Smartphone hacks: how to extend battery life & be more productive on your phone

The New Year is a great time to take a few moments and tidy up your smartphone to make it faster and more efficient. Or, if you received a new device over the holidays, get it set up for success right out of the gate.

I was on CTV Your Morning earlier today, sharing my top smartphone “hacks”. Watch the clip above, and read my suggestions below.

3 tips for cleaning up and clearing space

  1. Update your operating system. Yes, it can be tedious and those update notifications always pop up at the most annoying moments… but updating your phone’s operating system is the best way to keep it running efficiently.
  2. Delete apps you’re not using. If you have a few minutes to kill while waiting for an appointment and you forgot a book, scroll through the apps on your phone. If you haven’t used one in a while (or never used it in the first place, as is often the case with the apps that come pre-installed), get rid of it! It’s taking up precious space on your smartphone. And if it turns out that you miss the app, you can always reinstall it later.
  3. Back everything up – especially photos. The most common reason for running out of space on a smartphone comes from the photo and video library. The cameras on modern smartphones take amazing photos and videos. Those in turn take up a lot of space on your phone’s memory. Back up and optimize your photo and video storage using iCloud for iOS devices (instructions here) or Google Photos on Android devices (instructions here).

Organize your apps for quick access

You may already have your smartphone apps organized in a particular order (or even in folders). You can go one step further and have your favourite apps and most used tools available to you when you need them first by changing what’s on your lock screen, home screen, and control centre.

If you have an Android smartphone, consider using an app launcher like Nova Launcher to customize your home screen with colours, apps, and other settings that you choose. iOS users can customize the Apple control centre (the tools that you can access by swiping – before unlocking your device) by following the instructions here.

Check on your battery health

Smartphone batteries have been a hot topic in the media lately, with Apple apologizing for slowing down older iPhones to compensate for aging battery performance. Most phone batteries can be charged around 500 times before they start to show their age. Replacing a battery is much cheaper than replacing the entire phone, so if you suspect you have an issue you can check your battery’s health with the free Battery Life Doctor app for iOS, or the free Battery Doctor app for Android.

5 tips for keeping your smartphone battery in top shape

  1. Dimming the screen or turning on auto brightness will help your battery last longer between charges.
  2. Be careful of the temperature! Using a smartphone in hot or cold conditions (below 0 degrees or above 35 degrees) can wear the battery down faster than normal.
  3. Update to the latest software. The smartphone’s operating system controls how apps interact with the phone’s processor and battery, and updates often include upgrades for battery efficiency.
  4. Enable low power mode when it looks like you’re going to run out of juice to conserve what’s left until you can charge again.
  5. Find out where your battery power is going by checking your battery settings in the smartphone settings. You may have a lot of apps and notifications running in the background that can be disabled.

Conserve your data

We all love to check email, get texts, and log in to social media while we’re on the go. That can wreak havoc on your data plan (especially any activity that’s transmitting images or videos over the cell network – I’m looking at you, Instagram). Use the free MyDataManager app on iOS and Android to see what apps are hogging your data and adjust your habits (or increase your data plan) accordingly.

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