Today we're looking at a very modern problem which most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. You running out of phone battery is nothing short of a nightmare scenario in some situations. That may sound dramatic, but we're not just talking selfies and funny dog videos.
Phones are a vital and essential part of everyday life and especially Digital Nomads. As technology grows we seem to become more and more reliant on them. Seeing the phone battery flicker under 1% and the phone screen going black is avoidable, as we discuss in this article.
If someone had told you 20 years ago just how much you would be able to do from your phone, you probably wouldn't have believed them. You have access to endless information, every movie, song and book ever released and the power to contact people all over the globe. As well as that you have a powerful camera, word processor and even payment device sitting in your pocket at all times. Those joke graphs of Maslow's hierarchy of needs might be a bit more accurate than we thought.
For the traveller, the phone is the ultimate tool, carried on us at all times and with more power than ever. Not everyone uses their phone to their full potential, and some of us like to stick to the old methods, but in the 21st century, you can do everything from paying for your lunch to using your phone as a boarding pass to searching for the cheapest flights or hotels from your phone.
A flat phone battery, however, renders all of that totally redundant. I'm sure the day will come where phone batteries have a 3-week life span and charge up using only the sun, but until then, we have some brilliant tips for making sure your phone doesn't run out of battery.
Chargers Upon Chargers
Some of us are more extreme than others on this one. I'm a bit of a charger (and charger cable) hoarder. I figure you can never have enough, they take up next to no space. The risks of your charger stopping working can be catastrophic if you have a boarding pass on your phone or need to hail an Uber or pay for something on your phone. For the sake of at least having another charger cable stowed away in your bag, and a few bucks to buy a spare, it is worth having backups.
Portable Chargers and Power Packs
Whereas your phone battery might die after 12 hours of use, there are power banks out there that can last days, and recharge your phone five or six times in that time. Portable power stations are basically for when you don't have regular access to an electrical socket, but when you're travelling in more remote areas this can often be the case. These products have a lot of different varieties, and the capacity for holding power varies greatly, but these are worth having stowed away in your bag.
A revolutionary product that is currently improving is a solar-powered bank phone charger, which will turn the sun's rays into backup power for your phone. Environmentally friendly as well as super smart.
Different parts of the world have different electrical sockets. Do your research and make sure you have the correct power adapters.
Now, onto the things, you can do on your phone to actually stop the battery usage from going too quickly.
Ditch the Battery Sapping Apps
Most modern phones will give you a breakdown of how power is being used and the results might surprise you. Some games and novelty apps when left on can sap a lot of power. Apps like Snapchat can be a serious culprit for this, as can a lot of video apps. The power needed to play an HD video on your screen is relatively high. If your phone is needed for more important things, you may have to do without.
Make Sure You Close Apps
When you're done with an application, close it! Apps continue to run and use power in the background, and just because you've gone to a different window within your phone doesn't mean that power isn't being used. This can also be a good way to save on mobile data, which can be very precious when you're travelling.
Larger, Newer Phones
You may not be in the position to choose a specific phone for travelling needs! If however, you find that a lack of battery is often a problem, the next phone you buy should be a larger phone, and preferably more modern. Bigger phone batteries can usually hold more power, and technology on modern phones is adapting all the time to make power usage more efficient.
Phone Battery Saving Mode
When I first discovered battery saving mode on my phone, my life was changed! This is an intelligent way your phone uses its extremely clever processor to know what you need on your phone and when. It stops things from updating in the background and tells the phone to basically run on the lowest power it can. This is extremely smart.
Turn the Brightness Down
Your screen is one of the major culprits for sapping phone batteries. Many phones have automatic brightness and it is safe to say that the technology hasn't been perfected yet. Have you ever found yourself looking at your phone and realizing it is five times brighter than it needs to be?
Turn off automatic brightness, put the screen to the minimum you can handle when you are running low to make sure that your battery isn't being wasted for no reason. If you are going to use your phone for videos or photo apps, make sure the brightness is a little lower to preserve some of the energy.
It sounds melodramatic to say that our phones are crucial to our lives. We lived for thousands of years without them and did just fine, but I think most will agree that we're better off connected via our phones to the rest of the world. In a travel scenario, you could need your phone for so many different things, including emergencies, proving your travel insurance should something go wrong and sometimes just getting from A to B.
There are many places where you can charge your phone now, but a little bit of thought can go a long way to making sure you don't get caught out with a flat phone battery should there not be somewhere to plug yourself in.