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10 tips to make your Android battery last longer

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Modern Android phones are great, but man, they are greedy. My Samsung Fold 4 can do pretty much everything I need in a compact package, but it soaks up juice like a tech journalist at an open bar. So I sometimes have to keep my phone in check so I can coax it to track itself so we both have something left to get up to.

Here are 10 tips to extend the battery life of your Android phone.

Lower the brightness

The most energy-consuming part of your phone is the screen. It doesn’t matter what type of screen it has, it’s the most greedy part of the phone, with the backlight generally being the main source of power. The brighter it is, the more power it consumes. So adjust the brightness as bright as you need. Turn off the adaptive brightness so that the brightness does not increase when light is shining on it, and keep the brightness level low.

Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Even when you’re not connected, your phone’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are always on and listening for nearby networks and devices. You don’t need that, so turn off Wi-Fi when you’re not using it, and turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using your wireless headphones. However, do not use Airplane mode as it will completely disable your connection to the telephone network, meaning you will not receive any phone calls or text messages.

Stop background app refresh

Many Android apps (watching you, Facebook) like to run in the background, fetch new data, and then go back to sleep. That’s handy if you’ve got the load left, but you probably don’t need to see new photos of your Aunt Doris and her cat right away. Prevent individual apps from doing this by disabling Background App Refresh. On a Samsung device, go to Settings>Connections>Data Usage and enable Data Saver. This prevents apps from continuously refreshing in the background, extending your battery life. But if there is a specific app that you want to keep refreshing in the background, select Allowed for each app.

Disable mobile data

A constant flow of data between your phone and the mobile phone network keeps the two connected. Do you need this though? You could live without it for a while if you try to use every last watt of battery power. So turn on Airplane mode and then turn on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth again if you are using it. Your phone will stop chatting with the telephone network, which will save a bit of power.

Find out and use smart battery modes

Many Android phones come with special modes added by the manufacturer that will adjust various settings to extend battery life. For example, swipe down on a Samsung phone’s startup screen and select the power-saving mode, which slows down the CPU, lowers brightness, and restricts background apps. On Sony phones, the Endurance Mode offers similar functions. Before you need them, find out how to enable these modes.

Disable Location Services

You probably know where you are if you’re stuck on a long flight and you just want to keep the tunes coming. Turn off Location Services by opening the Settings app, selecting Location and turning it off.

Enable dark mode

Modern OLED smartphone screens consume more power when they are white because the backlight is only turned on when needed. You can save some power by turning on dark mode, which will make the screen background black. On phones running the standard version of Android, open the Settings app, select Accessibility, and enable dark mode.

Disable NFC

Most modern phones use Near Field Communications (NFC) to talk to credit card devices. If you don’t buy anything, turn it off. On Samsung phones, swipe down from the launcher and disable NFC. On standard Android devices, you can disable NFC in the Connections section of the Settings app.

Use the sun

If you’re on the go and don’t want to charge your phone, a portable solar panel can extend your battery life. These won’t produce enough power to fully charge your phone, but a portable panel like the $71 BigBlue 3 may give you more chance to take pictures on a camping trip. It’s also portable enough to hang from a backpack for charging while hiking and is water resistant. Take the wattage of these panels with a grain of salt, though: the 28W figure is the maximum power the device can generate, not what you’re likely to get out of it. That will usually be much less.

Carry a small battery

The easiest way to add more battery power? Add another battery. A small portable battery like the TravelCard Plus can boost your phone’s battery and has built-in USB-C and Lightning cables. It won’t charge your battery much (it can only charge 3000 mAh), but it’s portable enough and only a quarter inch thick, so you can put it in a pocket and forget about it. Until you need it, at least.

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