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5 myths about improving your smartphone battery life

Posted: , by Victor H.

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5 myths about improving your smartphone battery life
Ah, battery life! The one thing your friends with a feature phone can still ridicule your brand new iPhone, Galaxy S III, or whatever shiny smartphone you have there. Don’t get too involved - there’s little you can do about it - your phone is better, bigger, but it just eats more battery.

We know you might be tempted, you’ll hear your geeky friends give you plenty of advice about how your battery can last much, much longer. Keep this off, install that, monitor this... truth is, in most cases, you shouldn’t bother.

Let’s face the facts - there are a couple of things that drain your battery the most. First, it’s that huge screen that shines like the sun on maximum brightness (keep it down). Second, it’s your LTE/3G data running in the background, downloading stuff from the Internet. If none of that applies to you, then you really should just remain calm and let your friends know that you love your smartphone despite the daily charging attention it requires. Then, show them your latest pictures or your favorite game, and let their envy do its thing.

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posted on 25 Aug 2012, 03:18 23

1. Nookie4u (Posts: 127; Member since: 13 Aug 2012)


Thnx 4 this useful article, a lot of people thought those myths were true. It's real helpful (:

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 07:07 1

18. dickwyn (Posts: 593; Member since: 07 May 2012)


still with all this tips the battery life on my Note is still as bad

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 07:35 3

20. Nookie4u (Posts: 127; Member since: 13 Aug 2012)


I might have to alter that a little, in personal exp, i once forgot to turn off the camera app and it uses gps to locate itself so it was showing near-full battery before i turned the screen off. but when i picked it up next time (7-8 hours later) Boom! it was near death. i was quite surprised coz i usually get 2 days of average usage on it.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 03:49 5

2. TheLibertine (Posts: 484; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


Yeah, good article.
But the last one is where I have some doubts. You know, I am an iPad user and the auto-brightness works just great: I use auto-brightness and don't have to care about brightness anymore.
But the point is: brightness makes a HUGE difference in battery life here. With full brightness (that just hurts the eye when not in direct sunlight) the iPad dies in around seven hours. With half the brightness, which fits most cases and still is pretty bright, I get around ten and a half hours. With 20% brightness which is usable in a dark room only about fifteen hours seem achievable (it looses 7% a hour plus the first percent on the iPad lasts about an hour).

So, most of you knew it. The point is: with auto brightness all the day along I get around twelve hours of usage. That is more than average and as such, auto brightness is a great battery saver for me.
So maybe it's just not that great on smartphones, the iPhone or Android phones.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 07:56

22. TylerGrunter (Posts: 905; Member since: 16 Feb 2012)


It´s normal that it´s a big saviour on the iPad, with the high resolution and the 10 inches screen. Probably the screen sucks most of the battery life out of the tablet. Same for most 10 inches tablets too.
For phones the screen also makes a difference, just not such a huge one. Again that depends on the size of the screen, the technology and the resolution. But in any case not such a big difference.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 04:13

3. li0nh3art (Posts: 27; Member since: 05 Aug 2012)


Very useful stuff here. Thanks for the guide!

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 04:17 7

4. Hunt3rj2 (Posts: 396; Member since: 11 Nov 2011)


WiFi scanning can take a lot of battery life if it happens too often. Bluetooth can have the same problem. GPS only takes up battery life when something uses the fine position permission, but turning it off usually means that anything that uses GPS would use cell location instead.

Some devices do need calibration of their battery, but only if the phone shuts off before 0%.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 09:01 2

25. -box- (Posts: 3784; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


There's also a security aspect, as well. If a regular user leaves WiFi and Bluetooth on without setting exceptions (only connect upon user command and with verified password, or no open networks, etc) ot leaves a metaphorical door open that a malicious person or program can exploit.

posted on 26 Aug 2012, 00:27

42. Hunt3rj2 (Posts: 396; Member since: 11 Nov 2011)


I especially do not trust connecting to public wifi networks because it's very easy to intercept packets and hijack logins. With a rooted Android device it's very easy to intercept someone's internet connection to something like facebook and use facebook under their account to steal information, and to present fake webpages that redirect people to phishing websites.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 04:20 14

5. Sniggly (Posts: 6982; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


I have to call bulls**t on some of these.

