8 apps and hacks to save battery on your phone

15 Feb 2016

We’ve done the leg work for you, finding 8 apps and hacks to help you make your smartphone last longer than five hours, which should keep you happy when you’re stuck on the bus after a long day’s work.

Keeping your smartphone juiced can prove terribly frustrating, with even the simplest browse of the web seemingly draining away your electronic enjoyment time.

So what can you do to ensure a longer life away from the socket? Well, we’ve rounded up eight apps and hacks that should make things a little bit easier.

1. Greenify – Android

This app seems to be the best of the bunch. Rather than shutting down apps that aren’t in use, Greenify forces hibernation instead. This seems counter intuitive but, going by the logic that booting up an app takes more energy than waking up a sleeping one, it actually makes a good deal of sense.

While apps are in hibernation, your phone is able to better optimise its performance on other tasks, tasks that are more critical to what you’re doing right now.

Greenify battery saver

It’s a low-maintenance app and, if you’re not the best at turning apps off in the background (which can be done by simply going to Settings, Background App Refresh and turning it off) then Greenify is your best bet.

2. Uninstall Facebook – iOS & Android

Okay, I know, you spend your down time, up time, toilet time and dinner time scrolling through your friends’ Newsfeeds on Facebook. For you, maybe scroll on. But for those of us who don’t use the app much at all, getting rid of it might be your best bet.

That’s because, no matter what you do, once it’s on your smartphone it starts hovering up all your battery, regardless of use. A recent The Guardian report found that it uses around 15pc of iOS battery life, which is huge. Worse, though, if you’re on Android, having no Facebook or Messenger app makes for a 20pc longer-lasting phone.

Of course, for some of us, who have phones with the app pre-installed, it can be difficult to even rid ourselves of such an annoyance.

3. Battery Doctor – iOS

A nice and basic one now, for iOS users miffed with Greenify’s preference above. Battery Doctor is a good shout on Apple products, protecting your battery to a good standing.

Battery Doctor battery saver

There are extras, too, with power consumption rankings – granted, many phones have these already, however few people seem to search for them – as well as personalised tips on how to maintain your battery.

4. Dark wallpaper

Nobody said this list would entirely make sense, at first! It turns out that, depending on your smartphone’s screen, the darker the background image, the better. Well, actually, an all-black background screen is better.

As the wonderful Android Pit wrote recently, AMOLED screens bring about certain battery usage qualities, some of which can be capitalised on surprisingly easily.

AMOLED screens produce light when a current passes through its organic material, “electroluminescence”, Kris Carlon explains.

“AMOLED displays are easier on your battery because every pixel is not always lit up. They also show ‘true’ blacks because there is no back-lighting.” Thus, black wallpaper, less energy use.

5. Turn off GPS/Bluetooth

We’ve mentioned this before but there’s probably little to no need for you to have GPS turned on all the time. Unless you’re job is reliant on precise location – we’re thinking taxi drivers using Hailo – then it’s just a drain. Actually it’s one of the bigger drains on your phone as it is always fully active.

So, too, Bluetooth. Think of Bluetooth like Wi-Fi – which you should also only have on when you’re using it – as it’s constantly scanning for hook-ups. If you aren’t using it at the moment, switch it off. It boots up very quickly, so you’re never more than a few seconds away from having it up and running, so box clever on this and you’ll save a fair chunk of juice.

6. No, to notifications

I’ve banged this drum a few times now but are notifications on most of your communications apps – or general communications options – truly necessary? Do you need to know when someone commented on your Facebook post? Do you need to know now? This very second?

The odds are you check your phone every 15 minutes or so anyway, so you’re never longer than that away from whatever imperative chat that consumes you once you’re in. Say goodbye to vibration, even any sound if you can.

You’d be amazed the difference it makes.

7. DU Battery Saver – Android

DU Battery Saver is an Android app that handles itself a little differently than you’d expect. In-app purchases to enhance the capabilities of the fairly efficient battery-saving techniques are bought by DU Coins, which you can garner by downloading recommended apps. Personally, I’m not into that side of things, but one technique DU Battery Saver has in its favour is its temperature management.

Basically speaking, it does the same as other battery-saving apps, but it’s temperature management – monitoring which apps heat up your phone the most, and subsequently turning them off – is pretty cool.

8. Turn on battery saver mode – Android & iOS

The battery-saving options on both Android and iOS work pretty well. Largely turning off app use in the background or, more importantly, halting mail fetch and similar trawling work that apps get up to when your screen is locked, having this turned off for any reason seems odd to me.

Unless you have a Sony phone, that is, but their batteries are powered from witchcraft, so they are ruled out from the get go.

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Phone image via ymgerman/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic