So you don’t have to go to school or work for the next few days as Hurricane Matthew heads toward Florida. You’ll be locked in your house, shelter, or hotel room you evacuated to with nothing more to do than play board games, listen to the rain and the wind, and hope the next gust doesn’t take out your power. While you hope and hope the lights stay on, it’s likely they’ll go out at some point. Here are some tips to power through Hurricane Matthew with a cell phone full of power.
1. Turn off apps that run in the background
Lots of apps run in the background and zap your battery. Go to your settings and turn off apps that run in the background. With an iPhone, you can do this two ways. You can click on every app, then look to see if it says “Background App Refresh.” Turn that off. Or you can go to settings, general, and background app refresh and turn it off for all apps with the click of one button.
However, if you want some apps like news or weather apps that could update you during the storm to be on, you have to go through them individually.
You should also turn off notifications and location services while you power through the storm. Only keep one or two key apps open and running through the storm to conserve your battery.
2. Turn on low power mode
This temporarily reduces the power your phone uses until you charge it. How will this impact your usage? You may not get updated emails, apps won’t update or run in the background (so this can eliminate step 2), automatic downloads, and some visual effects are also reduced or turned off.
On an iPhone, you can find this in the settings under your battery options.
3. Turn down the brightness
The storm is going to hit at night so it will be dark in your home, but you still want to avoid using your phone as a flashlight. Use a dedicated flashlight for that. Turn off auto brightness and turn down the brightness of your screen. Also, turn on auto lock so your phone turns off after just a few minutes of not using it. That will save some power too. You can find these options under settings and “Display & Brightness.”
4. Charge your phone while the power is on
It may not be much fun to be tethered to the power cord while you’re locked in your home surfing the web, but it will help you big time if the power goes out. You’ll have a phone with 100% power so it will last a lot longer.
If you don’t want to be tethered all the time, and still want a lot of power in your phone when you lose power, put your phone on the charger every hour for a few minutes. That way you always have maximum battery life.
5. Use your laptop as an extra battery
If you keep your laptop plugged in and charged throughout the storm, it can serve as an extra battery pack if the power goes out. Plug in your iPhone and use the laptop’s battery to recharge your phone’s battery.
You can also invest $20 in an AC adapter for your car for a second battery backup device. If you want to plug in several devices in your car, get an inverter.
One last bonus tip — if you haven’t updated to iOS 10, don’t do it now. There are reports of batteries draining faster, and even though you have more time on your hands now to get used to it, wait until after the storm just in case the update doesn’t go as planned.