Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
You tinker with a series of settings on the device so you get a nice compromise between longer battery life and turning on the features you like. Fortunately, the iPad already is blessed with a good 10-hour battery life thanks to its size and Apple’s ability to take advantage of every bit of extra space inside the case for the battery.(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Oh My Tech!: Tips to extend the life of your gadget’s battery

By Vince Horiuchi

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Jan 17 2013 07:25 am • Last Updated May 05 2013 11:33 pm

What is the best way to maximize the life of your iPad battery, your cell phone battery? Should you let the battery charge run completely down before recharging or do you recharge it when there is half of a charge left? Also, if you are not using your electronic piece of equipment do you plug it in and charge it while not in use? Thanks for your input. — Mo Smith.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Extending the battery life of any gadget is like a game. You tinker with a series of settings on the device so you get a nice compromise between longer battery life and turning on the features you like.

Fortunately, the iPad already is blessed with a good 10-hour battery charge thanks to its size and Apple’s ability to take advantage of every bit of extra space inside the case.

But 10 hours is about the maximum you can get before you start to lose important features. As you begin to adjust the settings in favor of more features, that number will start to fall. Here’s where to look for in the settings to maximize the life of the battery.

Bluetooth • This is the wireless connectivity for things such as headsets or keyboards. If you don’t use any of them, turn off the Bluetooth setting. While it’s on, it can leak battery power, even when you’re not using it.

Notifications • Your smartphone and iPad have the ability to notify you with all kinds of alerts. But leaving them on can take up battery life because it’s contantly pinging servers to see if there is an alert for you. Go through these notifications one by one for each app and turn off those you don’t need.

4G LTE • Cellphones and the iPad also have wireless data connectivity called 4G LTE that you can use in case you’re not in range of a WiFi hotspot. But 4G LTE takes up more battery power than even the slower, older 3G connectivity. Fortunately, there is a switch to turn off LTE. If you’re always going to be in range of WiFi, turn it off.

Location services • Many apps use this feature, which finds out what your current location is using the built-in GPS receiver. Say you have an app that tells you what movies are playing in your area. In order to know what theaters are near you, it must figure out what your current location is. But such features use battery power because they’re constantly using the GPS receiver. On the iPad, go to "Settings," then "Privacy," then "Location Services" to toggle it on and off for each app.

Email • You can adjust your email settings to stop your device from pushing emails to your phone or iPad automatically. You also can tell it to fetch your email from the server less frequently or only when you manually check your email.

story continues below
story continues below

Screen brightness • This is where most of your battery drain can come from. The brighter your screen, the more battery power is used. Many devices have an auto-brightness feature that adjusts the screen’s brightness based on the ambient room light. But if you really want to save power, turn that off and just lower the brightness down to an acceptable level.

Software update • Software engineers who write the code for the operating systems for these devices spend many hours trying to optimize their OS so it uses less and less battery power. So always keep your device’s operating system up to date to ensure it is using the most optimized version.

Recharging • As far as recharging your devices, all of them use lithium-ion battery technology, which allows you to recharge them without having to wait until they are completely depleted.

However, because rechargeable batteries use a kind of memory system to remember when they are fully charged and when they are completely depleted, it’s a good idea to fully recharge your device and then use it until the battery is completely dead about once a month to extend the overall life of the battery.

Finally, I’ve read both arguments about whether it’s OK to keep your device plugged in or not after it’s fully charged. Given the life of a lithium-ion battery (about two to three years under normal use), it would seem that doing either would have a negligible effect on the life of the battery.

If you have a tech question for Vince, email him at ohmytech@sltrib.com, and he’ll try to answer it for his column in The Salt Lake Tribune or on its website. For an archive of past columns, go to www.sltrib.com/topics/ohmytech.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.