Good Question: What’s Draining Our Phone Battery?

This article originally appeared on CBS Minnesota on February 10, 2016.

By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A reporter for The Guardian made news this week when he uninstalled the Facebook app on his Android phone. He said that move alone consistently gave him 20 percent more battery power.

It seems the more apps we use, the faster your phone dies. But, why? What’s draining our phones? Good Question.

“It may sound uncanny but my mom can get four days on her phone,” says Matt Udermann, owner of Cell Phone Repair Bloomington. “Why? Because she’s not using apps.”

Udermann says there are two primary reasons our phone batteries drain. First, the phone is constantly looking for a signal, whether it’s wi-fi or cellular. Second, many of the apps on our phones use lots of power to track where we are and send us constant updates, even when we’re not actively using them.

Putting a smartphone is airplane mode will stop the constant searchers, but prevent a user from getting any text messages, phone calls or data updates.

Studies have shown that apps like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Spotify can be big battery drainers. Many of the biggest battery users run in the background to continuously update with information.

 “They want to know where you are at all times,” Udermann said. “So they can give you all the restaurants in that location, the nearest coffee shops, so they can give you ads.”

Smartphone users can check their battery usage on their phones to determine which programs use the most battery power. It’s a “battery usage” tab under the “settings” tab.

Udermann also recommends closing any applications when you’re not using them either by swiping up or swiping right. A closed application will still use some battery power, but not nearly as much as when the application is turned on.

He also suggests uninstalling applications you don’t use, checking your settings for low-power options on the phone or app and replacing batteries that are worn out.

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