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Kim's column

Tech tip: Get more life out of your dying phone battery

When was the last time you left the house without your phone? Me neither.

The moment your phone goes missing, panic sets in. Tap or click for a method to find your phone, even if it’s buried somewhere where you can’t hear the ringer.

When you’re out and about and realize your battery life is low, what can you do? Keep reading for a few solid options.

There’s a mode for that

Both Apple and Android have a handy setting specifically for the times you’re running out of juice, and it’s relatively easy to turn on. These low-power modes temporarily disable the apps, features, and processes that drain the most battery.

You can turn it on manually, and it will automatically turn off when your phone is charged up again.

A word of warning: your phone won’t be at its best in this mode. For starters, if your phone is on 5G, it reverts to 4G. Your phone won’t check email or update news, weather, and other apps as frequently.

“Hey Siri” and “OK Google” doesn’t work. Your notes, photos, and appointments also won’t be synced to the cloud until you’re at least 80 percent charged back up. Still, it is helpful in a pinch.

Apps are one of the biggest battery killers. Tap or click here to find out which apps drain your phone’s battery and storage the most.

Enabling Low Power Mode on iPhone:

  • Open Settings > Battery.
  • Slide the toggle next to Low Power Mode to the right to enable it.

In iOS 9 and above, you’ll receive notifications when your battery level hits 20 percent and 10 percent. You will get an option to enable Low Power Mode with a single tap.

Enabling Power saving mode on Android:

Android’s version of this battery-saving mode is called Power saving mode, available on Android 5.0 OS and above.

For Samsung Galaxy:

  • Open Settings > Select Battery and device care.
  • Select Power saving mode.
  • Slide the toggle next to Power saving mode to the right to enable it.

There are many Android manufacturers out there, all with their own steps and processes. Your model’s steps could be different.

Don’t have a user manual? No worries. Tap or click here for thousands of free online user manuals or do a Google search for “your phone model + power saving mode.”

Other ways to extend battery life

While these battery-saving modes will save the most juice, they disable some functions that you may want to use. Try these tips to save battery power but don’t want to jump straight to Low Power Mode.

Lower the brightness: The brighter the screen, the more battery you use. Dim the screen down to save a bit of juice.

To lower the brightness on an iPhone, open Settings and select Display & Brightness. Slide the toggle under Brightness to the left to lower it. If you want to make it brighter, slide the toggle to the right.

For Android, open Settings and select Display. Slide the toggle to the left to lower brightness or to the right to raise it.

Curb notifications: The constant dings, pings, and data fetching use a lot of battery. Turn off notifications for unnecessary apps to give yourself more time.

You can turn off notifications for a specific app on an iPhone right from your home screen or lock screen. Pull down the notification screen on your iPhone to see a list of recent ones.

Tap and hold a notification, then tap the three dots in the upper-right corner. You’ll get a popup with a few options. Choose Turn Off to stop them altogether.

You can follow the same steps on an Android phone. Swipe down on the notification panel to see a list of your notifications. Press and hold on the one you want to turn off and tap Turn off notifications.

You can also long-press a notification as it happens, then tap the settings cog to go directly to notification settings.

Turn off nonessential features: Every extra feature you use, like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, drains your battery. Turn them off if you aren’t using them.

Try Airplane mode: This setting switches off your phone’s cellular and wireless connections. When you need to save battery, turn it on and then off again to call or send a message.

Control the temperature: Keep your phone’s temperature steady. If you’re in the car and your phone is sitting on the passenger seat in a sunbeam, you’ll notice how much faster your battery drains.

Be prepared next time: I always keep a portable battery in my bag. You can charge up a power bank at home and take it with you. Anker’s slim portable charger is slim, affordable and just plain works.

Bonus tip: Tech is expensive! Ways you’re wasting money and smart fixes to save

Look around your house. How much do you think you have spent on gadgets and tech subscriptions over the years?

Before you pull out your credit card again, read through this list of mistakes that might be costing you cash and easy fixes to spend less.

Tap or click for my pro tips to keep your wallet happy.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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