- by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 3/10/2022
A power outage can hit when you least expect it. In times like that, your smartphone is your most valuable resource, providing you with access to news and instructions and allowing you to keep in touch with family and friends. Unfortunately, no power means no ability to recharge your phone, so you have to be careful to conserve your battery power.
Here are a few practical ways to cut down on your power usage during a sudden loss of power.
A high screen brightness setting is one of the worst energy drains on your phone. Lowering the setting is an easy way to conserve power without affecting your phone's performance.
For Apple phones, go to "Settings," then select "Battery" and turn on "Lower Power Mode." Once activated, Low Power Mode will lower your screen's brightness, minimize animations and shut down the use of background data. Android phones have a "Battery Saver" mode that slows down your phone's performance and limits background data usage. You can engage this by swiping down and selecting the "Battery Saver" icon or you can turn it on manually under "Settings."
Apps continue to use power, even if they're just running in the background. This is another huge drain on your phone's battery, so be sure to shut down any apps once you've finished using them.
Your phone goes through a lot of battery power keeping track of your location, so it's a good idea to shut this down. On iPhone, go to "Settings," "Privacy" and then "Location Services." While there, you can turn off all location services entirely or select a number of settings for each individual app. On Android phones, you can turn off location service under "Settings," then "Location."
Every time your phone connects to something it's using battery power. During a power loss, wireless service may be spotty, which can drain your battery even faster. You can help offset this by shutting off your Wi-Fi when you're not using it. For iPhone users, the easiest way to do this is to go to "Settings," then turn on "Airplane Mode." Android users can go to "Settings," "Network & internet," then move the toggle switch beside "Wi-Fi" into the "Off" position.
Siri and Google Assistant can put an unnecessary strain on your battery, so it's a good idea to shut this down. For Apple devices, go to "Settings," then "Siri & Search." On that screen, toggle the slider next to "Listen for 'Hey Siri'" into the "Off" position. For Android phones, simply say "Hey Google, open Assistant Settings" in order to manage your Google assistant features.
For iPhones, open "Settings," then "Notifications." This will bring up a list of everything with the ability to send Push Notifications. You can then turn each of these off manually. Android users can disable Push Notifications by going to "Settings," "Apps & notifications," then "Notifications On for all apps." This brings up a list of apps. Tap on any individual app to select it, then toggle the "On" slider into the "Off" position.
Google, Facebook, Messenger, YouTube and Gmail are the highest power-draining apps out there, so avoid using them during a power outage unless it's completely necessary.
Cell phone batteries typically only last around two years. After that, you may have to charge them more often or they may have trouble holding a charge at all. If your phone battery is older than that, stop by your local Batteries Plus and have it tested for free. A little preparation can help prevent you from being caught during an emergency with a phone that has a faulty battery.
Even when the power is out, there are still a few ways to charge up your phone. Batteries Plus sells a number of wireless chargers, including power banks, Qi wireless charging pads and even solar power chargers. By having a wireless charger charged up and at the ready, you'll be able to keep your phone going strong when the power goes out. If you're looking for additional suggestions, our blog entitled "How to Find the Best Portable charger for Your Phone" is a great place to start.
You can also charge your cell phone using the auxiliary power outlet (aka cigarette lighter) on your car or truck. Since cell phones run on DC power, you can plug them directly into the power outlet. If you want to charge an AC dependent electrical device though, you'll need to pick up a power inverter. For more information on this, read our blog entitled "What Can You Plug into a Car Cigarette Lighter."
You'll find everything you need for your home emergency kit at Batteries Plus, including generators, flashlights, UPS systems, alkaline batteries and more. Looking for a few suggestions? Read "What Should I Stock up on During Hurricane Season" for a list of must-have items.