Energy Saving Tips from the Practice
for all Smartphones regardless of manufacturer
The Battery Life depends very much on the ambient Conditions
Stable LTE Supply favourable for Energy Consumption of Mobile Phones
When Deutsche Telekom began expanding 5G in Frankfurt in December 2019, it also optimized local LTE coverage for this purpose.
I benefited massively from the 5G rollout, even though I don't use any 5G equipment at all. The bad LTE reception at home is history since then (mostly the smartphone display showed 1 to 2 of 4 bars, very rarely 3 of 4 bars). Data flowed with 12 to 30 MBit/s in the download at that time.
Because LTE was weak but stable in reception, the BlackBerry Z10, Porsche Design P'9982 and iPhone almost always remained in this state-of-the-art battery-saving standard with Voice over LTE (VoLTE).
At my preferred restaurants in various parts of Frankfurt, LTE mobile phone coverage has already been excellent (data speed about 60 to 90 MBit/s in DL).
A pleasant side effect when surfing the web or reading a book in a café: the battery lasts very long.
5G Expansion reduces Energy Consumption of Smartphones
Since the 5G expansion with the side effect of a significant improvement of the local LTE supply, my iPhones usually show 3 to 4 of 4 bars of reception strength and the data throughput increased to an average (!) 100 MBit/s download and 50 MBit/s upload. Since the beginning of the pandemic, some of my neighbors seem to work all day from home with a mobile connection to the company server or stream a lot more music and movies in their free time than before, because since then the maximum transfer rate has dropped again during the day – peak values can only be reached at bedtime. Mobile telephony is a shared medium& – many customers share one network.
Regardless of transfer rates, batteries now last significantly longer because smartphones only need to transmit at a fraction of their power.
Increased Energy Consumption may be caused by Software
Due to the very good coordination of hardware and software, an iPhone without loaded third-party software consumes very little energy.
Bloatware, i.e. advertising software from third-party manufacturers that is unwanted by the customer, is not available on Apple smartphones.
You should avoid free apps with advertising banners, because they all (!) aim at your personal data, which is usually transmitted unencrypted and several times a day to dubious advertising servers.
Huge Offer of Apps – be picky and careful
Even free apps without banner ads can be disguised spy software, so you should be very selective when making your choice in the App Store.
I mention this here in the energy saving tips section, because unnecessary sending of data is not only immoral to criminal, but also strongly «pulls the battery». So even for people who don't care about the privacy of their friends (keyword: sending the complete address book to FB/WA!), it can't be completely irrelevant that someone secretly drains their battery (FB/WA demonstrably vacuum the complete address book hundreds of times a day! Security experts had already discovered this years ago with the help of the BlackBerry DTEK security app – the e Foundation has also discovered this in the meantime).
Web 2.0 Apps bad for Energy Balance and Privacy
I don't use any anti-social Web 2.0 garbage that disregards data protection – fortunately it's not even installed on iPhones ex works.
If you have Facebook or other apps belonging to the category Web 2.0 installed and the battery is always running low very quickly, try deleting these apps (make a backup beforehand if these apps are strangely important to you! You will be amazed! If you can't believe it, search for appropriate keywords in a search engine and you'll find proven tips such as «Save energy by removing the Facebook app».
Overloaded App Store quickly drains the Battery
An inaccessible update server can also drain the battery faster than expected. At least if you can set your smartphone to download and install apps automatically. If the operating system tries to connect to the update server without pausing even when the online connection is poor or the update server is overloaded, the battery will drain rapidly.
The following was and remains perhaps an Apple problem, because here the iPhone/the app requests the update and not the server triggers the update to the smartphone, if it has enough capacity for it: When Apple distributed the new iOS version 11, the App Store was also hardly accessible at times. This was reported in internet forums and blogs at the time. Software updates were not downloaded quickly, but stalled – and the iPhone kept trying non-stop until the download was finished – or the battery was empty! This can happen again and again if no forced break is programmed when the server is not available!
Remedy: Deactivate automatic Updates!
It is better to initiate updates manually if you have time and your smartphone has sufficient battery charge.
Apple iOS: Setting for Operating System Updates (device-side)
Menu Path of older iOS Versions
Settings / Apple ID / iTunes & App Store / Automatic Downloads / Updates [off]
Menu Path from approx. iOS 13
Settings / General / Software update / Automatic updates / Download iOS updates [off]
Apple iOS: Setting for App Updates via mobile radio (device-side)
Menu Path from approx. iOS 13
Settings / App Store / Apps / Automatic downloads [off]
Apple iOS: Data-saving Mode
Another good way to protect against surprises due to unexpected updates is the data saving mode.
Apple also introduced this with iOS version 13 (?), which can be found under the following menu path:
Settings / Mobile communications / Data Options / Data-saving mode [on]
Quote: «In data saving mode, data usage is reduced for mobile connections. When data saving mode is activated, automatic updates and background actions such as synchronising photos are stopped.»
Android OS: Setting for all updates (server-side)
Not on the smartphone, but on the server side in the Google Play settings:
Select Automatic App Updates, then you can select:
- via WLAN only
- Apps do not update automatically
If you do not use foreign WLANs, do not switch off the updates, but only switch to WLAN. Because at home you can recharge your smartphone battery at any time. Moreover, Google's update servers only transmit updates of their own accord when they have enough free capacity. So such a scenario as I experienced with Apple will hardly ever happen (but you can't rule it out, you'd better be careful).
Security tip: update your apps regularly, watch out for new versions yourself if you set them manually, do not ignore any notification.
Do not manually exit Apps that are no longer needed
It's a myth that is stubborn like Android: closing apps after usage is designed to save energy and make the smartphone faster.
But also Apple's iOS remembers which applications were not used for the longest time and stops these when the memory becomes too tight (evidence).
On smartphones with very little memory, the operating system even terminates older apps more often than on devices with enough memory.
Settings that really help
- Reduce display brightness – in buildings, minimum settings are often sufficient. Brighten only for taking photos and viewing/showing pictures. Try combination with automatic brightness control: Auto off, medium/high brightness, auto on »Automatic lock: Lock screen when not in use after 30 seconds« is finally practicable thanks to Face-ID recognition function
- Location services: Menu: Settings/Privacy/Positioning services: activate, but set all Apps to »When using«. Delete apps that do not allow this!
- Bluetooth: You don't use a Bluetooth headset, no car HFCK, don't stream music to active loudspeakers/hifi systems? Switching off hardly saves any energy since Bluetooth version 4.0, but is a safety aspect!
- Disable automatic updates! Prevents your phone from trying for hours to download updates when the App Store is overloaded
- Flight mode: activate in the evening before going to bed, if neither wake-up calls nor urgent SMS are expected in the morning (so only 0 to 2 % consumption!)
- Background update: allows apps to update content in the background via WLAN or mobile phone Only useful for a few apps. Switch off!
- Background image: Background images with dynamic background and perspective. More or less unnecessary gimmicks, abandonment saves a lot of energy
- Power saving mode: e-mail retrieval, Siri, background updating of apps, automatic downloads, visual effects are reduced or disabled
- Disable vibration alarm, eats up a lot of power and shakes the sensitive electronics unnecessarily (electronics cannot tolerate vibration!)
- WLAN: only switch on if absolutely necessary! Besides energy saving a very strong security aspect!