Get More Battery Life Out of Your Phone

The Battery Screen under Settings on your Moto.
The Battery Screen under Settings on your Moto.

Hello all, Product Guy here again with some helpful tips to make your phone’s battery last longer every day.

Today’s phones are amazing pieces of machinery, but an ongoing hurdle for almost any portable technology (iPods, Laptops, Nintendo 3DS, etc.) is the battery life.

The old flip-phones seemed to be able to last forever on a charge. Why is that?  Well, flip-phones were technologically a lot simpler. They didn’t have big color screens, lots of apps for practically anything, multiple radios connecting you to WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, and cell towers – all of which pull power down from the battery all day long.

But worry not! There are some simple steps you can take to help your smartphone last longer throughout the day and into the night. Lets take a look:

Tip #1: Setup Your Screen
Your smartphone’s screen takes a lot of power to light up. Little split-second glances at your phone for things like checking the time can take up way more battery power than they should. The brighter the screen is, the more power it takes to illuminate.  Awesomely, the latest Motorola devices have smart screens with “Attentive Display” that actually knows when you’re looking at your phone. There are multiple settings for “Active Notifications,” and “Auto-brightness” that really help reduce the amount of power required to give you quick information on-the-go without having to power up the whole screen.

The Display settings found in your phone's Settings app.
The Display settings found in your phone’s Settings app.

The Moto and Assist app settings on your phone can manage your active notifications and other available modes.  You can do this by going into the Moto or Assist Apps and tapping the settings in the top right corner.  Settings -> Display -> Select Apps, and then select the apps that are important enough to your day-to-day that you want to be notified on the lock screen. For me, it’s things like email and Facebook. You can also set your phone to go into Sleep mode at night, which will also preserve battery, and avoid the screen coming on at all while you’re snoozing away.

display
Custom settings found in the Moto or Assist apps on your phone.

You can adjust the brightness of your screen by swiping down at the top of your phone to see the notification panel. Then click the “quick links” icon in the top right-hand corner. The “Brightness” settings button is at the top, but we prefer our phone to take care of screen brightness for us. So, if you head to Settings -> Display -> select “Brightness” and “Auto,” your phone will automatically adjust its screen brightness based on the light around you at any given moment.

 The Quick Links panel found after double-swiping down from the top of your phone's screen.
The Quick Links panel found after double-swiping down from the top of your phone’s screen.

Tip #2: Setting Location Services
Location services can be handy for knowing where your phone is, using the GPS for navigation, and being able to see places around you like restaurants and stores. But they also take up power from your battery by constantly beaming out where you are via GPS and WiFi radios in the phone. I personally only turn this feature on when I need it for directions.  Don’t forget, features like Google Now use location as well, so they won’t work as well if you do turn Location services off.  There are other options under Location Settings where you can reduce the impact on battery, while still retaining some of the functionality.

Location Services set to "Low Battery Use".
Location Services set to “Low Battery Use”.

You can ensure you’re only using location services when you need them by swiping down from the top of your phone screen to see the notification panel. Then click the “quick links” icon in the top right-hand corner.  The location setting button can be toggled on and off by tapping the “Location” icon.

Tip #3: Bluetooth
Connecting to speakers, cars, and headsets via Bluetooth is really convenient. I love listening to music in my car on the way home wireless, but Bluetooth uses a radio inside the phone just like cell and WiFi signals do. Using this additional radio will reduce battery life, especially when it is in use for a long period of time (like on my 40-minute commute to work).  You can also toggle Bluetooth on and off from the quick links panel.

You can enable Bluetooth when you need it, and turn it off when you don’t by swiping down from the top of your phone screen to see the notification panel. Swiping down again will show you quick links. The Bluetooth setting can be toggled on/off by tapping the “Bluetooth” icon.

Tip #4: Apps & Background Data
Apps use data, sometimes even when you’re not using your phone. It’s called “Background Data” and whenever your radio is being used to transfer data, it is using power from the battery.  The tuning of your apps to use less cellular data actually has the added benefit of getting more life out of your battery. We’ve got plenty of tips on how to reduce cell data usage here. For convenience, we’ll include instructions for Google Chrome on your phone below:

You can minimize the amount of data being transferred when not required and save your battery
by using WiFi as much as you can.  Amazingly, the WiFi radio in your phone actually uses less battery than the cell radio because it is doing less work to stay connected. WiFi doesn’t have to look for the next tower all the time or worry about roaming. That extra coverage also nets you extra life for your phone.

motorola-micro-usb-car-charger.89ec6c90fb.1e9ace8b
Motorola Loop Vehicle Charger.

Tip #5: Accessorize
A final practical tip would be to make sure you have a car charger.  This has saved me many a time, as the things I use the phone for in the car – music and directions while connected over Bluetooth – the phone searching for cell towers – are the things that really drain the battery, so I always plug it in when driving.

Nothing worse than showing up somewhere and finding out you have an hour of charge left because you needed the phone to get you there in the first place.

Hopefully these tips are helpful in keeping you charged longer so your phone is available when you need it.

As always, stay WiFi my friends,
The Product Guy

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  • https://google.com/+BenjaminGodfreys Ben Godfrey

    Is that a RW Moto X running Lollipop?

  • https://google.com/+BenjaminGodfreys Ben Godfrey

    Is that a RW Moto X running Lollipop?

  • Truzen

    Yeah… I don’t have those quick access screens on my RW Moto X 2013. Lollipop incoming?

  • Truzen

    Yeah… I don’t have those quick access screens on my RW Moto X 2013. Lollipop incoming?

  • Mike | Homeless On Wheels

    Another tip: Turn off the WiFi radio when you know you won’t be around (usable) WiFi – especially while driving. Wait – can’t do that because the Republic app keeps turning WiFi radio back on ?

    • Mike | Homeless On Wheels

      Maybe – until the Republic app forces it back on again.

  • Jeremy Amaismeier

    Thanks for the post. There were some helpful tips.

    It would probably be helpful to post screenshots using the OS people are currently on. I think most people will find it confusing that the pictures don’t look like what they see.

  • Mark Wheeler

    Use the app ….DriveFi it works Perfect !!! It will shut off the WiFi Radio while driving.

    • Mike | Homeless On Wheels

      Maybe – until the Republic app forces it back on again.

  • doninvt

    Enabling GPS doesn’t turn it on, just gives permission for apps to use it. You can see when it is actually on (and using juice) in the status bar.
    I keep it always enabled, and it is almost never on except for things like navigation which are useless without it anyway.

  • Gary Hutchison

    It seems that a great app called Toggle Cell has stopped working with the upgrade to Lollipop 5.1. Toggle Cell would shut off the Cell radio whenever WiFi took over and really saved battery power. Is there a replacement for Toggle Cell? The developer is no longer supporting it.

  • Gary Hutchison

    It seems that a great app called Toggle Cell has stopped working with the upgrade to Lollipop 5.1. Toggle Cell would shut off the Cell radio whenever WiFi took over and really saved battery power. Is there a replacement for Toggle Cell? The developer is no longer supporting it.

  • BobButtons

    Using the WiFi quick-toggle on my 2013 Moto X seems to shut it off and keep it off. I had to use Xposed to reverse the functionality. For some reason by default it’s tap for settings and long-tap to toggle. Should be the opposite.

  • Linda Harkness

    How do we get Republic to put in the correct information to transfer our old number over to Republic?

  • Linda Harkness

    How do we get Republic to put in the correct information to transfer our old number over to Republic?