As much as we laud the modern tech world for thrusting feature filled portable devices into our hands, new technology comes with a price. Battery life is a cripplingly impractical issue, often leaving us in compromising positions and longing for the days of the Nokia 3310.
Thankfully, there are a few simple processes you can put in place to eek out those vital extra hours of battery life.
Identify the Problem
Before you start implementing your new battery saving processes, you need to find the root of the problem. Many smartphones and tablets offer a handy interface outlining the main drain on your battery use. On Android for example, your battery consumption can be viewed in the Settings (Settings > General > Battery > Battery usage). From there, you can identify the biggest drain on your battery, and immediately bring a stop to it.
There are a number of applications on the Android and iOS stores that can aid your vigilance when monitoring battery use. Check out Juice Defender (Android) or Battery Manager (iOS) for a collection of simple solutions to battery consumption. Indeed, battery-saving apps tend to offer one handy interface for a number of the processes named in this rundown.
Check your Apps
Apps are the backbone of your portable device experience. Conversely, they’re also the main instigator of battery depletion. Keeping track of what happens to your apps as you finish using them can go a long way to banishing your battery nightmares. Multitasking may be a marvellous thing when you need to run a variety of apps at once, but it can have a huge impact on your phone powering down when you really need it.
Ensure that when you’ve finished using any of your apps, you shut them down completely. On Android, this can be done by touching the square icon at the bottom of your screen. For iOS, double tap the home button. Both will bring up a list of your current apps, and you can simply swipe them away. Leave them running, and apps will continue operating in the background (draining the battery as they do) even if you aren’t using them.
Another measure you could take is turning notifications off on apps you rarely use. A number of apps will continue to drag data from their servers even when not in use, occasionally popping up with notifications. Turning this feature off ensures that these apps are only operational when you open them up, saving you vital juice in the battery pack.
Screen and Connection Solutions
Modern smartphones come with increasingly vibrant and colourful screens. But all those pixels require a lot of power to illuminate. The display is one of the greediest features of the lot- but its impact can be reduced. Dim your screen’s brightness to lessen the drain it has on your battery. Similarly, you can programme your screen to timeout after just a few seconds of inactivity, a saving that eventually adds up to a significant amount of energy.
In terms of connectivity, smartphones (if prompted to do so) are constantly searching for various external connections. Features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can be switched off. Whenever you’re not planning to use them, give your battery a break and switch them off.
Invest in some portable power
For those who have difficulty keeping up with droves of stipulations, there is an alternative. You could invest in a portable power source, ready to jump in and give your device a boost should it run a little low. Power banks, as they are commonly known, are small, practical and occasionally, a life saver. With so many products on the market, you can grab a cheap and simple power bank that carries enough power for an entire charge.
Laptop Battery Tips
Most of the pointers given above are handy for saving energy on portable devices, such as smartphones or tablets. In some cases, the rules also apply to laptops (dimming the screen and turning off Wi-Fi for two examples). There are however, a number of alternative ways to saving the battery on your laptop.
Use your Power settings
For Windows laptop users, you’re likely to have a built in tool you can use to protect that vital battery pack. Usually, the system will be programmed to shift from “Balanced” to “Power Saver” when switching from mains power to battery power. If not, ensure that it is. For a greater level of detail, you can delve into the specifics of power saving, and tweak a number of settings. Laptops can be programmed to hibernate after inactivity, or adopt maximum power saving measures for certain components (such as the graphics card or Wi-Fi adapter).
Unplug your peripherals
Each and every external device you connect to a laptop will of course require a degree of power in order to operate. Whether it be a USB mouse, keyboard or portable drive, it pays to disconnect them whenever they are not in use. Laptops that have an on board disk drive can also be a pain for your system’s battery. Even when not in use, any discs left in the drive are likely to still turn. Save on power by taking any unused discs out of the drive.
Get some new hardware
In the world of tech, nothing lasts forever. Batteries are no different, and over time, their efficiency will degrade. Generally, batteries are built to last for the lifetime of the average laptop, but there are options for someone who wants to replace the component rather than the whole system.
One of which is to simply buy a new one. Most laptop manufacturers allow for user-replaceable batteries, and shopping around can grab you a new battery on the cheap (particularly if it’s third party). You could even upgrade your battery capacity. A number of laptops come with a six-cell battery out of the box, but many will offer upgrades to eight or even twelve-cells.
For extreme levels of battery saving, upgrade your components. Mechanical hard disks, which will come as part of the majority of low-to-mid ranged laptops, require no small amount of charge to power their moving parts. Upgrading to an SSD may be an expensive solution, but with no moving parts, they take less power to operate. Plus, you’ll get the extra benefit of having a considerably quicker system.
Got any handy hints that help your devices last longer? Give us your best battery-saving tricks in the comments below.