How to Increase Mobile Phone Battery Life

August 4, 2010 at 5:00 am 58 comments

By Chad Upton | Editor

Sometimes, you’re far from your charger and won’t be back anytime soon. Here are some tips to extend your battery when it’s running low.

Not all of these tips will apply to all phones, so use the ones that match the features on your phone. If your phone, camera or other gadgets frequently run out of power while you’re away from an outlet, consider an economical backup battery charger.

Turn Off 3G and Data

Most data capable phones can operate in different modes. If you turn off the high-speed wireless data mode, such as 3G, you will significantly reduce the power your phone consumes. This is the single biggest thing I find affects battery consumption.

Dim the Screen

The screen’s backlight uses a lot of power, keeping it off as much as possible will extend battery life. On the iPhone, press the top button, on many BlackBerrys, press ALT + ENTER to lock the keyboard and shutoff the screen. If your phone has an option to adjust the brightness, dim it. If it has auto-brightness, enable it. If you can set an “auto off” time then set it to the shortest time allowed.

Text Message Instead of Calling

If you can get away with communicating by text message, this can save power too. Although, it does require your screen, so short messages are better. These messages are embedded in the signals that your phone is already sending and receiving to normally communicate with the mobile network, even when you’re not using the phone, so it’s a very efficient way to communicate.

Turn Wifi and Bluetooth Off

Wifi and Bluetooth are great conveniences, but when you’re away from your charger and worried about losing phone capabilities, they’re a luxury that can go. Most phones with these features, have an option to disable them.

Don’t Play Games or Music

Well designed mobile phone processors have a low power mode that sips power when the phone is waiting for incoming calls in standby mode. Playing games requires the processor to work at its limit, which requires a lot more energy than standby mode. The same goes for playing music, especially if they’re compressed, high bit-rate or encrypted or drm protected music files — extra processing is needed to process these files and power the headphones or internal speaker.

Stop Background Apps

Some background apps use more power than others, it really comes down to the hardware in the phone the app is using (ex GPS) and how processor intensive the activity is.

Generally, if you’re trying to save power, closing the apps you don’t need can save power. This mostly applies to BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile devices.

It isn’t as important on iPhone since background apps aren’t true background apps, they have limited capabilities and therefore don’t consume a significant amount of battery power. That said, if you have a GPS tracking, VOIP or a music playing app running in the background, it could use significant amounts of power over long periods of time and it should be closed.

If you have any other ideas, drop them in the comments. Thanks to Kraig Brachman for suggesting this secret.

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Entry filed under: Be Efficient, Gadgets and Toys. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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58 Comments Add your own

  • 1. GiantQtipz  |  August 4, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Great advice! I do most of the things you posted on my android mytouch (which i hate) and the battery does last longer if i adjust the settings and kill background apps.

    also, when i ride the subway (i live in new york), i switch my phone to airplane mode to ensure that everything is off because it can pick up some signals through manholes haha.

    “Don’t Play Games or Music”… good advice too, but thats really hard to do :D

  • 2. dennisfinocchiaro  |  August 4, 2010 at 8:51 am

    I’ve also heard if you turn it off while charging the battery seems to charge better and last longer.

  • 3. Sajib  |  August 4, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Good post. I hope they will work for Java phones as well. I use Nokia 5130 XpressMusic. I’m pretty satisfied with it. But these days its modem is creating lots and lots of problems including auto-disconnection. I think I need a new one. :(

  • 4. Julia  |  August 4, 2010 at 9:01 am

    It’s also good not to mess with your phone while it’s charging. What’s the point of using it while you’re trying to charge it? Kinda defeats the purpose, eh?

  • 5. adventuresomeentrepeneur  |  August 4, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Thanks for the tips!

  • 6. Eric Edberg  |  August 4, 2010 at 9:22 am

    So basically, don’t use the phone and the battery charge will last longer! Which kind of defeats the purpose of having all those apps in the first place. Anyway, good tips, and turning off 3G when its not needed is really helpful. Thanks!

  • 7. bohemiathepunjabirapper  |  August 4, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Useful technics…Visit my blog if you are interested in music…

  • 8. anthasalsabila  |  August 4, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Great post. Thx it help me much

  • […] Jump to Comments When I logged on to WordPress this morning, my eye was caught by photo promoting this post on extending battery life in “smart” […]

  • 10. CrystalSpins  |  August 4, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Very nice…My battery thanks you.


