Technology Explained

How to Make Your Phone’s Battery Last Longer and Hold More Juice

Christian Cawley 24-08-2012

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.


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

How to Make Your Phone's Battery Last Longer and Hold More Juice muo batterycharging4


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

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.

How to Make Your Phone's Battery Last Longer and Hold More Juice muo batterycharging3

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.

How to Make Your Phone's Battery Last Longer and Hold More Juice muo batterycharging2

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.

How to Make Your Phone's Battery Last Longer and Hold More Juice muo batterycharging5

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

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  1. Stacie
    October 7, 2018 at 12:57 am

    Thank you so much for taking time to write this article and share it. I had my phone charging constantly while home even when full charged. All of the sudden it started dying on me at 12%-65%. My son explained to me some of the same things you were saying and how you have to allow the phone to die sometimes. But you went into extensive detail and where I could understand as a woman and IN my forties. LOL!?? Be blessed & thanks again! Stacie( galaxy 6) can I put the phone in the freezer??

  2. Dylan
    July 21, 2016 at 4:33 am

    Help me my tablet won't charge it is on last life I need help my battery goes down every second HELP ME PLEASE I'M DESPERATE! <=-(

  3. Dylan
    July 21, 2016 at 4:27 am

    My tablet won't charge it is on last life I need help it goes down every second HELP ME PLEASE=(

  4. bipin
    May 5, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    My mobile battery 44% and mobile swich off
    Pls help

    • Christian Cawley
      May 8, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      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.

  5. Sam
    February 17, 2015 at 9:34 am

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

    • Christian Cawley
      February 20, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Happens on pretty much every phone. So probably.

  6. pugay
    January 11, 2015 at 1:49 am

    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.

  7. mobilecasedirect
    January 9, 2013 at 6:25 am

    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.
    [Broken URL Removed]

  8. Hot dogs and Beers
    October 25, 2012 at 3:49 am

    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.

  9. Roman Vávra
    October 9, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Phone in the freezer, that got me :DD

  10. Home Less
    August 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    smartphone can store to keeping power at freez

  11. Ellen Odza
    August 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Great article, thanks - I need to read it over again more carefully.

    My husband's smartphone was always dying on him much faster than mine (and since we have the same phone purchased at the same time, that was a bit weird). We finally realized that he let the kids play on his phone a lot (I don't!) and they left games running in the background the chewed up the battery.

    I put an app killer on our phones and that really helps extend battery life.

  12. Igor Rizvi?
    August 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    From time to time,every battery gets its Memory effect ... great article..sharing--

  13. brgulker
    August 28, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    My solution: Have more than one battery and a charger that can charge phone and spare simultaneously.

    To me, it's just not worth worrying about. I charge my battery when I need battery, and I use battery when I need battery. Pretty simple.

    I don't own a smartphone so that it can set there disconnected from all networks and essentially become a paperweight. I own a smartphone because I want to be able to do the things a smartphone allows me to do.

  14. Ale Bendersky
    August 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    thanks for the tips!

  15. fatihamzah
    August 28, 2012 at 4:23 am

    Freezer? oh umm, i not recommend it hehe :D the truth is cool place

  16. Kylee Kanavas
    August 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Does this only work for smartphones?

  17. Ray Thompson
    August 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Will these suggestions also work for extending the battery life on a Kindle?

  18. AP
    August 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Charging at some cool place is really very cool idea.

  19. Louwra Preyser
    August 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Good tips :) I now always turn of 3G and Wifi if I am not using it and have noticed a very big difference in battery life!

  20. MerVzter Balacuit
    August 26, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    what i do every time i discharge my phone, is that i will wait for 5-10 minutes to use my phone.. its just because i observed that sometimes phone generate heat while charging so after i let to cool down it first the effect is that battery usage for long run..

  21. Dos Moonen
    August 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Awesome, thanks!

  22. Darren Reynolds
    August 26, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    im lucky if my battery lasts 8 hours when I'm out and about.. I turn the blutooth off but need the wifi.... A couple of calls and thats it. dead in the water...

