Your business smartphone might have the sharpest display, the most powerful processor and a slew of productivity-boosting software features. But all that won't mean much when your battery runs dry halfway through the work day. In fact, long battery life might be among the most important features to look for in a business phone, especially if you depend on your device to stay connected and productive. But it's not all about buying the device with the beefiest battery. There are easy steps anyone can take to help a smartphone last well past closing time.
1. Dim the display
Smartphone reviews frequently praise phones for their bold, bright displays. But, in fact, your smartphone's display is by far its biggest battery hog. To counteract this effect, consider making a few sacrifices. Set your smartphone's display at half brightness, or set brightness to change automatically depending on the current lighting conditions. Also consider setting your phone's display to time out more quickly. Letting the screen turn off automatically after 15 or 30 seconds of inactivity could significantly bolster your battery life.
2. Limit background notifications
Apps that continue to push notifications to you in the background – even when you're not actively using them – can drain your battery in a hurry. Carefully consider which apps you need to update in real time. Social media services such as Facebook and Twitter are designed to run in the background and alert you to updates as they arrive, so consider deactivating notifications within those apps' settings menus – or at least setting them to update at less frequent intervals. Don't bother with task killers; they have been shown to have little or no positive effect on smartphone battery life. Automatic app updates can also decimate your phone's charge, so make sure your phone is set to download updates only when charging. That way you can save your phone's resources for the things that really matter, such as business email.
3. Disable Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi
Business users often use Bluetooth to sync their smartphone with a wireless headset or other accessories; GPS to navigate to appointments; and Wi-Fi to access the Web without gobbling up limited wireless data. But these useful technologies all have one important thing in common: They're all a drain on your smartphone's battery life, so consider deactivating them when not in use. That way your phone isn't wasting resources searching for a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection where none exists. Whenever a Wi-Fi connection is available, however, make sure to use it; Wi-Fi consumes less battery life than cellular data.
4. Turn it off
The most effective way to keep your phone charged is, of course, to stop using it. Turning your phone off may seem like a drastic measure, but chances are there are periods of time during the work day when you know you won't be using your phone, such as when you're attending a lengthy business meeting. In those instances, powering your device down can save much more energy than simply leaving it in standby mode. Frequently turning your smartphone on and off is a bad idea, however. Aside from being inconvenient, powering your phone on actually consumes significantly more battery life than simply waking up the display. Save this solution for times when your battery is already running low and you know you'll be needing it later.
5. Get a new battery
If your current battery isn't cutting it, get a new one. The ability of your smartphone to hold a charge naturally diminishes over time; by the tail end of a two-year contract, no battery-saving trick will be enough. Whether or not you'll be able to swap out your old battery for a fresh replacement depends on which smartphone you own. Removing the battery on most Android handsets is as simple as popping open the back lid. But iPhones and some Android handsets such as the Moto X feature a sealed body that makes swapping out the battery nearly impossible. Business users who really rely on their phone, meanwhile, can check to see if an extended battery is available for their smartphone model. It might add a bit of bulk to your device, but that could be a decent tradeoff for a phone that lasts and lasts.
6. Buy a new phone
Ultimately, your best efforts to extend the battery life of your current business phone may not be enough; some smartphones simply were not designed to last all day with heavy use. In those cases, replacing your phone might be your best bet. Top-tier business phones such as the iPhone 5S, Galaxy Note 3 and LG G2 feature some of the longest-lasting batteries around. Business users on a budget, meanwhile, can opt for a more affordable handset such as Motorola's Moto G, a mid-range Android smartphone with solid specs and good battery life. Steer clear of budget devices, which usually have low-capacity batteries.