Evan Spiegel, the co-founder of Snapchat once quipped, “I keep hearing about battery innovation, but it never makes it to my phone.” While smartphone battery capacity has been steadily increasing since their introduction, the demand that we place onto our devices has grown in tandem. We find ourself more reliant on smartphones than ever, dreading that inevitable beep that signals we’re about to run out of power. But hope is not lost. Several proven methods exist to eke out considerable extra screentime from your phone.
Use Night Mode with OLED Screens
Night mode is a setting on many popular apps and some phone operating systems. YouTube, Twitter, and Reddit are just a few of the major websites to support night mode on their official apps. The idea of night mode is simple. Instead of displaying information in the traditional manner of dark text on a white background, night mode switches the color scheme around, placing light text on a dark background. This mode was originally intended to be less taxing on your eyes while reading in dark conditions, hence the name. With the advent of OLED screens, the battery-saving qualities of night mode are starting to become clear. The theory is that an OLED screen needs to illuminate several light cells in order to create the color white, however, it hardly has to do any work to create the color black, as the screen is already this color by default. Google has done some serious research into this area, so we have data to back this up.
Google Maps on a regular LED screen draws the same amount of power in regular mode and night mode, but on an OLED screen, night mode draws a whopping 63% less power. YouTube was found to be a similar story, with a battery saving of 43% compared to normal, and 60% when a video is paused.
Kill the Radios You Don’t Need
While it may seem convenient to leave GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi turned on at all times, it’s actually much less
convenient in the long run, as each service is killing your battery life. These features are all radio services, meaning they operate by sending and receiving radio waves at various frequencies. While your phone is in your bag or pocket, it will constantly be listening for GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals, as long as those services are activated. It’s a relatively simple task to pull down the notification bar and kill these services once you are done with them, and the battery saving more than makes up for the extra effort.
Use Automatic Brightness
The screen of a smartphone is usually the most power-intensive variable when considering battery life. Illuminating a screen usually accounts for 30 to 50% of a phone’s total power usage. Many people are aware of this and they keep their phone brightness to a minimum at all times. Other people find it difficult to read a dim screen, so they keep the brightness on full, but there is a better way. Almost every modern smartphone comes with auto-brightness functionality. Simply turn this feature on, and your phone will intelligently adjust the brightness of your screen depending on how much light is shining on it. It does this via a tiny light sensor, usually located next to the front-facing camera of the phone. If the phone detects that you’re in a regularly lit room, it will keep the brightness low. If you step outside into bright sunlight, it will instantly up the brightness to make sure your screen is legible.
Turn off Always Listening Features
Both iOS and Android are capable of activating their smart assistant modes hands-free simply by saying the phrase “Hey Siri”, or “Okay Google” respectively. This feature might make you feel like you’re talking to the computer from Star Trek, but it’s also draining your battery. In order to respond to your prompts, your phone has to constantly listen to what you say, which requires a constant battery drain. But there is a solution to solve this problem. Both iOS and Android have the option to toggle off always listening features. On iOS, navigate to Siri & Search in the settings menu and then turn off “Listen for ‘Hey Siri.'”On Android devices, look for “Ok Google detection” in the voice section of your settings menu and turn off that feature. Your phone’s virtual assistant will still work once you end this function, but you’ll have to manually initiate it via a button press rather than through a voice command.
Following these simple tips will help you to squeeze hours of extra battery life out of your handset without losing any functionality. Software has made big strides toward increasing battery management over the last few years, but the amount of screen time you get out of your handset will always depend on how you use it. The main rule to follow is simple, if you don’t need a feature right now, turn it off.