Thursday, 1 November 2012

5 ways to keep your phone charged in a power outage

In our increasingly digital world, a mobile phone or other portable device is often a one-stop communication device. Phone calls, text messages, social media and even radio and television can all come from the same gadget.

Battery charger
A backup charger for your phone or tablet can can keep you linked in longer.
You can even find chargers that use solar power. So as long as you've got a dry spot and at least a brief break from the rain, Mother Nature can help bail you out. Don't also forget about you car charger.

Power inverter
If you need to power up something a little bigger than a phone, a power inverter might be a useful tool. If you want to be able to use a laptop or desktop computer during an outage, this may be the way to go.
The inverter can be used to convert DC power from your car battery into AC juice for things usually plugged into a wall outlet.

Laptop as back-up generator
This one seems obvious ... once you've thought about it. But it's the sort of thing that can slip your mind when there's a lot of other preparation to be done. While there's time, fully charge your laptop (or, best case, laptops). Then don't use it. When other power sources go out, you can plug your phone or tablet into the laptop, via the USB port, for the extra juice.

Stop running apps
Check your phone's settings. Some apps quietly run in the background even when you're not using them, causing your battery to drain faster. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are two examples, but there are plenty of others. Here's a video for how to disable Wi-Fi on an iPhone and a walkthrough for how to control battery usage on Android devices. (Hat tip to Also, texting burns less power than a phone call, so go that route when you can. And turning down your screen's brightness will also help conserve juice.

Use a battery-life app
Several free apps for both iOS (Apple) and Android devices promise to help you extend your phone's battery life. One such app is Carat, which observes how you use your smartphone and makes personalized suggestions about which power-sucking apps you might delete.

By Doug Gross

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