SHEDNOTES 153: A Filofacts on – IT – BATTERIES

Jane Hoskyn, giving battery-saving tips in Computeractive Aug-Sept 2015, said:

* Turn your screen brightness down.

* Use Aeroplane Mode, which disables several battery-killers at once: Bluetooth (how often do you use it?); Wi-Fi (there’s no point having it switched on when you don’t want to use it); and mobile networking.

* You’ll find Android’s ‘Aeroplane mode’ switch by swiping down from the top of the screen, and iOS’s ‘Airplane mode’ switch by swiping up from the bottom.

* GPS location services are now commonplace in tablets and phones – map apps, weather apps and, of course, live traffic apps.  But GPS is a huge battery hog. What’s more, having location services switched on by default records your whereabouts when you might not want to.

To switch location permission off in Android, go to Settings, tap Location and then move the slider to Off. In iOS, go to Settings, tap Privacy, tap Location Services and then switch it to Off.

In iOS 7 and 8 it is possible to enable gps location only when using particular apps, such as weather checks and mapping.

* Android Lollipop has a ‘Battery saving’ mode that dramatically cuts the power cost of location services by forcing them to use Wi-Fi and, if you allow it, mobile data instead of GPS.

* Android now also lets you see which apps and tools are having the greatest impact on your battery. To enable this mode, go to Settings, then Location and move the switch to On. On the ‘Location mode’ screen that appears, tap ‘Battery saving’. You can also opt to use GPS only, and not Wi-Fi or mobile data. This is useful if you don’t have internet access, but it’s a big battery drain.

* You can turn on Wi-Fi when you’re in Aeroplane/Airplane mode. Mobile data is still disabled completely, but it means you can use Wi-Fi with minimal impact on the battery. To do this in iOS, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap the Airplane icon so it goes white. The Wi-Fi icon will automatically go grey. Then tap the Wi-Fi icon and it’ll turn white again, so you can get online. In Android, swipe down from the top of the screen, tap ‘Aeroplane mode’ and then tap the Wi-Fi icon. We had to do this a couple of times before it would come on, so it may be best to wait a minute after switching to Aeroplane mode before trying to switch on Wi-Fi.

* Android and Apple both recommend using automatic (or ‘adaptive’) brightness settings to save your battery, but we don’t. Auto-settings draw on your device’s sensors and involve background process that run constantly and drain your battery. Choose your own brightness to suit your eyes and save your battery.

* Notifications are supposed to be useful. Actually, they’re battery-draining irritants. Even those notifications you actually enjoy getting, such as Facebook ‘likes’ and family emails, aren’t necessary. Why not just check these apps manually? Your battery will benefit greatly.

* In iOS, go to the Notification Centre and choose None. In Android, go to Settings, ‘Sound & notification’, ‘App notifications’ and block notifications for apps you don’t want to hear from. Some devices bury notification settings in obscure places, so explore your tablet or phone’s settings for the easiest notification-killing method.

* Watch Chrome as a browser. On some devices, Chrome’s app ( launches multiple windows when it really only needs to launch one. This idea is that separate windows don’t clutter your screen like tabs, but the result is harder work for your tablet.

* Be aware that playing with apps like Skype, Pushbullet and Facebook, murders batteries. If you have them, be sure to close them when not using them.

Thanks and respects to Computeractive, an excellent magazine – but ironically difficult to get at online. The Shed offers occasional highlights, with the law on reasonable review in mind.

* The Filofacts is a Shed project in progress – a collection of survival notes designed to be printed off for steam-powered personal organisers.

See more at


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