The BP Textbook of Boosting Battery Life


Cellphone photographers are in a constant battle with their mobile’s battery. What’s the sense of having a fantastic mobile camera when the battery lasts less than a day? Jehan Lalkaka discusses several ways in which we can make the most of our battery, and win the ongoing war against lousy battery life.

Systematic Switching Off
Your battery reads 30%, but you still have 3–4 hours of shooting left. Switching off your 3G might just do the trick. Expect about an hour more of battery life if you’re only on a GSM connection.

Carry a Battery Pack
A battery pack that fits on the back of your phone and charges it should be your most prized possession. With a battery pack, you can easily shoot and charge at the same time! Having a portable charger could prove to be inconvenient while shooting pictures from your phone. This is because the battery has to be connected to the phone through a USB wire.

Understanding your Phone
mAh (milliAmp hours) is the amount of charge the battery can hold. On paper, higher the mAh, longer the battery lasts. However, in reality, phones function differently.
An iPhone battery’s capacity is much less than an Android, but still has better battery life.
So pick a phone whose battery, when tested and used, lasts long. Don’t go by what the packaging says.

Wallpaper Mayhem
Avoid using animated photographs as your wallpaper. The more activity, the more battery gets consumed and the slower your phone gets. Imagine having the perfect composition and lighting to photograph a rare lizard…a potential award winning image. You unlock your phone, only to find that it has hung. All this because of an animated wallpaper of a monkey cycling.

Minimize the Gadgets You’re Connected With
Agreed that people look really classy when they have the Bluetooth headset connected to the phone. But let’s face it, you don’t really want to answer a call while you’re photographing, right? All these devices take up unnecessary battery that could otherwise have been used on clicking.

Don't let battery life prevent you from taking photographs.

Don’t let battery life prevent you from taking photographs.

Be Judicial
Unless you are stranded on a desert with a phone that’s powered by the sun, you are doomed. Keeping your camera on in the hope that you can capture something in the moment will drain your battery. Switch on your camera and lock the phone. The screen will go off thereby saving battery, and would take you about 3 seconds to unlock, focus and click.

Power Saving Mode
Every smartphone has a power saving mode. While it reduces performance, it does boost your battery life. Newer phones like the Galaxy S5 or the HTC One house an Ultra Power Saving Mode and Extreme Power Saving Mode respectively. Switch it on to make the most of it!

Never switch off your Phone
“My battery is low, but I don’t need to use my phone now. Let me switch it off to save battery.” Bad idea. Switching on and off your battery sucks a significant amount of battery; much more than leaving your phone on Flight Mode.

Don’t be Cheap
Here’s something you probably didn’t know: free mobile apps consume more battery than paid ones. Here’s why—free mobile apps and games have ads. The amount of battery taken up to show ads on your mobile screen is, quite simply, scary. Paid apps don’t have ads. No ads mean more battery, and more battery means more photography.

No connection? No problem
If you’re a wildlife photographer whose equipment is limited to a fantastic camera phone, most of the time you wouldn’t receive network. When your phone doesn’t have signal, it keeps refreshing the search, but in vain. Each time your phone conducts a search, guess what gets drained? Switch on Flight Mode.

Another way to extend the battery life of your phone is by cancelling all the unused apps that are running on your phone’s background.

One Text Policy
How often do we type “Hey Jimmy” in one text message, “What’s up” in another and “Free to meet?” in a third. Each individual message sent on Whatsapp awakens the data connection, which in turn bleeds the battery dry.

Avoid Long Calls
Avoid calls that you know are going to last more than 5 minutes. Not only is this a hazard to battery life, but also a hazard to your life as long phone conversations give out
more radiation.

Wear a Watch
How often do you unlock your phone just to read the time? In mathematic terms, the number of times the phone is switched on to check the time is inversely proportionate to its battery life.

Be a Selfie Specialist
Most people take 4-5 selfies before taking the perfect shot. This disturbs us as it takes up precious battery. Practice selfies while in the comfort of your own home and consume as much battery as you want. Battery low? – Just plug it in and charge. When circumstances demand a selfie in the outside world, thanks to the practice at home, you will be able to shoot a perfect selfie in one go.

Tags: Better Cellphone Photography, boosting battery life, Cell phone technique, cellphone photography, expanding battery life, Jehan Lalkaka, june 2014, making the most of your cellphone's battery, The BP Textbook of Boosting Battery Life