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5 tips to extend your smartphone or tablet's battery

5 tips to extend your smartphone or tablet's battery
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

Take a picture. Send a text. Play a game. Check email. Make a call. Get directions. Then, all this threatens to stop cold in an instant.

A smartphone or tablet's low battery warning is the only warning that most people take seriously. A dead battery doesn't have to happen to you. Turning off a few features and changing some settings can give your gadget's battery life a dramatic boost.

1. Let there be (less) light

One of the biggest battery drains is your gadget's screen, especially for larger smartphones. The longer the screen is on and the brighter it is, the faster your battery goes. That makes sense. Something has to power those pixels.

Android, iOS and Windows Phone automatically adjust the screen's brightness for you based on two things: the light in the room and how long the screen has been on. Take control back.

Try setting the screen as dark as you can stand it and still read a text. Darkening the screen, by the way, is common among teenagers. It makes it really hard for Mom and Dad to see what's showing on their phone or tablet.

In iOS, go to Settings>>Wallpapers & Brightness. Set it to manual and turn down the brightness to the lowest level you can comfortably use the gadget.

You can also tell the screen how quickly to turn off when you aren't using the gadget. The faster it shuts down, the more power you save. Go to Settings>>General>>Auto-Lock to adjust the timer.

For Android, go to Settings>>Display and tap Brightness. Uncheck "Automatic brightness" and adjust the slider. Then go to "Screen timeout" below it to adjust how fast the screen shuts off.

On some phones, you can also swipe down from the top of the screen and the brightness controls will be above the notification area.

For Windows Phone, swipe left from the Start screen and tap Settings>>Brightness. Turn off automatic brightness and choose either "low," "medium" or "high" brightness. You'll want "low" as long as the phone is still usable.

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