View Full Version : Conserving cell phone power

06-07-2015, 09:33
Going to be attempting at thru and I'm looking for ways to conserve cell battery life. To date I've only section hiked and I would take my fully charged battery right out of the phone and I would use my compact canon for pictures. In an effort to lighten my load on a much longer planned trek now, I'd like to use just the phone and leave the weight of the canon (and the batteries it requires) behind.
So this is going to require leaving my battery in the phone for pictures. My concern with this is, at home here, a full charge usually lasts a little over 24hours on my phone. I know that even if you turn the phone off that power is still being used in some background applications...especially those that come from the service provider you can't shut off and never use anyway - knuckle heads. I can force stop the apps I down loaded easy enough.

So what options can you give me folks?

I don't want to get a solar or battpak - extra weight and volume.
I'll be carrying my charger for any opportunity that presents itself of coarse.

Is there any phone secret out there?


06-07-2015, 09:39
Sorry, I should have mentioned I have a Galaxy S5.
Thanks again in advance!

06-07-2015, 09:41
Use airplane mode. Most phone cameras still work in that mode. Keep GPS and WIFI turned off. If money is not an object get a Nexus 6 phone unlocked and go with second tier service providers. No aftermarket junk on pure android phones.

06-07-2015, 10:51
I bought a cheap $20 LG phone for my recent section hike. I used it to take pictures and did a daily post to FB (most days when I had service) to keep my friends updated. My battery lasted 4 days easy. A couple of times it down to about 30% and I used a little portable charger on it just because I had it.

As suggested, keep the phone in airplane mode and GPS turned off. At night fully power down the phone by pressing the power button for a few seconds and tap "YES" when it asks if you want to power down. If you don't mind waiting a few seconds for the phone to boot also power it down during the day between photo opportunities.

Keep your on-air usage as minimal as possible, such as social media or watching the weather radar and chatting with friends or family.

Get a 2200 mAH portable charger for "just in case". These things are pretty cheap and pretty light these days.

06-07-2015, 11:42
If it really a big concern, do the no-frills 2,600 or 5,200 mAH battery pack. My 5,200 mAH pack weighs in at just under 4 ounces. I'll be carrying it on my hike along with at least one extra battery for the phone...in case one phone battery succumbs to the elements or something. I'm also carrying a Sansa Clip+ for music and audio books. This will reduce the use of my smart phone and the Sansa too can be recharged using my generic battery pack. I will have the AWOL Guide in PDF on my Samsung smart phone (5.25 inch screen). The smart phone, extra phone battery and battery pack weight less than the AWOL Guide book alone. Good luck.

06-07-2015, 13:54
My iPod Touch has apps running in the background.

Push the Home button twice, upwards swipe the displayed app to close.

Before that, I had to jailbreak to have an app to close apps running in the background.

Maybe your Galaxy S5 has apps run in the background? I would find out.

06-07-2015, 14:22
Forget the battery backups and other chargers. With an s5, just buy a few replacement batteries which will weigh almost nothing, cost very little and give you an instant full charge when you change each into your phone. I get about 4-5 days out of each battery in airplane mode and gps off (most of the time) and taking lots of pictures.

06-07-2015, 14:24
Make sure bluetooth is off if you're not using it.

06-07-2015, 14:28
My GS5 does pretty good on battery when I'm not actively using the phone for something. I typically lose less than 10% charge (usually 2-5%) overnight if I don't even bother putting the phone in airplane mode or shutting down (at home).

When I do use it for something it chews through battery at an alarming rate.

I carry a 10,000 ma battery backup for peace of mind.

06-07-2015, 14:47
...With an s5, just buy a few replacement batteries which will weigh almost nothing, cost very little and give you an instant full charge when you change each into your phone...

This company is a very good source of cell phone batteries:

www.emtcompany.com (http://www.emtcompany.com)

Good prices, sent postpaid & fully guaranteed.

(I don't work for them. I have bought from them on several occasions and never had a problem with them.)

06-07-2015, 15:51
There is also usually a "low power mode" setting you can enable. I believe you can tell it when to kick in based on % of battery left. And dim the display, don't keep it at full brightness all the time.

