Get the best phone battery life with some quick adjustments

Your cell phone is only as good as its battery. Once its power source runs out, so does your ability to call, check email, and pinpoint your location on a virtual map. Almost everyone has run unexpectedly low, frantically searching the local Starbucks for an open socket.

It could be the way you are charging your phone. You’re not supposed to leave it plugged in all night. Click here to learn the right way to charge your phone and get the most out of its battery.

If your smartphone’s battery keeps tapping out before the day is over, there are a few tweaks you can do to help it along. Certain functions in your smartphone are constantly draining your battery. Most of these features you don’t necessarily need and turning them off can do wonders for your battery life.

Now, if you have an older iPhone, it could be the battery itself. Apple is offering to replace some iPhone batteries for $29. Click here to check to see if your iPhone battery should be replaced for better performance.

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Note that the steps to accomplish battery saving tasks in this article may be different on your phone and operating system. If that is the case, look around in the menu specified for similar settings.

Review location services for every app

GPS is helpful, but it hogs your battery. In theory, you could disable your phone’s location services altogether. Obviously, you would lose updates from location-sensitive apps, such as mapping/traffic guides, outdoor running/hiking workout trackers, and even social media check-in apps like Facebook and Foursquare. You may not need these location-based functions, so you won’t lose much to switching them off.

A less drastic method is to limit location services for a specific app. Most apps don’t need location tracking turned on all the time, and some apps don’t need location tracking at all to function properly.

On iOS, you can limit apps’ location access to “Never,” “While Using the App,” or “Always.” For most apps, “While Using the App” will be the best setting. You can always restrict it to “Never” if you feel that a particular app doesn’t need location info. With that said, having each app’s location set to “Always” will be one big battery killing mistake you want to avoid.

To check and modify an iPhone’s Location Services, open Settings >> Privacy >> Location Services. From here you could turn Location Services completely off by toggling the switch or scroll down and set the setting for each app.

For Android users, it depends on your Android version and device model but typically you can check an app’s location service by going to the Settings app >> Personal >> Location >> “Recent location requests.” To control your device’s location tracking go to Personal >> Location >> Mode >> then toggle “Location” to Off.

Turn off background refresh

Background apps are often programmed to refresh constantly even when you’re not using them. This allows apps to occasionally check your location, send push notifications, or automatically update its status. This is convenient but too much activity will kill your battery.

Similar to Location Services, review your settings and turn off Background App Refresh for apps that don’t require it.

To check Background Refresh on an iPhone go to Settings >> General>> Background App Refresh >> then either toggle the general Background App Refresh setting to Off or better yet, scroll down to select which apps you want it enabled.

On Android, without third-party apps, there’s no general toggle to stop background apps. You can try by accessing Settings >> Apps >> Apps Manager >> then select the app to stop it.

Stop getting email all the time

Push email consumes your battery especially when multiple email accounts are grabbing messages from the ether at once. For more efficiency, turn off Push for email and set your phone to fetch manually or at set intervals.

To change this setting on an iPhone, go to Settings >> Accounts & Passwords >> Fetch New Data >> then toggle Push to Off. On this same menu, you can set each account to Fetch according to a set schedule or manually. (For best battery savings, set the Fetch schedule to Manual.)

On Android, again it depends on your Android version and device. Typically, you can go to Settings >> Accounts >> Choose email account you want to modify >> Change Sync settings.

Shorten screen timeout settings

A quick setting you could tweak is your screen timeout settings. The longer your screen is on when it’s idle, the more battery life it consumes. Try shortening your phone’s timeout setting to better efficiency since this will turn off the screen quicker when you’re not using your phone.

To set your Auto-Lock settings on an iPhone, go to Settings >> Display & Brightness >> Auto-Lock >> then set your auto-lock duration. The shorter, the better.

For Android, again it depends on your device, but try going to Settings >> Display >> Screen Timeout to shorten your times.

Avoid extreme temperatures

Due to how a lithium-ion battery’s cathode, electrolyte,, and anode chemical reactions work, it’s vital to avoid extreme heat or cold as much as possible.

Related: HP recalls laptop for overheating batteries.

Never leave your phone in a hot car or under the sun because the heat speeds up the chemical reactions that make batteries lose their capacity. These reactions break down the electrolyte and reduce the number of accumulation of lithium ions on the anode, meaning the battery will have less capacity every time it’s exposed to higher temperatures.

Cold exposure is not as bad but it can also temporarily shorten your gadget’s battery life and even shut it down. When exposed to low temperatures, the liquid inside your battery may actually freeze.

Tweak the screen’s brightness

You may not think much about the brightness of your screen, but it plays a huge factor in your battery’s lifespan. If you are a power user and you have it on full brightness all the time, then you’re probably losing two to three hours compared to the same usage at half brightness.

Dimming the screen is great for preserving usable hours on your phone. You can also switch on your smartphone’s Auto-Brightness so it will automatically adjust to the current ambient light.

Related: Click here for a list of smart phones with the best battery life.

On iOS, you can set the Brightness and turn on Auto-Brightness by going to Settings >> Display & Brightness.

On Android, go to Settings >> Display >> Brightness. You could slide to the desired setting here and also turn on “Automatic Brightness.”

Don’t drain it down to zero

To make your smartphone’s lithium-ion battery last longer, do not drain it down completely. The lithium-ion batteries don’t have the “memory effect” of older nickel batteries. Nickel batteries had to be drained completely because they tended to forget part of their total capacity if they’re not down to zero before recharging.

In lithium-ion batteries, it’s the exact opposite. If you drain a lithium-ion battery down to zero, you are actually diminishing its capacity, so it’s best to turn your phone off manually before it “dies.”

Always store at 50 percent charge

If you’re storing an unused phone for an extended period – from a few hours to a few weeks – keep the battery charged at 50 percent before turning it off for storage. For even longer periods, turn on the phone every six months or so and plugging it in to charge it back to 50 percent.

Lithium-ion batteries apparently have a tendency to destabilize if left discharged for a period of time. If destabilized, a lithium-ion battery could exhibit the thermal runaway effect and explode.

Fortunately, modern lithium-ion batteries have built-in self-destruct mechanisms that will kick in before destabilizing. If the self-destruct circuit is triggered, however, the battery will never be usable again.

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