  • 11. roh  |  August 4, 2010 at 10:03 am

    surfing net, streaming videos, games seem to be the prime consumers of battery…i think…right?

  • 12. Justin Halbmann  |  August 4, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Great suggestions! I too try and do all of these things when that battery starts to drain out. If my phone gets dangerously low and i know it will be a while before it see’s a charger i will just turn it off until an emergency text message is needed.

  • 13. aaciman  |  August 4, 2010 at 10:47 am

    This would have been really helpful on the plane when all my appliances kept dying and I really didnt know how to lengthen their battery life.

    Will try next time.

  • 14. Christy  |  August 4, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Thanks a lot, great tips!

    • 15. mjsk2000  |  August 4, 2010 at 4:43 pm


  • 16. aaciman  |  August 4, 2010 at 10:48 am

    This would have been really helpful on the plane when all my appliances kept dying and I really didnt know how to lengthen their battery life.

    Will try next time.

    • 17. Chelsia  |  May 3, 2011 at 9:12 am

      Thank God! Somonee with brains speaks!

  • 18. Rub  |  August 4, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Hey, what about “do not charge your phone at night”?
    I heard that, if you keep charging your phone all night, it reduces the battery life

  • 19. Robert Bain  |  August 4, 2010 at 11:24 am

    How about a follow up to this giving us great ways to charge your phone so you never have to do without its features. like solar chargers, quick-chargers and other gadgets

  • 20. shortstory89  |  August 4, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    While all of this is correct advice, I am a little tempted to say “duh!”. Honestly, anyone not able to draw these conclusions by themselves receive none of my sympathy. Then again, I’m a bit of a tech-cynic.

    But I suppose someone has to post this nonetheless.
    Great blog by the way!

  • 21. vijay  |  August 4, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    there is one thing that you could have told all of us..
    ‘Don’t use the mobile at all’

  • 22. ebookwisdom  |  August 4, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Great advice.

    I just burned up my new Blackberry Curve battery after 3 months of using the WiFi continually. Of course I didn’t know that the battery was prone to this problem after just a couple months, but I learned the hard way.

    The new battery works great and I only use the WiFi radio at determined times, lessening the load on the battery.

  • 23. J Sumitta Hudson  |  August 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    If i turn off my wifi, bluetooth, stop playing games, and music– then why did I get an iphone? I find it much better to just get devices that allow me to continually recharge (the clock radio at work that is iphone friendly) and the car charger.

    • 24. Chad Upton  |  August 4, 2010 at 5:22 pm

      I agree, but like I said in the first sentence, “Sometimes, you’re far from your charger and won’t be back anytime soon. Here are some tips to extend your battery when it’s running low.”

  • 25. lottielizz  |  August 4, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    If it’s a new phone then you can charge it fully and then leave it to run right down until it switches itself off. Repeat this and then your phone battery will last twice as long :)

  • 26. Diego Araújo  |  August 4, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I thought that I was going to see something revolutionary, but all that you have said is so obvious.

    • 27. Chad Upton  |  August 4, 2010 at 5:21 pm

      I’m sorry to disappoint you. Consider yourself very knowledgeable.
      There are a lot of people who don’t know that disabling 3G saves a lot of battery power and still lets you check your email and surf the web (with reduced bandwidth).

  • 28. JM  |  August 4, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Leaving Wifi ON instead off using 3g will actually save battery power on most smartphones. Also, for longer conversations, calling will probably use less power than texting since smartphone screens are the biggest power draw on the device.

  • 29. Top Posts —  |  August 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    […] How to Increase Mobile Phone Battery Life By Chad Upton | Editor Sometimes, you’re far from your charger and won’t be back anytime soon. Here are […] […]

  • 30. lan  |  August 4, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    lets the phone designer finds hows to keep up battery life longer because everyday phones keeps changing and upgrading more functions.
    Its may be disappoint phone owner.

  • 31. evilcyber  |  August 4, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    If I turn all that off, what is the point in having a phone capable of all that fancy stuff in the first place? ;)

  • 32. Brent  |  August 4, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Have u had any success with the backup battery chargers? I have not found one that is very useful.

