Friday, November 19, 2010

S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G iPhone Battery Life

iPad, iPhone, MacBook ProImage via WikipediaI've never been one to chat much on my iPhone.  In fact, there are months when I don't use any of my available talk minutes even though I have used the data features.  So, unless there is a crisis of some kind in the works, when I travel a long distance I often turn my iPhone off completely to conserve its battery since I may not be able to recharge it until late at night or, in the case of overseas flights, until sometime the next day.   As a member of the baby boomer generation, I was not raised with cell phones so don't feel "disconnected" when I am not "available".  But for those of you who can't quite bring yourselves to sever your umbilical to your connected friends, family members and colleagues, this article offers other less drastic ways to help stretch the battery life of your iPhone, iPod or iPad.  I'm sure these techniques would also work with non-apple Smartphones as well.

Of those listed, I found the following most helpful to me:

Make Sure the Screen Locks Quickly

Even if you’ve adjusted the screen brightness, there’s still no substitute for having it turn off quickly when you’re not using it. Head into General -> Auto-Lock to set the screen lock to happen as quickly as your device will let you. This makes a big difference if you are always picking up your phone and putting it back into your pocket without turning the display off.
 I have mine set for 1 minute.

Use Airplane Mode When You Don’t Need Internet (iPad/iPhone)

If you’re busy spending the next 8 hours playing Angry Birds, there might not be a good reason to have internet access, so you can consider using Airplane Mode, which turns off both Wi-Fi and the regular wireless radio. Of course, this will prevent phone calls if you’re on an iPhone—but if you’re busy with Angry Birds you probably don’t want the interruption anyway.
 My grandson recently loaded Angry Birds on my phone but I much prefer iFishing, Spear Fishing 3D, Sims 3 World Adventure or Sudoku and I hate to be interrupted if I have a fish on!!

Use Wi-Fi Instead of 3G if Possible

According to Apple, the iPad will get 10 hours of battery life under regular use with Wi-Fi enabled, but will only get 9 hours using 3G—the iPhone gets 6 for 3G and 10 for Wi-Fi. Of course, if you’re heavily using the Wi-Fi, you’ll still be draining the battery—the point is under similar workloads, Wi-Fi is better than 3G for battery life.
I actually can't get a cell signal when I'm at home anyway so I always have my Wifi network configured to ON.

Reduce or Eliminate Mail & Calendar Checking

If you’ve got a bunch of email, calendar, or contact accounts configured, and they are all being checked and downloading email on a regular basis, you’ll be draining the battery an awful lot faster than you need to.
Head into Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Fetch New Data and change the setting to the least frequent check possible. If you don’t use it often, you can just turn Push off entirely and then manually check when you need to.
Now that I'm retired, I don't have to worry about someone other than me updating my calendar and I seldom use my iPhone to check mail.  Since I no longer have to worry about malfunctioning servers or frantic grant researchers who can't perform some technology function and are facing a grant submission deadline, I can usually wait until I'm in front of my regular computer to respond to email.  So I turned off the constant checking and will just manually enable it if I need to take a peek.

Disable Bluetooth If You Don’t Need It

If you don’t use a Bluetooth headset or keyboard, you should keep the Bluetooth radio disabled to save some extra battery life. Head into Settings -> General -> Bluetooth to flip it on or off.
Since I never treat talking on the phone as a priority I have never seen a reason to buy a headset so this one was a no brainer for me.

Probably the most important advice was at the end of the article.

Charge and Discharge Your Battery Regularly

Your iDevice needs to be fully discharged and recharged at least once a month to operate at maximum efficiency and keep the battery from dying. You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t store the device with a dead battery, as that can also cause the battery to lose charge capability—when your battery dies, make sure to recharge it quickly.

This one is hard for me since I seldom run my phone's battery down.  This also probably applies to laptops and serves as a good reminder for me since my netbook has only been recharged a couple of times since I returned from Rome in March of 2009.  I'll obviously have to be more dilligent!

iPhone For Dummies: Includes iPhone 4 (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))   iPad For Dummies   iPod & iTunes For Dummies, DVD + Book Bundle (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Excluding digital camera transfer folders from antivirus scan list boosts performance

Recently, I removed McAfee and Spybot and installed Microsoft Security Essentials and my computer performance seems to have improved.  But I am always looking for other ways to improve its speed and I found this article on excluding "known good" folders from your antivirus scan list to speed up computer performance helpful.  I took this article's advice and excluded the folder where I transfer images from my digital camera since I know they are virus-free and take up gigabytes of disk space.

It also recommended excluding folders containing music files as long as you are obtaining your music files from a reliable source like Amazon, iTunes, or  I have an Audible subscription and download large audio book files from them every month so I guess I should exclude those as well.

The article points out that you should always exclude by file folder rather than by file type or file name.  As long as you keep files from particular sources (like your digital camera) in their own folder that is kept separate from folders with downloaded files from the internet, it works quite well.

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