Long gone are the glorious days when our cell phone battery lasted for days on a single charge. My first cell phone (an old school brick Nokia) seemed to last forever, probably because the only thing installed was the game “Snake," and I had a limited amount of minutes and texts that I could use each month. I would never have guessed that 15-some-odd years later, I would grow so attached to my smart phone for everything. Especially while traveling. When I travel, I use my phone as my camera, travel guide, map, translator, etc. and I'm sure you do too! Times sure have changed...am I right?
Nowadays we have to worry about our phone lasting for a full day without recharging. If you can do that on a normal day, give yourself a pat on the back...you're impressive! When you’re traveling, it is even harder to stay charged. There can be a lot to think about when you're traveling, but your cell phone battery life shouldn’t be the focus.
Now that international cell phone plans have really taken off, most of us will probably use our phones not only to take pictures while we are traveling, but to communicate with family and friends, as well as post updates on social media. Some of us even work remotely and rely on our phones to get us through our work day on the road. The last thing you want is a dead cell phone and miss out on that epic shot or important email!
There are a number of ways to prep yourself (and your iPhone) prior to traveling to make sure you can stay connected all day.
iPhone Battery Life Tips + Tricks
Use these iPhone tips + tricks to maximize your battery life while traveling.
Use a portable battery charger. This is the easiest route to go. Without changing any setting on your phone, you can simply invest in a small travel charger that can juice up your phone on the go. I recommend one that not only charges your phone quickly, but can also recharge itself quickly. Just keep in mind this is not foolproof. I had an awesome charger that could recharge my phone about 10 full times before I needed to recharge it, but eventually, it went kaput unexpectedly. Another great reason to have a portable charger is if you are staying at a location with limited power outlets. Using your portable charger can free up space for something else that needs some recharging. Solar chargers also exist, but you’ll have to leave the charger out in the sun for a day to fully charge it up, but can be great when you are traveling to a remote location and don’t have another source of power.
Buy a case that doubles as a charger. There are a number of well-known cell phone case brands that not only protect your phone from damages, but also can charge your phone with the flip of a switch. The extra power usually can recharge your phone between 80-200%. Even better? Some even come with extra storage space for all those pictures and videos so you don’t have to worry about deleting anything. Some of the most trusted brands include Mophie, LifeProof and Otterbox.
Use airplane mode. If you don’t want to turn off your phone between uses, at least put your phone on airplane mode when you don’t need to use your data for a while. This will turn off your cellular and Wifi connections.
Turn on low power mode. If you have an iPhone, chances are you’ve seen this feature kick in automatically when your phone gets down to 20% battery life. You can switch this feature on by going to Settings > Battery. Doing this may give your phone up to three extra hours of battery life, but you’ll lose a few features like push email, animated wallpapers, background app refresh, automatic downloads, Hey Siri, night shift, etc. You’ll know you are in low power mode by the battery icon color changing to yellow.
Reduce display brightness. If you don’t mind a more dimly lit display, go to Settings > Display & Brightness and turn off the Auto-Brightness setting. You can then drag it to as low as you want. The lower the better.
Turn off notifications. Go to Settings > Notifications and click on your apps that you’d like to turn off notifications. You’ll want to de-select “Show on Lock Screen.” Just keep the notifications on that really are important to you. This will minimize the notification light coming on. Another helpful hint? Turn your phone face down when you have it with you on a table or another surface, the notification light will not turn on.
Check your GPS settings. If you don’t need an app to know where you are at all times, turn it off! Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and select the apps that you would like to turn off and change it to “Never.”
Turn off background app refresh. If you don’t want apps to update content when on Wi-Fi or cellular, you can turn them off to conserve battery life. Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh to go through a list of your apps.
Install a battery saving app. There are a number of apps out there to help you save your battery life so you don’t have to make a bunch of these adjustments manually.
Update to the latest software. Make sure your iPhone is running the most current version of iOS. Apple is constantly working to create a better way for your phone to save energy.
Don’t quit apps. Contrary to what you may think, closing an app and then reopening it will actually use more RAM (memory). So don’t worry about exiting out of an app every time you go to hibernate your phone.
Set a minimal auto-lock time. Go to Settings > General > Auto-Lock to reduce the amount of time that goes by before your phone locks itself. 30 seconds is the minimum. Even better? Click the sleep button right when you’re done using your phone.
Disable Bluetooth. If you aren’t using headphones, a speaker, or another device, you don’t need to have Bluetooth enabled. Go to Settings > Bluetooth to toggle this off.
Turn off airdrop. Airdrop can be handy when you are sharing files with another iPhone user, but if you don’t need it on, disable it. Swipe up to open up the control center and change it to “off.”
More iPhone Battery Tips
- Wear a watch while traveling so you don’t constantly check your phone for the time.
- Keep your phone out of the heat and direct sunlight as much as possible.
- Find out what apps use up the most of your battery life. Go to Settings > Battery and you’ll see what your usage was over the past 24 hours or the last two days. Not surprisingly, a lot of my battery life goes to social media apps, namely Facebook. If you tap on the list it will show you both the percentage of battery use the app has sucked up, but also your screen time on the app. You might be slightly disturbed by these figures, so be warned. You may want to delete an app altogether or just monitor the time you spend on it.
- Remove your case when charging. Sometimes a case can cause your phone to overheat which will reduce battery capacity.
- Keep your phone off vibrate to save some battery life.
What tips do you have for fellow travelers to keep your cell phone alive while traveling?
Leave your advice in the comments below!