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Ask Arthur

Ask Arthur: What’s causing phone drain?

A reader asks why their phone battery is draining so fast. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK outlines the most common reasons.

Q: My phone battery is dying so fast it’s ridiculous. I got promised full-day use, but it hardly makes it past the middle of the day. What am I missing?

A: The most likely trick you’re missing is keeping your screen brightness low. Along with that, you may also be keeping your screen on all the time.

The bottom line with battery drainage is usually the size, brightness and use of the display. Nothing drains a battery faster. Most current phones have batteries that are double the size of those from just five years ago, but they need it, because their screens tend to be supersized compared to a few years ago. A 6.7-inch display is going to make massive demands on a battery when in constant use, such as with gaming, video viewing, or shooting videos.

There can be a number of other factors, though:

  • Even when you’re not actively using an app, it may still be running in the background and draining your battery. Some are worse than others, and a truly intelligent smart phone will tell you which.
  • Apps that use your location, such as GPS navigation apps and social media apps, are also major culprits.
    Keeping Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on all the time can also drain the battery, especially if not connected to a network or device.
  • As bizarre as it may sound, your distance from a network access point, or cellular tower, can have a massive impact. The further from the tower, the more the battery is drained due to the extra effort the phone makes to connect. For that reason, a phone battery will drain faster in a rural area than in an urban area.

Outdated software may not be optimised for battery life.
If your phone is old or damaged, the battery will be less efficient.

What can you do about it? Check your phone’s battery usage settings to see which apps are using the most battery. If you don’t need them, you can simply uninstall them.

If none of the above applies, chances are the battery itself is old or damaged. You will probably need to replace the battery, or even the phone itself. If you ever wondered when the time was right for a new phone, this is one of those times.

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