Search the Internet and you’ll find dozens of articles explaining ways to extend battery life. You can refine the search to include Android, or iPhone, or indeed just about any battery powered gadget. In my experience, most smartphones users on their second or subsequent device are more satisfied with the battery compared with earlier devices. Manufacturers have been and continue to work hard on improving battery life, in some cases by incorporating systems like GreenPower into the ‘phone; Sony being the high profile example with their STAMINA mode.
My biggest gripe with these articles are that they address individual aspects of power management rather than a holistic approach. Sure: you can dim the screen or you can shut down certain features, but if the user still checks the ‘phone every three minutes for a Tweet mention, battery life is going to struggle. As we alluded in the GreenPower review, if you are constantly powering on and off the network radios, this will probably use more battery than simply leaving them on.
Tying this in with our recently posted article, it started me thinking about managing how we use our devices to extend battery life. I noticed that when my Nexus 4 does not pulse the notification LED (or when it’s in my pocket), I don’t pick it up and use it. I experimented with turning off device notifications for my accounts but kept the network and AutoSync on. Guess what? Real world battery life was significantly improved.
I do see better battery life if I use disable my Internet connection (using GreenPower or manually), but training myself not to look at my device every time an email arrives has gone a long way to improving battery life. The real message here is that if you want your battery life to improve, you need to use it less.