Having a shiny new phone with a big, bright, beautiful display and a powerful quad- or octa-core processor is one thing, but those important bits of hardware do tend to use up quite a bit of electricity. With that in mind, there are some things worth remembering to make sure your phone needs to visit the charger as rarely as possible. These are the simplest, most straightforward things — but also the things that we forget to do — to save your phone’s battery life, and maximise it wherever you can.
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Lower Your Screen Brightness
It’s great to keep your phone’s LCD or AMOLED screen at its maximum brightness level when you’re watching a movie or outdoors and viewing it in bright light, but it’s not great for battery life. A brighter screen will quickly deplete your battery, and since your phone’s battery stats will likely show up to two thirds of its power being used to light up the display, this is the one thing you can do to maximise your battery life between charges.
One tip we have for you — lower your phone’s backlight using the brightness slider until it’s unreadable in whatever light you’re in, and then boost it just a bit. Your eyes will adapt, but more importantly you’ll be operating at the minimum reasonable brightness while still actually using it. There’s no point lowering your phone screen’s brightness enough that you can’t actually see it, though — your battery will die without you even having used the phone.
Use Auto Brightness When You Can
Automatic brightness is one of the best ways you can maximise your phone’s battery life. It wasn’t great on older phones, but these days it does an excellent job of compromising between extending battery life and displaying bright, usable images on-screen. Automatic brightness on some phones also scales with battery life, giving you a slightly brighter screen at max battery and then becoming more biased towards energy efficiency.
Some phones are also able to bias and adjust the automatic brightness setting to give a preference towards a brighter or a darker screen; this way, you can keep the advantage of automatic brightness — adjusting the screen’s brightness level to suit whichever lighting condition you’re in, whether it’s outside or indoors or in daylight or at night — while still getting a bright screen overall if you prefer that.
Force Close Heavy Apps To Save CPU
A lot of apps, once you use them, continue to run in the background and consume precious CPU cycles. It’s not about CPU activity as much as it is energy consumption, though — leaving tasks running in the background, especially on older versions of Android and older phones with less energy-efficient processors, can lead to your phone consuming a bit of extra battery every hour and contributing to its overall depletion.
Force-closing apps like Snapchat and Facebook, which are notorious for running in the background and using relatively hacked-together solutions to operate, can contribute a surprisingly large amount to the weight of apps holding your smartphone’s processor hostage. Even if you don’t go overboard and force-close apps as soon as you use them, it’s a good idea to do if your battery is starting to run low.
Use Battery Saver Mode When Running Low
Battery saver mode is an Android phone feature — on most phones, at least — that should be one of your quick go-tos, whenever you’re running low on charge and you’re caught without a portable charger or a handy USB port. A good battery saver feature will do anything from lowering brightness to restricting data usage to entirely transforming the way your phone works, all in the name of getting the absolute longest battery life possible out of it.
Depending on the phone you’re using, battery saver mode might just restrict the frequency with which background data is transferred to Wi-Fi or 3G/4G — this is a pretty lightweight solution which means it should be enabled early in your battery’s run-down to have the most effect — or may go so far as to turn your phone’s screen to grayscale and massively restrict the number of apps that you’re able to use, although you’ll always be able to text and call.
Check Your Battery Usage Stats
Like driving a car or owning a house, part of getting the most out of your Android smartphone is knowing how it works and how you can best use it. There’s no substitute for knowing that that random Android game you downloaded is using the lion’s share of processing power and sucking up that valuable battery energy even when it’s not running, so you can actually stop it and get longer life from your phone’s battery.
Checking your battery usage should be as simple as heading into your Android phone’s settings menu, then scrolling down to and clicking on the Battery menu. From there, your phone will display whichever features have been using the most battery in descending order, so a quick check can tell you if there’s an app you need to uninstall, whether you should lower your screen brightness, or disable a software feature to maximise the amount of screen-on time you get.