, Jayson Thomas was on the Oregon beach with his 3-year-old son. The next, they were gone, swept away by a "sneaker wave" as his wife looked on.

      Associated Press
    • ‘Ice cream killer’ is so dangerous, she’s headed to a men’s prison

      A Spanish murderer dubbed the “ice cream killer” is so dangerous, she’s being moved to an all-male prison to serve out her life sentence, according to a new report. Estibaliz Carranza, 38, earned the chilling nickname after she shot her boyfriend and ex-husband to death in 2008, cut up their bodies with a chainsaw and hid them in the freezers of her ice cream store in Vienna, Austria. The Mexican-born Spanish national stored the body parts in ice cream tubs filled with concrete and disguised the smell with air fresheners. Now, she’ll spend the rest of her life in an all-male prison in Asten, Austria, because she shows an “advanced reduction of the relevant dangerousness,” according to the Mirror.

      New York Post q
    • Donald Trump Mistakenly Tweets to the Wrong Ivanka — and Receives a Stinging Response

      The president-elect, whose inauguration is Friday, tweeted Monday night that CNN was doing a “special report on my daughter, Ivanka. In his original tweet, @drgoodspine said “@Ivanka Trump is Great a woman with real character and class.” Although Trump changed the “G” in “great” lowercase, he kept @Ivanka as is — and got a response from the unsuspecting woman with that account name. Ivanka Majic responded to the mistaken tag, “And you’re a man with great responsibilities.

      People
    • Baby Dies After Being Found With Homeless Mother at Oregon Bus Stop

      The newborn child of a homeless woman in Oregon died last week after the two were found at a bus stop amid freezing temperatures.

      Tribune
    • North Korea's Kim Jong Un Is So Fat He Might Have Hurt His Ankle Again

      Kim's leg injuries have been linked to obesity in the past and recent pictures show the Korean leader appears to have put on extra weight. 

      International Business Times
    • Jay Cutler body shamed after Kristin Cavallari posts vacation photos

      Jay Cutler was able to get away to Mexico last week to celebrate his wife's 30th birthday, but the Bears quarterback couldn't escape criticism as some social media users slammed his vacation body. "He looks so flabby," one Instagram user commented on a picture of Cutler, wearing a Nike tank top and shorts, on a boat with Kristin Cavallari. "Jay been eatin them pancakes!" wrote another. Cutler, 33, hasn't played for the Bears since injuring his shoulder in the Nov. 20 loss to the New York Giants. His future with the team is uncertain. In the meantime, he threw a surprise party at Fulton Market Kitchen in the West Loop for Cavallari, who turned 30 on Jan. 5. The couple, who wed in 2013 and raise three

      Chicago Tribune q
    • Ciara Reveals Why She and Russell Wilson Practiced Abstinence Before Marriage

      Ciara caught a lot of (frankly, ridiculous) flack when she revealed in 2015 that she and then-fiancé Russell Wilson were practicing abstinence before tying the knot. Detractors didn't understand why Ciara—who welcomed a son, Future Zahir Wilburn, with her ex-fiancé Future in 2014—would feel the need to abstain from sex before getting married. Our answer to why someone would do this is short and sweet: She's a grown-ass woman and can do whatever the hell she wants. But because Ciara is a kind, benevolent queen, she gave a more detailed explanation of her decision in the latest issue of Cosmopolitan South Africa. The "1, 2 Step" supreme told the glossy that the choice to practice abstinence with

      Glamour q
    • Something in space is killing off entire galaxies

      When we think about the survival of the human race we often focus on making sure our planet stays alive and habitable, but out there in the depths of space there are entire galaxies being killed off in a manner that is utterly perplexing scientists. A new paper ( PDF ) from researchers working at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research addresses the odd and extremely troubling trend and attempts to propose an answer for what exactly is leading literally thousands of galaxies to die premature deaths. After studying a whopping 11,000 galaxies in the general vicinity of our own, scientists now believe that a process called ram-pressure stripping is leading the ailing galaxies to be purged of their gas, preventing new stars from forming and leading them to sputter out far faster than would be expected. Without adequate gas to power new star formation, the galaxies simply get cold and die. “During their lifetimes, galaxies can inhabit halos of different sizes, ranging from masses typical of our own Milky Way to halos thousands of times more massive,” Toby Brown, the PhD candidate who headed the study, explains on the organization's website. “As galaxies fall through these larger halos, the superheated intergalactic plasma between them removes their gas in a fast-acting process called ram-pressure stripping." “You can think of it like a giant cosmic broom that comes through and physically sweeps the gas from the galaxies," Brown says. “If you remove the fuel for star formation then you effectively kill the galaxy and turn it into a dead object.” It's a disturbing notion, but there's good(ish) news; the process can take tens of millions of years to actually occur, so even if you were living in a galaxy where ram-pressure stripping was occurring, you'd be long dead before it could actually affect you in any way. That's reassuring... right?