Before a coworker of mine knew about task management on the Galaxy S 3, he had awful battery life. Once I showed him how to shut down apps (via pressing and holding the home button and swiping across the thumbnails) he reported way better battery life.

Also, I've used live wallpapers, and then used the phone without them. Live wallpapers always hurt my battery life significantly. Battery life always improves without them on by a noticeable margin.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 06:27 3

15. frydaexiii (Posts: 1231; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


Wait, I thought the swiping across thumbnails were just clearing the recent apps away, not clearing the ram?

Samsung's Task Manager doesn't show a difference in RAM after swiping

posted on 26 Aug 2012, 00:29

43. Hunt3rj2 (Posts: 396; Member since: 11 Nov 2011)


The only thing they might do is send a "done" signal to the system, which would probably make it so that if the application has already been put to standby in RAM mode, it is marked as okay to clear from RAM if OOM killer activates.

posted on 26 Aug 2012, 15:40

45. dmckay12 (Posts: 243; Member since: 25 Feb 2012)


It clears the recent apps out of the RAM.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 06:55 5

16. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


ha! placebo, that does not clean ram at all and no TASK killers may even drain your battery more, why? because some process are persistent, when they are to do something you need to leave them be

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 06:59

17. protozeloz (Posts: 5375; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


http://www.extremetech.com/computing/112013-how-multitasking-works-on-android-and-ios

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 07:30 1

19. casbah70 (Posts: 16; Member since: 21 Jun 2011)


Same here. I've seen a significant difference in battery life, when only changing the live wallpaper.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 04:35 1

6. senotrius (Posts: 4; Member since: 01 Aug 2012)


All the above are true if u have 3000+mah battery,huge rams.real life-android barely makes it 24hours.I'm a fanboy but my sgs just lasts half a day or max till evening.if used the way a smartphone is supposed to be ur looking at 2 to 5 hours max.
1.amoled screens-just put on full brightness and connect to a charger :charge decreases despite the charger!
2.task managers-if android was perfect these would not exist. Unfortunately android autostarts virtually everything.super lag.eventually my ram is at 46mb free and I have to manually kill everything!autostart managers kinda help out but still the usesble ram just decreases.auto starting is not the way for multitaskin-android should evolve.it does not decrease battery life nonetheless.
3.live wallpapers-depends.the more fancy ones take ram/battery.but most nowadays don't.
4.WiFi,GPS and Bluetooth. are u sure-these don't let the phone go to deep idle really.which saves battery a Lil. its a smartphone ,the thing is always syncing or scanning or what not.
5.the absolute biggest killer is packet data/3g/4g.my phone lasts exactly 1hour plus a couple of minute if u browse internet(2g at that!).screen is a huge factor thou.so put packet data off whenever possible.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 04:36

7. jmreekes (Posts: 4; Member since: 07 Sep 2011)


"Before a coworker of mine knew about task management on the Galaxy S 3, he had awful battery life. Once I showed him how to shut down apps (via pressing and holding the home button and swiping across the thumbnails) he reported way better battery life."

I think he was referring to the task manager apps that you see floating around the app store and Google play store.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 04:47 4

8. Sniggly (Posts: 6982; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Now, if he's referring to Advanced Task Killer, I agree. That app has been useless since 2.2. However, one that I used by Futon Redemption still got the job done, because it served as a shortcut to the settings where I could force stop whatever was running.

The best task manager I ever saw before 4.0 was Motorola's. It made visible EVERYTHING that was running, even background services from apps, and told me how much RAM they were using. It was a real eye opener.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 04:55

9. pikapowerize (banned) (Posts: 1869; Member since: 03 May 2012)


so how will you save the life of your battery then?

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 05:06 2

10. joaolx (Posts: 353; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Some of this things make a huge difference when talking about a 600Mhz cpu. Because my phone has to struggle and use more power to hold the live wallpaper and the screen brightness makes a huge difference. And so does the wifi.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 05:19 1

11. spiderpig2894 (Posts: 424; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)


For me, WiFi and Bluetooth matters battery life because I can see a little decrease on it. I don't worry about turning off WiFi because I don't use carrier data.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 05:28 2

12. rahulcena5565 (Posts: 57; Member since: 01 Nov 2010)


Come to iOS for battery Life!

