Having to charge your phone constantly is frustrating. If your usage is above average, it’s unlikely your handset can make it throughout the day without a top-up of power in the early evening.
Sadly, the twice-daily charging routine shows no sign of dying off anytime soon. As battery capacity increases, so does the power draw from apps and the ever-evolving operating system. It’s a stalemate.
And although the steady introduction of USB-C cables is whittling away at the time it takes to give your device some extra juice, hanging around while your battery reenergizes itself can be tortuous.
But don’t worry, there are some tips, tricks, and gadgets that can make the charging experience less painful. Here are the eight smartest Android charging tricks you’re not using.
1. Enable Airplane Mode
One of the biggest draws on your battery is the network signal. As a general rule, the worse your signal, the faster your battery will drain.
Consequently, if you live in an area with a poor signal, charging your phone takes longer than if you reside in a place with a strong signal — the signal is eating through your power as you charge.
The quick solution? Put your phone in Airplane Mode before you plug it in. Testing suggests it could reduce the amount of time needed for a full charge by as much as 25 percent.
To put your phone into Airplane Mode, simply swipe down on the notification bar with two fingers and tap the Airplane Mode icon.
Just make sure you turn it off again once your battery is full!
2. Turn Your Phone Off
Simple, obvious, but often overlooked. If your phone is turned off while it’s repowering, it’s going to charge a lot faster. Nothing will be drawing on the battery while you fill it up.
3. Ensure Charge Mode Is Enabled
Your Android device lets you specify what type of connection it makes when you plug in a USB cable. On the most recent versions of Android, it’s hidden in the Developer Options menu.
To access the Developer Options, you first need to enable them. To do so, head to Settings > About Phone > Build Number. Quickly tap on the build number seven times. After the first two presses, your device will give you an on-screen countdown for the number of necessary taps remaining.
Next, head to Settings > Developer Options > Select USB Configuration. On the list of options, make sure Charging is selected.
4. Use a Wall Socket
Using a USB port on your computer or in your car leads to a much more inefficient charging experience.
Typically, non-wall socket USB ports only offer a power output of 0.5A. Wall socket charging will usually give you 1A (depending on your device). There’s nothing wrong with receiving a lower amperage — it won’t harm your device — but you’ll definitely be twiddling your thumbs for a lot longer.
5. Buy a Power Bank
If you need to recharge your phone while you’re on the go — for example, if you’re often out travelling all day — a power bank can be a lifesaver.
Many power banks offer the same amperage output as a wall socket, and in some cases, even more. But a word of warning, while your phone might charge faster with a two-amp output, you need to make sure your USB cable can handle the extra power.
Amazon is packed with inexpensive but good-quality power banks. Check out the JENTXON offering (above). It’ll only set you back $29, but it comes with a two-amp output and 20,000mAh — enough to charge your phone several times over.
6. Avoid Wireless Charging
I’m not going to criticize wireless chargers — they entail fewer cables, and that’s something I’m sure we can all get onboard with.
However, if charging speed is your number one priority, you should avoid them. They offer a considerably slower charging experience than their wired counterparts. In fact, testing suggests they could be as much as 50 percent slower.
Why? There are two reasons. First, it’s more efficient to transfer energy through a cable than via simple contact. Second, the wasted energy manifests itself as excess heat. More on that in point seven.
7. Remove Your Phone’s Case
All smartphones currently rely on lithium-ion batteries. The chemistry behind the way they work dictates that the charging process works much more efficiently when the battery is cool.
For optimal charging, the battery temperature (not the air temperature) should be between 41 and 113 F (5 and 45 C). Obviously, the battery temperature is in part controlled by the ambient surrounding temperature, and removing your case will help lower it.
And in case you’re thinking of putting your phone in the fridge to repower: don’t. The efficiency drop-off is even more severe at temperatures below the ideal range.
8. Use a High-Quality Cable
The difference in quality between two cables can be vast.
Inside your single charging cable are four individual cables — red, green, white, and black. The white and green cables are for data transfer, the red and black ones are for charging. The number of amps the two charging cables can carry is determined by their size. A standard 28-gauge cable can carry around 0.5 amps; a larger 24-gauge cable can carry two amps.
Generally, cheap cables use the 28-gauge setup, resulting in slower charging speeds.
What Charging Tips Do You Have?
I’ve introduced you to eight ways you can make your charging experience less painful. If you work through the tips methodically, you can save time charging your phone.
I’d love to know what else you’d add to this list. Have you found an Android setting that considerably alters the amount of time it takes to recharge your battery? Do you know about a gadget your fellow readers can buy to make the charging process easier?
As always, you can leave your tips and suggestions in the comments below.