Smartphone Smarts

May 4, 2018 | Patricia Wuest

It will take a bit of time, but here are 13 tips for taking care of your smart phone and prolonging its battery life

The battery in your smartphone has a lifespan: Over time, it will start losing power faster and taking longer to charge. Mobile phones use lithium-ion batteries for energy storage. You don’t need to understand the science behind this type of battery, but the bottom line is that they degrade over time. Some of that can be managed by how you take care of your smartphone and its battery. If you’ve noticed that your smartphone battery is not performing as it did when it was brand-new, there are some steps you can take to help prolong its life.

  1. Don’t leave the device plugged in. When your battery is discharging, let it reach 50 percent before recharging. Then when you recharge it, you don’t need to charge it all the way to 100 percent. This is called a “shallow discharge/recharge cycle.” It will help prolong your smartphone’s lithium ion battery’s life. If you think your battery-level icon is giving an incorrect reading, let the battery discharge to about 5 percent and then recharge it to 100 percent, to recalibrate the battery. Performing a recalibration should allow your smartphone to give you a correct “estimated battery time remaining” reading.
  2. Never leave your smartphone in a hot or very cold place, such as your car. Temperature extremes are very hard on the battery, and it won’t take to it kindly.
  3. Reduce screen brightness. You can do this in Settings. You can always increase it when using your phone as a camera (it helps improve image quality).
  4. Use Wi-Fi, not 4G. Wi-Fi uses less power, so turning off cellular data and using Wi-Fi instead will help extend battery life.
  5. Back up your smartphone. Do this so you don’t lose anything that really matters to you, such as your favorite picture of your grandchildren. Run a backup to the cloud on your phone or connect it to your computer and follow the backup prompts. Transfer photos to an online storage service to save your images, and then delete them from your phone.
  6. Delete apps you don’t use. You can always reinstall them later if you need them.
  7. Turn off location services and app updates. Go to Settings and disable both functions. Update apps when you want to, and enable locations only when you need to, such as when you’re using a navigation app.
  8. Delete old texts. In Settings, change to auto-delete any texts older than a year.
  9. Clear your history. In the web-browser settings, clear your history and cookies.
  10. Use airplane mode. If you’re in an area with no signal, and you know you won’t get one until you leave, turn the phone on airplane mode.
  11. Turn off Bluetooth. When you don’t need it, it still draining your battery. You can always turn it on when you want to use it.
  12. Stop notifications. Do you really need auto updates from email, news, social media and other apps? Unless you really need text and phone call alerts, go into Settings to reduce the frequency of alerts.
  13. Turn off vibrate. The vibrate function uses more power than a ringtone.

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