Back to Courier Columns Page

by Ray DeCosta

Q. My smartphone's battery needs to be recharged every day. It's still pretty new, so the battery should still be in good condition. What can I do to extend the interval between charges?

A. Our modern smartphones are very amazing devices that can perform extremely complex tasks. Unfortunately, many of these tasks require great computational power and large amounts of data. In the "old days" of computing (way back around the 1960s and '70s) programs required rooms full of equipment to run. Now we hold far superior technology in the palms of our hands and we give little thought to the complexity of the underlying sophistication.

Today, we have readily available complex programs that we tend to install on our smartphones. GPS, photo editing, spreadsheets, and database programs, to name just a few, are easily acquired. And many of these run constantly in the background and slowly but surely drain your battery's power. If you do a personal energy use audit, you may find that much of what runs is really not needed. Of course, you have to decide for yourself what programs you really require to be active at any particular time.

For instance, the GPS or Location service is a handy one to have running, but it uses a lot of power to constantly find and connect with the satellites, check your location, update the map, etc. If you don't instantly need to know your present location, turn off the service. Likewise, having your screen turned up to maximum brightness all the time or not having your device go to sleep after a few minutes of non-activity will also quickly drain your battery. If you're in a location or situation where you don't need or have Wi-Fi, turn that service off too. Your phone uses a surprising amount of power to continually check for an active wireless connection.

Most smartphones have a Battery Use section which will show you the different power hogs and allow you to easily turn off the ones you don't need at that time. If that's not enough information for you, there are numerous apps available to fill the void.

Published: Courier 5/16/15 - Page 10A