How to Conserve Phone Battery Life While Hiking

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  • Turn on airplane mode. What drains your battery the most is constantly checking for a signal, even if there isn't one.
  • When not in airplane mode, disable background data use and/or enable your phone's "battery saver" mode.
  • Make sure wifi is off when you're not using it. When the wifi radio is on but not connected, the phone is constantly searching for nearby access points. This drains battery to no purpose in the backcountry. Turning on airplane mode should do this automatically. Disabling Bluetooth and GPS when not in use is less effective, but potentially worthwhile.
  • Turn down the screen brightness.
  • Toggle your screen sleep time to auto-shutoff after ~15s-30s.
  • In sub-freezing overnight temperatures, keep your phone and other devices and external battery pack(s) in your sleeping bag to keep them warm. Cold temperatures can drain batteries significantly.
  • Avoid recharging in freezing temperatures. Recharging lithium ion batteries when the temperature is at or below freezing can cause permanent damage to the batteries.
  • Take care of your charging cables. Bending a USB cable can lead to much slower recharging times.
  • Identify apps that consume significant battery while running in the background, and turn them off.
  • Disable access to cellular data on a per-app basis in your phone's settings. When your phone has been in airplane mode for days, many apps may try to update at once as soon as you have have a cellular signal with data. This can consume a significant amount of battery in a short amount of time. This can be prevented by allowing only the apps that you prioritize -- a mapping app, a messenger app, and so on -- to use cellular data.