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How to maximise your battery life

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The majority of us have all been there. You might have been locked out of the house. Lost your friends at a concert. Your alarm is set to make sure you get to work on time.

Your cat has defied the laws of physics to fit in a tiny box, and you have to take a picture before it gets out again. You could even just be about to knock down that final pig with your very last angry bird.

And your battery dies.

It’s never fun when it happens (I feel a little guilty myself knowing that I could have prevented its death) so here are some tips to help your battery life last as long as possible and avoid the mad race to the charger.

Smart phones and tablets

One of the most important tips to save the battery life of these devices is to turn off the things you don’t need to use.

It’s great to be able to multitask, however it’s not always necessary, and may save you from unexpected battery demise.

This includes:

  • Turning off background apps you’re not using.
  • Disabling app notifications for as many as you can, or at least for some of the day. No one needs a NSFW Snapchat from a friend with questionable humour popping up at work anyway.
  • Disabling location services and GPS.
  • Disabling automatic downloads.
  • Set email to fetch rather than push, or retrieve it manually.
  • If you have an iPhone with Siri on it, turn off Raise to Speak (The option that allows you to communicate with Siri without having to press any buttons).
  • Turn off vibration. This uses more power than it takes to make your phone ring, so if it’s not necessary then ditch it!
  • If you’re using a device with an AMOLED screen, use a dark background, as power is only used to light up the lighter pixels on the screen.

Turning these settings on and off will depend on the type of smart phone or tablet you have and the software version you’re using, but a quick Google search will tell you all you need to know on how it’s done.

Laptops

While smart phones and tablets are most prevalent in the dark world of the drained battery, a dying battery in your laptop can cause a great deal more trouble. Here are some laptop specific tips:

  • Constantly re-opening and re-loading applications will drain your battery, so if you do need to use a number throughout the day, it’s better to leave them open.
  • Run simpler applications where you can, such as text edit instead of RAM heavy programs like Microsoft Word.
  • Get to know the power management section of your laptop. This will allow you to manage your display, sleep options and other settings to get the most out of your battery life.
  • Shutdown fully instead of choosing the sleep or hibernate mode.
  • Avoid using your laptop in extreme heat, which will drain your battery.
  • Don’t use too many peripherals at once! Multiple USB sticks, CD drives and external hard drives will use up your power. You also need to make sure you eject any devices not in use as these can still use up power while connected.
  • Make sure you constantly use the battery, otherwise it will leak power if it is left out of use for an extended period of time.
  • Know when to replace your battery.  Battery life decreases over time, and will usually last for around 2-4 years.
 For ALL the devices

Whether it’s a laptop, a tablet, or your trusty smart phone, there are a few things that will also help across the board:

  • Reduce screen brightness. This is one of the main culprits of battery drain.
  • Disable WiFi and mobile data if you’re not using it.
  • If you need to access the internet and are on a device that can connect to a mobile network, ensure that there are no WiFi networks available first. Searching for a mobile network will use up your battery faster.
  • Let the power drain fully at least once a month.
  • Keep your software up to date. Software updates will often include new battery saving features, which are always helpful.

Got any further tips? Leave them in the comments below!

10 comments

  1. Mr. McNulty says:

    Letting your battery drain once a month or ever is not a good idea especially for laptops which usually use LiIon (Lithium Ion) batteries. The best way to maximize battery life is to minimize your discharge cycles which in turn will reduce the % of capacity your battery eventually uses as well as keeping your battery at a cool temperature.

    Most manufacturers recommend letting the battery drain to 0% for the purposes of recalibrating the battery however, that does not increase or decrease battery life.

  2. Michael says:

    I was surprised with the Samsung Galaxy 5 with the battery life sometimes between 4 days and 5 days (shows how much I use the use the phone) compared to the Samsung Galaxy 2 (with about the same amount of us) I was flat out getting a full day. I will stay with Samsung.

  3. Wally says:

    Can’t believe that you haven’t mentioned a power bank. I bought a 5200 ma one for $20 ….. it’s enough to charge my smartphone fully 2 or 3 times.
    It’s also small enough to slip into my pocket with my phone so it’s charging whilst I’m on the go.

  4. Darron says:

    How do you determine what apps are running in the background? Thx

  5. Richard says:

    You know I never thought I’d read on line push material but I just did. I’m impressed with how hard you guys work, and how hard you commit to making a difference. Thank you

  6. Peter Legge says:

    My understanding is that laptop/notebook Li battery life is extended in a big way if it is not fully charged when computer is mostly plugged in ie recharge is set to say 70-80%. This will extend life by several years.

  7. Suze says:

    Switch to airplane mode overnight. This will keep you phone on (so you can still check the time and use your alarm) but stop mobile activity. It’s also better for your health if you keep your phone beside the bed. And who wants calls, messages and notifications dropping in during the night anyway?

  8. Joan says:

    I was so pleased to receive this wealth of information from iinet and the people who have posted their comments! Thanks to all of you! I have a Samsung S4 and am very happy with it. My husband has a HTC One XL and is frustrated with how quickly his battery is drained without using the phone much. I shall be making some smart changes for both our phones. Like both ideas of getting a Power Bank and switching off our phones to Airplane Mode overnight. Thanks, again!

  9. lab says:

    I keep my laptop plugged into power all the time, but only switch it on for a couple of hours a day. I’ve only ever run it on battery for a few minutes at a time, when I have to move to another room. Am I doing the right thing?
    Thanks for the information.

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