For a lot of people, a low battery alert brings an immediate feeling of panic. A dead smartphone often means no lifeline to work, family or friends, no GPS, no reminders, no social media -- the list goes on.
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The good news is that there are ways to avoid this situation.
Smartphones come with default settings, and depending on how you use your device, certain settings may not be optimized for the features that are most important to you.
To help you get the most out of your smartphone, here are some ways to improve your device's efficiency, save battery life and even save some money at the same time:
1. Lower the brightness: First set the screen brightness to Auto. For iPhone, click Settings then display & brightness. Switch Auto-Brightness on. Your phone will then adjust to indoor and outdoor lighting.
Next lower the baseline brightness. For iPhones, look above the Auto-Brightness switch. Lower it to a level you can stand. Remember, the lower the brightness, the less battery usage.
2. Shorter screen timeout: Set the screen timeout to take effect after the shortest amount possible. For iPhone, click Settings, then General, then Auto-Lock.
3. Use airplane mode: If you're in an area with no signal and you know you won't get one until you leave, turn the phone on airplane mode.
4. Turn off Bluetooth: When you don't need it, it's just draining your battery. Turn it off when you know you won't use it for a while.
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5. Take a notification break: Reduce the frequency of auto updates from email, news, social media and other apps. While you may need text and phone call alerts on all the time, you may not need alerts from every app on your phone every minute of the day. Just change the notification settings to reduce the frequency of alerts.
6. Turn off location services: Unless you're using it for directions or something real-time, turn off location services for apps so they aren't constantly monitoring your phone's location (and simultaneously draining your battery life).
7. Don't leave apps running in the background: Apps use up the battery when they aren't even being used. Turn them off when you're finished using them. For iPhone, double tap the home button and swipe up on the apps to turn them off.
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8. Turn off vibrate: The vibrate function uses more battery than a ringtone.
9. Turn off push email: Having your phone check for new emails once or twice an hour uses less battery than having it constantly monitor for updates. Decide how often you need to be updated and then change the frequency in your mail settings.