No matter how big the battery on your phone, you'll always want to get a little more life out of it. Lately many phones - especially Windows Mobile phones - have been shaving their batteries down to achieve better form factors. So this guide, Part IV in the series (the rest are here), will tell you the tips and tricks you need to know to max out the battery life on your Windows Mobile smartphone.
The following may sound like a obvious statement, but it is important to have this line of thought when optimizing your phone to save battery power: In order to increase your battery life you need to decrease the power used. There are many things you can do to decrease the power used. Some of the steps may be changing the default settings, including possibly tweaking the registry of your phone, while others may included adapting some of your habits while using your phone.
The first step in increasing your battery life is to identify the most common sources of battery drain and take steps to minimize their impact on the life of your battery per charge. When I am talking about battery drain or conservation issues, there are a lot of little things you can do that make a HUGE difference. My goal is to provide the most comprehensive list of battery saving tips you have seen in one place before. Now lets start looking at these power hungry culprits that will suck the life right out of your battery and the steps we all need to take to limit the drain on our battery as much as possible. I have divided this up into 4 sections including Connections, Usage Habits, Tools, and Advanced.
Data Communication: This includes WiFi, EVDO, Edge, 1x, etc... whatever line communication you have established and is active to transfer data. Please note that WiFi is the king of battery drain among all the data communication connection options.
How do you reduce the amount of data transfers your phone does? To start to answer this, it is important to realize that there are programs that will attempt to update themselves all on their own. Every time a program tries to update itself, it establishes a data connection. You will want to look at the settings of all of the 3rd party programs you have installed to verify if there are any options asking if you want the program to automatically check for the latest version updates, to get updated information to use, etc. These will certainly include programs that need daily or hourly updated information like weather, news headlines, movie schedules, stock quotes, etc. Unless you are actually a stock broker and need the latest info from 4 minutes ago then limit it to updating itself only once a day if possible, setting these programs to download the latest info every hour is a total waste of the precious minutes your battery has left during that day. Here are a couple screenshots as examples:
Wireless LAN: First of all, if the life of your battery is a concern, then do not use WiFi unless absolutely needed, or if you need to use WiFi, then plug in your phone if at all possible. WiFi will suck your battery dry faster than anything else I have experienced, as soon as 25 minutes on some phones. But when you do use WiFi, there is a step you can take to help reduce the power consumption needed. In WM06 you can click on Menu / Settings / Connections / Wireless LAN. Then click on the "Power Mode" tab. Then slide the handle on the bar all the way to the right labeled "Best Battery".
IR Beam: The Infrared beam is usually on by default, always searching for something to connect with. Sometimes, depending on your phone, taking this one step of disabling this will add an extra hour or more of battery life to your day. This is simple to do. Click on Menu / Setting / Connections / Beam. Then uncheck the box "Receive all incoming beams".
Email & SMS: Every time an email or SMS is sent or received a data connection is established and used. Unless your work demands that you receive your emails immediately, set your email program to only download your emails every 30 to 60 minutes. If you set up your email to be connected to an Exchange Server at work and have your emails pushed to your phone immediately, you will be using up more battery power and might have to plan to top off your phone in the car or during a lunch break to give a little extra charge to you battery. A detailed tutorial on setting up and configuring your email will be a later edition of the WM Guide.
Bad Reception Areas: Try to stay out of bad or borderline reception areas if battery power is a concern. Whenever your phone is constantly looking for a stronger signal, or a signal at all, it is zapping your battery like crazy. If you are in an area that you know does not get good reception, constantly switches in and out of roaming, in and out a solid EVDO connection, then plan on your battery life being half as long as normal, or worse. Unless you set your phone to No Roaming, which may restrict you from being able to make or receive any calls, the only fix is to top off your battery every chance you get or get to a good reception area. If you want to restrict the phone from automatically switching back and forth in Roaming, open the phone app by pushing the hardware phone button. In WM6 click on Menu / Options. At the bottom click on the tap called "Services". Select "Roaming" and click "Get Settings"... then select your "(Carrier) Only", i.e. "Sprint Only". Click "Ok".
Even though several of the points below should officially be in the connections section above, I included them below if there was really nothing to do to improve your battery life besides altering how you use them.
Voice Calls: On most phones, you can only talk for 2-4 hours at a time per charge. The obvious solution here is to limit the gift of gab. If you know you are going to have to talk an extra long time, i.e. a 1 hour conference call for work, then you are simply going to have to plan to limit other use of your phone (i.e. no games, internet browsing, etc.) or top off the battery whenever possible in the car, or plug it in while eating lunch, or carry a spare battery, or use a battery with extended capacity.