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Want all-day battery life? Get a Nokia 3310. Because you see, we can’t have it all. We can’t have 6-inch AMOLED screens and 24MP shooters, high-performance mobile games and superfast internet, room-filling sound and always-on voice assistants – and still expect our phone’s battery to make it alive to midnight. It is not going to happen.

Your smartphone is a carefully considered mix of trade-offs (much like the cheetah, which evolved over a much longer period than your average smartphone). It’s capable of short bursts of incredible power and speed, but then it needs time to recharge.

Here are some tips for helping your smartphone save its energy for when you really need it.

Don’t waste your time doing this

First off, there are some things that just don’t make a difference. You can stop doing these right now, and at least save yourself some time.

  • Closing apps. It’s a good idea to close apps if your device becomes slow, but it does nothing for battery life. In fact, when you close an app and start it up again later, it actually uses more power.

  • Battery saving apps. The more recent versions of Android and iOS have excellent battery management functionality. Adding another app that stays awake to check on your battery will just use more of your precious energy reserves.

Understand what is sucking up your battery

Go into Settings > Battery on your phone to see which apps and processes are using the most power. Check the results here over the course of a couple of days, and you’ll soon see a pattern. Now, you can be more strict with power-hungry apps.

For example, you can turn off background app refresh for apps that you don’t use that much, or apps and services that rely on being awake constantly. Here are some typical culprits:

  • iCloud

  • Skype

  • Siri / Bixby / Google Assistant

  • Location services

  • Facebook

Turn off hardware you don’t need

Your phone is packed with different kinds of radios, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC. Turn off the ones you don’t use.

Turn down brightness and visual effects

When you need your battery to last all day, turn down the screen brightness before you go out for the day. It’s too late if your battery’s on 15% – the damage is already done.

Simplify your wallpaper. Turn off the visual effects and moving wallpapers, and opt for a static image.

Ninja tip

On Android you can mess around with some developer settings to eke out a bit of performance and save some battery power. To enable Developer Options on your device, go to Settings > About Phone > Build Number, and click Build Number seven times. You’ll see Developer Options appear in settings.

Open this up, and scroll down to animation settings. Here, you can turn Window animation scale, Transition animation scale and Animator duration scale off. This turns any system animations off completely, so if you like seeing windows open slowly and beautifully, leave these settings as they are.

There are many other developer settings here that are best left to actual developers.

Emergency mode

When your phone’s battery is on its last legs, switch to ultra power saving mode (Android) or low power mode (iOS). This keeps just the phone’s essential functions going. Processing speed and phone features are limited, which means you can make a phone call, but that’s about it.

How to charge your battery 

Like any battery, your phone's battery has a lifespan - most manufacturers say their batteries will start to lose capacity after three to five years. So how do you keep your battery going for longer? 

Most of us charge our cellphones overnight, every night. That's fine, but if you want to eke a longer life out of your battery, experts say little and often is better. At about 50% battery life, plug in your phone, and then charge it to just short of 100%. Try not to let it drop below 20%. From 40% to 80% is optimal. 

Use the charger that came with your phone, or at least use an approved alternative. You may save a few bucks buying a cheap one, but poor knockoffs can damage your battery. 

If you have an old phone that you use occasionally in emergencies, don't let it lie around uncharged too long as it may render the battery incapable of holding a charge at all. Plug it in every couple of weeks and charge it to 80%. 

Upgrade your device 

Time for an upgrade? Then check out the great deals on Vodacom Online. You'll get free delivery, free SIM and free connection - and a brand-new battery to keep you going all day! 


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