Mobile Phone | Energy-saving Tips

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.
So I already benefited from the 5G roll-out without 5G devices. 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 family & friends (keyword: sending 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 and Fairphones 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) and observe the energy consumption. You will be amazed!

If you can't believe it, search for appropriate keywords in search engines and you'll find proven tips such as “Save energy by removing the Facebook app”. Surprised Smiley

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 iPhones actively request updates if you don't turn that off and not Apple's servers actively trigger updates as soon as there is enough capacity to do so.

When Apple distributed the new iOS version 11, the App Store was temporarily hardly accessible. Internet forums and blogs reported this. Software updates were not downloaded quickly, but stalled – and iPhones 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 at Google)

Google Play, Network Settings
Data use for Downloads, automatic Updates

Menu Path in Google Play under Android OS 11

Settings / Network settings / Preferred download variant for apps

Preferred Download Variant for Apps
  • Via any network
  • Via WiFi only
  • Ask every time

Settings / Network settings / Update apps automatically

Automatic App Updates
  • Via any network
  • Via WiFi only
  • Apps do not update automatically

If you never use foreign WLANs, do not switch off the updates but 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 is not possible.

Security Tip

Update your apps regularly, pay attention to new versions yourself if you set them manually, do not ignore any notification!

Do not close Apps that are currently not 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 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.
However, this applies more to smartphones with less than 2 GB of RAM, i.e. not current iPhones.

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
  • “Auto lock: lock screen after 30 seconds when not in use” is finally practical thanks to Face ID recognition function and fingerprint sensor in the power button
  • 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!
  • iPhone: deactivate automatic updates! Prevents your phone from unsuccessfully trying to download updates for hours if 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 WiFi or mobile phone only useful for a few apps. Switch off for the other apps!
  • 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
  • Deactivate vibration alarm, consumes a lot of energy and shakes the sensitive electronics unnecessarily, possibly the phone shakes itself off the table (electronics do not tolerate shaking!)
  • WiFi: only switch on if absolutely necessary! Besides energy saving a very strong security aspect!

Keyword list: Android, Apple iOS, Apps, Battery Life, BlackBerry, BlackBerry Z10, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Headset, Download, E-Mail, Energy Saving Tips, Google Play, Hardware, Help, HiFi, History, IT, Images, Internet, LTE, Mobile Communications, Mobile Phone, Mobile Phones, Mobile Telephony, Network, Online, Porsche Design P'9982, Privacy, RAM, SMS, Server, Services, Smartphone, Smartphones, Software, Telephony, Tips, Update, Upload, WLAN, Who, WiFi, e Foundation, iPhone, restaurants

Last edited: