Six ways to help your battery go the distance

By Adam Turner | June 4, 2013

Today's gadgets come with a wealth of power-saving options to help you get the most out of the battery. Unfortunately the power management settings are often set too high or too low by default, so it's worth tweaking them to see what works best for you.

Dim the screen

The screen generally chews through more juice than any other feature of a mobile gadget, so dimming the brightness even slightly can make a big difference to your battery life. Try setting it at 75 per cent and see if that's bright enough. If you've enabled "Automatically adjust brightness" then the brightness should change according to the ambient light, dimming when you're indoors.

Faster auto-lock

The sooner the screen on your computer or handheld device goes to sleep when not in use, the longer your battery will last. Set the timer as short as possible without becoming too annoying. You can also control how long your computer idles before the hard drive goes to sleep. Meanwhile, graphics-intensive animated home, and lock screens on Android devices can also take their toll on the battery, so try disabling them.

Turn off push email and location-based services

With push email enabled, your device constantly checks the internet for new messages. The same goes for other services running in the background, listening for incoming messages or regularly checking your location. Try setting your email to only check for new messages every few minutes, or even to wait until you manually check. Also, cut back on the number of background apps using the GPS features.

Kill unused apps

Mobile devices are getting better when it comes to memory and power management, but some apps still chew through a lot of power in the background - especially location-based services such as satellite navigation. Use the task manager to stop them completely when you're not using them.

Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Radio transmitters are also power hogs, so turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not required can help extend your battery life. Try not to leave a Wi-Fi hotspot running on your phone when you don’t need to either.

Switch to a slower mobile broadband network

Many smartphones offer the option to disable 4G and fall back to 3G, or even disable 3G and fall back to 2G. You'll notice a drop in your internet speeds, but near the end of the day it could help get you over the line as you race home to a power point.

If your gadgets are running on fumes by the end of the day, use these simple tricks to help them conserve power.


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