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How to… extend your smartphone battery life

Is your mobile constantly crying out for the charging cable? Prolong its power with this set of tips

This one is pretty “duh”, but you might be surprised at how much screen brightness affects a phone’s battery life, especially if you happen to be a “power user”, barely able to tear yourself away from your phone for a second. According to Lifehacker, heavy users should be able to get a couple of extra hours of use out of their phone by adjusting the screen brightness. If you don’t want to delve into the settings too often, try using darker wallpapers, installing the Tasker app on Android (it’s £1.99, but features a lot more besides) or, if you have a jailbroken iPhone, SBSettings.

Turn the brightness down

Bluetooth, 3G, Wi-Fi and NFC all put a hurtin’ on your phone’s battery, so if you don’t need them switch them off (assuming your phone lets you do so). Turning off Bluetooth alone can add about an hour to the battery life. 3G can be an especially heinous power-sucker, and with old-fashioned 2G EDGE perfectly acceptable for checking emails, Tweets and the like, this writer often finds himself turning it off when heading out with a low battery.

GPS is a trickier one, especially if you’re constantly consulting maps (turning it on and off at will means it can take an annoyingly long time to find your position), but again shutting it off will give you a lot more battery life.

Turn off unnecessary functions

The automatic timeout (the length of time before your phone screen switches itself off) is usually set to one or two minutes by default. Dial that down to the minimum (15 seconds or so) and you’ll be adding precious time to that battery.

Do you really need to know that your friend has checked into Sainsburys on Foursquare? Tailor your notifications to include only those that are absolutely vital. Similarly, turn off over-the-air updates to apps and the like, as these can munch away at your mobile data allowance as well as your battery.

Adjust the automatic timeout

The ads on free apps are responsible for around 70 percent of their power use, according to research. If you’re flush with cash, choose the paid versions.

Disable notifications you don’t need

This will vary, but in general the newest version of a phone’s OS or firmware will enhance energy efficiency (this one for the Nokia Lumia 800 tripled battery life). So update if you can.

Readers! Do you have any other battery-saving tips? Share them in the comments section below.

Top image credit: marioanima

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