Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Smartphone battery life: helpful link

Matt upgraded us to the iPhone 5s a couple weeks ago. Because I never upgraded my previous iPhone to the iOS7 system, I'd forgotten that this phone upgrade would mean an automatic software upgrade, too. I really don't have a major preference between the iOS6 and iOS7, but I had heard that iOS7 can seriously eat up some battery life. I'd already felt that my old iPhone was losing battery life way too soon with the old operating system (which is not surprising given the phone was two years old); so I was especially looking for ways to treat my new phone's battery nicely.

Enter my husband, who is great at tracking down helpful technology advice via the interwebs.

He found this helpful article on Gizmodo that I thought deserved a reposting, both because it addresses iOS7 battery concerns thoroughly and because it ends by going back to an earlier post from June about maintaining smartphone battery life in general.

In case you don't have time to read it all, here are the highlights for me.

To preserve some iOS7 battery life, specifically:

  • Turn off that parallax function (a.k.a. that motion-swooping feature that has supposedly made some people dizzy). I was happy to know exactly how to do this, mostly because I find that feature annoying.
  • Turn off all unnecessary location services. If there's no reason for GPS to work for you in a specific app, turn it off. I find that this applies to nearly all my apps.
  • Keep your phone set to the lowest possible brightness. I love how iOS7 allows me to bring up the Control Center easily from the home screen. This is perfect when I wake up in the middle of the night and need 15 minutes of reading The Washington Post to put me back to sleep, but I find my phone's normal brightness setting overpowering.

To preserve smartphone battery life in general:

Do not charge your battery fully, and do not allow your battery to die. I had heard the advice about not allowing your battery juice go all the way down to zero before recharging, but I had not heard the other advice. The Gizmodo article recommends keeping your battery charged above 50 percent, with single charges bringing the charge from  around 40 percent up to 80 percent. Easier said than done, but still something to strive for. If nothing else, I'm doing a better job not letting my battery dip below 20 percent, which is probably a good idea in general. Of course, I am sure there are plenty of times when I'll want my battery fully charged, but on a normal day when I know I'll have easy access to a way to charge my phone, I'll consider this advice.

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