Step 1: Automatic brightness is your friend
Perhaps most important of all, you should know that the screen accounts for around 50 per cent of the battery drain on your GALAXY S4. Now sure, it might seem like there’s little point having an S4 if you’re not going to utilise that beautiful 5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED screen – but if longer life is more important, you can still save yourself some juice without sacrificing too much brightness.
Let the S4 do the hard work for you
Automatic brightness (activated within the Display section of your settings) adjusts the screen’s brightness based on the surroundings, so it’ll crank it up when you pound the sunny pavement, but dial it right down when you’re reading a book in bed.
Best of all, once you’ve turned it on, you don’t have to do a thing – the GALAXY S4 manages everything automatically.
Step 2: Email
After the screen, one massive battery-buzzkill is push email. Having a constant connection to the server (which is what push email does) not only burns through your data allowance, but it also nukes your battery, working as a constant drain throughout the day.
Now you have a real reason to turn those pesky emails off
Rather than having the constant syncing of push, then, the next-best option is a frequent ‘fetch’. Head to the settings for your email account, then select the sync frequency as being once every five minutes or so, depending on how urgent your work tends to be. So, those pesky spamming scammers can still bother you, but only at fifteen-minute intervals!
Step 3: Monitor your apps
After your screen and pushed emails, what drains your smartphone’s battery the most will depend on just how you use your phone. Thankfully, your GALAXY S4 has a power monitor built in.
Just head to the Battery section in Settings, and you’ll see a blow-by-blow breakdown of which apps are using the most juice. If they’re not ones you use regularly, think about disabling or uninstalling them to save yourself a few amps.
Step 4: Time’s up
Back to that battery screen. Another little trick you can do to save a couple of extra percentage points is decreasing the screen timeout.
Think of it like turning the lights out. Only automatic
This is how long the screen will stay on since you last used your GALAXY S4. The longer the timeout, the longer the screen will stay on, and the harder that poor battery will have to work. You’ll find the right setting in the Display menu. Thirty seconds is probably long enough, after all.
We should also mention Samsung’s superb Smart Stay eye-tracking feature at this point, which ensures that you keep the screen on only for as long as you need it.
Step 5: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Those two marvels of modern technology, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, seem pretty amazing when you’re streaming Get Lucky off the internet, through your S4 and into your Bluetooth headphones.
But when you’re doing neither of those things, and just trying to keep your phone alive, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are evil devils, using up a whole tonne of battery power for no immediate benefit.
Just look at those cute little toggles. Now you’ve got no excuse for ignoring them
With the S4’s marvellous TouchWiz UI, you can turn both of them off whenever you’re not using them – just swipe down from the top of the screen, and tap the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi icons. Yeah, that easy.
Step 6: Flight mode
Sometimes you really don’t need to be disturbed by the world. Rather than just switching your GALAXY S4 onto silent during your little internal meditation sessions, switch your phone onto Flight mode instead.
Pop your S4 into Flight mode to preserve power
You can either hold down the power key for instant access to Flight mode, or, just as for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, drag down from the top, and tap the little picture of the airplane (duh). That’ll turn off all the power-hungry radios in your phone, from the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to the more powerful 2G, 3G and 4G radios that normally suck down data.
It’s worth doing the same thing if you ever find yourself out of network coverage – the GALAXY S4, dogged as it is, will keep searching for a data signal. Putting it out of its misery by turning on airplane mode will save you loads of battery life.
Step 7: Background apps
Your GALAXY S4 is great for multi-tasking – the ability to Multi Window a Google search while watching YouTube is nothing short of God-like.
Kill ‘em. Kill ‘em dead
Sometimes, though, you’ll have a bunch of apps running unnecessarily in the background, chewing through your battery life like a dog through brand-new shoes.
To close some of those behind-the-scenes power hogs is easy: long-click on the home button to get to the multi-tasking pane of apps, then swipe away all the ones you don’t need.
Step 8: Correct charging
The unofficial motto of the SAS, according to trashy action novels, is ‘Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance’.
Try not to let your poor S4 get this close to death
Nowhere does that hold truer than with battery life. The 2,600mAh lithium-ion battery in your GALAXY S4 will perform better if it’s treated gently, rather than constantly ravaged.
Try and keep the battery north of 20 per cent; avoid short, frequent charges in favour of full charges once every day or so; and once a month, run the battery completely down, then recharge again. Not only will that increase the day-to-day battery life, but it’ll help keep your battery going for the long run.
Step 9: Cool temperature
Lithium-ion batteries don’t take well to high temperatures. You’ll notice that your GALAXY S4 comes with optimum operating temperatures; those are mostly there for the battery’s sake.
Okay, so charging in an icebox might be a bit excessive
In a year of typical usage at 0°C, a li-ion battery will lose about 5 per cent of its capacity. Although we wouldn’t recommend keeping your phone in the fridge overnight (we don’t want you accidentally pouring it on your cereal in the morning!), it’s worth trying to keep it out of direct sunlight, and maybe don’t leave your poor GALAXY S4 in the car overnight. It deserves better.
Step 10: Get that GPS out!
The final battery-life trick is probably one of the most important: turn GPS off when you’re not using it. The Global Positioning System is awfully clever: it uses satellites and atomic clocks to calculate your position on Earth down to a matter of metres.
Look at it, eating away your phone’s battery like it just doesn’t care
But it’s also a bit of a battery hog, so you’re best switching it off when you’re not doing precise navigation – your GALAXY S4 can work out a rough location without it, anyway.
The toggle (between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on the S4’s drop-down settings menu) is the fastest way of whacking it on and off. And then you can enjoy a longer-life battery, and more time away from the plug, to truly make the most of your phone.