Four Easy Ways to Extend Your Smartphone Battery Life Right Now

You’re watching a video, trying to get directions, or even checking your social networking profiles when all of a sudden your phone screen goes dark and you realize that your battery died . . . again. Even though devices have come a long way in terms of processing speed, screen resolution, and camera quality, smartphone battery life is still a problem, especially for users who are tethered to their phones all day. There are things you can do right now—no matter what phone model you have—to improve your smartphone battery life.

1. Turn Down Brightness

Many smartphones now have a feature that automatically dims brightness based on the amount of light cast on the phone. But even though this feature helps save battery, the power it takes to keep this utility running in the background offsets any potential battery life gained from dimming the screen. Instead, try turning auto-brightness off altogether and then dimming the screen to the lowest possible setting at which the screen can still be seen comfortably in all types of lighting. On most phones, users can adjust brightness in the Settings utility under either the Display or Brightness sub-menus. iOS and Android devices also allow you to quickly change brightness levels without going through a menu in their pop-up control centers.

2. Close Unused Apps

Though it’s not immediately obvious, when you hit your home or back button, the app you just exited out of is still running in the background, chomping away at your battery life. Closing these apps is simple: On an iOS device, simply double tap the home button and swipe up on the app display to close it. On an Android device, open the “recent applications” utility (its location varies depending on which version of Android you are running) and swipe right to close apps. If you want to leave some apps running but aren’t sure which ones are hogging the most battery, Apple recommends users check out the Battery Usage utility in the settings menu.

3. Disable Push Notifications for Non-Essential Apps

Even though push notifications are handy for keeping track of when someone comments on a Facebook post or seeing activity from your favorite game, if your battery life is less than optimal, disabling these notifications can help you get a little more juice out of your smartphone. Both iOS and Android devices have a “disable push notifications” setting for individual apps, so you can (for instance) turn off notifications for games and social networking apps, but keep them for more important apps like Skype and e-mail.

4. Turn Off Your GPS

If you are trying to navigate to a friend’s house, having your GPS turned on is obviously essential. However, if you are in your house, at a restaurant, or even at work, your GPS may still be actively tracking your location, devouring valuable battery power in the process. iOS 8 has a handy feature that lets you turn off location services in apps directly from a blue banner that is displayed when you exit an app, and Android allows you to manage when and how GPS is used from the Settings menu. You can also manually disable GPS from the Settings menu on both devices.

These four simple steps can help users extend smartphone battery life without impacting how you use your phone. Though these are small steps, when taken together they can give bummed-out battery drainers a big boost to get them through the day.

Do you have any other battery-saving tips you’d like to share?

Image courtesy of Flickr