It’s 5.31PM, you’re stepping out of work, and you cop the dreaded low-battery alert: 5% left. It’s something we all fear — the hour when all laptops turn into oversized phone chargers — and something we try desperately to avoid. For the serial offenders, here are some handy hints to keep your battery in check from 6:00AM to 6:00PM.

It’s time to take out the trash

All those ‘k’s, ‘lolz’ and 😈 💡 😳 😎 ‘s trapped inside your phone’s message history weigh something. They might seem insignificant, but wait until you pile up a few years’ worth and your phone begins to run at a snail’s pace. Delete your old text conversations (think of the symbolic virtue in cleansing your conversation bank), and watch your phone battery boost by the day.

Flick the Apps off

You’d best believe that the apps you haven’t used in three days are draining your battery. Most new apps have their settings turned to activate automatic downloads, push notifications, background refreshes and (most crucially), automatic updating. This combination of processing power and data downloads are kryptonite to batteries. The rule is: once you’re done tracking that pizza to your door on Friday night, flick the app off until you need it again.

Whilst you’re at it, why not go through your mobile and delete the apps you don’t use anymore? They don’t just sit there silently; they use a stack of computing power and will drain your phone just as quick as apps running on the screen.

Consider it spring-cleaning for your mobile life.

Turn your lights down low

Yes, your phone has a brightness feature and yes, it can be battery-heavy. If your phone has an auto-brightness feature, turn it on to adapt to your surroundings: you don’t need 100% brightness whilst trawling gossip sites before bed, and you can probably set to 10% brightness in the sunlight.

Know your boundaries

Most handsets have made it really easy to activate your phone’s flight mode (where any signal, including battery-draining internet, calls, and texts, are turned off). It’s just as useful on the ground as it in the air. If you’re heading into an area where you know you won’t be using it — say, a long train trip or remote town — flick it on and just use the offline apps. It’s especially effective at night, where your alarm and background apps can still run without wearing the battery out. Bonus: no surprise calls from aggressively social friends at 2am.

If you’re the kind of person who needs instant updates the second they wake up, most phones come with their own Do Not Disturb setting — keeping your cellular services on without ringtones or alert messages. It’s not the most efficient way to hold onto battery life, but it’s a decent stopgap in emergencies.

Let it go!

How often do you look through the photos of that delightful brunch you had last October? Import all your photos to your computer and be sure to delete them from your device afterward. While you’re at it, keep what is on your phone to flattering selfies the essentials: after you delete the unused apps, limit the emails you keep on your phone, and, if you have a Samsung, keep a check of which apps use the most battery.

Backup boosters

We’ve touched on this in our tips to those who commute to work every day, but there’s a stack of options for anyone who needs an emergency plan B for their phone battery, from keychain emergency chargers to full blown solar power systems. These aren’t just good as backup systems — they can be super handy when stuck at an airport, a road trip or, heaven forbid, you are away from a power outlet for a few days.  😯

If you’re looking for something portable, try a solar battery charger like Solio’s range, or the JOOS Orange. They’re both on the more expensive side of phone accessories, but well worth it if you spend a lot of time in the sun! There’s also a range of battery cases from brands like Belkin, Mophie, and PowerCase that add a little extra juice to your charge, just be sure to allow for the extra charge time.

The little things

  • Change your background image to something dark in order to use less battery to power the screen.
  • Bluetooth can be a handy tool, but be sure to switch it off when you know you have no use for it.
  • Did you leave your personal hotspot on again?
  • You can turn your email alerts on manual (so it only finds them when you want), or to less frequent intervals from 15 minutes to every 2 hours.
  • Your phone’s notification centre (where ‘always-on’ widgets like Stock Prices, Weather, and app-notifications are managed) are constantly running without you even knowing it — flick them off and access the info only when you want it.

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Camilla Gulli


Camilla Gulli,

As Editor at Red Wire, Camilla is particularly passionate about diversity in tech, content marketing, social media, and disruptive platforms.