How To Make Your Phone’s Battery Last Longer And Hold More Juice

Ads by Google

How often do you recharge your smartphone?

It’s different for everyone; personally speaking, my phone is charged (on average) every other day, but of course this changes when I’m working “on the road” (conducting interviews or just hanging out in cafes working on my tablet or just with pen and paper).

A few years ago I worked as an IT technician, something that required me to have my phone switched on 24/7. This also meant almost perpetual charging, whether at home, in the office or in the car. That’s a lot of recharging; a lot of energy.

In a society where energy costs are rising, brownouts and blackouts are more common and the urge to stay connected is ever-greater, knowing how to manage your mobile phone’s battery as effectively as possible is increasingly important.

This isn’t only to keep costs down – it’s also about staying in communication with emails and social networking services as well as text messaging and phone calls.

Why Battery Life Decreases Under Different Conditions

Smartphones almost exclusively employ Lithium-Ion (aka Li-ion) batteries as these offer an affordable, high capacity solution for the various functions, services and connections that smartphone users expect from operating systems.

Ads by Google

Battery charge decreases on a day-to-day basis through constant use – but what factors affect the life of a Li-ion battery?

The age of the battery is most important, as this can affect that maximum charge. A 2010 study demonstrated that from a starting capacity of 88-94%, battery life after 250 charges reduced to 73-84%.

Internal resistance and self-discharge is largely redundant in modern batteries, and while age is something that cannot be easily managed (batteries can sit on shelves in their smartphones for months before purchase) all of this means that managing your battery life is something that you will need to monitor closely.

Looking After Your Battery

A few years ago I was convinced that full battery discharge from time to time was the best way to maintain long life for the power cell – I’ve since learned, however, that this is not the case. Instead, avoiding full discharge and charging regularly is apparently the best way to keep the battery working longer.

However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t fully discharge your battery every couple of months. Doing so enables the device hardware to recalibrate capacity, thereby ensuring that the correct charge is displayed on your smartphone.

Interestingly, temperature will affect your battery life; even occasional use in hot conditions will drain the battery faster…

Native Tips and Tricks for Maintaining Battery Life on Your Mobile Phone

There are various ways provided by mobile phone operating system developers that you can employ to lengthen the time between charges.

Sadly this means a trade-off with functionality.

The most obvious thing to do is make sure your screen is set to switch off after a certain amount of time unused – perhaps after 30 seconds or a minute. You can also disable the phone’s vibrate mode and any vibrate/haptic feedback designed to help you determine when software buttons have been pressed.

After this, it’s time to turn your attention to connectivity. Bluetooth will drain your battery, so if this isn’t in use, disable it. Similarly, Wi-Fi will severely deplete battery life, especially if you have a few rogue apps or games maintaining a connection with a remote server.

Mobile Internet such as EDGE, 3G, 4G and beyond will also lead to faster depletion of battery life. If you’re not using these connections for anything (i.e. your phone is sitting idle) then disable them.

Finally, take a look at the apps you have installed, and determine whether or not they require localization services. These are typically provided by GPS, one of the biggest drains on your phone’s battery. If you’re not using GPS, switch it off!

Battery Management Apps

Pretty much all mobile platforms have battery management apps available for them. These are available either as third party apps that can be installed from the corresponding app store or provided as a native option.

Sadly, these apps don’t really do anything magical. Typically they will restrict data transfer on mobile Internet services, or at best all but disable non telephony connectivity in order to maintain battery life for as long as possible. After all, smartphones are basically for making phone calls, so as long as this fundamental function is available with a low battery, there isn’t an overwhelming need to recharge.

Can I Recharge My Phone in the Freezer?

As crazy as the idea of placing an expensive piece of hardware in a coolbox might sound, it is actually possible to get more battery life from a smartphone by placing it somewhere cold for a while.

While a freezer is unsuitable – it is likely to cause the casing of the battery to crack – the principle of keeping a Lithium-Ion battery cool will increase the amount of power that it delivers to your phone. Li-ion rechargeable batteries generate heat when in use, something that is mitigated by internal resistance (this is also why charger voltages are so low; a high voltage would result in a faster charge but also a higher temperature – above 30 degrees Celsius/86 degrees Fahrenheit – reducing the life of the battery). This causes the battery to discharge more quickly while simultaneously providing energy for the normal functioning of the device.

Using the phone in a cooler environment or storing the battery itself in a cool place when not in use can extend the charge and the life of the cell.


Keeping your smartphone battery charge going for as long as possible isn’t just environmentally sound, it is financially sound too. While recharging from a modern car battery might not cost as much as recharging your smartphone from the mains electricity every day, understanding what services and functions impact battery power the most and taking steps to minimise these is the best way of increasing the life of the current charge.

As for your battery itself, regular top-up charges, with occasional recalibration discharges will increase battery life, as will storage in a cool place away from heat.

Image Credit: Mobile Phone via Shutterstock | Battery Full via Shutterstock |  Two Battery Chargers via Shutterstock |  Mobile GPS via Shutterstock | Nearly Full Freezer via Shutterstock 

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Technology Explained
Technology Explained
61 Members
Ads by Google
Comments (53)
  • bipin

    My mobile battery 44% and mobile swich off
    Pls help

    • Christian Cawley

      Find a battery calibration app, this should give you some idea of how much charge it really has. Could also be a faulty cell, so if your battery is removable you should consider a replacement.

  • Sam

    i just bought a Zenfone 5 phone..Concern about the battery it affected if played games??

  • pugay

    i would suggest that stick to a desktop in terms of playing hardcore games then use your phones for calling or communication only. people forgot that hardcore games are designed to get you addictive to it, if you play more than 12 hours in your phone then forget about saving your battery life… coz whatever you do, all games are designed to be addictive.

  • mobilecasedirect

    I really like the tip on keeping your phone cool. Extreme heat can really take a toll on your iPhone 5s battery life. If it gets too hot it will shut down to avoid damaging it.

    We have a few cool recent iPhone 5 iOS 6 tips & tricks posts as well.

  • Hot dogs and Beers

    You don’t really need battery management applications.

    Everything you need is already built into the phone.
    i.e. Notification bar: giving you access to wifi / bluetooth / gps / data / vibrate-sound

    & Power management tool: giving you access to: wifi / bluetooth / gps / sync(background data) / backlight.

    I have the backlight @ lowest setting, data (off) if not using it, wifi (off) if no need, gps (off) never needed it, background data and sync off, unless I’m downloading an app. from google play store.

    Just a thought; for dedicated gps use, it’s hard to beat a handheld garmin gps. Mine runs on 2 AA batteries and the battery life is very good. Upwards of 24 hours on a set of sanyo eneloops. Not to mention it provides much more detail and more functional than any gps app. built into a phone. From waypoints to routing/tracks and backtracking, it’s great. There’s no way I’m going to subject my phone’s little lithium battery to gps duty.

Load 10 more
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.