Charging your phone is usually so automatic that it just happens without you having to think about it. But on heavy use days, or maybe while traveling when you’re out of your routine, finding out that your phone is about to die midway through the day can be a real hassle. But maybe there are ways to get a quick charge up without being tethered to a wall outlet for an hour.
There are ways to increase the rate at which your phone charges. Charging while using “Low Power Mode” on iPhones, or the equivalent power-saving mode for Android, can help speed up the process, but that’s just one trick.
One of the relatively newer features of iPhones and the iOS software is the Low-Power mode, which they introduced several years ago. The idea behind Low-Power mode is that it shuts off certain functions to preserve power. However, there are a few downsides to using it, which we’ll explore more in the section below.
What Does the iPhone’s “Low Power Mode” Do?
For an iPhone, including the iPhone Pro Max 11 (on Amazon), activating “Low Power Mode” (LPM) does several things. Firstly, LPM will start automatically if it is set to do so when your iPhone’s battery reaches 20% or lower. You can also activate it manually through Settings –> Battery.
This is a nice feature that gives both a heads up regarding the battery charge level and a reduction in power demand. LPM lowers the screen brightness and system animations and disables other iPhone-specific features like AirDrop and iCloud sync. It reduces the amount of background app activity, such as fetching emails or automatic downloads or responding to “Hey, Siri!” commands.
The result of this reduction in activity and screen brightness is less battery draw. If this feature is active while charging, it also creates a net decrease in charging time. Conveniently, LPM automatically deactivates when the iPhone battery has reached 80% or more. One last thing that it does is make it so the screen goes to sleep a bit sooner than normal.
What Does Android’s “Battery Saver” Do?
With the variety of Android phones on the market, including the very popular Samsung Galaxy S20 (on Amazon), there are a few variations in menu options and layout, so these instructions shouldn’t be considered “one size fits all.” Generally, the method for finding “power-saving mode” (PSM) or it is equivalent on an Android phone is equally straightforward: Settings > Battery, > “Power Mode.”
It may also go by the name “Battery Saver.” At this point, there may be up to three options: Medium PSM, Maximum PSM, and Optimized PSM. Each section has several options that can be checked or unchecked, including adjusting the screen brightness, turning off the screen, or adjusting the CPU speed.
If you don’t see these options, they may have a different name, the features may be slightly different, or the interface has a different look. If you have PSM, it’ll be obvious. Ultimately for this article, the principle is the same as for an iPhone. PSM will lower your screen’s brightness and eliminate background network activity, such as automatically fetching emails.
It’s important to note, if your phone uses a GPS location service, this will also be deactivated in PSM, so if you need navigation help, get a savvy friend or deactivate PSM. This resulting reduction in smartphone activity translates to a shorter charge time. PSM or Battery Saver can be set to automatically activate when your battery reaches a certain charge level, again via settings or the quick setting menu.
More Tips For Saving Your Smartphone Battery Life
Putting your phone on a low power setting is one good way to reduce battery draw, but there are many other good tips for getting that battery level into the green quickly.
While some folks think that the quality or length of the USB cable connecting a smartphone to its charger affects charging time, it doesn’t. What does matter is the charging dongle’s power value or the piece that plugs into the electrical outlet?
For iPhones, the stock charger is rated at 1A, but most iPhones can handle up to a 2.1A current, and suitable third-party chargers are available. Phones using the Android OS vary significantly in their power needs, so sticking with the charger that accompanied your phone is still probably the safest bet.
Another useful tip to accelerate charging is to deactivate your cellular and network connections. The most practical way to do this on any smartphone is to put the device in Airplane Mode. Airplane Mode turns the cellular network modem off (as well as the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in some cases) and significantly reduces the demand for the battery. With no network connection to maintain, your phone will charge faster.
Why You Shouldn’t Charge Your Phone on Low Power Overnight
A final word on charging: be cautious about leaving your phone connected to its charger overnight. Smartphone batteries are smart, too, and when they’ve reached 100% capacity, they automatically go into a low-draw “trickle-charge” phase. In this phase, low amounts of current are passed to the battery to keep it 100%.
This has the adverse effect of raising the ambient temperature of the phone, however, which over time can significantly degrade the life of the battery. Avoiding this overnight habit can maintain your current phone’s battery capacity for longer. A good thing to do is to figure out how you can charge your phone during the day so you can take it off when it hits 100%, at least if you want to preserve your battery. Or you can use a simple plug timer like the GE Indoor Plug Timer (on Amazon) to make the phone charge for, for instance, the 2 hours before you wake up.