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The Samsung Galaxy S is an amazing phone full of features that make it more like a computer with a phone option, rather than a phone with computer-like options. It runs on the Android system and is quite comparable to the Apple iPhone in terms of function. With all those features, however, the battery can only do so much before it's time for a recharge. If you aren't careful about how you use your phone, you could run the battery completely out before the end of the day. In this article, we go over some simple tweaks and application settings that will help you get more battery life out of every charge. All of these options use features already built into your phone, so you don't have to download anything to make these work.
Note: The Samsung Galaxy S comes in different sub-models where the menu system may be slightly different from one model to the next. This guide was written using the phone currently supported by Cellular South in the United States. The Galaxy S used by your own service provider might be different, although the same core features should be available.
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Check Your Battery Use
Did you know that your Android phone actually keeps track of what apps use the most battery power? You can use it to tell what causes the greatest drain to the battery. On your Galaxy S, go to Settings - About Phone - Battery Use and see what's listed. Depending on what you use your phone for, the biggest drains will probably be Display, Voice Calls, Cell Standby, and Phone Idle, though not necessarily in that order.
If Browser shows up high on the list, you may need to consider how much web browsing you do on the phone. Also watch out for keeping multiple windows open, as this can cause more drain with two pages loaded at the same time, especially if advertisements refresh on those pages. While in the Browser app, press the Menu button and then select Windows to see how many open web browser windows are running, and then press the X button next to each window to close the ones you don't need.
The Galaxy S comes with a bright colorful screen that is superior to that of the iPhone, but it comes at the price of battery consumption. This is why you'll see Display listed high on the Battery Use chart. There are some ways you can tweak the display settings to conserve battery life, and the main one is to turn off the Automatic Brightness. To change this, go to Settings - Sounds and Display - Brightness and uncheck the box. On this same screen you can also adjust the slider to manually set the brightness. I keep mine turned almost as low as it will go and find it to be plenty bright enough indoors. Also under the Sounds and Display section you can adjust the Screen Timeout to help cut down on Display battery use.
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Turn Off External Connections
Leaving the Wi-Fi option turned on will very quickly drain the battery on the Galaxy S. At my home, I sometimes enable the Wi-Fi to connect to my home wireless connection because it works faster than going through my cellular company's 3G signal. If I forget to turn off the Wi-Fi when I am done, the battery will drain overnight while I am sleeping. I discovered this one morning after having fully charged my phone the night before. Luckily, I had a spare recharge cable at my office.
Unless you need the GPS to be turned on for mapping or some other app that uses the GPS, then you should turn it off. It uses extra hardware and power that also drains your battery more quickly. The reason is that it actively communicates with satellites to determine your constantly changing position. If you plan to use your Galaxy S inside your vehicle for a GPS instead of a Garmin or TomTom unit, you might consider getting a power adapter, especially for long road trips.
There is really no need to keep the Bluetooth turned on unless you use an earpiece or are transferring files. Otherwise, keeping it on will further drain the battery while it constantly seeks out new devices for establishing connections.
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Use the Task Manager
Whenever you run an app on your phone, it loads into memory and takes up CPU cycles which could be used for other processes. When you finish with the app, most people just hit the Home button or the back arrow button go to the main menu. This leaves the app running in memory instead of actually closing out of it. Over time, you could wind up with a bunch of stuff sitting in idle mode waiting to be used again. With the Task Manager app, you can manually close out the apps you no longer need.
From the main screen on your phone, press the menu item for Applications in the lower right corner, then look for the one called Task Manager. It will show you a list of Active Applications and you can press End to shut them down individually or press End All to close everything. From this screen, you can go to the Package tab and uninstall any unwanted apps to free up space on the phone. Just press the Uninstall button next to the app you wish to remove.
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Power Off in Low Signal Areas
The battery on most any cell phone will deplete faster when it is in an area with little to no reception. I've found this to be true with every phone I've owned, from old Nokia monochrome models to a BlackBerry and even the Galaxy S. When the phone does not pick up a signal from any nearby towers, it goes into an active searching mode and it puts a serious drain on the battery until it finds a signal. If you are going into a remote area with no reception or even poor reception, you can help prolong your Galaxy S battery life by turning the phone completely off until you are ready to use it.
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- Author's personal experience with the Samsung Galaxy S.
- Tech mag, Increase Battery Life of Samsung Galaxy S, http://www.itechmag.com/increase-battery-life-of-samsung-galaxy-s
- Images courtesy of Samsung Galaxy S phone and Samsung.