You've probably been there: You need to use your smartphone, but the battery is dead. You may have vowed to keep it charged at all times so you don't run into the problem again. And in fact, most people, especially in U.S. cities, charge between 1.6 and 2.7 times per day. But besides keeping a cell phone USB cable in every room of your house, your car and at work, what can you do?
The answer is to take actions that help your battery live longer. How? By paying attention to how your phone uses power and what its biggest drains are. Here are three tips for extending the life of your smartphone battery.
1. If your reception is bad, turn off wireless.
Most phones have an "airplane mode" that turns off all wireless and cell capabilities. Otherwise, your phone can keep searching for a signal, using up valuable battery life.
Sometimes, though, you're in a place where the wi-fi connection is fine but your cell coverage is non-existant. You don't have to be completely on or off. Go into your settings and disable cell connectivity only so your phone stops searching for a non-existant cell tower.
2. Check for battery-hogging apps.
Popular cell phone brands have a "battery" menu under settings. You can look here to see which apps use the most juice. A lot of apps are operating in the background even when you're not actively using them, like email, which is regularly checking for messages.
While you might like having your email app keep on top of your messages (a setting in the email app itself can determine how often it checks), there are other programs that you definitely don't need to have going all the time. A good example is social media apps, which are constantly refreshing their feeds -- but you only need an updated feed when you're actually reading posts.
Apps that routinely take up a lot of battery time can be individually disabled from working in the background. Each phone brand's operating system has a different way to do this, so check your user manual for the right steps.
3. Shut off notifications.
Many apps will ask you if you want to receive notifications -- in other words, they'll send you a quick message when something important happens. But what's important certainly varies. You may think the latest pro basketball scores are vital and want to see them pop up on your phone, but your favorite coffee shop letting you know there's a branch around the corner may not hold much appeal.
You can turn off any push notifications that you don't find absolutely necessary in your phone's settings.
So you've cut back on what drains your battery, but you still would rather be safe than sorry. It actually may be a good idea to stock up on cell phone USB cords to have them in all the places you're likely to be. Don't worry about buying name brand cords from the manufacturer of your device; your phone can use any reputable brand to charge properly.
If you have any questions about your battery life or what kind of USB cord you need to buy as a charger, check with your cell phone supplies store (such as Wireless Accessories Inc.).