There are several ways to maximize your phone’s battery life with minimal effort. A lot of the battery charge for our phones is used on unnecessary apps and settings that we don’t realize are killing the charge and causing our phones to die. Rather than lugging a spare charger everywhere you go, try some of these tips.

Any time your phone searches for a signal it will sap the battery. So if your phone isn’t in cellular service range at all, turn it on airplane mode. This mode will turn off cellular data while still allowing Wi-Fi to be used.
Turn Wi-Fi off when you can’t connect to a wireless network, and turn it on when you can. If your Wi-Fi is on when your phone is unable to connect to a network, your phone will continue searching for a Wi-Fi signal and drain your battery fast. However, when you are in range it is actually more power-efficient to use Wi-Fi rather than 3G or 4G.
When you aren’t in a stable Wi-Fi network, use GSM instead of 3G or 4G. A phone’s charge can last about 50% longer by using GSM over 3G and 4G. 4G uses more battery than 3G, but both are more draining than using Wi-Fi or GSM.

Turn off notifications and updates
Changing push notifications and data-fetching to manual will make a huge difference in your phone’s battery life. Within your phone’s settings as well as individual apps, your phone is constantly checking for new data and sending you notifications and updates. If you’d rather not check manually, changing your information apps to check and notify at longer time intervals will also help. Email notifications are a huge battery drain and you will see a noticeable difference if you can switch to checking your email manually.

Limit the apps you have open
It makes sense- the more apps you have open and working at a time, the more battery will be used. Turn off apps when you’re not using them. The method for turning off apps differs with each phone model, but a quick Google search is sure to provide a step by step how-to specific to your phone. If you’re trying to save battery in a pinch, avoid using unnecessary phone features such as the camera, light, Bluetooth, infrared, GPS or WIFI when you can.

Know which phone settings drain battery
Your phone’s back light uses battery every time it turns on- which is frequently as you use your phone. Making the backlight dimmer, or turning it off completely if it’s not needed, will help.  Check to see if your phone has an ambient light sensor, which will turn off the backlight automatically when it senses you have enough light to see the phone.
Your background counts- using animated pictures and videos as your phone’s background will drain battery whenever you open your phone. Also, use a background based in black. AMOLED screens use less power with black backgrounds than white. You can take this concept further by using a web browser such as Blackl in order to display websites with black backgrounds instead of white.
Another big battery saver is your ringtone setting. Use only the sound ring tone, not vibrate. The vibrate ring setting uses a lot more battery than a regular ring tone.

Lengthen your battery’s lifespan
Being aware of your battery’s temperature is a major key to maintaining its lifespan. Keeping your battery in cool temperatures rather than a hot car or your pocket will lengthen its life. Try to set your phone on a non-heat absorbent surface in order to charge it, such as a wood or plastic surface rather than cloth. This will keep your battery from heating up as it charges. Also, wait for your car’s temperature to cool down before plugging your phone into the car charger.

Speaking of charging, the frequency and method of charging your battery can have a big effect on the quality of your battery’s life. Leave your phone on and turn it to the power saver setting instead of powering it off while charging. This will not harm the battery or make the charge take longer to complete. Leaving the phone on allows you to be aware of when the battery is fully charged- at which point you should remove your phone from the charger. Leaving your phone plugged into the charger after the phone is fully charged can reduce the life of your battery.

Do not wait until your phone is dead or dying in order to charge it. Lithium-based batteries such as the one in your phone are designed to be charged frequently, and the optimal time is when you still have one power bar left. Letting the battery run all the way down can damage the battery, causing it to die more quickly the next time.

Our phones connect us to the world and guide us through our day. Though some of these tips may seem like common sense, being aware of the way we use our phones and making a few simple changes can reduce a lot of stress throughout the day caused by a constantly dying phone. Of course, no matter what precautions you take, your phone battery will eventually die. After a long and happy life, be sure to recycle your phone batteries once they can no longer be refurbished!

SPB Global tech writer
Mia Rodriquez