Maximize Your Battery Life

Our world is increasingly mobile, it seems, and that means that battery life is a far greater concern than it used to be. As of May 2013, only 9% of Americans don’t have a cell phone of some sort and about 56% of the population has a battery-drinking smartphone. We’ve all had fears about low batteries, losing connectivity and our only real line of communication. Those fears are well-founded, especially considering that average battery life in a smartphone is around a day if you’re babying it. However, there are some things you can do to make sure your mobile link to your data and business stays running throughout the day.

iPhone charging screen

Battery Misconceptions

First and foremost, you need to know a few things about the battery itself. All cellular devices sold in the US right now use Lithium Ion (Li-ion) batteries, and these batteries are the most advanced battery tech we have available to us. These are not like the old rechargables we were using when cell phones first came to market.

For instance, Li-ion does not suffer from “memory effect”, and therefore does not need to be drained empty and fully refilled each time for the safety of the battery. To maintain Li-ion’s ability to hold a charge, best practice is to charge it when you can, and don’t let it discharge completely very often. Keep a charger with you and let it sip when you can. This will not harm your battery; in fact, it’s the way the battery works the best.

When you’re losing charge in your smartphone’s battery, it’s either because the battery’s charge gauge is a little off or because the battery is getting old. Be sure to do a calibration (discharge to 0 percent and recharge) as often as the manufacturer recommends. For instance, Apple recommends doing this to your iPhone once a month. This does nothing to the battery itself, it just resets the gauge.

The biggest way to damage a smartphone battery is by exposing it to excessive heat. Don’t leave the phone in a hot car or in direct sunlight; the higher the temperature, the faster the battery will degrade.

And, so you know: modern smartphone batteries are rated to last 3-5 years, which is most often longer than you’ll own the device itself, so don’t worry too much about battery health. Be responsible and you’ll be fine on this part.

Battery Usage Best Practices

Most battery drain problems are more usage related than battery health related. How you use your phone has as much (if not more) effect on how your daily charge holds up. Certain apps (like the Facebook app) are known battery drains, while your brightness settings and cellular settings can affect your charge.

By and large, the biggest culprit of battery drain is when your phone is searching for cellular signal. iPhones, which have great battery life in optimal conditions, can have abysmal battery life if they’re constantly searching for signal. One of our employees here lives in a signal dead zone and sees his battery drop from 100% to 40% in a matter of a few hours when at home, but walks out of the office every night with over 90%—he has good signal there. If you’re consistently in a low signal zone and don’t need your phone or text messages, consider turning on Airplane Mode and WiFi. Those two steps will skyrocket your battery life.

Also, hunt for apps that continually refresh in the background, such as email, Facebook, and other social and communications apps. While they’re handy, they’re also battery drains. It comes down to how necessary they are. The same employee from our previous anecdote uninstalled the Facebook app and has seen an improvement in battery life.

The simple way to put it is this: if you need your battery to last all day (and even into the next day), evaluate your apps and keep only what you need on your phone. Otherwise, be sure to carry a charger—it’s the ultimate solution to poor battery life. This should help keep your business moving!