battery low medium highWhen you bought your mobile phone you were promised extensive battery life-days worth of stand-by mode and hours of talk time. Like MPGs on new cars, you knew these promises were probably too good to be true and would vary greatly depending on your personal mobile phone habits. Plus, every battery wears out, and over time you get fewer and fewer usage minutes between charges. Until your battery truly loses its juice, there are some simple ways you can get more day-to-day use out of your phone.

Choose Smart Phone Settings

You bought your phone for its features, but you don’t use all the features all the time. Disabling unused features is the easiest way to get more life out of your battery. For example, if you have access to Wi-Fi, turn off your 3G/4G access, which uses more power to constantly search for a signal.

If you know you don’t want to use the local Wi-Fi network, tell your phone to stop trying to connect to it so you can use 3G/4G exclusively. For example, if you are in a hotel with Wi-Fi, you may notice that every time you turn on your phone it asks if you want to connect to Wi-Fi. If you don’t want to pay for the hotel’s service, turn off your Wi-Fi finder and save battery power too. You can still rely on your 3G or 4G access.

Other power-eating phone settings include Bluetooth, GPS and apps that want to know your current location.

Stop Amp-eating Apps

Your phone should let you change settings so that individual apps won’t constantly try to pinpoint your current location. Some apps only use geo-locating when they are launched or active. Others will try to track your movements whether they are open or not, creating extreme battery drains. App developers are keen to this and are finding workarounds, so always make sure you’ve downloaded the most recent release of your location-based apps.

Other apps will check for new information according to a time schedule you choose. Most commonly, people intermittently have their phones check for incoming e-mail. If checking for email every 15 minutes prevents your battery from making it through a day, try changing your setting to every 60 minutes.

Buy Battery-extending Hardware

When your child’s musical toy sounds more like an alley cat than Mozart, you replace the batteries. So, why not do the same when your mobile phone battery runs low? Search online, check eBay or visit your carrier’s store to check out pricing. You may be able to keep a spare battery on hand for about $15-$30. You can even charge one battery while using the other.

Sanyo Mobile Booster and Charger

iPhones don’t have removable batteries, so owners may want to more strongly consider a portable charger like this Sanyo Mobile Booster and Charger. There are dozens of alternatives available. Just make sure the one you pick has the right connector for your phone.

Some hardware can make charging more convenient. Consider a charger that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter, and plug in whenever you drive. Or, get a bedside charger that will turn your phone into an alarm clock and music player. If you are always leaving without your charging cord, buy an extra one to leave at home and the office.

Download Battery-extending Apps

If you don’t like messing around with phone settings, there’s an app for that. Android users can try JuiceDefender or Green Power to automatically manage battery-draining settings. iPhone users can check out Battery Buddy, Battery Manager and other similar apps to see what phone activities are taking the most out of your battery.

If you can not see the embedded video above please use the following link: JuiceDefender – Battery Saver for Android

Native app settings can help you save power too. For example, change to a ringtone instead of the silent mode that makes your phone vibrate. To remain discrete, simply turn the volume down to the lowest setting. Or, better yet power off your phone when you aren’t using it. A complete power down is the best way to save your battery, and you may find that taking a break from texts, emails and alerts helps to save your sanity too.

Patric Welch

Patric Welch founded Noobie, Inc. in 2006 to help others effectively choose and use technologies to enhance their work and lives. The catchy company name earned Welch the name of Mr. Noobie®, but, in reality, Welch is an experienced and professional techie. Unlike most techies, Welch evaluates emerging technologies from a noobie’s perspective and provides technology education for all skill levels in a friendly, non-threatening way.

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