No one can accuse the Huffington Post of being low-key, so we were somewhat skeptical to read about the war the state of California declared on vampires. It turns out that the “vampires” they were referring to are mobile phone chargers, which waste as much as 60% of the electricity they consume. The “declaration of war” consisted of a unanimous vote by the California Energy Commission to regulate such chargers in the future and it’s expected that the U.S. Department of Energy will ultimately impose similar standards on the federal level once California irons out all the kinks.
Not everyone realizes that chargers continue to consume power whether they’re actively charging mobile phones or not and we confess we’re probably just as guilty as anyone of leaving them permanently plugged in. If and until the California regulations go national, in addition to unplugging your phone charger when you’re not using it, here are a few tips to conserve power on the phone itself so you won’t have to juice it up quite so often:
- Brightness: If you have an Android device, turn off the backlight. And if you have an iPhone, set the brightness to “auto.”
- Bluetooth: If you’re not actually and actively using it, turn your Bluetooth off.
- Wifi: If you have your wifi set to “on,” your phone will constantly be searching for active networks into which it can tap, and this can eat up a lot of power. Unless you’re, say, sitting in a Starbucks or at home on your own network, there’s really no reason to have this function permanently active. (We realized this one one day on the highway when passing a Greyhound bus.)
- Push notifications: Email can be set up to be retrieved on a “push” or “fetch” basis. With the “push” setting, the phone actively looks for email, eating up battery power. The “fetch” setting has the phone check for email at fixed intervals (15 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.). If you can afford to wait for your e-mails until you’re ready to look for them yourself, this will go a long way to making your battery last longer.
The last tip is a bit of a no-brainer, of course, but every once in a while, turn off your phone, go outside, and play!