Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mobile Tips To Extend Battery Life (Artificially)

I love my gadgets to the point of babying them although I tend to drop them quite often.  Don't know why that is.

But there's something I cannot help as far as operating my mobile devices and that's the battery.  They die. (So melodramatic, isn't it?  Its the only thing that doesn't "stop working". but "dies".  "Sorry to have to tell you this but your battery are dead...alive for only 9 hours.  So young.  So tragic.")

In my experience, I've come up with a few tips that has worked for me.  And here they are.  Please note that everyone has different standards and expectations.  Plus, we've got different devices so some of these tips may not have be relevant for you.  Plus, your mobile unit may have more battery saving options than others.

Here we go.  By the way, I am basing my experiences here off my iPhone (1st gen).

  • Turn it off when you don’t need it.  Seriously here.  If you’re in a meeting for an hour and you can’t be disturb, why leave it on at all.  Also, I’ve occasionally turned off my phone when I’m driving for more than half an hour.  I’ve got an iPod nano that I use if I want to listen to music in the car.  An hour here.  Half an hour there.  It adds up.  
  • The screen can be dimmed.  I usually keep it at 50% brightness.  In the iPhone, it works great in the daylight and I’m sure helps with the juice quite a bit.
  • This is a bit like turning off the device but not as extreme.  Turn on the airplane mode.  I have not tested this thoroughly but if the antennas in the phone are not trying to pick up signals, I’m guess it’s saving quite a bit of power.  Does anyone know for sure?  I’m guess the it’ll vary depending on the device.
  • Bluetooth – I’ve used it before and I’m sure I’ll use it again some day.  But I don’t mind using just the headset that came with the iPhone.  So if you can avoid it, turn it off.  
  • 3G.  I don’t have a lot of experience with it.  With my phone, I’m content with the EDGE speed for the most part.  I’m also around WIFI much of the time.  Turn it off when you’re not using it.  
  • Turn off WiFi if you do not have access to it.  Even though it’s not connected, it yearns to be in the company of an access point so it’s always looking.
  • E-mails.  If you don’t need it pushed, set it to check at an incremental time or do the checking manually.  This goes for any other kind of updates on your phone.  There was this app on for the jailbroken phone that checks news, stocks, weather, and e-mail all at the same time.  The juice it sucked up was monstrous.  I took deleted it after a couple of days.  
  • If you can e-mail or surf on a computer, do that.  If you can use a landline to talk, do that.  I know folks who insist on using their mobile phones all day.  Okay, I respect that.  I just don’t get that.  
  • If you’re near a computer with a USB port, you can charge it if you have the iPod USB cable.
There you go.  Once again, your mileage is going to vary depending on what device you have and your personal habits.  Some of these tips can work with other mobile devices that are not smartphones.  Regular phones, PSP, UMPCs, or even netbooks (I only see the dimming of the screen as helpful).  

For laptops these days, the standby is very good.  The power-saving features are just excellent.  Make sure you take advantage of that.  

Also carry an extra battery.  For those us of at the mercy of Steve Jobs’ insistence of no user-friendly battery changes, I guess we just take it.  However, there are a lot of battery extensions that will work.

Here’s a link to Gizmodo who also have some battery saving tips.  I did not include the auto-lock because I'm not 100% sure every device has that feature.  

If you've got any tip we've missed, please share with them us.  Battery technology is barely budging these days and additional battery life
will likely come from advances in other components of a mobile device and changes in our behaviors.

Remember though, you don't wan to go overboard in babying your mobile device either.  It's here to serve you, not the other way around.

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