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 05:35 8

13. Sniggly (Posts: 6982; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


I know that you're probably being sarcastic, but I'll remind everyone of the Razr Maxx anyway, and then pimp away.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 14:04

37. tedkord (Posts: 4719; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


At this point I wouldn't buy an iOS device if all other devices had razor blade edges.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 07:36 1

21. kingpet13 (Posts: 139; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)


Like sniggly said, you're probably being sarcastic, but I'll still ask for the top complaint from ios users. Battery Life.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 09:04 2

26. -box- (Posts: 3784; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


That's like saying "Come to Syria and Turkey for low hotel rates!"

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 13:59

34. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


Never ...

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 15:34 1

40. GoBears (Posts: 346; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)


Yeah because it's so tiny and boring you don't want to use it. Bam, instant battery life.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 06:11 1

14. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5737; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


The best thing you can do to maximize battery life if you have an LTE phone in a marginal signal area is turn off the LTE radio. The phone will kill the battery trying to make a 4g connection. Even with ICS v. 4.0.4

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 08:01 1

23. Supermanz28 (Posts: 17; Member since: 23 Aug 2012)


You no with working customer service for Verizon i hear these ?s asked to me all the time customers complaining about battery life saying they need a new battery or a phone and they tell me they shut these features off and expect it to make a diff, my favorite is when they tell me they put it in airplane mode often to save battery, ya it might save you a bit but then u might as well have an ipod bc its not a phone anymore.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 08:28 2

24. ajac09 (Posts: 1367; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


wow dont do much research phone areana or you just use to being stupid? wifi and blue tooth and gps do use power.. your wifi is on its constantly searching. When bluetooth is on its waiting on a signal. What proof? Turn them all on a day your battery life will be halfed been there done that. Live wallpapers do drain your battery inconjunction with screen time on. More your screen is on the more you drain your battery with the screen and the live wallpaper. Sorry one of the worst uneducated articles I've read and I am counting your boyfriends at gizmodo in that to.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 09:16 2

27. nedooo (Posts: 15; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)


What is this??? Noob got opportunity to write article and he is in "Myth busters" clouds.
Turning off wifi and bluetooth and gps will prolong battery life that's a fact, hard as the writer of this article head...second clearing RAM after some time will do the same...could not read what is three and beyond. And forgetting to turn on wifi when you want to download big files...hahahahahaha...that make me laugh.
This article is made for some mental institution I presume???
Phone Arena get a grip, and don't let some smarta.s ruin your reputation...this could be true article in some other dimension from where the writer is...

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 10:29

28. nicholassss (Posts: 348; Member since: 10 May 2012)


For me switching form the stock motoblur experience to aokp or cm9 and i got an extra couple hours a day out of my droid 3. maybe its just a placebo or coincidence.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 11:39

29. johnbftl (Posts: 190; Member since: 09 Jun 2012)


I am a stickler for conserving as much battery as i can. I keep my brightness at a minimum, turn off any radios (GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi) that I'm not using, I even bought an extended life battery for my Galaxy Nexus when I first got my phone. My phone was still dying in like 5 or 6 hours and it was pissing me off. It turned out I had a defective phone that kept dropping signal every half hour or so and all that searching for signal was killing my battery. Verizon replaced the phone for me and now I can go like a day and a half, sometimes 2 days before I have to charge my phone.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 12:18 1

30. mas11 (Posts: 1028; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


Wow this article should be all over FB and Reddit!

