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How Do I Save Battery On My Phone?

Here are five things you can do to save battery life on your iOS or Android smartphone.

By Leah Becerra | March 12, 2016

Here's a very timely question: How do I save battery on my phone?

We just happen to have an iPhone running iOS 9 and a Nexus running Marshmallow, so we'll focus on those platforms. Although, if you have a Windows Phone or a Blackberry, some of these tips might also help you out.

First off, go into your phone's settings and find "Battery." This will show you what apps are using your phone's power the most. And the info will give you a good idea of what you might want to tweak while going through these next five tips:

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No. 1: Turn off app background refresh. Doing that will keep certain apps from gathering information in the background.

On iOS, go into settings and tap "General." Then look for "Background App Refresh." Here, you can turn off certain apps or use the master switch to shut down background refreshing for all of them.

On Android, in your settings you want to go over to "Data Usage." Hit the menu icon on the top right, and there should be options to restrict background data. On that same page, you can scroll down and select an individual app and then turn off background refresh for just that app.

This saves battery life, but it also limits your smartphone experience a bit. So you might want to only turn off apps' background refresh if you don't use them often. The same is true for this next tip.

Tip No. 2: Turn off location services. Weather apps, social apps and mapping apps might want to pin your location. They don't always need to have that ability, so you can tweak how often they grab your location — you save battery in the process.

On iOS, in your settings, head to "Privacy" and tap "Location Services." Once again, you can toggle through each app or turn off the location for all apps.

On Android, you can make similar adjustments in settings under the "Location" heading.

Tip No. 3: Cut down on your notifications because you probably don't need them all.

It's not totally clear how much battery life you lose to notifications, but just think: Every time you get one, your phone lights up, vibrates or beeps. And then you pick it up and check it out. All that starts to add up.

You can take this a step further and turn off push notifications — the ones actively trying to pull data from a server. But if, say, you're using your phone for work, you might not want to turn off push notifications for email.

Tweak iOS notifications in settings under "Notifications." In Android’s settings menu, you'll look for "Sound & Notification." With some Android apps, you'll need to tweak notifications in individual app's settings, rather than in the phone's main settings.

Tip No. 4: Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you're not using them. When your phone is emitting a signal or looking for a signal (and not finding one), it's using extra battery.

And lastly, tip No. 5: Your phone has a low power mode, so use it. If you know you're going to be using your phone a lot on a given day, toggle low power mode on on iOS; it's in "Settings" under "Battery." On Android, this mode is called "Battery Saver," and you can get there by going to "Battery," hitting the menu icon and tapping "Battery Saver."

This video includes a clip from Weather Underground and images from Joel Avery / CC BY 3.0 and Nikita Kozin / CC BY 3.0.

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