A couple of weeks ago, we talked about how to make your battery last longer before needing replacement. This week, we’ll cover the more frequently asked question of how to make your battery last longer between charges. The same techniques work for almost all devices – laptops, tablets smart phones, e-readers, and so on.
- Enable power saving. Most laptops and other devices have different power modes that control how the battery is used. Switching it to power saving mode may result in much longer time between charges, although you may experience slightly slower performance.
- Clean the battery contacts. Clean batteries work more efficiently.
- Dim the screen. A brighter screen takes more power.
- Keep the device out of the sun. When it gets hot, it’ll drain the battery much faster. A black phone on a car dashboard can consume power at an alarming rate even in standby.
- Cut down on the number of programs you’re running. The more things you have going on, the more power the processor takes. Shut down anything you’re not using, and pay particular attention to what’s running in the background.
- If you’re not actually using your wi-fi, switch it off.
- If you’re on wi-fi and have applications that poll the Net for updates, reduce the frequency of checking. Do you really need to check your email every minute?
- Avoid doing large uploads or downloads over wi-fi.
- Heavy-duty applications like games or video will use more power than word processing. If you’re running low on power, conserve your remaining minutes for use on less demanding applications.
- Keep your hard drive defragmented. This reduces hard disk usage.
- Don’t use CD or DVD drives more than you need to.
- Add more RAM. This will reduce the load on the disk.
- Don’t use your laptop to charge external devices like your phone.
- Don’t plug unnecessary devices in – even a USB mouse will take power.
- Increase the auto-save time on programs like Excel or Word – an extra minute or two between saves probably won’t make that much difference to your work, but will give you much more battery usage.
Remember that all batteries degrade over time – while a new battery may last all day, an older battery will last a lot less, and eventually won’t hold much charge at all, no matter how careful you are.