There are few things worse than being stranded with a dead smartphone, especially when you’re traveling. A powerless phone means no directions from Google Maps, no music through Spotify, and no means of contacting friends and family members. If you find your smartphone battery running low, here are a few tips to help you extend it.
Lower the screen brightness on your phone
This is always the first step to take when your battery starts to drain. If you’re using an iPhone, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and toggle the slider to lower the brightness on your phone. On Android, this feature is sometimes accessible in the quick settings menu which can be found by swiping down from the top of the screen. If you don’t see an option to adjust your screen’s brightness in this menu, navigate to Settings which is usually found in the app drawer. Then, look for an option such as “Display and wallpaper” or a similar choice.
See which apps are sucking your phone’s battery
Certain apps are more burdensome on your phone’s battery than others, so spotting these apps and closing or uninstalling them can be helpful. To see which apps are using the most power on the iPhone or Android, navigate to Settings > Battery. This will show you a list of apps ranked by how much battery life they’re draining.
Turn off unnecessary user interface features
Some phones come with aesthetic software features that aren’t necessary. If you’re trying to save battery life, it could be useful to turn these features off. To get rid of the parallax effect in iOS, which makes it looks like app icons slightly move when you tilt the phone from side to side, head over to Settings > General > Accessibility. Then, scroll down to Reduce Motion and make sure the switch is turned on. With Android, you might want to consider changing your background if you’re using an animated wallpaper. Simply press and hold down on your home screen to swap out your background.
Make sure you’ve installed necessary software updates
In some cases, software updates can make your phone more power efficient. It’s also important for security reasons — some updates include important bug fixes. To check if your phone is up to date, navigate to Settings > General > Software Update on the iPhone. On Android, go to Settings > System Updates.
Turn on low power mode if your phone supports it
Certain smartphones have a low power mode that lets you limit some of the device’s functions in order to save battery. Low Power Mode on the iPhone turns off features such as background app refresh, automatic downloads, and cuts down on visual effects throughout the user interface. Head over to Settings > Battery > Low Power Mode to turn it on. New Android phones such as Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge have a similar feature. Navigating to Settings > Battery on either of these devices will present you with two options: Power Saving Mode and Ultra Power Saving Mode. The latter goes a step further by putting your phone into grayscale mode and disabling most of the phone’s features.
Lower the screen timeout on your phone
The less often your phone’s screen is actually turned on, the more battery you’ll save. You can cut down on this by making it so that your phone’s screen shuts off quickly when it’s not in use. On the iPhone, head to the Settings menu, select General, and then scroll down to Auto-Lock. If you really want to save battery life, you might want to choose the 30-second or one minute option. Most Android phones will have option such as “Display and wallpaper” in the Settings menu that will have a screen timeout field.
Fetch email instead of pushing
This essentially means that your phone will fetch new emails at preset intervals rather than constantly waiting to receive new emails from the cloud. Fetching email generally consumes less battery life because your phone isn’t maintaining a connection to the server at all times — it’s only doing so when it needs to check for new emails. To switch from push to fetch on iPhone, head over to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data. On Android, you can navigate to Settings > Accounts and make sure auto-sync data is unchecked.
Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth if you’re not using them
Sometimes leaving certain settings turned on when not in use can impact your smartphone’s battery life. Make sure Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are turned off by accessing the iPhone’s Control Center or an Android phone’s quick settings menu.
Disable push notifications
Push notifications prompt alerts to appear on your phone’s lock screen as soon as they come in. It’s useful for seeing important information right away, but can consume battery life since it pushes your phone’s display to light up frequently. If you want to turn off push notifications, simply head over to Settings > Notifications on the iPhone. From here, you can edit the type of notification you receive for each app. On Android, you can edit notifications by navigating to Settings > Sound and notification > App notifications.
If all else fails, try using a battery case
If you need to drastically extend your phone’s battery life, try buying a battery case such as the Mophie Juice Pack, which is priced at around $100 and is available for the iPhone and some Samsung smartphones. Anker also sells a cheaper battery case that’s available for $40 through Amazon. These types of phone cases come with built-in batteries that charge your phone while it’s in use.