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 12:30

31. mas11 (Posts: 1028; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


Btw wouldn't a live wallpaper drain your battery because the screen is constantly refreshing.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 12:44

32. Supermanz28 (Posts: 17; Member since: 23 Aug 2012)


Ok i have a ?, who the heck hired this persona nd allowed them to write articles i mean reall will they just let anyone with a keyboard do this im just dumbfounded i have been working for verizon for over 3 years and have seen phones start with 1st Droid from motorola up to the S3 and its always been said and proven that turning off those settings will conserve ur battery life and widget either it be built in or preinstalled will show that having that on will drain the battery its all part of the Android OS when looking at it, i have the One S and it has 4.0 which has built in battery widget and i still get like 11 hrs of life but it still shows my highest battery usage is either the screen when not on auto bright or Android OS i do notice a huge diff

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 12:46

33. shotine (Posts: 16; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)


There are two here that are wrong first off having bluetooth, wifi and gps on dose drain the battery quicker when they are scanning and live wallpapers do drain the battery much quicker. If you doubt me try it for yourself and you will notice it for yourself.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 14:02

35. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


Points wrt bluetooth/wifi/live wallpapers is in complete negation of what sony recommends on their forums and all those who went by the recommendation found better battery life.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 14:02

36. tedkord (Posts: 4719; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


WiFi certainly does use power. When it's in and not connected, it scans at regular intervals for an access point. This has the same effect as your cellular radio trying to connect - it drains battery.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 14:59

38. cheeseycheeser (Posts: 384; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)


I call bull on number 1. When your phone is searching for wifi, Bluetooth, and connected to GPS it with out a doubt sucks up battery life! If I only turn on mobile data when I'm using my phone will last all day! Otherwise it'll die by noon.

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 15:33

39. rob5150 (Posts: 114; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)


correct... wifi gps and bluetooth. will tax your battery. like others said, it constantly polls every few minutes or so to find a connection. gps on the other hand will suck you downin no time in this scenario. using maps to drive to a store or mall .... then walking inside the buioding. your maps is running in battery and yoir gps works feverishly to get a signal.

if you live and travel in a poor coverage area . your lte or 3g uses more power to try and keep a connection behind the scenes even when not in a phone call.
on a amoled screen like galaxy s3 .infuse 4g and others. change your wallpaper to just black.
your screen on amoled screens do not use any power to show black

posted on 25 Aug 2012, 20:10

41. JGuinan007 (Posts: 633; Member since: 19 May 2011)


I will bookmark this article and constantly refer people to it to read, no one listens to me when I tell them but an article might change their mind

posted on 26 Aug 2012, 14:35

44. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


fail PA. This time you failed. You don't have to use the bt or wifi all the time. what for. You can set up intervals.
GPS doesn't drain battery? That's my favourite one. Are you high Victor?? I mean, come on. How can you say such a thing. Turn on your gps and use a navigation or geotagging and you will see you're wrong.
I can see than my battery is squized harder even if I switch from 2g to 3g.
Yes, live wallpaper drains more battery. What's the purpose of it? To slow down your androphone? or to show off?
Automatic brightness helps..but just a little bit.
I hasten to add that If I cut off all those modules I can get almost 70-90 hours of normal usage (texting, calling, take a few photos and listen to music).
When I turn them on (even if they are set up on intervals) I hardly get 30 - 40 hours.
phone: Nokia N8.

Before fanboys criticize me. I know what "smartphone" term means. The thing is that some users are not smart enough to use a smartphone. They turn on every possible function and end up with a dead phone in the middle of the day. Then get back home and write stupid comments how dreadful the battery in their phone is. Be smart.

posted on 26 Aug 2012, 16:56

46. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 850; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)


If you want to improve your battery life on an Android phone TURN OFF SYNC!! That's it! Every Android phone I've had that I've done this on instantly had another 5 hours of battery life added to it.

posted on 26 Aug 2012, 21:14

47. Zorin (Posts: 152; Member since: 26 Jul 2010)


Great story...Love the Lead. Short and Sweet...and bulls-eye shot to the user.

posted on 29 Aug 2012, 22:51

48. BattleBrat (Posts: 1070; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)


I've gotten THREE DAYS of battery life, and routinely 2-2 1/2 days with my DROID RAZR with JUICE DEFENDER, Yes shutting off bluetooth and WIFI does help with the battery life, a device with Bluetooth 4.0 (RAZR, SGSIII) should be able to take running bluetooth 24/7 without a serious battery hit however, that's one of the strengths of bluetooth 4.0....

posted on 14 Jun 2013, 02:57

49. AuthenticSIgns (Posts: 1; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)


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