More battery for your smartphone buck

I admit it. Some days I miss my old brick of a Nokia phone from the early noughties. True, it only had enough storage for about two and a half text messages before the flashing little envelope icon arrived in the corner, warning that I’d already run out of space.

Fair enough, the only entertainment it offered up was a game of ‘Snake’. Yes, I remember getting repetitive strain injury bashing out text messages in the dark old days before predictive text and touch screen QWERTY keypads.

But do you remember what it’s like to make it a full WEEK without charging your phone? I do. If those early phones had one thing going for them, it was battery life.

Without the all singing, all dancing fancy smartphone features of today, our early mobiles could get us through the working day, daily commute and a night out afterwards and still have a full battery at the end of it all.

Away-from-power anxiety

Now, your best mate in the office is the person with the same smartphone as you who always has a spare charger. We drop to 50% battery and we start panicking, frantically searching for a power source to charge our phone.

While Apple gets to grips with maps, Samsung tinkers with finding that perfect screen size and Nokia try to wow you with insanely powerful cameras, I just wish someone would work on a battery that will last all day.

In the meantime, I’ve found some handy ways to reduce the strain on my smartphone’s battery.

Power vampire features

It’s the smartest features on your smartphone that suck all the power. Leaving Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or games running when you don’t need them will drain your battery so fast you’ll think you have a leak.

Find out where these little features live on your phone and turn them off when you’re not using them.

GPS is another power vampire. If your phone is constantly battling to keep in touch with a satellite miles and miles away up in the sky to tell you exactly where you are at any given time, it’s using up power you might need later.

You might be surprised by how many apps on your phone rely on GPS. Weather apps, local services and maps all need GPS to work and like to eat up all of your battery.

Adjust your screen

You don’t need your phone to double up as a torch, although bizarrely, I did once have a pre-smartphone mobile handset that had a torch on the top, possibly designed for blackouts, zombie apocalypses and outdoorsy types. But for your average smartphone user, not necessary.

Go to your settings, find your screen settings and dim the brightness a little. Unless you work underground or at night, you probably won’t notice the difference if you turn down the brightness settings a notch.

Leave it alone!

Despite the fact that I have notifications for all my important apps, I check my phone all the time. Just in case. It’s like someone coming to poke me in the ribs every now and then just to make sure I’m still alive. Silly, in other words.

I’m going to take the radical step of turning my phone off when I’m not using it and not checking it every five minutes just in case I’ve missed something.

These tips should just about tide me over until that amazing smartphone battery comes along. Have you heard of any good tips for extending your battery life?


  1. David says:

    I got my hands on a USB charge pack off ebay. Cost about $30, and it charges from USB, but then u can plug usb chargers into it, once its charged, and off u go. I use it on long haul flights for my 3DS and Iphone and it charged both, from flat, 5x ea, and only fell to 1/2 charge… it was a long flight (almost 30hrs between leaving brisbane and ariving in edinburgh). and it was on most of that time charging one thing or another and it was fine, didnt need to recharge it for almost a week while i was over there…
    Thats how u deal with poor battery life…

  2. Charles Poulsen says:

    I find that WIFI uses less battery than 3G

  3. Alan Wilson : @CrowdControlGuy says:

    First battery lasted 2 years – supposed to be four. Now switch off every night – adds 30-40% to battery life. Simple but effective.

  4. Alex says:

    Leave wi-fi turned off unless you need it on and have data disabled when also not needed these always eat up your battery power. Same go’s for bluetooth.

  5. Mahray says:

    Display is one of the biggest drains on battery. On my Android (Cyanogenmod’d) I’ve just tweaked all the levels down a bit. Makes a difference to the battery, without affecting usability.

    The other solution I’ve got is a spare battery and charger I picked up on Ebay. Means I can leave the house with two full batteries 🙂

  6. John Kyatt says:

    There is a battery backup power supply for iPhones and Androids that clips to the handlebars of pushbikes and motor cycles. It can extend the life of a charge up to three times, which is handy when you are running GPS dependent apps like Strava or Runkeeper.

  7. Mr Bear Snr says:

    It seems that Smart Phones aren’t so smart after all. My Nokia Mob automatically powers down when not in use. I just set how quickly this happens and presto, no running out of battery! By the way has anyone noticed that since the introduction of “Smart Phones” people have become Dumber. Most cant add more than 2 numbers in their head!!!