    • joel
      November 5, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      Carry a small battery stick (charger).

  23. Ron Morrow
    August 26, 2012 at 2:51 am

    Nice tips, thanks. Now I just need a backpack fridge to make all my plans work...


  24. Frederick Doe
    August 26, 2012 at 1:09 am

    A smartphone in your pocket absorbs a lot of heat from your body. Putting your phone in a hip holster will significantly increase its battery life. Keep in mind, though, that a holster + case (like an Otterbox) may have a net negative effect on your phone's battery life because the case holds heat in.

  25. Gustavo
    August 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I use a battery saver app named JuiceDefender Plus and it extended the baterry life one day more. I really recommend it.

    • Vampie C.
      August 28, 2012 at 6:47 am

      I have that as well on my droid.

      It is true that it extends the life, but only if you don't regularly use your phone.
      IT switches all connections off when the screen is off, and turns them on if the screen is on.
      This is good if you don't touch it for an hour.
      But if you check it every 5 to 10 minutes, ti constantly has to disable and enable your connections, witch drain battery power.

      But Juicedefender works good.

  26. JS Farkas
    August 25, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Interesting. The challenge now is to remember & implement...

  27. GrrGrrr
    August 25, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Nice article i must say.
    But it missed one important point of removing mammoth apps which are installed over the period. More the apps, more energy battery has to put.

    I noticed this thing on my BB, where the battery would discharge within a day.

  28. anthonymonori
    August 25, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Also, if you're using Android, you should stick to stock ROMs and don't use custom ones IF you want a longer battery life. I have a SGS and I was using Darky's latest ICS ROM and after a month or two, my phone couldn't resist even a day without discharging. Now I've gone back to 2.3.6 and it has a 2 day battery life with WiFi constantly on. Also you should reset the battery data every six months, for a longer battery life.

    • Raph
      August 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      No. Usually smartphones with custom ROM have longer battery life. It's depend of developer and his skills. I think you should try ROM from other developer.

  29. Ciprian Nitu
    August 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Thanks for the tips. For a better experience I recommend to replace the battery after 2-3 years of use.

  30. Heru Saputra
    August 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Thank you. Its really help

  31. Krishna Vallabhaneni
    August 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    The same works for laptops right?

  32. Nart Barileva
    August 25, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    It's also really good to keep an extra battery with you just in case, it helps me a lot

  33. VS Vishnu
    August 25, 2012 at 10:32 am

    delete the freezer line...from the comments looks like people are going to try it for real..!

  34. Ahmed Khalil
    August 25, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Freezer? it is new idea

    • Christian Cawley
      August 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      "a freezer is unsuitable – it is likely to cause the casing of the battery to crack"

      Seriously, don't do it; it's on your own head, Ahmed

  35. Kieran Colfer
    August 25, 2012 at 5:54 am

    One tip they missed out on there was screen brightness - if you have a smartphone set to 100% brightness the whole time,you're burning more juice than if you have it set to say around 80%, and in real terms unless you're outside in bright sunshine, you won't see much difference between 80% and 100%.

    Another one is if you're in a low signal area and you have no reception, and you know you're going to be there a while, just turn on airplane mode to stop your phone from trying to fruitlessly re-connect to the network. If a phone loses signal, it ramps up the antenna power to try to boost the signal to connect again. If it's constantly out of signal, it'll just keep doing this, which drains the battery even faster than usual. So, just turn on airplane mode to stop it even trying.

  36. Va Du
    August 25, 2012 at 5:04 am

    I just accepted that the battery life is what it is. You will have to eventually replace it or the phone.

  37. Damian
    August 25, 2012 at 2:57 am

    For Android phones (at least on my phone and a few friends' phones I've tried) there should be a widget called Power Control already in there, it puts a bar with buttons to toggle WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and Sync and a brightness button that goes between minimum, medium, and maximum brightness.

