(StatePoint) Smartphones have become such integral parts of our lives that when we see those low battery warnings our hearts sink right along with the power of our mobile devices.
And as most smartphone owners use their mobile devices for way more than just calls or texting, this can take a serious toll on battery life.
“One of the biggest pain points for smartphone owners is battery life and power efficiency,” said Tim McDonough, vice president of marketing at Qualcomm Inc. “This is especially true when you look at the battery-intensive activities people regularly do on their devices, like surf the web, play games and watch video.”
Sixty-nine percent of smartphone owners and 67 percent of tablet owners play games on their devices, according to a 2012 survey conducted by Qualcomm. And approximately one-third of smartphone or tablet owners watch movies on them at least monthly, with that number increasing to 47 percent among males 18-34.
But by following some simple tips and taking advantage of free tools, you can help extend your battery life.
• Dim your screen to the lowest comfortable level. Exact levels will be different for every person and circumstance, but keeping this in mind when you need a little extra battery life can make a big difference.
• Disable your Wi-Fi, Data or Bluetooth capabilities when not using them. Some phones’ default settings have all these enabled, but you usually only use one or two of them. Take note of which are appropriate for you and disable others in your settings menu until needed.
Alternatively, disable this setting in certain applications, like weather apps, which constantly access your data connection. This way you maintain access, but limit power used.
• Download a battery performance app or system optimizer. Perhaps the quickest, easiest way to manage power usage is to have an application do the work for you. Getting an app designed specifically to monitor and conserve energy usage will help increase battery life with minimal effort.
One way it will save power is by proactively adjusting smartphone settings without disabling features that make it smart. For example, if you’re using an Android device powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon  processor, you can download the free Snapdragon BatteryGuru  app available in your phone’s app store. This app extends battery performance and improves overall user experience by intelligently making changes that optimize your smartphone’s functionality.
• Set synching to the widest internals you can live with. Common settings for email accounts and active applications tell phones to check every 15 or 30 minutes, to sync continuously, or send “push” notifications. The latter means your phone is constantly checking on multiple applications, which can suck up lots of power.
• Turn off vibrate. Vibrating uses extra energy that may not be necessary. Reducing the volume on your ringtone also saves a bit of power.
Heeding these tips will help you save your battery for when you need it most – like when locating that gas station when you’re on empty, or pulling up trivia in the middle of a bet with your best friend.