Hack 10. Maximize Your Battery Life

Use these settings to disable the battery-intensive functions your battery will thank you.

As far as batteries on mobile devices go, the BlackBerry's is pretty good. But we all realize that the innovation in the battery industry seems to have almost stagnated. We have seen hard drive capacities skyrocket while their prices have plummeted. The same cannot be said for the capacity of the batteries we use.

We, as BlackBerry users, expect a lot from the batteries in our devices. We want to be able to go on a trip and not worry about remembering the travel charger. And heaven forbid we have to turn wireless off on our device to conserve the battery oh the horrors!

This hack explains which functions should be avoided when you know you're going to be without a charger for a while and you need to stretch your battery life to the limit.

Turn wireless off

I know we hate to admit it, but the wireless modem in your device is far and away the worst battery hog of all. This will probably be called blasphemous by some, but when you're in a bind, turn the wireless off. In my secondary device, I once turned the wireless off with a full charge and left the device on. When I checked it again a full two weeks later, the device still showed full strength.

Never use the backlight

The backlight consumes a good deal of the battery, too. It sure is easier to look at the screen with it on, but avoid using it when you are in situations when you need your battery to last. Of course, you don't have much choice if your device is one of the 7100 models that only have a backlit screen.

Keep your device in the holster

When your device detects that it is in its holster (through clever use of a magnet), it immediately goes into a power save mode. The backlight timeout is ignored, the screen is turned off, and it operates on minimal power while in the holster.

Don't keep programs running in the background

Any programs that are running in the background on your device [Hack #6] will require and use system resources to run. Keep these to a minimum.

Avoid programs that require wireless use

Obviously, it's not always possible to completely shut off the wireless modem in your device. When you have to have it on, minimize its use. That means avoid using programs that use it. This includes the BlackBerry Browser and many of the third-party programs outlined in this book. Instant messaging applications are notorious for frequent use of the wireless modem while running in the background. This is a serious drain on your battery!

Keep plenty of free space available

The BlackBerry operating system manages memory similar to a PC. Memory is swapped to a flash memory disk as RAM becomes scarcer. This swapping can be resource intensive and therefore can eat away at your battery's charge. Go to the Status item in Options and look for the File Free field. RIM recommends maintaining a minimum of between 400 and 500 KB free for optimal usage [Hack #12].

Turn Bluetooth off when not in use

Just like the wireless modem, the Bluetooth function will consume a tremendous amount of your battery. Keep it off unless it's in use.

Turn the device off completely

This is the best way to conserve the battery! Use the Auto On/Off function in Options to have the device automatically shut off and start back up on a schedule you specify. You can even set up a different schedule for weekdays and weekends.

BlackBerry Hacks
Blackberry Hacks: Tips & Tools for Your Mobile Office
ISBN: 0596101155
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 164
Authors: Dave Mabe

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