      BGR News
    • Rare photos of Betty White you've likely never seen (25 photos)

      Happy birthday, Betty White! Our favourite Golden Girl turns 95 on Jan. 17 — and she’s certainly come a long way. White officially holds the record for the longest TV career for any female entertainer. In honour of her birthday, click through the gallery to see some rare, vintage photos captured earlier in her career. Let us know what you think by tweeting @ YahooStyleCA!

      Yahoo Canada Style
    • Teacher Pregnant by Student Gets 10 Years in Jail

      Alexandria Vera, 24, pleaded guilty last year to aggravated sexual assault of a child and was hoping to avoid prison and just get probation.

      Cosmopolitan
    • Steve Harvey Apologizes for Joke About Asian Men: ‘Humor Was Not Meant With Any Malice’

      Steve Harvey issued an apology on Tuesday for a segment on his talk show that poked fun at Asian men. The show — which aired on Jan. 6 — featured Harvey mocking the title of self-help books. After showing the cover of “How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men,” Harvey launched into... Read more »

      Variety
    • Kaliyah Mobley, Kidnapped at Birth, Discovered Her True Identity Two Years Ago, Friend Reveals

      Kamiyah Mobley, the 18-year-old abducted as a newborn from a Florida hospital and raised by her alleged kidnapper in a South Carolina home, found out she was abducted about two years ago when she went to apply for a job, according to a friend. “She was upset about it,” Arika Williams, who long believed she was Mobley’s half-sister, tells PEOPLE. Mobley was only hours old on July 10, 1998, when authorities allege Gloria Williams posed as a health care worker and took her from a Jacksonville, Florida, hospital maternity ward.

      People
    • Carolyn Hax: Mom wants more time with daughter, who wants less time with mom

      Dear Carolyn: After another weekend hosting my parents, I’m at a loss for how to end a recurring fight with my mother. She perceives that we spend more time with my husband’s family and/or enjoy their company more . . . and as a result, her feelings are hurt. We’ve tried to minimize comparisons, not tell her about our activities with his family, ask her to let us know if she doesn’t feel she’s had enough time or wants to do something specific with us — to no avail. The truth is, although I appreciate that my parents provided me everything I needed growing up, I didn’t have a very happy childhood, I don’t have very many good memories, and I don’t enjoy my parents’ company. So, I spend time with

      Washington Post q
    • Leaked video reveals the 2018 Ford Mustang’s love-it-or-hate-it new look

      A leaked promotional video published online has given us an early look at the 2018 Ford Mustang. The model gets a minor face-lift, and it carries on with the current car's 5.0-liter V8 engine.

      Digital Trends
    • If the iPhone 8 Looks Like This, the Galaxy S8 Is in Trouble

      The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are great upgrades, especially if you opt for the dual-camera-equipped Plus, but they don't really look any different from Apple's previous iPhones. If the new device looks anything like this, Apple will probably have a winner on its hands in time to celebrate the iPhone's tenth anniversary. Like the current iPhone, the iPhone 8 models on display here have curved edges, but both the front and back are made of glass, while the frame is stainless steel.

      Tech Media Network (Tom's Guide)
    • A Very Pregnant Ciara Steps Out in Beverly Hills with Hubby Russell Wilson

      It may be the end of football season for Russell Wilson, but it’s almost the start of parenthood for him and wife Ciara. The couple, who are expecting their first child in March, were spotted together in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, following his Seattle Seahawks’ 36-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Divisional round on Saturday. The game took on a little extra significance when Ciara’s ex-fiancé, rapper Future, showed up on the sidelines to cheer on his hometown Falcons.

      People
    • Chrissy Teigen Basically Goes Pantless

      Upon first look, it seems that Chrissy Teigen lived out everyone’s recurring worst nightmare on Monday: leaving home without any pants on. Phew, don’t scare us like that, Chrissy!

      Yahoo Style
    • Donald Trump praises wrong Ivanka in Twitter shout-out

      LONDON (AP) — U.S. President-elect Donald Trump wanted to praise his daughter on Twitter — instead he accidentally sent his message to another Ivanka.

      Associated Press
    • Christina and Tarek El Moussa May Be Better House Flippers Divorced—Here’s Why

      Now that Christina and Tarek El Moussa have officially split, the question everyone's wondering is can they still swing a dazzling deal on "Flip or Flop"? The post Christina and Tarek El Moussa May Be Better House Flippers Divorced—Here’s Why appeared first on Real Estate News & Advice | realtor.com®.

      Realtor.com