Harrison Bergeron
06-07-2015, 16:27
At home, my Samsung Rugby Pro, with GPS, 4G, cellphone, and bluetooth turned on, has to be recharged every day. Last month I did 3 weeks on the AT. The exact same phone, in airplane mode, with GPS and bluetooth turned off, was still at 60% when I hit town for resupply after 6 days on the trail. This is with leaving the phone turned on all the time so I could take about 20 pictures a day, calling home when I occasionally got a signal, and reading about 2 hours a day on the Kindle app with the screen at 50%. I took a battery pack recharger but never needed to used it.

Simple apps don't use any power at all. They use computer cycles, which happen any time the power is on regardless of whether the computer is actually doing anything or not. But apps that yack on the internet all the time in order to report where you are and what you are doing to strangers so they can sell you things use lots of power. That's because the transmitter in your phone is the most power-hungry thing on it, far more than even the screen in flashlight mode. Apps can't use the transmitter in airplane mode. However, pedometer apps use lot of power, so if you want a pedometer, get a real one. They last weeks on a single hearing aid battery.

06-07-2015, 18:58
One thing to consider is recharging opportunities. Having a external battery pack allows you to leave it charging unattended in places where you would not want to leave a smartphone unattended.

Tennessee Viking
06-08-2015, 07:35
The new Lollipop version of Android comes with an accessible task manager. So just kill everything when you are done.

Just turn off Data and Bluetooth, enable low brightness levels and Airplane mode. Enable Battery Saver. Look into a phone case that is breathable or lightweight rubber for better cooling. A few of the rugid cases tend to retain heat and drain the battery faster.

Lighten up your Apps. Uninstall anything you don't need. Facebook, games, anything that gets heavy notifications or updates.

For task managers, most providers advise not using them since they can sometimes carry adware or conflict with Android. I used Advanced Task Killer for a long time and saw now problem with it.

Carry a battery power pack that will allow a couple chargers.

Check to see if your phone model has an extended life battery.

06-11-2015, 18:43
I am different from most in that I have a trac phone and only turn it on if I need to, which is really only for emergencies. My friend is addicted to his (like most people today) and cannot shut it off and he is always facing these issues. My phone can last up to two weeks. I guess I would buy the batteries like nsherry61 said. Otherwise, it is not a need, only a want.

06-13-2015, 09:56
advantages: you have a GS5 which can replace your camera, it's a phone, a GPS, and if you get 2 bars of 3G, it's lightning fast on the internet.

disadvantages: the big beautiful screen really chews through batteries, since the batteries are replaceable, they don't last a long time, if you have less than 3G, it's always looking for 3G.

do a factory reset right before you set out and only load the apps you will need and don't allow them to use locations or notifications or anything extra. you can turn that on if you need it.
always keep it on airplane mode and bluetooth off. turn the phone off if you aren't going to use it for more than 2 or 3 hours.
keep some extra batteries on hand and mark one for emergencies only.
recharge your extra batteries like a fiend whenever you get the chance.

06-13-2015, 15:44
My iPod Touch has apps running in the background.

Push the Home button twice, upwards swipe the displayed app to close.

Before that, I had to jailbreak to have an app to close apps running in the background.

Maybe your Galaxy S5 has apps run in the background? I would find out.

In iOS, if they are apps you use a lot, it may actually be better to leave them "running" in background. Unless you have enabled background app refresh, they are just sitting in memory - not running (e.g.,, using CPU cycles, reading/writing to RAM). Reopening an app requires CPU cycles and memory reads which use battery power, so in many circumstances its better to leave apps alone in background if you use them often. iOS will also handle memory management, so clearing them won't make the device run any faster either. The big thing in iOS for power savings is to turn off WiFi, Bluetooth, and background app refresh and restrict GPS use to the absolute minimum. iOS 9 is supposed to have an ultra low power mode, so that should be interesting. I'm not sure about Android, as I haven't used one in 5 years but back then there were no shortage of "task-killer" apps which were pretty much proven to be useless.