Day 56 – Battery Drain

by Dan


Those who have followed this project from the start will know that mobile communications can be a huge source of frustration for me. Brilliant as they are, if they control you rather than the other way around, then they are more trouble than they are worth. A small thing has been bugging me for a while. It seems that no matter what mobile phone I use, the battery barely lasts a day from a full charge. Now I’m not a heavy user of my phone, so I struggle to believe that a company could get away with designing a product that performed so poorly on such a fundamental feature. Conversely, I was staggered that my wife repeatedly chose phones which had a very good battery life, her handsets would regularly run for several days without a charge and her usage isn’t much different to mine.

For the last few years I have just put it down to bad luck, and thinking “when my contract ends, I’ll upgrade and the problem will go away”. Yet, each time, same problem.

The penny finally dropped recently when my wife upgraded her phone. I was so annoyed with mine that I took her hand-me-down handset to use for the remainder of my current contract. It was still going a couple of days between charges so I thought it would do the job. But guess what? Same issue. Battery ran out in less than a day. I realised that it must be something that I was doing that was causing this, it CAN’T be the phone, its ME. It didn’t take very long for my wife and I to compare notes on how we used our phones, the settings we used etc. Difference 1 – she would regularly stop all running applications on the phone, whereas I wouldn’t. I took to doing the same, and there was a marginal improvement – it lasted the day but not overnight. Another chat this weekend– Difference 2 – my wife keeps all settings like WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS etc switched off unless needed. I was pretty good with GPS and Bluetooth, but would always leave my WiFi on so that when I walked into the house it would pick up straight away. So I tried keeping the WiFi off and – hey presto – the battery is well on its way towards two days of life!

So for today’s Daily Act of Simplification, I am committing to keeping the WiFi on my phones turned off unless I want to use an app that needs it, and I’ll switch it off after. No longer will my phone usage be constrained by worries about the battery, and hopefully one less source of misplaced frustration.

A bad workman always blames his tools, and a bad Simplify Guy always blamed his phone. Poor phone!