In this article:
- There’s nothing worse than your phone dying in the middle of the day.
- Stretch your battery life further with these 7 simple tricks.
- Build your own power bank to recharge your devices.
After writing an article about solid-state batteries, I immediately continued down the rabbit hole into the world of batteries. I was always fascinated by these little cells of metal and acid and how they power most of our modern devices.
While I am amazed by batteries, like everybody, I’m also frustrated with them. Phones die in the middle of the day, as do laptops and tablets. This got even worse for me after I “upgraded” to an iPhone, even though I got the Max model that has a larger battery.
Since then, I’ve been experimenting with ways to increase my phone’s mediocre battery life and I’m going to share seven with you today. I’ve even made a bunch of DIY power banks to avoid forking out the cash for an expensive power bank, and of course, I’m going to share that with you, too!
7 Ways to Increase Your Phone’s Battery Life
The Trick Everyone Already Knows
Turn off mobile data, GPS, Bluetooth, and WiFi when not in use, and lower the screen brightness.
I know this is pretty much a standard for most people, but I also know people (me) who just won’t turn off LTE and WiFi for the sake of keeping emails and messages up to date. But you’d be surprised how quickly these features drain your battery life. If you’re working or in class where you (probably) won’t be responding to messages immediately anyway, turning these off for that hour or two will make a big difference.
Using the Shortcuts app on my iPhone, I was even able to program a shortcut that automatically does this for me if my battery dips below 15%.
Of course, Low Power Mode (iOS only) will also help save some juice by killing background apps faster than usual and automatically turning off some animations. It doesn’t kill Wifi, Bluetooth, or mobile data, though.
Turn Live Wallpapers and Animations Off
I know how cool those live wallpapers look but they drain a ton of battery life due to how often they update the image on the screen and how many animations go through every time you switch menus or apps. So if you want to take it up a notch, I recommend killing Perspective Zoom on iPhone, and Live Wallpapers on any device.
You can also turn off animations on Android and Reduce Motion on iOS. Trust me, killing those will not only give you extra battery life, but it’ll also improve your device’s performance.
Dark Mode Everything
If your device has an OLED or AMOLED display like mine does, I strongly suggest turning on “dark mode” for your phone’s operating system as well as any apps that offer it. OLED and AMOLED displays only use power when telling pixels how bright or dark to be, and black uses no power at all.
You can also use dark mode for your wallpaper as well. Download a flat black image online or pick a dark wallpaper from the default options on iOS devices.
With an iOS device, you can also use “stage light” with the image you want to use as wallpaper. Just head to the edit section and change your portrait mode to stage light. With a cute pup, mine looked like this:
You can save a ton of battery with this trick alone, and I personally like the aesthetic of dark mode on modern devices anyway.
Turn Off Siri’s or Google’s Ears
Turn off “Hey Siri” and “OK Google” or whichever voice assistant you use. When you have these features turned on, your iPhone or Android will be constantly listening for the activation words. That constant listening takes up battery life even when not in use.
Take That Case Off
If you have a case on your phone, make sure it isn’t one of those extra thick cases that don’t allow the device to cool down. Remember: batteries are temperature sensitive, and a hot phone will die faster than a cold phone.
Close Background Apps
iPhones generally have good background app management, but you can also manually kill those apps that are using resources even while minimized. Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and turn it on for the apps you want to stop.
If you’re using Android, you can close background apps by going into Settings. In your device’s battery settings, you can also usually find a setting that allows you to prevent apps from running in the background in the first place.
Don’t Use That Fast Charger
Choosing a good charger doesn’t affect battery life right away, but it will prolong your battery charge capacity in the long run. So this tip is more preventive.
First of all, don’t use fast chargers! At least, don’t use one all the time, and definitely don’t leave your phone on one all night. I know fast charging is convenient, but it can also damage your battery in the long run since fast charging produces more heat. If you have a slow charger, maybe hold on to that instead of upgrading to a fast charger.
For new iPhones (and even some Androids) that don’t come with a charging base, get an original (overpriced) charger base from Apple or even from a reputable brand like Anker.
Don’t Buy a Power Bank, Build One
Sometimes, our phone’s batteries just can’t be improved anymore, and it’s up to us to bring extra power banks with us everywhere we go. Here’s the thing: There are a ton of fake power banks! A ton of these power banks claim that they have a higher mAh rating than they actually do, and I’ve been scammed by this before.
So, in my frustration, I tasked myself with putting together a DIY power bank of my own. It’s easy enough to do, even if you don’t have much experience fixing or tinkering with gadgets. If you can put batteries in your TV remote controller, you can also do this!
First: I needed to find the battery. 18650 batteries are a great option to use for a power bank. They look like larger AA batteries and you can find them on old laptops and vapes. You can also harvest from a Tesla Model S which has 7,104 of these batteries if you’re feeling spicy.
Luckily for me, I found one of my brother’s vape batteries lying around so all I needed was an enclosure to put that battery in, which I was able to find for $1.50 at a local electronics shop.
This enclosure fits one 18650 battery perfectly. After putting the two together, it charged my phone up to 40%, which is impressive for a DIY device running on a single 18650 battery.
But that wasn’t enough, I was hungry for more. I bought three more 18650 batteries (for about $1) with a higher capacity, and I spent $14 on this power bank enclosure with eight slots for batteries to sit in.
I popped the three 18650 batteries I bought and here is the result:
Each battery has 4200mAh and since I have three of them, my power bank now has a rating of approximately 12,600mAh. And it cost about $17 in total for all the parts. It has two USB ports, a USB-C port that functions as both input and output, and to top it all off, it has two LEDs that act as a flashlight!
A quick Amazon search will tell you that most 10,000mAh power banks cost $20 and up.
And for $5 more I could’ve given this power bank a capacity of 33,600mAh!
You can do the same thing just by getting a power bank enclosure and 18650 batteries which, again, you can harvest from old laptops or find at most local electronics stores. If you’re willing to spend a bit more for convenience, you can also find them on Amazon.
That’s been it, folks! I hope this helps you get the most out of your phone’s battery life. Do you have some of your own unique battery-saving tips? Leave them in the comments!
If you’re looking to get the most out of your smartphone, one of the best things you can do is keep it charged. But charging a phone all the time is no easy task.
You need to charge your phone at home. That’s why it’s important to make sure your phone’s battery has enough juice to last through the day.