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6 tips to improve the battery life of iPhones, Android devices
Staying connected while out and about is important for convenience and safety, so it can be a real problem if your device dies quickly. While no battery will last forever, it is possible to extend battery life. - photo by Natalie Crofts

Smartphones are wonderful, but their batteries are far from perfect.

Staying connected while out and about is important for convenience and safety, so it can be a real problem if your device dies quickly. While no battery will last forever, it is possible to extend battery life.

Below are some tips to improve the battery life of your iPhone or Android device. Share your favorite methods in the comment section.

Upgrade your software

This may seem overly simple, but just making sure you have the latest version of software installed on your device can make a big difference. In fact, it’s the first recommendation on Apple’s page about maximizing battery life and lifespan. Often updates for any type of smartphone will include improved technology that helps conserve energy.

Manage your Wi-Fi

With increasingly generous mobile data plans it might not be necessary to use Wi-Fi on your device, but doing so could help your battery last longer. Apple recommends that its customers keep Wi-Fi on “at all times” because the connection doesn’t require as much energy to use as a mobile data. However, if there isn’t a strong Wi-Fi network available your device could drain a significant amount of power searching for a network to join. In those cases, "TechAdvisor" reports that Apple and Android users alike should temporarily disable their Wi-Fi.

If you ever find yourself somewhere with poor cellphone reception, the mobile network will put even greater strain on your battery. In these cases, Apple and other companies recommend that people who need to conserve their battery disconnect from the mobile network entirely by putting their phone in airplane mode.

Keep apps open

Closing unused apps seems like a common sense way to conserve your phone’s power, but apparently acting on that idea won’t do any good. Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, recently responded to a customer’s question about the subject by saying he doesn’t quit iOS multitasking apps and that the practice won’t improve battery life.

Apps kept in the background aren't active unless they are performing tasks like GPS navigation or music playback, so they don’t drain battery power, according to 9to5Mac. If there is an app that appears to be misbehaving and acting up while you are using other apps on an iPhone, you can go turn off “background app refresh” in your phone’s settings. Apple users can also opt to fetch data manually in the settings section of the Mail app and turn off location services for specific apps.

Similarly, if Android users experience problems they can control different apps’ behavior and GPS preferences through their device's settings. Most Android phones also let users opt to put their location services on “battery saving” mode.

Download instead of streaming

Streaming music and video is extremely convenient, but it requires a lot of power. The Wirecutter found that “streaming music over a Wi-Fi connection for two hours used 10 percent of an iPhone’s battery reserves; streaming the same music stored directly on a device over two hours consumed only 5 percent,” according to “The New York Times.” Planning ahead and downloading content directly to your phone will let you enjoy your music and videos for longer.

Be careful of temperature

Sometimes it is impossible to avoid being out in the cold or heat, but being aware of your phone’s surroundings can help manage the device’s battery. Apple notes that its batteries perform best between 32 and 95 degrees.

The company also recommended taking off your case while charging if you notice the phone heats up, because some cases make devices get hotter than normal during the process. Eventually, the overheating could negatively impact the battery.

Use power saving features

The people who make phones recognize battery life is a problem, so many companies have offered tools built into the phone to control battery usage. Perhaps the most common feature to improve battery life is the ability to adjust the brightness of your screen. Most phones come with an auto-brightness feature, which you should use.

Some Androids, like the HTC One and Galaxy S5, also offer extreme power saving modes. This option is great for emergency situations because it will turn off all functions on the device except the most basic services of phone calls and texts. Apple’s low power mode isn’t quite as extreme, but it will reduce screen brightness and some other features.

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