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How to Extend Phone Battery Life
Feb 03,2023, 423
As phones increasingly become our go-to tools for every aspect of our digital lives, their batteries just cannot keep up. Here's how to squeeze out every last bit of juice and make your phone's battery last longer.

Smartphones are about as fast as anyone really needs these days, so now it's all about other aspects such as battery life. Despite chip makers and software vendors optimising their wares for extended battery life, the simple fact is we use our phones more than we ever did before.

Getting a device on which you do it all - play games, watch videos, browse social media, chat with friends, pick up emails, manage appointments, navigate to destinations and more - on increasingly bigger and higher-resolution screens to last all day probably feels like an impossibility.

Charging is improving, faster and more convenient, but phone batteries themselves aren't lasting any longer. But you can make some adjustments here and there to help you squeeze out every last bit of juice, and together they might just help your phone to keep going as long as you do. Here are some of our top tips to extend smartphone battery life, without making your phone unusable.

1. Find out what is using your phone's battery
Before you can fix any poor battery life issues, you need to know what's causing the battery to die prematurely in the first place.

A good place to start is in Android's Settings > Battery menu, where you'll get a health report on whether your apps are running normally. If anything is draining a large amount of power in the background you'll be warned here.

Tap the three dots at the top right of the screen and choose Battery usage to see exactly what has been using your battery. You'll see a full breakdown of services, and a graph that shows you how the battery has depleted and how long is left based on the current usage pattern.

Within the Battery menu you also have access to some useful extra features. You'll find a Battery Saver option that is likely set to 15% by default, but you can tap on this to make it start earlier or on-demand.

Battery Saver will turn off some device features and restrict some app usage, however, and in this feature we're more concerned about the changes you can make that won't affect usage. So let's look at some of those...

2. Turn on Adaptive Battery
Head to Settings > Battery > Adaptive Battery and slide the toggle to enable Adaptive Battery. This Android Pie-introduced feature prevents any apps that you do not frequently use from draining an excessive amount of power in the background.

Immediately below this option is a Restricted App list, which will be empty by default. You can't just put any app you choose in this list; rather, Adaptive Battery monitors apps running in the background and if any are using an excessive amount of energy you will see a notification warning you of their behaviour and offering to add the app to this list.

Part of the reason it's such a useful feature to turn on is understood when you consider why your phone is running low on power in the first place. Before you bought it rigorous tests would have been run to ensure its hardware and operating system were energy-efficient. But after you took it home the manufacturer has no control over what you do with it, and a lot of the strain placed on the battery will have been caused by third-party apps and updates you have downloaded. Adaptive Battery allows them to keep a check on which of these extras is undoing all their good work, and help you to solve the problem.

3. Stop apps running in the background
Even if you're not running Android Pie and don't have access to Adaptive Battery, you can keep a check on what apps are running in the background and kill off any that don't need to be in the multitasking menu. In Android Pie just swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access this; in older versions of Android you should see a dedicated button to one side of the home button.

Do note that force-closing an app is only actually helpful if you're not going to relaunch it moments later, since it uses more power to re-open that app than it saves by killing its background processes.

4. Prevent apps running at startup
The ability to choose which apps start up when you first turn on your phone is not yet a feature built into Android, but it is found in many custom versions of the operating system such as MIUI. On the Mi 9, for example, head to Settings and choose Permissions under App Settings. Tap Autostart, then check which apps on the list you actually want to be running in the background.

Use common sense here, because apps like Ring Doorbell won't give you notifications when someone is at the door if you don't allow them to run in the background.

5. Turn on the Always-on Display
We've been seeing various phone makers including always-on displays in their smartphones for a while now, but in the most recent versions of Android it's a standard feature known as Glance view. In essence it displays the time, date and notification icons on the phone screen when it is off, using a minimal amount of battery power to do so, but also reducing the need for you to constantly wake the screen to see whether you have a new notification or check the time.

6. Reduce the screen brightness and turn off Adaptive Brightness 
The cheapest phones can have comparatively dull displays, but the best phones reach levels of brightness that can actually hurt your eyes. This is useful when you're using the phone in direct sunlight, but at other times it is overkill and drains the phone's battery.

You can reduce the screen brightness in Settings > Display > Brightness level, then moving down the slider to a more comfortable level. You'll often also find a brightness slider in a phone's pull-down notification bar.

While you're in this menu, also disable Adaptive brightness. You might think this feature will help battery life by raising the screen brightness only when required, but it's easily fooled by indoor lighting and, moreover, takes all control out of your hands. 
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