How to Get the Best Battery Life From Your Phone

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With mobile phones so tightly integrated into our daily lives, it can be incredibly frustrating to run out of battery in the middle of the day. This guide explains your mobile phone's battery life, how often you should charge it and ways that you can make it last longer.
How long should my mobile phone battery last?

A smartphone should operate on a single full charge for at least one day and typically will need to be charged every night. If you're finding that your iPhone 4 or HTC Desire can't handle a full day after a single charge, do some investigation. You might find there is a hungry app eating up power or another conflict that's draining your mobile phone's battery life.

If you're using an older phone, these can sometimes last up to ten days without charging.
Should I drain my battery fully before charging it again?

The lithium-ion batteries used in mobile phones don't need to be fully discharged. It doesn't affect your battery to charge drain it down fully and then charge it in one go or to charge it in small amounts over time. This is because a partial recharge - charging you battery before it has drained completely - only counts as a partial cycle.
Is it possible to over-charge my battery?
No. Once the phone is fully charged the charger should automatically cut off. There should also be no problem leaving your mobile phone plugged into the main once it has charged fully - although you would be wasting some energy!

What can I do to extend my phone's battery life?
Although all handsets are different, there are some common features between all handsets that you can monitor or change to make your mobile phone battery last longer between recharges. Most of these apply to smartphones: with such a wide range of capabilities they eat up battery power quickly.

• Turn off Wi-Fi when you don't need it. If you have left your Wi-Fi on but you've left home or work and are no longer connected to a network, your mobile phone continues to search for a network signal - this uses up a lot of power.

• Turn off 3G/WCDMA if you don't need it. When your phone has weak or no signal, it needs more power to keep up the connection to the network. As 2G/GPRS signal towers often have stronger signal than 3G, disabling 3G if you don't need it will keep your battery lasting longer.

• Turn off GPS. Using GPS can be a real drain on your battery power, especially if you are using your phone inside. Your phone will still be able to locate itself by triangulating the signal it received from different masts which should be sufficient for several tasks. If you need turn-by-turn navigation you can enable it again.

• Turn down screen brightness. The large scale colour screens we take for granted in modern mobile phones often munch the most power of any feature. You can save battery power by enabling an "auto brightness" option if your phone has one or simply dialling the brightness down.

• Lock your phone. When your screen is locked, it turns off and the phone enters a low power mode. Don't forget to close your applications when you're done with them though - your mobile phone could be running something in the foreground whilst it's locked.

• Turn off vibration. It takes a lot of energy for a phone to vibrate. If you have your phone settings set to vibrate whenever you use your touchscreen, turning it off could conserve quite considerable energy.

Quick Tip for Android Users
If you're using the Android OS you can use the "Power Control" widget. This handy widget on your home screen lets you turn Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, synchronisation and automatic brightness on and off easily without searching through the setting interface.