More than ever, smartphones are our lifeline to the outside world -- we can no longer afford to have them flat lining on us!
We've all been there before. It seems like only hours ago you were charging your phone, then all of a sudden you're wincing as every action seems to drain that battery bar ever further towards the dreaded 0%.
Just a few years ago this would seem like a minor inconvenience, but these days we use phone for far more than just calls and texts. A day or night out can be totally ruined by an unanticipated battery shortage.
It can even cost you financially. Just this past month, Forbes reported that Uber users are more likely to pay surge pricing if their phone battery is low.
You may wonder why phone companies seem slow to keep up with other aspects of their advancing devices. It seems like every new iPhone or Android device wallops their predecessors in most features, yet battery life has remained a constant problem no matter how current your model is.
In a way, it's the smartphone-industrial complex like growth of features that batteries are simply struggling to keep up with. Every time a feature is improved or added, or a screen becomes bigger or sharper, that requires increased power.
Phone batteries are certainly built to last a long time, but the problem is the power usage our phone's apps and features demand have outstripped what's available power wise. But you can actually get great battery life out of what you have already - if you know how to properly care for your battery.
At the moment, most smartphones are powered by lithium ion batteries, which are the best on the market.
There's plenty of room for growth with this technology. Lithium ion batteries have recently become safer, more efficient and more powerful as the industry and government continue to improve production and regulation. And in this case that's a good thing - plenty of modern technology can be surprisingly dangerous when shipped, and this includes lithium batteries.
According to the New York Times, lithium ion batteries currently improve their capacity at a rate of 10% per year.
One thing about lithium ion batteries is that their maximum holding capacity decreases over time. According to one study, you can expect your battery capacity to drop by around 20 percentage points over the course of 250 charge cycles.
At least that's something, but consumers are absolutely looking for the next big breakthrough to be battery life: In 2014, the research firm IDC reported increased battery life was the top desire for consumer smartphone users.
While the rest of the world is waiting, you can improve your battery life with these three simple tricks:
Recharge On The Regular
Recharge your phone sooner than you think you need to. Contrary to some widely circulated advice, it's best not to let you phone get too close to 0%. The lower the "depth of discharge" (percentage of the battery that is drained), the longer the battery will last. So try to never let it hit 0%, and charge as frequently as possible between uses.
Keep It Cool
You should also make sure not to leave your phone in heat for too long. Any temperature above 86 degrees Fahrenheit will damage the longevity of the battery and you'll lose your charge faster.
Dim The Lights
How you use your device can also play a role. Screen usage is a huge power hog, so turn down the brightness when you can and avoid habitual phone checking - turning your screen on every couple of minutes is a huge power drain.
Lithium batteries still have a lot of room for growth, and when managed properly, can supply great battery life for long periods of time. Make sure you're optimizing your usage and you'll never be low again.