    Then there's a widget you can download called Data Enabler, takes up the space of one icon and you just press it to turn the data connection off when you don't need it then press it again and wait a few seconds and you get your data back. One person did tell me their data wouldn't turn back on when they did that.. so try it out when you don't need it, just to be safe. Saves a lot of battery, sometimes I don't charge my phone for two days. It isn't my only connection to the world, so usually it's just sitting on my desk or in my pocket waiting for calls or texts, not checking for new emails, Facebook notifications, app updates, or telling everyone where I am when I don't want it to. If GPS, sync, and 3G were turned on like they were already when I first got the phone, my battery would drain fast.

    • tarzan2001
      August 25, 2012 at 3:32 am

      Thanks for the suggestion about Data Enabler. I'll have to tell my sister about it because she recently got a Galaxy S2 and the battery has been draining quite rapidly. Hopefully it'll help. :)

    • Keith Ambrose
      August 25, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      I use a Data widget that works wonders. If 3G is off, the battery seems to last forever. I tried using those app killer and battery saver apps but those don't work since the apps they try to prevent from starting just keep restarting, which drains the battery. But this simple data widget gets the job done.

      • Julie Smith
        August 28, 2012 at 8:40 am

        I also found that 3G was the biggest battery life killer. I would usually be down to below 40% by the end of the day.
        I now have WiFi at home, and I leave my WiFi enabled all the time, and I'm usually above 60% at the end of the day.

  38. Alan Trinder
    August 25, 2012 at 2:44 am

    The advantages of good old Symbian. My N8 gives me 1 to 3 days per charge, I take lots of photos, maps and facebook. Use Bluetooth for music, Plus I live in the tropics so the worst temperature conditions?
    I guess I will be changing to a more modern "in vogue" operating system at some time and I hope the battery technology has improved by then.

  39. Bruce Thomas
    August 25, 2012 at 2:42 am

    I didn't know about vibrate mode drains battery life. I need a battery management app. Any suggestions which is best for a Nokia 710?

  40. Sebastian Hadinata
    August 25, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Nice tips.. especially the freezer one. gotta try it :P

    • Damian
      August 25, 2012 at 1:42 am

      It says the freezer is unsuitable and likely to cause the battery to crack. Not good. You should keep your battery cool... not freeze it.

      • Sebastian Hadinata
        August 25, 2012 at 1:47 am

        Maybe you can adjust the temperature to make it not so freezing? :P

        • Damian
          August 25, 2012 at 2:57 am

          Then all your food will thaw or if you use the fridge and turn it's temperature higher your perishable food will go bad. lol I think more things can go wrong putting an electronic device or a part of it in the fridge/freezer than the possible (small) benefits. The other tips are really good. See my other comment.

        • Sebastian Hadinata
          August 25, 2012 at 2:59 am

          LOL.. perhaps you're right. Will try the other tips instead.

  41. Vanja Gorgiev
    August 24, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    i'm charging my phone for a long time even when the battery is 100% it's still on the charger, i'm fully draining it once a month or once in two months is that bad?

    • Achraf52
      August 25, 2012 at 5:45 am

      You shouldn't keep it in the charger after charge as heat would damage it, you should only drain it once in 3 months .

      • Julie Smith
        August 28, 2012 at 8:35 am

        In general, keeping a phone on a charger shouldn't overheat anything. All the modern phones (post 2005) that I've encountered have automatic charge control circuitry, which stops charging the battery once the battery reaches 100%. I would suggest that the phone has a fault if the phone continues to heat once charging is complete.

        The charging circuit in a phone is generally similar to the charging circuit in a laptop. Nobody suggests unplugging a laptop once the laptop's battery is charged.

  42. Erlis D.
    August 24, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    I really need to take my time reading this post!
    I hope it really helps a little! There are times, when the battery can't last longer than 4-5 hours, or even less..