Stopping The Low Battery Nightmare
There’s one horror story we have all experienced at some point in our lives.
Our device is low on battery power at 6-8 AM in the morning.
This means we will be unable to check our email, talk to people and remember what we will do today.
Normally we would reach for the charger, but we either have to get to work immediately or we can’t find the charger.
So for a while, we have to live our lives without our device.
And we need our device for the meeting we have in a few hours.
Devices run out of battery all the time. That’s why we need to charge them up every once in a while. The problem is, our devices sometimes lose power faster than we would like.
This can be very inconvenient, especially during presentations or remote work, where we need the battery power needs to be high enough so that we can continue our work.
While a solution would be to carry a charger with us at all times, not every charger will work for every device, and not every place has an outlet we can use to recharge our devices.
Another solution would be to learn simple battery conservation techniques that can not only extend the life of our devices, but ensure that we are not losing power in ways we are not aware of.
You Don’t Need A Really Bright Screen
Screen brightness draws a lot of power from your battery, because the brighter the screen, the more power your computer needs to use to maintain that brightness.
A screen that is extremely bright may be necessary when you are working in a dark environment, but in an office setting, you most likely have office lights and/or a desk lamp.
These lights provide a good deal of brightness that let you see your computer screen just fine. And if you happen to be near a window with nice sunlight, you might not need your lights to provide light for your room.
A really bright screen in a bright environment can also be bad for your eyes, and screens are already bright enough as it is.
Of course, don’t lower the brightness setting all the way down, because that can be hard to see. But reduce the brightness by a significant portion and you might see your device lasting longer than you expect it to.
Don’t Drain Your Battery Completely (If You Can Help It)
Most batteries in devices today are lithium ion batteries. This is important because in the past, not every battery was lithium ion.
As a result, some of the advice you hear might be to completely drain out your battery’s power before recharging them back up. This was the case when batteries were made from nickel cadmium. But lithium ion batteries work differently.
Apple, who uses lithium ion batteries throughout their products, explains that lithium ion batteries work in charge cycles. A complete charge cycle (which is when you use 100% of a device’s power) will reduce the lifespan of the device.
Charges can be partial, which is the good news. Say for example, you have a device with 100% energy, and then use 80% of it. You then recharge the device back to 100%. The next day, you use 20% of the power in the battery. That’s one charge cycle.
Of course, you don’t always use an exact 80%-20% amount of power over 2 days. It might take several days for a complete charge cycle to occur if you don’t always use your device.
This isn’t the case if the battery is completely drained, because that needs a complete charge cycle to get it back to full power.
Of course, there will be times where charging from 0-100% will be unavoidable, but the more times you can avoid a complete battery drain, the more times you can expect your battery to last when you really need it.
Don’t Use So Many Applications/Programs
For laptops and tablets, you will be running a lot of programs and applications. For a laptop/tablet to maintain the processes for a single application or program, it has to devote some of its resources towards it.
It goes without saying that whenever you have multiple programs and applications open, your laptop/tablet is spending resources to keep them open and running.
The more resources your computer is using, the more power is needed in order to support the usage of those resources.
Close the programs you don’t need, because that means your laptop/tablet doesn’t have to work as hard and doesn’t need as much power to support itself.
For smartphones and some tablet applications, it’s a different story.
Smartphone applications become frozen when not in use, which means they actually don’t use ANY power. So a smartphone can actually have multiple applications open at a time, and there won’t be a significant power drain.
Where the power drain comes from is the background data that these applications need, which means the phone is allocating resources to get that background data.
Of course, instant messaging applications will consume a lot of power, as they require a lot of resources to run.
If using a smart device, be smart about power usage and you might find yourself with a lot more power.
Don’t Use A Device If You Don’t Need It
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that battery power is used whenever you use a device.
What should come as a surprise is that we tend to not think about how we use our devices.
In order to stay on, a device has to keep using power to remain active. Even if a laptop is on sleep mode, it uses power to remain active so we can quickly resume work.
Smartphones are similar because the phone remains on even if the display is off. Power is still being used to keep the phone on so that we can start using it without going through the start-up process.
This gradual power usage is very small, but it adds up over time.
There are people who never turn off their devices, which seems like a very efficient way to get the most out of your device, but this constant power usage drains and weakens your battery, since you need to keep charging the battery, using up battery cycles that much faster.
If you don’t need to keep your device on, turn it off. If you find yourself using your devices when you don’t actually need to (ie. you are just bored), cut down on that behaviour.
True, the amount of power you save might not be a large amount. But saving 5% of your battery power may come in handy when you need your devices active for an emergency or important situation.
If you absolutely need your device to still be on, try putting it in sleep mode or put it in a power-saving mode, because while it will still drain power, less power consumption is better than regular power consumption.
Take Your Battery As Far As You Can
You don’t have to face the same low-battery nightmare on a constant basis. You have the ability to do something about it.
It just takes some simple power conservation techniques to get the most out of your device and prevent your device from not working when you really need it.
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