For something we use so often, we certainly have a love/hate relationship with our smartphones. These devices, while endlessly useful, can often be the bane of our day-to-day lives when they give us the dreaded '1% battery' notification. Yes, they can transform hour-long monotonous commutes, but that same distraction can also leave us wondering how we have come to rely on them so much. It's all too familiar a scenario that, when we do need to use our phones for an important call or to reply to emails, we find them drained from too much time on Facebook.
But rather than burdening ourselves with battery packs or searching for easily accessible plugs, there is an easier way to extend battery life - simply by altering the way we use certain apps.
After conducting extensive research into over 3,000,000 Android users, Avast's Android App Performance & Trend Report allows us to see which apps are the worst offenders for draining battery life, taking up storage and affecting overall performance. Meaning that when you choose to drain your battery by uploading statuses about last night's Game of Thrones, at least you did it knowingly.
Social Media and Instant Messaging: the Reformed and the Repeat Offenders
Historically, social media apps have been recognised as greedy users of both data and battery. This unwanted reputation has led to a number of improvements for well-known apps in the past year, showing that concerns around performance are equally important to their creators as they are to consumers.
Take Snapchat and Facebook. The popular image messenger and social media behemoth have made concerted efforts in the last six months to reduce the impact they have on Android devices. Having previously held the top two positions for performance-draining apps, both have shown marked improvements by removing themselves from the top 10 overall worst offenders list, according to our report.
Instant messaging apps are some of our most commonly used in daily life and each person has their own personal favourite. But which one is the most efficient at maximising your phone's performance? Despite improvements in the overall categories, both the Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps are still gluttons for battery and data.
Many users may not be aware that this can be quickly remedied by simply accessing the social media site through a browser, rather than the app. It means the app can be deleted which will save battery and free up some all-important space.
WhatsApp is another prime offender for leeching charge. The instant messenger service ranks as the sixth highest battery drainer in apps that run from start-up.
Spring-Cleaning Your Smartphone
Many people won't be aware of this, but Facebook and Instagram use your phone's internal memory to stow away a whole host of files you didn't even know were there. Considering a whole host of other apps also run from start-up, a bevy of files begin to accumulate before you've even had your first cup of coffee. Browsers like Chrome and Firefox, as well as messenger and navigation apps, are also guilty of similar problems.
Designated cleaning apps are a great fix for this as they monitor and scan the hidden caches on your device, ensuring that your smartphone is fully optimised without any unnecessary baggage.
Streamlining Your Streaming
While the move from storing media to streaming has afforded our smartphones a lot more space, there are still a number of apps moonlighting as serious storage hogs. Key culprits are Netflix and Spotify, which adds insult to injury as they're both very high up the list of battery sappers, too.
Streaming apps are best used when your device is plugged in and charging, but if you really need your latest fix of EastEnders while on the go, most streaming apps have offline modes to conserve both your battery and data. Downloading a programme while connected to Wi-Fi before watching it later offline is the most economical way of viewing your favourite shows. It will ensure you don't get caught short missing the crucial cliff-hanger as your battery slowly dies.
Top Tips for Prolonging Battery Life
In addition to the aforementioned points, there are a number of other ways to help you get the most out of your device. Push notifications are useful for urgent news updates or as gentle nudges to continue our Spanish lessons. But do we need Facebook telling us we haven't 'updated our profile in six weeks'? Push notifications consume valuable resources. Evaluate which ones you can live without.
While GPS can get you out of a number of sticky situations, it's not always essential. Switch it off when you don't need it and give your phone a much-needed boost.
But alas, all of these performance-affecting apps have nothing on the number one cause of battery consumption: screen brightness. Amazingly, screen brightness is accountable for up to 80 percent of entire power consumption. Most modern smartphones come with an 'auto' option for screen displays, increasing and decreasing the brightness depending on your surroundings. Leaving this option on will not only ensure your eyes get the break they sometimes need from a bright screen, but you'll also gain more precious minutes on your smartphone.
Top Tips At-A-Glance
• Switch 'auto-brightness' on
• Use offline mode in streaming apps
• Access social media sites through your web browser
• Turn off push notifications
• Switch off location services and GPS
• Stop apps when not in use, don't simply press 'back'
• Install a cleaning/maintenance app
• Switch off background data for non-essential apps