Modern Android phones are awesome, but they are greedy. My Samsung Fold 4 can do pretty much anything I need in a compact package, but it sucks down juice like a technology journalist at an open bar. So, I sometimes have to rein my phone in, persuading it to pace itself. It’s an attempt to assure us both that we still have some get-up-and-go to spare.
Here are 10 tips for extending the battery life of your Android phone.
Lower the brightness
The most power-hungry part of your phone is the screen. No matter what type of screen it has, it’s the greediest component of the phone. The backlight is generally the main power hog.
The brighter it is, the more power it uses. So, tweak the brightness to only as bright as you need. Turn off the adaptive brightness, so it doesn’t ramp up the radiance when a light shines on it.
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Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Even when you aren’t connected, your phone’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are always on, listening for nearby networks and devices. You don’t need that, so turn the Wi-Fi off if you are not using it, and disable Bluetooth if you aren’t using your wireless headphones. Don’t use Airplane mode, though, as this completely turns off your connection to the phone network, meaning you won’t get phone calls or texts.
Stop background app refresh
Many Android apps (looking at you, Facebook) like to pop up in the background, grab new data and then go back to sleep. That’s useful if you have the charge to spare, but you probably don’t need to see new pictures of your Auntie Doris and her cat immediately.
Stop individual apps from doing this by disabling background app refresh. On a Samsung device, toggle on Data Saver in settings. This stops apps from continuously background refreshing, thereby extending your battery life. But if there’s a specific app you want to continue to background refresh, select “Allowed” for the app.
Turn off mobile data
A constant data stream between your phone and the cell phone network allows the two to stay connected. Do you need this, though? You could live without it for a bit if you are trying to get every last watt of battery power. So, toggle on Airplane Mode. Your phone will stop chatting with the phone network, saving a bit of power.
Figure out — and use — smart-battery modes
Many Android phones come with special modes added by the manufacturer that will tweak various settings to extend the battery life. For instance, swipe down on a Samsung phone’s launcher screen and select “Power Saving” mode, which slows down the central processing unit, lowers the brightness and limits background apps. On Sony phones, the “Stamina” mode offers similar features.
Disable location services
You probably know where you are if you’re stuck on a long flight and want to keep the tunes coming. Turn off location services in the Settings app.
Enable dark mode
Modern OLED smartphone screens use more power when white because the backlight is only turned on when needed. You can save a bit of power by enabling Dark Mode, which turns the screen’s background black.
Turn off NFC
Most modern phones use Near Field Communications (NFC) to talk to credit card devices. If you aren’t buying anything, turn it off. On Samsung phones, swipe down from the launcher and toggle off NFC. On stock Android devices, you can disable NFC from the “Connections” section of the Settings app.
Use the sun
If you are out and about and want to go without charging your phone, a portable solar panel might help to extend your battery life. These won’t produce enough power to charge your phone fully, but a portable panel like the $71 BigBlue 3 might give you more of a chance to capture photos on a camping trip. It’s also portable enough to hang off a backpack to charge while hiking and is water resistant.
Take the watt rating of these panels with a pinch of salt, though: The 28W number is the maximum power the device can generate, not what you are likely to get out of it. That will usually be much less.
Carry a small battery
The easiest way to add more battery power? Add another battery. A small portable battery like the TravelCard Plus can boost your phone battery, and it has built-in USB-C and Lightning cables. It won’t charge your battery by much (it holds just 3000 mAh of charge), but it is portable enough and just a quarter-inch thick, so you can put it in a pocket and forget about it.
Until you need it, that is.
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