Most of us would be lost without our smartphones when travelling. Here are some useful tips to make your phone’s battery last the distance.
We’re all pretty reliant on our smartphones when we travel; whether it’s booking a hotel room, requesting an Uber ride, posting a selfie on Instagram or checking into a new location on Facebook.
The growth in mobile travel technology also means that the pile of paper documents we once associated with travel – from boarding passes to travel insurance – is now being replaced by apps on our phones.
It all sounds wonderfully convenient to have this information at our fingertips, but you can find yourself clueless if your phone’s battery doesn’t last the distance.
Let’s face it, a heavily-used phone is lucky to last five or six hours when you’re travelling.
So before you find yourself stuck without a charger, you may want to consider taking a more proactive approach to preserve battery life when you’re on the go in another country.
Here are a few tips to help you get more out of your iPhone battery when you travel, including a few ‘insider tips’ gleaned from a tech guy at Apple’s Genius Bar in Sydney recently.
Dim the Display
One of the biggest drains on your iPhone’s battery is actually the display. The higher the brightness, the more power it consumes. So turn on Auto-Brightness or try to keep it on a low level. Also avoid using your phone in extreme sunlight, or overly hot or cold conditions.
Turn Off Push Notifications
Push Notifications keep your phone on high alert and require a constant data connection, which can exhaust your battery. Your display also lights up every time your phone receives a notification, guzzling up more battery life. So turn off Push Notifications for any apps that you don’t need when travelling.
When your iPhone has Bluetooth enabled but you’re not actually using it, you’re just wasting energy. Leave it off and turn it on when you need it.
Enable Wi-Fi Assist
Even though most of us are hooked on WI-FI when we travel, it actually drains your battery surprisingly fast. The problem is your iPhone is constantly looking for Wi-Fi hotspots and desperately tries to hold onto a Wi-Fi signal – even when it’s only got one bar. To prevent this, turn on Wi-Fi Assist, which automatically switches over to a cellular data connection or shuts off when a Wi-Fi signal gets too low. Be sure to also read our Pocket Wi-Fi solution later in this blog.
Turn Off Location Services
Turn off Location Services completely, and you’ll save a lot of power, not to mention some money if you’re traveling internationally.
Disable Dynamic Backgrounds
Dynamic backgrounds – such as moving wallpapers – might look fun but they are draining your phone’s battery faster than you realise. Turn them off.
Think Twice Before Swiping Closed
You might think swiping individual apps closed constantly is a good thing to do, because you’re taking it out of the phone’s RAM. But the next time you use the app, your phone has to load it all over again, using even more power. Unless you have enabled Background App Refresh, your apps are not allowed to run in the background.
Siri is always working in the background as a default on iOS. He or she is just waiting for you to speak, meaning they’re always sucking up battery life. If you’re not that close to Siri, put them in the quiet corner for a while by turning them off.
Enable Low Power Mode
You can enable Low Power Mode at any time, which you should do if you want to conserve battery life when travelling. It turns off all but the most-needed power-sucking features of the iPhone. When Low Power Mode is on, a yellow battery icon appears. Your iPhone battery will last longer, but some features might be slower to update or load.
Switch Your Phone Off Regularly
It might sound draconian, but powering your phone off at least once a week is supposedly a good thing for the battery. Leaving it powered-up and constantly idling is thought to stress the battery.
Don’t Charge Your Phone While You Sleep
Letting your iPhone charge while you sleep might be convenient, but it also might be a bad idea. There’s a school of thought that says plugging your phone in even when it’s fully charged can damage the battery and result in a much shorter life span.
Top Up In Short Spurts
Keeping your iPhone charged at 50- 80 per cent before topping-up the charge can actually protect the battery life. Fully discharging your battery too often, on the other hand, can make the ions less incapable of holding a charge.
Use In-Seat Power Sockets
In-seat power is pretty common these days for most commercial airlines, long-distance trains (like Amtrak and Virgin Trains), many bus operators and even airports. Whether you’re on a four-hour train trip or a 14-hour flight, take the time to charge your phone while you’re seated. Just remember to pack your phone’s USB charging cord in your carry-on.
Get A Portable Pocket Charger
There are dozens of portable chargers on the market these days, and they come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve been using a PhoneSuit Pocket Charger for the past few years (this is not a paid endorsement either), and it works really well. You simply clip it into the end of your iPhone and it tops up the battery in under an hour. Officeworks in Australia has a range of cheap single port chargers and power banks, so too JB Hi-Fi. I also like this portable wireless charger from Trending Essentials.
Buy Pocket Wi-Fi
Pocket Wi-Fi, or Mi-Fi, can be a great solution when you’re on the go and need reliable internet access while also avoiding data roaming charges. It can also help preserve your battery life because you’re not constantly searching for a connection. In Australia, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone provide affordable, pre-paid pocket Wi-Fi. You can buy these handy gadgets at many retailers like Harvey Norman and even Target and Big W. Most sell for less than $60, and some as low as $23. It’s easy to sign up, connect and top-up as you need online or in store and they can be used country-wide. In the US, I’ve used the Verizon Jetpack and it’s just as reliable, while O2 has a similar option in the UK. Do your homework though, as some data plans can be costly and often require monthly, annual or two-year contracts. A flexible, pre-paid plan is often best for travellers who are just visiting.
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