Here’s the scenario: you’ve sweated the detail on a proposal to your prospective client and have sign-off from your colleagues. All you need to do now is upload it to the file-transfer site before your flight leaves. Your tablet’s battery is a bit low, but it should have enough juice…. Right? Or will the device die while the document loads?
If you’ve been there, Dawn Weir, head of kulula work feels your pain. She said mobile devices have changed life and business so much that it can feel impossible to be without them.
"They give us instant access to information, colleagues, clients and loved ones. But taking always-on electronic communications can lead to some stressful moments, especially for business travellers. Understanding why our devices act the way they do will help us deal with their limitations.”
Batteries tend to lose efficiency over time: it’s a simple matter of the lithium ions inside expanding and contracting again and again, and eventually degrading. That can lead to some frustration because your trusty – and fairly new – device may work perfectly in every other way, apart from its battery losing its mojo.
But Weir says there are ways to slow that deterioration. For example, the more often that you allow your device’s battery to drain completely or to drain to critically low levels, the more you’ll shorten your phone’s battery’s life.
Step 1: avoid running your device’s battery flat, and recharge it before the battery level is too low. One way to do this is to carry a portable battery pack and charge it fully before hitting the road.
Step 2: Slow down. Weir explains that while charging your phone in five minutes is useful when you’re in a hurry, it will harm your phone’s battery capacity over time. So only use the quick-charge when you really need to.
Step 3: Go offline. Some mobile applications use a lot more juice than others. Watching video drains battery quickly, as does having the screen brightness turned up. Using mobile data also uses around a quarter more power than being connected to wifi. You might want to be online constantly, but take a deep breath and disconnect for a while if you’re concerned about losing battery-life before you can recharge.
Step 4: Swipe right. This has nothing to do with Tinder. It’s about shutting down apps and screens that you might forget you have open. If your browser, WhatsApp, Candy Crush, Facebook and Twitter are running in the background, they’ll have a cumulative effect on your device’s battery. Hit the “home” button on your device and shut off whichever apps you aren’t using. Deleting apps you no longer need should also help.
Step 5: Be cool. In hot conditions, your phone will charge faster, but that will also reduce the life of its battery. Some road warriors take their devices out of their protective cases so that the heat won’t build up while they charge. But don’t do anything radical like putting yours in a freezer if it feels too hot. Electronic devices don’t like sudden changes in temperature.