9 Reasons Your Phone Battery Dies So Quickly

Whether you have an iPhone or an Android smartphone, you’re probably pretty familiar with the struggle to keep your smartphone running like new a few months or even a couple of years after you bought it. After all, phones are expensive, and keeping your current device running as long as possible will help you defer the expensive process of buying a new phone just a bit longer. But sometimes, your smartphone’s battery is uncooperative, and won’t let you get through a day without worrying that your phone will die. Ahead are some common reasons why your phone battery dies so quickly.

1. The screen brightness is set too high

Using a smartphone

If your phone battery is dying quickly, you may need to tone down the screen brightness | Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

A major source of battery drain is setting the screen brightness too high. Either dial it back and keep it at a low setting all the time, or take advantage of the setting that enables the phone to automatically determine how bright the screen should be based on your surroundings. Your phone will adjust to make your text messages visible when it’s bright outside, but you won’t be wasting precious battery power looking at the same level of brightness when you’re indoors. Another way to reduce the amount of battery power consumed by your screen is to shorten the amount of time that it’ll take for the display to turn off after you stop using it.

2. Your phone is constantly searching for Wi-Fi networks

Consistently choosing Wi-Fi over data can be great for your peace of mind and your monthly bill. But if your phone is constantly searching for a Wi-Fi signal on your commute, as you run errands, or when you’re out with friends, it can easily burn through a lot of power. If you’re not expecting to connect to a Wi-Fi network, turn off Wi-Fi to prevent your phone from searching for a signal you won’t use.

3. Notifications are going off all day


Another common culprit behind poor battery life? Having notifications turned on for too many apps | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Think about what your phone is doing all day. If it’s constantly lighting up, vibrating, or playing notification sounds, you’ve probably figured out why the battery dies so quickly. A constant stream of notifications is hard on your phone’s battery life. (And it turns out that opting to have your phone vibrate each time you get a message, call, or notification uses more battery than turning the sound on or choosing silent mode.) Make sure that you’ve only enabled notifications on the apps you really care about, and if you need to, cut back on the number of news alerts and game requests that you enable your apps to send you.

4. Apps are staying busy in the background

Pokemon GO uses a lot of battery

Battery drain | Source: Mark Knapp

You can check out which of your apps are using the most battery power (by opening the Settings app and navigating to Battery on either Android or iOS). You should see the apps that you use most frequently on the list, but if there’s an app that you’re surprised to see is a major consumer of battery power, then it’s most likely refreshing in the background throughout the day. Whether it’s your Facebook app or your email account that’s guilty, you can disable the background activity and expect to have an easier time getting through the day without recharging.

5. You’re overdoing it with battery-draining apps and activities


If your battery is consistently giving up before the end of the day, you may want to take a look at your app habits | Source: iStock

If you’re checking the weather a dozen times a day or constantly looking things up in Google Maps, you’re giving an app permission to track your location, which can use a lot of battery power. It’s OK to use apps that require GPS when you need them, but make sure that you aren’t overusing them, and ensure that you’re closing them when you don’t need them. Similarly, constant use of tethering, streaming music or videos all day, or making phone calls while in the car are data-intensive activities that you may need to cut back on if you want your battery to last the day, and you should avoid watching videos, playing graphics-heavy games, or spending a lot of time with the camera when your battery is already running low.

6. You’re using resource-intensive apps

Source: Apple.com

Camera apps use a lot of battery | Source: Apple.com

Sometimes, even changing all the right settings won’t solve the battery problem — and we hate to say it, but you may be at least partially to blame. If you’re addicted to apps that use a lot of data and a lot of battery life, you may be draining your phone’s battery life a lot more quickly than you would if you were using a less resource-intensive app. When you’re trying to conserve battery, opt to read the news instead of watch a video about it, avoid playing games for long periods of time, and generally stay conscious of what you’re doing on your phone and why.

7. Apps and data are automatically syncing

Man with smartphone and headphones

If you’re worried about your phone’s battery life, take a look at the apps and data that are automatically syncing | Source: iStock

Another unexpected battery drain is enabling automatic syncing in an assortment of apps. Automatically backing up your photos or syncing your apps sounds like a good idea (and if you’ll never remember to manually back things up, it definitely is). But if your phone battery is consistently dying in the middle of the day, you may want to consider having your phone sync only when you tell it to do so manually or when you connect it to your computer.

8. Your software isn’t up to date

How to update your iPhone -- install a software update

Updating an iPhone| Jess Bolluyt/Cheat Sheet

There are many reasons to keep your operating system and your apps up to date. But if you’re having problems with your smartphone’s battery life, here’s another one: Updates to your operating system or your favorite apps can add fixes for bugs that may be contributing to your battery life problem in the first place. Make sure that you’re using the latest version of the OS available, and determine that you have the latest version of your apps installed so that you benefit from the latest improvements and bug fixes.

9. Your phone has a hardware issue

Source: iStock

Broken iPhone | Source: iStock

If you’ve scrutinized your app usage and changed your habits but are still having trouble getting through the day on a single charge, then it’s possible that there’s a hardware issue that needs attending to. Depending on what kind of phone you have, where you bought it, and how old it is, you can probably go back to the store to get a professional opinion on whether something is wrong.