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GLOBAL – The latest generation of Nokia mobile devices come with more juice than ever. The Nokia E5, for example, boasts 13 hours of talktime or a whopping 635 hours in standby. But not everyone has a new phone and some of us – including me – are nursing older models that have already been charged several hundred times. So how can you increase the time between phone charges? Read on for ten top tips for better batteries.

[Updated: more on the black screen question below].

1. Switch it off. This is actually a tip for getting out of bed in the morning. When you go to bed, set your alarm, switch off your phone and leave it at the other end of the room (throwing it onto a soft pile of clothes also works). Lots of people don’t know that the alarm still works even if the phone is off.

2. Switch off wireless connections. If you aren’t going to use any data transfers, then feel free to turn off WiFi and Bluetooth. If your phone scans for WiFi as you move, switch that off too. While you’re at it, switch off the GPS, if it’s accessible. And infrared.

3. Black is back. There’s some debate over the truth of this, but it’s claimed that a black screen background uses less power than a white one. If it gets you extra minutes, then it’s probably worth testing the truth of the theory on your own device: different people are getting different results, we hear.

Update: Thanks to commentator pezcore_a and our own Phil Schwarzmann for this link to an article on Forum Nokia where experiments with OLED screens show much higher power consumption from white screens than black ones. So now you know.

4. No bells or whistles. Switch off vibrating alerts. If you can hear your phone, then you don’t need vibrations anyway and they can suck up a lot of power. For the same reason, there’s every chance that you don’t need keypad tones or a ‘breathing light’. And yes, the screensaver has to go, too.

5. Kill your apps. When you’ve finished using an application, exit it properly (Option -> Exit on many phones). Just pressing the end-call button leaves it working away in the background, eating up processor cycles and your precious talktime minutes.

6. Reduce email updates. The chances are that it won’t really matter if it takes you two minutes or an hour to respond to emails. If you have Nokia Messaging set up to automatically retrieve emails, try reducing the frequency to an hour.

7. Games and Music. Entertainment is the bane of batteries everywhere, we’re afraid. If you’re low on power, then read a book instead: it’ll do you good. Flash photography is definitely out if you’re worried you’re going to run out of power.

8. Flight mode. Your phone uses more power searching for a signal in weak areas. If you’re on a train or in the countryside, then switch to flight or offline mode. You’ll enjoy the peace and quiet for a change, and avoid the train-rage that’s inevitable when you go under a tunnel during a call.

9. Keep it cool. Leaving your phone in direct, strong sunlight can actually harm your battery and leave it with a lower capacity. On the other hand, we’ve seen it claimed that putting your mobile in the fridge can revive a dead battery. But if you’ve got access to a fridge, you’ve probably also got access to a charger, which is definitely the better route.

10. Product Plug. This might sound like a plug [sorry], but use branded Nokia chargers. They’re made to be extremely efficient. Lesser imitations or ‘adapting’ another phone’s charger can overcharge your battery leading to damage.

11. Bonus tipbecause the black screen one might be an urban myth (check the update above). Turn down the brightness of the backlight and reduce the timeout before it switches off – just to the point where it’s not too annoying.

Any more tips you’ve picked up and would like to share with other Conversations readers?

image credit: JohnSeb