Basic tips for improving BlackBerry battery life

15 Comments

LOW BATTERY

Longtime readers will know this guide will pop up from time to time. Last time we touched on battery conservation was when we were putting the Storm2’s battery through an advanced users’ typical usage test.

So you’ve been using your BlackBerry for the better part of the day for selfish purposes. Taxing the battery by listening to radio using Nobex radio companion, checking out the Bermuda triangle on Google Maps, downloading and playing some free games from App World, and taking pictures of everything you eat for your mobile gourmet BBM group.

The workday is almost over and you receive an urgent email: An office emergency means you’ll need to spend some time across town diffusing the situation with a client. You’ve got 25% left on your BlackBerry battery and can’t afford to run out of juice what do you do?

Close all the apps you aren’t using
You probably have a few apps that run from startup, Use ALT-BACK in OS4 or hold the BlackBerry button in OS5 to access the Application Switcher (like ALT-TAB in Windows or Mac OS X) to see what apps you wish to close.

Reduce your screen brightness to 10 out of 100
My laptop gets triple the battery life when the screen brightness is at the minimum setting. Also set your screen timeout to the hyper-annoying 10 seconds setting. To adjust these settings, go to OPTIONS, then SCREEN/KEYBOARD.

Put your device on standby mode
Unless you have a holster, put your device on standby whenever you’re not using it. You’ll still get all your messages and notifications as normal and you’ll save lots of juice. To do this, press and hold the mute key on the top left of your BlackBerry.

Manage your connections
Slim down your connections by turning off WiFi and Bluetooth, and setting your device to 2G-only mode. 2G connects using less radio channels and less power per channel than 3G, reducing power draw. Adjust these setting by going to the Manage Connections icon.

Limit phone usage, features
Phone calls draw lots of power. Ignore social calls and message back something like “I’ll call you back at 9pm”. Keep business calls as brief as possible and try to shift everyone to email, BBM or SMS. Limit camera and video functions as well, as the flash, and the video light are real power hogs. Vibration also draws more power than sound-based notifications be sure to stick with a sound-only profile.

Throwing money at a problem is not my favorite solution, so instead of going to a corner store to buy a disposable cell phone battery emergency charger, I use these techniques to alter the amount of power my BlackBerry uses. I can easily double my devices’ battery life by using all of them together.

  • http://twitter.com/dub3tech Dub3 Technology

    Great article, the BlackBerry battery seems to be a common frustration for many users. Check out Battery status app from App World and it is a great addition as it shows your remaining battery life based on call time, browsing and media, plus tracks your average battery life

  • http://www.gavincampbellonline.com/ Gavin Campbell

    My standby key is pretty hard to press quickly. But on my Bold 9000 with the latest OS5 beta I can hold down the a key to enter standby. I also us the k key to lock the keyboard. This of course if you have the dial from homescreen option turned off.

  • MobileAdmin

    Anytime I deploy a BB I usually recommend:

    - reduce the brightness to as low as user can deal with. All new BB look fine at 10 but some like brighter. 60 is plenty bright if needed.

    - same with the screen timeout – pain when it blacks out but the screen is what uses a ton of juice

    - Use a AUTO schedule for ON / OFF .. no need having the BB on when your not using it

    - Use app switcher to see what is running and if not needed turn it off. Google Maps is a pig when doing GPS

    - Check any of your 3rd party apps that “auto update”. Limit to manual or once a day.

    If you do all this you should get a full day easily (if not longer) on a full charge. If not you might have a faulty battery

  • rediroc1

    great call out on the app. I beta tested and still use FIXMO Tools. it will break down the total time for calls, web use, in case your need to use gps if your lost, and a few other things. It even lets you clear used memory at the same time to kinda help things move along. check it out in app world. not sure of the cost but i love it

  • rediroc1

    wow, you are dead on about the screen brightness

  • http://blackberrycool.com/ Matt Cameron

    Thanks for the comments, glad to see people are taking power management to heart. The newer devices can go two days with moderate to heavy usage so these sorts of best practices might be obsolete in a couple of years.

    My favorite BlackBerry power trick as of late is keeping extra charged batteries around. Sure it puts my device out of commission for a couple of minutes while it reboots but having a fresh OS reset and fresh battery can't be beat! There's also the freedom of never having to have your BlackBerry anchored to an outlet ever again!

  • http://blackberrycool.com/ Matt Cameron

    Thanks for the comments, glad to see people are taking power management to heart. The newer devices can go two days with moderate to heavy usage so these sorts of best practices might be obsolete in a couple of years.

    My favorite BlackBerry power trick as of late is keeping extra charged batteries around. Sure it puts my device out of commission for a couple of minutes while it reboots but having a fresh OS reset and fresh battery can't be beat! There's also the freedom of never having to have your BlackBerry anchored to an outlet ever again!

  • http://www.smartblogging.org/ smart blogging

    I totally agree with this
    Put your device on standby mode
    Unless you have a holster, put your device on standby whenever you’re not using it. You’ll still get all your messages and notifications as normal and you’ll save lots of juice. To do this, press and hold the mute key on the top left of your BlackBerry.
    and if I may add also that we can do something like this:
    Delete the original message when you send a reply.
    Send a message to multiple contacts at once using Add To, Add Cc, or Add Bcc.
    Turn off the flash (flash) the camera.
    Close the third-party applications from the application menu when you are finished using it.
    Change your browser options for graphic animation that is not often repeated on the web page.

  • http://www.laptopbatteriesinc.ca/ canada batteries

    My favorite BlackBerry power trick as of late is keeping extra charged batteries around. Sure it puts my device out of commission for a couple of minutes while it reboots but having a fresh OS reset and fresh battery can't be beat! There's also the freedom of never having to have your BlackBerry anchored to an outlet ever again!

  • http://www.laptopbatteriesinc.ca laptop battery

    I also us the k key to lock the keyboard. This of course if you have the dial from homescreen option turned off.

  • Mattharris4

    I install an extended battery with extended back door as soon as I get a new BlackBerry in the office before issuing it to an employee. I usually get 3-4 days from my 8703e and its 1800mAh rated battery. I was lucky to get a day and a half before (even though the OEM battery is rated at 1000mAh, which should have given me at least two days). Some newer BBs even have 3500mAh battery kits for them (Seidio makes one). The 1800mAh battery kits for the 8703e are so cheap on eBay that I just bought a spare for myself, probably because that model is at the end of its sales life. The newer phone extended batteries are between $25 and $60, well worth it if it saves that big sales contract you all dream of or lets you schmooze up to the boss so you can get that big raise in salary.

  • http://www.laptops-battery.org.uk/dell/dell-xps-m1330-battery DELL XPS M1330 battery

    Very practical, and write great. Reading your article made me understand more.

    Thank you for sharing.

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    This option doesn’t make any sense

  • monique

    can anyone maybe tell me whats the meaning of a battery simbol with a blue thunder over it? when phone is still switch off