Many people are moving away from their landline phones in favor of cell phones. Even still, the primary benefit is still a cell phone’s portability. To get the most out of your phone, you’ll have to get the most out of your phone’s battery. When it comes to your battery, there are two things to consider: how to make it last longer between charges and how to prolong the life of the battery.
Increasing Runtime Between Charges
- Turn the phone off. It may sound counter-intuitive at first, but this is the simplest and most effective way to conserving battery power. If you’re sleeping or just don’t want to take calls, just turn it off. Do the same if you’re in an area with no reception (like subways or remote areas) or in a roaming area. The phone will continuously search for service and this can drain the battery pretty quickly.
- Disable vibrate. The vibrate function uses up significant amounts of battery power. Stick with using the ring tone, but keep the volume as low as possible.
- Turn off the phone’s backlight. If you can get by without it, disabling the backlight will keep your phone running longer. Some phones this isn’t an option, though. For these, you can usually set the phone to dim the backlight after a set amount of time. One or two seconds should be sufficient.
- Avoid unnecessary features. Features like the camera (especially flash) and Internet connection are good to avoid if it’s going to be a while before you can charge your phone again. The same goes for WIFI, GPS, and infrared.
- Turn off Bluetooth. This can drain your battery fast, and having it on can cause problems near virus-infected smart phones.
- Keep a spare. Much like we had recommended with laptops, keeping a spare battery to swap in is a great idea for long trips where you won’t have access to a charger. Just remember to keep that spare charged itself before you leave!
Prolong the Life of Your Battery
- Initialize a new battery. New batteries should be 100% charged before their first use. For Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) this is about 16 hours initial with two to four full charge/discharge cycles. Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) should be charged 5 or 6 hours. But do not fully discharge the Li-Ion battery! Make a habit of recharging it when you have one bar left.
- Keep the battery cool. The battery will last longest the closer it stays to room temperature. None of us can control the weather, of course, but you can avoid leaving the phone in a hot car or in direct sunlight. Even keeping it in your pocket can raise its temperature, due to body heat. If the battery is excessively hot, your charger may be malfunctioning.
- Clean the battery contacts on the battery and on the phone. Over time, the contacts can accumulate dirt. You can clean them with a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol. If the contacts are two different metals (such as gold and tin), accelerated corrosion may occur. This often requires solvents, such as acetone or nail polish remover. These solvents dissolve plastic, so use a Q-Tip to avoid damaging the phone or battery housing.
- You should refrain from charging your phone’s battery through a car’s cigarette outlet on a continuous basis. This charging method does a fast charge and is best for emergency charges only but should never be used to always charge the battery. The best way to charge the battery is by using your AC charger plugged into a wall outlet.