4 tips to extend your phone’s battery life

Owning a smartphone means knowing the frustration of watching its battery die when you need it most, whether you’re nearing your next high score or need to call mom. Modern screens and phone technology put a strain on your handset’s battery, but you can save as much time as possible by changing your mobile habits and taking advantage of the features built into Android and iOS.

Find apps draining your battery

Battery life is such a concern that Apple and Google have built monitoring tools into their phone operating systems, letting you check which apps are using the most power. From Settings app in iOS tap Battery; on Android, press Battery, then Battery usage. There you will see which apps have used the most juice since your phone was last fully charged.

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Once you have a list of the worst offenders, you have a few options. You can completely uninstall annoying apps and enjoy the resulting battery savings, or you can dive into those apps’ individual settings and try to reduce their battery usage. Maybe prevent them from checking for new updates as often, for example. Remember that you can still access sites like Facebook and Twitter through a mobile browser if you don’t have the apps installed.

Pinging your location can also consume a lot of battery power, and you might be able to turn it off (or at least limit its use) in some of your phone’s apps. From Android Settings, go to Location; from iOS Settings app, find Private lifethen Rental services to manually adjust these options, app by app.

You can make an additional setting that will prevent apps from running in the background. In other words, they will only be able to connect to the web when they are actually open on the screen, which could save you battery life. On iOS, this option is under General and Refresh the app in the background in Settings; on Android, go to Settingsthen appstap on an individual app and choose Mobile data and Wi-Fi.

Enable built-in battery features

In addition to eradicating battery hogs on Android and iOS, you can also enable a variety of features meant to save battery power. These features can be activated when your phone’s battery level reaches a certain level or can be activated manually.

On Apple devices, this is called Low power mode and you can find it under Battery in Settings. You can turn it on manually or choose to turn it on when your phone reaches 20% battery (a popup will appear automatically at this point). Essentially, it reduces some of the background processes running on your phone, such as fetching emails and listening for the “Hey Siri” voice activation control.

On recent versions of Android, this feature is called battery saver-head toward Battery in Settings to locate it. Like iPhone Low Power Mode, it disables a few background services, limits what your apps can do when they’re not active, and can be turned on manually or automatically when the battery reaches a certain level.

These modes are similar to putting your laptop to sleep, but you’ll still be able to use your devices more or less normally. You may notice that some apps suspend certain features (like auto downloading photos) or take longer to complete certain tasks (like fetching new messages) when battery saver mode is enabled.

Adjust your phone settings

That big, bright screen on your phone is one of the biggest draws on the device’s battery, so lowering its brightness or switching to dark mode can extend battery life. You can find these options under To display in Android Settingsand Display and Brightness in iOS Settings.

Both Android and iOS allow you to adjust the speed at which the screen lock activates on your phone. Reduce this timer to ensure your screen stays on for as little time as possible. On iOS, go to Settings, Display and Brightnessthen Automatic locking. Find similar option in Android Settings menu by pressing To displaythen Screen Sleep.

Your phone may also have an ambient display or an alarm clock feature that displays notifications when your phone screen is locked. Disable these features – and anything that uses the screen – to claw back a bit more battery life. On Google’s Pixel phones, for example, the relevant options are under To displayand Lock screen.

You might not realize it, but audio playback can also have an effect on battery life. Turn down the volume on your Netflix movies or Spotify playlists, or just plug in some headphones, and your phone’s battery will thank you.

Disconnect your phone

Nothing saves battery life like disconnecting your phone from the networks it relies on. Facebook can’t ping the web for updates every five minutes if it doesn’t have a cellular connection, for example. If you really need that extra juice, put your phone on airplane mode and keep the battery level stable.

The obvious downside is that you won’t be able to use anything that connects to the web, makes calls, or sends texts. But if you really need to preserve your battery life, that’s an option, and it means your phone will be a lot less distracting at the same time. Swipe down with two fingers from the top of the screen on Android, or swipe down from the top right of the screen on iOS, to find this option (it’s an airplane icon).

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It’s worth using the airplane mode option when you’re also in areas with uneven signal. This is because phones tend to work harder to connect when they struggle to find a signal, which will drain the battery faster. If you’ve ever found yourself regularly moving in and out of dead zones, you’re probably quite familiar with this.

While turning off Bluetooth and WiFi is often said to improve battery life, it doesn’t make much of a difference, certainly not as much as full airplane mode. Data streaming via Bluetooth consumes power, but just having it on in the background isn’t much of an issue when it comes to battery life.