Most people already know about battery life killers like frequent use of GPS, game apps, or keeping your screen brightness at 100%. But there may be a few things you didn’t realize were having a negative impact your phone’s battery. Here’s a look at 5 little-known things that drain your battery life:
Whether you’re browsing the web or crushing candy, your smartphone is constantly burning through power downloading flashy images and videos from mobile ads. All that eye-catching animation takes a toll on your battery power (and your sanity) but thankfully there’s an easy solution: install an ad blocker. The Wirecutter recently ran a test on the effects of an ad blocker by running a 2-hour automated Wi-Fi web-browsing session in Safari on an iPhone 6S with and without the 1Blocker ad blocker installed. The results were pretty astonishing: without the ad blocker, the test used 18% of the iPhone’s battery but with the ad blocker it used only 9%! Besides potentially doubling your phone’s battery life, ad blockers significantly improve your web browsing experience, getting rid of those disruptive, in-your-face ads. What’s not to love?
Background App Refresh
Background App Refresh allows your apps to check for new information (eg. new content or updates) in the background. As an example, a mobile app can check and download updates so new content is ready for your viewing when you launch the app. The feature can be extremely helpful and even increase your energy when left “on” for your most frequently used apps. It’s when you turn Background App Refresh on for ALL your apps that can be problematic. The solution is to disable the Background App Refresh feature for any app you don’t use frequently or don’t need to stay refreshed with current information.
Newer Samsung and LG smartphones come equipped with OLED screens, which is short for Organic Light Emitting Diode technology. OLED phones rely on individual diodes to light up your screen; the brighter the color, the more power it drains. In 2014, BBC science presenter Steve Mould conducted an experiment and found that a white pixel used 5.8 times as much power as a black pixel. When spread across the entirety of your phone screen, that can make a big difference. By switching out a white or bright wallpaper to a more predominantly dark one can save 18 percent of your battery life! And before you think this tip doesn’t apply to you because you have an iPhone – think again. Apple has all but confirmed that their next phone, the iPhone 8, will switch to an OLED display.
Vibrate mode can be a wonderful tool for pretending like you’re really engaged with your dinner date or the weekly office meeting, but it can be a huge power drain. If you want a technical explanation for why vibrate mode sucks your phone’s life force, check out this blog post we wrote last year. The basic gist is that a phone’s vibrator is basically a tiny motor that needs a substantial amount of power to kickstart that initial vibration and even more to continuously vibrate when you don’t pick up the phone. By the end of the day, you would’ve drained a significant amount of your phone’s battery even if you weren’t using your phone a lot.
Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat apps may be fun but they’re consistently amongst the biggest power culprits. If you have an iPhone, open up your Settings, then click on Battery and scroll all the way down to Battery Usage and you’ll most likely find one of these social apps in the top 3 results. Facebook, in particular, runs constantly, even when you’ve closed the app. It’s constantly updating your location, refreshing itself, and pushing notifications to your phone to grab your attention. Every notification wakes up your phone, turns on the screen and takes away precious juice. The Guardian conducted a study that found that uninstalling the Facebook app from an Android phone increased battery life by about 20%! So, if only for the sake of preserving your battery life, keep those #selfies in check.