5 myths about improving your smartphone battery life

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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49 Comments

1. Nookie4u

Posts: 133; Member since: Aug 13, 2012

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

18. dickwyn

Posts: 621; Member since: May 07, 2012

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

20. Nookie4u

Posts: 133; Member since: Aug 13, 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.

2. TheLibertine

Posts: 484; Member since: Jan 15, 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.

22. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 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.

3. li0nh3art

Posts: 29; Member since: Aug 05, 2012

Very useful stuff here. Thanks for the guide!

4. Hunt3rj2

Posts: 396; Member since: Nov 11, 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%.

25. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 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.

42. Hunt3rj2

Posts: 396; Member since: Nov 11, 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.

5. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 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.

15. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 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

43. Hunt3rj2

Posts: 396; Member since: Nov 11, 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.

45. dmckay12

Posts: 243; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

It clears the recent apps out of the RAM.

16. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 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

17. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

19. casbah70

Posts: 16; Member since: Jun 21, 2011

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

6. senotrius

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 01, 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.

7. jmreekes

Posts: 4; Member since: Sep 07, 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.

8. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 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.

9. pikapowerize

Posts: 1869; Member since: May 03, 2012

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

10. joaolx

Posts: 364; Member since: Aug 16, 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.

11. spiderpig2894

Posts: 597; Member since: Jan 10, 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.

12. rahulcena5565

Posts: 57; Member since: Nov 01, 2010

Come to iOS for battery Life!

13. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

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

37. tedkord

Posts: 17090; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

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

21. kingpet13

Posts: 139; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

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

26. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

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

34. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Never ...

40. GoBears

Posts: 456; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

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

14. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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

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