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How to Save a Life

Your smartphone battery life.

What did you expect?

First of all, I’m charging my battery while holding a salt shaker. It’s random, I know but don’t judge me just because I’m charged with a salt and battery… Anyway, I’m sure you will be delighted cause you are getting this info… free of charge.

I make puns, deal with it.

Secondly, Mark did not tell me blogging is hard work, I need two breaks.

In your hand is a device you love. For some reason, you can’t seem to put it down because maybe there’s a notification about the world coming to an end from Facebook that you might miss. Maybe if you don’t respond to his/her texts after 0.05 seconds you might have some explaining to do. The only reason you seem to put it down is that it needs some charge and even as it charges you continue using it. The charge it has in the morning has to last you the whole day but at noon you are looking for a charger.  Lol, I’m not judging, I’m actually describing myself.

Let’s learn one or two things about the battery.

Or dry cell, if you will.

A new smartphone battery will lose 20% of its ability to hold charge after 300-500 charge/discharge cycles. Before you start yawning one charge/discharge cycle simply means when you charge it to 100% and then use it till it gets to 0%. If the same number of cycles is repeated the battery becomes 40% less efficient and so on.  Since you are going to be using this phone for quite some time, why not go through a few tips that can make your battery last longer.

  1. Dim your screen brightness– You love that large and colorful display, but it’s your battery’s mortal enemy. At any one time if you check battery consumption stats in the settings you find that the screen is always or almost always at the top.
  2. Keep the screen timeout short – Every second counts when it comes to battery drainage.
  3. Go easy with the radios– i.e. Bluetooth, WI-FI, NFC, GPS. Anytime they are on they are constantly looking for signals, keep them off when not in use. I know sometimes you want to show people where you are on your Instagram (aren’t you afraid of stalkers) but note that this drains the battery. Almost all apps nowadays are requesting location access (very weird if you ask me). Location services use a combination of GPS, WIFI or 4G/3G and these take a massive toll on the charge.
  1. WIFI over Cellular Data – When available, use WIFI over 4G/3G as it consumes less power (requires about 40% less power than 4G) plus it is WIFI. Most WIFIs I know are free (like Mark’s), who doesn’t love free internet?
  2. Do not leave apps running in the background – The apps you leave running in the background consume power so always remember to close them.
  3. Turn off non-essential notifications – Almost every app now polls the internet in search of updates, news, and other information. When it finds something, the app may chime, light up your screen, vibrate and display a message, make your LED blink, or do all of the above. All of these things draw energy from the battery.
  4. Disable Sync in email and push email – Push email keeps checking for new email after a given interval of time. Sync keeps saving your info to a cloud storage after some time. These also have an effect on your battery.
  5. Opt out of the fast charging option when possible. While it is efficient and given how impatient we are, it depletes your battery charge retention. So, when you are not in a hurry use normal charging instead. It is slower but it will add some much-needed life to your battery
  6. Use the charger that came with the phone – Your charger has the correct voltage specification for your battery and using another with higher or lower may cause harm to your battery.
  7. Use the power saving modes that come with the OS – When in use they disable apps from running in the background, limit screen brightness, use lesser system resources and hence they conserve charge.
  8. Use dark a wallpaper or theme for your home and lock screens. Also use night or dark modes for apps. Most phones these days are coming equipped with AMOLED screens (like every Samsung Galaxy flagship and a plethora (yes, I know some vocabulary) of other devices. Black surfaces in the screen need less power to light up. It doesn’t make that much of a difference but every bit counts plus dark wallpapers are dope and they look amazing.
  9. Use lite versions or go versions of applications. Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Messenger. They drain less power because they use lesser resources (RAM, Storage). The Facebook app is the biggest culprit, it drains a lot and it is huge, very huge (190MB when installing and grows to around 300 or more when you use it). Dammit, Zuckerberg!
  10.  Others;
    1. Avoid keeping your phone in hot places e.g. in cars on hot sunny days,
    2. Avoid discharging your battery completely (0%) and fully charging it. Keep it between 40% and 80% and it will last longer.
    3. Disable vibration and haptic feedback (the buzz effect when typing)
    4. When the option is there, reduce screen resolution. You will not notice that much of a difference in display and you will save more power.

This post was inspired by The Frey and that one time there was a blackout and my phone was at 6% charge. The night was dark and full of terrors. (That’s from Game of Thrones, right? I don’t watch it but I know it’s in there somewhere).

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