We’ve all been there: you’re out and about most of the day, or exploring a new city on a trip, and you realize you didn’t bring a phone charger with you.
This realization often comes the moment you notice your battery running low. And sometimes buying a new charger is not an option. Running out of battery on your phone isn’t the end of the world, but it can certainly pose challenges if you need to navigate an unfamiliar place or keep in touch with people.
Fortunately, there are ways to extend battery life and buy yourself some time before you can reach for a charger. Below, tech experts share their tips.
Activate low power mode
“Most phones these days have a battery saving feature, and iPhones specifically have a feature called ‘low power mode,'” said journalist and tech reviewer Elly Bailey, aka Elly Awesome. . “This reduces or alters many battery-saving features, such as your phone’s screen brightness, automatic downloads, background app refresh, and more. So if you can activate this, that’s a no-brainer.”
While iPhones automatically ask users if they’d like to turn on Low Power Mode once the battery drops below 20% charge, turning it on even earlier can help save more power. You can find the “low power mode” option in the Battery tab in Settings on iPhones and the analogous “battery saving mode” feature in the same place on Android phones.
Turn off location services
“Some apps closely follow [of] your location, even when you’re not using them,” said Jessica Naziri, founder of the technology and lifestyle blog TechSesh. “They do this through a process called Location Services, and while it’s meant to be discreet, it can consume precious amounts of battery power.”
Naziri advised going into your settings and turning off location tracking for all your apps at once, or going through them one by one and making decisions. Turning off location services means those apps will use less power.
Bailey made a similar recommendation: “If you’re really desperate to keep that last bit of charge, I’d suggest going into your location services and turning them off, if this isn’t a security issue for you.”
Reduce screen brightness
“Your phone’s screen is one of the most power-hungry components, so if you have the brightness slider set to maximum, you’ll drain your battery in no time,” said the tech writer and video creator. miguel fisherman, also known as MrMobile. “If you’re not outside in broad daylight, turning that brightness down a little, or a lot, is a great way to conserve battery power.”
Naziri noted to “make sure ‘auto-brightness’ is turned on, so the screen automatically dims if you’re in a dark environment.”
Go into dark mode
Reducing screen brightness isn’t the only display adjustment you can make to extend battery life.
“If your phone has an OLED screen (most modern high-end phones do), switching your software to dark mode can save battery life, since the dark pixels on an OLED panel don’t require power to light up,” Fisher said. . They just got out.
Dark mode is available under Display & Brightness in iPhone settings and under Display in Android settings.
Many features that make smartphones so convenient, like Wi-Fi access, naturally use a fair amount of battery power. So if your goal is to avoid going to 0% before you can access a phone charger, disable those features.
“Turn off extra features like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi if you’re not using them,” Bailey advised.
Close apps that drain battery
If you want to conserve battery, pay attention to what apps you have open on your phone and what they’re doing.
“Those apps that suck up our time are also the ones that consume the most battery power,” Naziri said. “I am talking about social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube and WhatsApp. And if you’re low on power, this is your reminder that FaceTime and gaming can drain your battery much faster than a charger can.”
Watching videos and playing games consumes a lot of battery power, so keep this in mind if you’re trying to save power. Turn off push notifications from apps and close them strategically.
“Make sure background apps aren’t performing power-hungry tasks, like Spotify downloading a new playlist or Google Photos doing a backup,” Fisher advised. “Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you should go on a swipe spree, closing all your apps. That may feel good, but it does more harm than good by interfering with your phone’s automatic background management. The preferred approach here is a precision strike, not carpet bombing.”
Activate airplane mode
“If you’re using your phone for offline functions, or if you don’t need constant connectivity before you can find a charger, switch to airplane mode,” Fisher suggested. “This disables all wireless radios, which saves a fair amount of power.”
Turning on airplane mode conserves power and serves as a good reminder to stay away from your phone until you can connect it to a charger.
“Personally, when I put my phone on airplane mode, I only take it off when I need to take an urgent or necessary action,” said Marie-Philippe Gill, creator of Girl Knows Tech.
Don’t skip app updates
In addition to the above steps you can take when it comes to conserving your battery, there are more general ways to promote longer battery life.
“Don’t skip app updates,” Naziri advised. “If you’ve been putting off updates, here’s your signal: improve battery efficiency and management on the go. In fact, you should probably turn on auto-update if you can.”
Be careful with the load
It is also important to consider the general condition of the battery when charging your phone.
“Fast charging is convenient, but it reduces overall battery life,” Fisher noted. “If your phone has a ‘smart charging’ or ‘healthy charging’ mode and you’re not in a hurry (for example, if you’re sleeping and charging overnight), use it. It will charge the battery slowly and prolong its life.”
He also advised bringing an external battery or asking a friend if you can use their phone to charge yours via “power sharing” or “reverse wireless charging” features, if that’s an option.
“I generally try to follow Apple’s guidelines on battery health,” Gill said. “For example, I try to minimize the number of battery cycles my devices go through.”
Naziri said he generally avoids charging his phone to 100% when possible.
“A lithium-ion battery doesn’t like to be fully charged or hot,” he explained. “The lithium-ion batteries in our phones last longer when we keep them 30% to 80% charged throughout the day, not just 100% and then zero. Also, wireless charging is very convenient, but batteries prefer a slow and steady input. Please consider using a standard charger when you can.”