Homeowner's Academy

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Extending Your Phone’s Battery Life During a Power Outage

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | May 13, 2016

ExtendPhoneBatteryWhether it’s letting family and friends know you’re okay or contacting your insurance company to report damage to your home, your smartphone is an important device that can keep you connected during a major storm. But what happens when the power goes out and you have to depend on your phone’s battery?

Here are some clever ways to help extend the life of your smartphone so you can stay connected during a power outage.

Keep Your Phone Topped Off

You never know if or when a power outage will occur during a major storm. Just as you should top off your car’s gas tank before a storm strikes, you should keep your phone plugged in as much as possible when a storm is approaching.

Additionally, charge your laptop to use as a backup charging source. To get the most out of your laptop battery, restart it to turn off all running applications and programs, dim the screen, and avoid using it for any other purpose.

Safety Tip: If lightning picks up in your area, unplug your phone and laptop to prevent them from getting zapped.

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Conserve Battery Power

Turn Off Background Apps

Background apps are believed to drain your phone’s battery faster. Check your phone's settings to make sure apps and services like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth aren’t quietly running in the background when you're not using them.

Turn Off Push Notifications

When apps send you push notifications, they require your phone to use more energy in order to receive data. Turn off push notifications to help your phone’s battery last longer.

Turn Down the Screen Brightness

Phone displays are another major battery hog. Turn down the display to the lowest level at which you can still read it to conserve power.

Text, Don’t Call

When possible, send text messages instead of calling. A text message uses tiny amounts of data that is sent quickly and does not require as much battery power as a phone call. Additionally, texts are more likely to get through when the cell network is overwhelmed.

Download a Battery-Saving App

There are several free apps available for both iPhone and Android devices that are designed to help extend your phone's battery life.

Invest In a Battery Charger

You never know how long a power outage will last. To make sure your phone will survive the storm, consider investing in a battery charger.

Battery Charger Cases

Cell phone battery charger cases can be purchased for $100 or less, and many double as protective cases. Look for a battery charger case that provides a lot of extra power and is easy to turn on and off, simple to charge, and capable of providing a good indication of how much battery life is left.

Bonus Tip: Your phone requires more energy to charge the final 20 percent. Turn on your battery case when your phone’s battery level drops to about 20 percent, and then turn the case off when it reaches 80 percent.

Battery-Powered Backup Chargers

Battery-powered backup chargers are great if you don’t want to add extra bulk to your phone. These nifty devices connect to your phone with a USB cord and can provide several full charges.

Hand Crank Chargers

With just a little arm muscle, you can power up your phone any time, anywhere. The American Red Cross sells a phone charger that can be powered by a hand crank or solar power and includes a variety of useful tools in an emergency, including a USB outlet to charge your phone; ability to receive AM/FM and Weather Alert radio; an LED flashlight and emergency beacon, and an aux-input so you can play music. It also has an option to run on AAA batteries.