Mobile battery life (Patrisyu via freedigitalphotos.net)Citizen Science Engineering Technology 

How to Extend Your Mobile Battery Life

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Have you ever frantically searched for an outlet to charge your phone? You are not alone. Mobile devices have a large number of different adjustable system settings, but the energy impact of those settings can be difficult to understand for average users, and even for experts. Now, a team of computer scientists from the University of Helsinki, Finland, have measured how long Android phone batteries last with different combinations of settings and environmental conditions. And yes, we are going to tell you how to get the most out of your battery.

It’s become common knowledge that some system settings have a direct and significant impact on smartphone battery life. For example, screen brightness is a well-known power drain. However, combinations such as roaming, high operating temperature, and bad signal strength are much more difficult to predict. Whether you’re on a conference call or dialing in blood tests with a smartphone, mobile battery life is a big deal.

Crowd Sourcing Mobile Battery Life Data

Crowdsourcing can be a very effective way to gather a lot of real world data on a variety of subjects. Even crocodile observations have been crowdsourced, as have north American butterfly counts. Also, citizen science inspires conservation efforts and gets people involved in science.

To figure out what you need to do to keep your phone battery charged as long as possible, the computer scientists collected usage data from over 150,000 smartphones and tablets. They used real life daily usage patterns and laboratory tests. This rich data set makes it possible to give personalized, practical energy recommendations for extending your smartphone battery life.

Extend your Mobile Battery Life

This is what the research team found:

  • If your signal strength drops one bar, it can reduce battery life by as much as 13%.
  • High temperatures can reduce battery life by 50%.
  • Automatic screen brightness helps the battery last longer than manual settings, in most cases.
  • Central processing unit (CPU) usage, battery temperature, and distance traveled all reduce mobile battery life.

So, the team says that to extend your mobile battery life as much as possible, do the following things:

  • Keep the battery temperature below 30 degrees C (86 degrees F).
  • Use the phone while staying in one place.
  • Make sure you have full signal strength.
  • Keep the CPU usage low– less than 40%.
  • Set your phone to automatically adjust its screen brightness.

By taking these measures, you could extend a battery life up to nine hours. Try it out. We’d love to know if this combination of strategies extends your mobile battery life as much as the computer scientists in Finland predict. Let us know in the comments section below, or consider joining the Contributors Community to share the science!

For those of you who want to check the math behind this mobile battery life study, the academic paper was presented at the 13th IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and can be found here. Partial funding for this research was provided by the CUBIC project of the Academy of Finland.

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