  • 33. zero  |  August 4, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    this is common knowledge

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    […] how to increase ur battery life Posted on August 5, 2010 by akashkhadke How to Increase Mobile Phone Battery Life […]

  • 36. richannkur  |  August 5, 2010 at 6:09 am

    All these methods will surely help us in saving the battery power of our cellphones, when required the most. Thanks for sharing.

  • 37. ghiboz  |  August 5, 2010 at 6:19 am

    if you leave the phone turn off the battery is still at the top of charge…

  • 38. Alo  |  August 5, 2010 at 6:36 am

    i think the best you can do is to use less time internet app… is the worse for our mobile battery!! :D

    i´ll follow you! ;)

  • 39. lindseytinsey  |  August 5, 2010 at 8:03 am

    This is a good article.
    Especially the one about bluetooth! My word… it literally eats your battery power!
    I sometimes forget to turn it off when I’m done sending/receiving music or pics from friends.

  • 40. Elbyron  |  August 5, 2010 at 10:53 am

    There’s a useful secret for saving battery life that wasn’t mentioned here: avoid using your phone while driving or taking the train. When moving at these speeds, your connection must be passed on from one tower to the next many times. Each hand-off requires an extra surge of power from your cell, to handle the control signals being communicated on a separate frequency.
    Also, using your phone with a weak signal (low bars) will cost extra power, as the phone will have to broadcast its signal with maximum power in order to reach the nearest tower.

  • 41. Bob  |  August 5, 2010 at 11:11 am

    It’s very helpful post

  • 42. cheneetot08  |  August 5, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I’m doing some of these steps myself and I find it really effective.

  • 43. moeycat  |  August 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    good tips (:
    do you know if leaving the phone charging after it has charged, or basically over-charging it, weakens its life?

  • 44. nugschillinandgrindage  |  August 5, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    So true…I have tried all of these and they are all consistantly helpful…BUT… I have the G1 Google phone and its battery is t-rible (charles barkley style)

    Good post though!

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  • 46. sarahnsh  |  August 6, 2010 at 9:07 am

    My phone is one of those old dinosaur phones which doesn’t have any music or any other options really. What I tend to do to save the power on it is to just turn it off if I’m not using it and only make calls when necessary. If I use it a lot then definitely the power goes way down and it dies pretty quickly.

  • 47. Max  |  August 7, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Great article! I also Google at on my phone and have it set it as my default home page. The black background not only looks awesome but it uses a lot less power than white. It also uses less bandwidth which helps keep my phones bills cheaper!

  • 48. Dave  |  August 9, 2010 at 5:02 am

    Can’t wait to give some of these a try!

    Trindaz on fedang

  • 49. x333xxx  |  August 14, 2010 at 6:03 am

    I switch Mail from ‘push’ to ‘fetch manually’ in order to save battery life. If you leave it in push mode the phone will repeatedly check your mail server to see if new messages are waiting to be downloaded.

  • 50. lilacheck  |  August 18, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for the great tips…I am guilt of most of these sins,no wonder my battery life was so short! lol

  • 51. Oli  |  August 26, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Does turning off Push Notifications help at all?

  • 52. Laptop Akku und Netzteile  |  August 26, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    nice post

  • 53. groovyapps  |  August 28, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Nice post, thanks for the tips… but altogether they just sound like: “Don’t use your phone to save battery!”. I mean, why do I buy a smartphone, just to turn everything off to save battery? In my opinion, this is the #1 requirement for the next gen smartphones: Increased battery capacity!

    • 54. Chad Upton  |  August 29, 2010 at 11:33 pm

      Ya, they’re supposed to be a list of things you can choose to stop doing when you’re away from your charger and you need to conserve your battery. You can choose which ones you can give up at the time, depending on where you are and what you need. Other times, you may choose to leave other options enabled or disabled, but at least you’ll know which things affect the battery performance.

  • 55. Lou Nawlins  |  October 14, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Two other things to help the battery life last longer.

    1. At least once a quarter let the phone conpletely die out before charging.

    2. Try to avoid short charge times and charge for as long as possible. ; ie. half battery charges, get in the habit of charging it overnight as you sleep instead of 1/2 hour in the morning as you get ready for work or school.


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