Do you control your gadgets or do they control you?
As a somewhat tech-savvy gadgets guy (working for a gadgets blog), I started getting emails from friends who had a new iPhone 4S asking if I was getting horrible battery life with the new phone, and people telling me they were reading about battery life issues. I was not having any issues.
That didn’t mean there wasn’t something happening. There’s a now clearly documented (by users) bug with iOS 5 paging your GPS chip to check where it is to update your timezone settings. Follow these instructions to disable that and you get better battery life. Which I promptly did.
That being said, I was still only plugging in my iPhone every couple days, and everyone wanted to know how on earth I was getting that.
I aim to have a different experience with my gadgets. I try to eliminate what David Allen’s Getting Things Done acolytes and Zen Minimalist types like Leo Babauta sometimes refer to as ‘interrupts.’ Basically, they view having your email check every minute and ping you if something’s there as a disruption. Other services are disruptions. To maintain a clean mind and focus on the work that is at hand, you need to minimize the dings, pings and constant interrupts that people unconsciously set their operating systems and phones to barrage them with.
As a result, the only notifications I allow are phone calls and texts (they are, after all, what a phone is for). All programs are set to not ping, push or bother me. If I want to check email, I consciously decide to check email, and open my phone up and touch refresh (just like my laptop is set to let me manually click refresh to get mail, so that I’m not bothered by constantly incoming email). Even then, my phone is often set to a gentle vibrate when I’m working hard on a project so that I can easily ignore it and not be jolted out of what I’m doing.
Because my phone is not running checks in the background so it can push stuff to me, because it’s not pulling information down in the background unless I tell it to, it doesn’t use as much power and thus, I tend to only need to plug it in every other day.
Your mileage may vary, of course. But after you turn off time zones, you might also turn off as many notifications and services as you can. See which ones you really, absolutely have to have, and then turn them back on if you have to. But you may be surprised by what you don’t need, and by what an impact it has on your battery life.
And of course, this approach works for just about any smartphone.
These recent tips on how to get better battery life by Josh Smith don’t hurt either.