A dying smartphone battery is an all-too-common problem, your power blinking away right as you need it most. Charging your phone beforehand is the obvious solution, but refuelling your handset's lithium battery isn't always a speedy process.
We've talked before about ways to conserve your phone's battery when you're out and about, but there are also a few quick hacks you can use for faster charging on those days when you should have been out the door five minutes ago.
The easiest way to speed up the charging process is to switch your phone to Airplane (AKA Flight) mode before connecting your charger. What this does is shut off your handset’s connections to the cellular, Bluetooth, radio and Wifi services that sneakily suck power in the background, even when you’re not using your device.
Switching to Airplane mode means you won’t be able to make or receive calls or texts, or use data or GPS until you go back to your phone’s normal settings. But it will help charge your phone faster, and also help you heed your mother’s warnings not to make calls while your phone is connected to a charger (at least, if you’re using a third-party charger - otherwise you're probably fine).
Whether you’re an Android, iOS, or Windows Phone user, you can turn on Airplane mode by tapping the Settings app on your home screen, selecting ‘Airplane Mode’, and sliding the toggle to On. You’ll know this mode is enabled by the small airplane icon that will appear at the top of your phone’s screen.
Wall chargers vs. USB ports
When it comes to how to charge your phone, official wall chargers that come packaged with your smartphone are the optimal choice. Wall chargers have a stronger amp output than the USB ports on your laptop or computer, and a charger produced by your phone’s manufacturer will work better than a cheap, third-party imitation. On top of that, these days "quick charging" is becoming a common phone feature, but it will usually only work with the specific wall charger designed for your phone.
Suspect chargers have also been associated with electrocutions and overheating, so we recommend avoiding them altogether and sticking with chargers approved by your phone’s manufacturer.
While a wall socket is best, if you regularly rely on your computer to keep your smartphone charged, you can work around the slower output from USB ports. Devices such as the ChargeDr claim to boost the power from your laptop or desktop computer’s ports, so that your smartphone will charge in half the usual time. Just keep in mind that, with phone batteries increasing in size every year to handle the added drain bigger processors and screens are putting on them, USB charging is taking longer and longer with every handset generation.
You can also hunt down specially designed cables with two ‘male’ USB connectors and one micro USB connector, so that you can charge a single device using the power from two USB ports at the same time.
And if you’re using an iPhone and have a newer model Macbook or iMac at home, your Apple product will automatically recognize your iPhone when it is connected, and will increase the output to your phone to speed up charging. Genius.
One last thing...
While all these tips are designed to help you get some extra juice for your handset when time is a factor, we don’t recommend using them on a daily basis. Overall, slow and steady charging is much better for your phone’s long-term battery life than pumping it full of power every time your device needs a top up.
Phone Charging image from Shutterstock