5 quick tips for instantly improving your battery life

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The battery life on Android phones varies wildly. Devices like the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact or Galaxy Note 4 run for a couple of days, while at the cheaper end of the market you might need to top up by mid-afternoon.

Thankfully, there are many simply tweaks you can make to improve your battery life. These tips require no technical expertise, and will deliver instant results.

Adjust the brightness

Most Android phones will adjust their screen brightness level according to the ambient conditions. This means that the brightness will increase when it is sunny, and decrease when it gets dark.

By going into the Brightness options in Settings you can set a baseline for the screen brightness. A good rule of thumb is to set it during normal indoor daylight conditions.

Set it to the level you want, then drop it just a tad to squeeze a few more minutes out the battery.

Switch off 4G

4G is pretty awesome, but it can drain the battery.

Even in an area of excellent coverage, 4G saps more juice than HSDPA or 3G do. If you’re in an area where there’s patchy coverage, the phone will expend more energy trying to hold onto to a signal before it drops down to a slower connection.

Unless you’re reliant on the faster speeds of 4G, and are based in a area of good coverage, consider switching 4G off altogether. Go to Settings > More > Mobile networks and choose 3G as your preferred network type.

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Shut off Location tracking

Android phones have a location tracking feature that is used in many Google apps. It regularly records your location and uploads it to the Google servers for use in apps such as Google Now.

There are obviously many privacy issues here that you may not be aware of. Even if you’re fine with them you may be less fine with the fact that this location tracking is a significant battery drain.

Go into Google Settings > Location > Location history and set it to off. This will cost you some Google Now functionality, so only do it if you’re not a big user of the location aware features in Google Now.

Stop apps from updating

When you install a lot of apps they will automatically set themselves to update in the background at set intervals.

This is great when you’ve only got one or two apps doing it. When there are 15 or 20 it’ll eat into your battery in no time.

The solution is to check the apps that you install for background updates. You’ll find this information in the settings area for each app. Depending on how often you use the app you can set it to go online less often, or to wait until you choose to do it manually.

So many apps have this feature. It’s not just the obvious ones like email, Facebook and Twitter. Reddit apps, podcast apps, news apps, weather apps and more will all routinely go online to check for new stuff to download.

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Turn off the screen

The screen is the biggest battery drain on any device. The less you can have it turned on the better your battery will be.

There’s not a lot you can do about that if you need to use your phone (other than maybe dealing with some of your notifications on an Android Wear smartwatch). But you can at least minimise the amount of time the screen will stay on when you’re not using the device.

Go to Settings > Display and set the Sleep level to as little as you can manage. Ideally one minute or less.

The screen will stay on when you’re watching videos, but you will need to touch the screen from time to time when playing games just to keep it awake.

What is the battery like on your phone? Do you have any tips for making it last longer? Let us know in the comments.