If you've ever complained about your tech's battery life, you know you're instantly bombarded with tips on how to keep your phone, iPod or laptop chuckin'. It sounds great, but coming from less-than expert sources, you don't know whether that tip about letting your phone completely discharge before you plug it in is an old wives' tale or technological cannon. Thankfully, the New York Times rounded up real expert sources and put together a definitive guide to keeping your battery going and going and going.
It turns out that the new-guard lithium ion batteries don't suffer from memory loss, so you don't need to go crazy trying to completely run it down before you plug it in again and it's perfectly safe to top off your charge.
Among the other useful tips the New York Times offered up?
- Turn it down, both the lights and the music. Dimming your screen brightness and lowering the volume when you're playing music will help keep you going.
- Cutting your 3G connection (you'll probably find it in your phone's settings) and running on EDGE will slow your Web browsing and save battery, but your call quality isn't affected.
- When you're surfing on a laptop and not plugged in to the wall, disable animations. Flash animation—what's running behind most online videos and animated ads—is a huge power suck that can be disabled with programs. Try BashFlash and ClicktoFlash for Macs and Flashblock for PC.
- If you're running out of juice on your cell phone and want to conserve it for emergencies, switch to airplane mode. "In airplane mode and running just the alarm clock, your iPhone battery will last up to a week," said co-founder of iPhone repair company ifixit.com, Kyle Wiens. I'll use this tip next time I forget my charger on a weekend road trip and want to have my phone connected on the drive home.
- They won't suffer from memory loss, but lithium-ion batteries do have a fixed number of charge cycles in their lifetime. Info on the average number of cycles for different devices can be found at batteryuniversity.com.