15 tips to extend your phone’s battery in an emergency

We depend on our phone so much for our emails, social media, phone calls, photos, music, work, and navigation that it’s no wonder that the battery drains so quickly.

During the disaster happening right now in the southern parts of Texas due to Hurricane Harvey, having access to a working cell phone can literally mean the difference between life and death.

Here are some quick tips to keep the phone’s battery lasting as long as possible:

  1. Dim your screen as much as possible.
  2. Set your screen to time-out quickly so that you don’t inadvertently leave it on.
  3. Use SMS instead of calling. Give instructions in your SMS to ask a friend/ family to make calls on your behalf.
  4. Switch on the phone’s Power Saving Mode or Low-Power Mode. Some operating systems even have the Ultra Power Saving Mode which is even better.
  5. Don’t set your phone to vibrate as that uses more battery-power than a ring.
  6. If your phone has haptic feedback (ie it buzzes when you type), switch that off.
  7. Switch off any automatic app updates and any app notifications
  8. Send an SMS at the top of every hour to let the family know your status, location AND any intentions such as attempting to move. This prevents your phone from ringing constantly for updates from worried loved ones.
  9. Switch off Bluetooth, Wifi and GPS (but only after you let people know exactly where you are).
  10. Only use essential apps to get updates. Limit use of video and rely on text.
  11. Disable any voice assistant such as Siri
  12. Set the phone’s volume to as low as possible (but not vibrate)
  13. Disable any visual effect/ moving backgrounds.
  14. If your phone has multiple email accounts – disable all except one. Now is not the time to check all your mail.
  15. Switch off any “cloud” services such as iCloud backup or Google Drive backups.

Other phone tips:

  • If you are with your family and each one has their phones, switch off those phones and only use one. When that phone’s battery is depleted, only then switch on the next phone.
  • Try find a plastic bag and/or plastic containers to keep the phones dry. DO NOT keep all the phones in the same container just in case that container is not sealed and all the phone are damaged at once.

These are obviously extreme circumstances when you have no idea when you will be able to charge your device again, so the above steps will help extend the battery as much as possible.

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