The chances are, you're already tired of hearing about the energy crisis and the prices that seem to be going up just about every day. You wouldn't be the only one either – most of us have had a look at some money-saving options in the last few months.
You might have even wondered if there's a way you can save money when it comes to your mobile, and while we've got a few tips for you, charging your phone less often isn't one of them.
The research has been done, the results are in and… the most you're likely to save by charging your mobile more effectively is about 40p. Not exactly a life-changing sum, by any account.
But that doesn't mean there aren’t other ways to prevent having to charge up all the time – and taking better care of your phone and using it more efficiently can't hurt, right?
1. Don't charge your phone all the way up
Yes, it sounds a bit counterintuitive. Most of us consider 100% to be charged, and anything less we'll leave it plugged in – even overnight, sometimes (okay, often.)
But the truth is, when you charge your phone up to 100% and leave it plugged in, it'll damage the battery over time. Short-term, sure – you probably won't notice. But weeks, months and years later, this will have a knock-on effect that shortens the lifespan of your battery.
Instead, we'd recommend keeping your device charged to somewhere between 40% and 80% to keep it in its best condition.
Lucky for us, smartphones can do the hard work for us a lot of the time. iPhones pick up on overnight charging times and delay your charge to 80% to reduce stress on the battery. Samsung and Google do something similar. So, it's easier to stick to the little and often approach – but remember for a good ol' refresh you'll still want to charge to 100% around once a month.
2. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
When it comes to keeping your battery for as long as possible (and reducing how often you need to charge up), turning off unnecessary functions is a great start.
If you're anything like me, you leave Bluetooth on to play music at home, and Wi-Fi on to save data (why pay twice, right?) But both of these connections make a difference in how long our batteries last.
Switching off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you're not using them might seem like a faff but can prevent your battery from draining – since when they're turned on, your phone is constantly searching for connections. Shut them off, and you'll see results. And maybe save like, 5p?
3. Switch on Battery-Saving Mode
Almost every phone has a battery saving or low power mode these days. Yes, you might find your screen is a little dimmer (or even in greyscale), but you'd be surprised what you can get used to if you're determined to save power.
Understandably, if your mobile's version prevents you from using certain functions, then you might want to give this tip a miss – but if it doesn't, you could potentially double your battery life. And that ain't half bad.
Oh, and some devices let you automatically switch to battery saving mode or low-power mode on a timer or at bedtime, so that's worth looking at too!
4. Turn off your GPS
There are plenty of benefits to keeping your GPS on, sure (hello, Google Rewards!) but when you're sitting at home, do you really need it?
As the tool that's most used with maps in iOS and Android, there's really no need to keep this battery-zapping function switched on day and night. Try switching it off, and see if you can save a couple of pennies.
Literally. 2p if you're lucky.
5. Tweak your screen settings
Once upon a time, the screen was only a tiny part of a mobile device (we still remember you, Nokia 3310.) These days, not so much.
A huge part of the battery power in our mobile is taken up by the screen – especially with new features like Always On Mode on so many devices. But the price of those gorgeous, sharp and bright images is charging more often.
Animated screensavers, bright screens, super-duper HD modes, and Always On Modes all have an effect. Even the time it takes your screen to go dark once you've locked it plays its part. And all of these things can be tweaked to save some battery.
Turn down your brightness. Set your phone to go dark immediately after locking. Reduce the sharpness and display quality (you'll get used to it, we promise.) Switch on Dark Mode. Don't use a fancy screensaver. Every little helps.
Plus, Dark Mode reduces eye strain, so your optician will thank you and you might save on a new pair of glasses (which cost considerably more than that 40p you might save from charging less!)
6. Turn off vibrate
Once upon a time, vibrate was secondary to a cheesy ringtone. But no longer.
Yes, a ringtone might be more irritating – or even embarrassing – than silent and slick vibration, but the truth is your ringtone doesn't use as much power.
Turn off vibrate mode and keep the ringtone volume low, and you'll save a little power with every call. Silent mode is even better, but frankly impractical, so we wouldn't recommend it.
However, we would recommend giving some serious thought to your ringtone before switching it up, since frankly, we'll judge you for it. And so will everyone else that hears it.
7. Kill your background apps
Does anyone else compulsively close their apps all the time? Just me? Well, you could do with taking a leaf out of my book.
Tons of apps sit there in the background, either as windows we've left open or just those that are logging things like your location, harvesting your data and selling it to Skynet. Kidding. Sort of.
Regardless, they're draining your battery, and the more apps you can close down, the better for your battery life.
8. Skip the voice assistant
Whether you love Siri like the personal assistant you've never had or shout Hey Google a dozen times a day, voice-controlled systems still take power. They're listening out all the time (not in a scary way, really) which uses a fair bit of power.
Turn off your voice assistant and save the battery. And how much harder is it to just type it out, really? It'll be just like the good old days.
9. Avoid warm and bright sunlight
We're not saying you need to go full-on Storm from X-Men and start controlling the weather, just that you should remember your device when you're outdoors.
The reason here might not be obvious, but it is two-fold. First, most phones with adaptive brightness will automatically get brighter and use more power when you're in the sunshine.
Secondly, most phones use lithium-ion batteries. These are designed to function at room temperature and leaving your phone in the sun heats them to the point that they're way less efficient.
So stick to the shade to avoid damaging your battery and your battery life.