Modern day smartphones are models of multitasking convenience -- as long as they carry a charge, that is. The more capabilities you cram into a phone, the shorter its battery life. Fortunately, you aren't entirely helpless in the battle against lackluster battery life. We've already covered some fairly simple tweaks that'll keep your handset chugging all day long, but not everybody's the hands-on type. So today, let's take a look at five battery-saving apps that will do the dirty work for you.
Actually, a quick note before we start: battery saving apps work by automating the kinds of tasks covered in our previous battery saving post. IPhones, Blackberrys and Windows Phones don't give apps the same deep-level system access as Android phones, so battery saving apps for those brands can't automate as many tasks as battery saving apps for Android phones.
Manually tweaking your phone settings can extend your phone's life even further, even with a battery-saving app installed. Or, you can try and skirt the problem by visiting our cellphone and smartphone reports and looking for phones known for their staying power.
JuiceDefender - Android - Free
JuiceDefender is the preeminent power-saving utility available for Android phones, with millions of downloads under its belt. The free version automatically disables cellular 2G/3G connections whenever your phone is locked; that alone saves a lot of juice, and the app briefly turns the connectivity back on every 15 minutes to let apps receive updates. Five separate modes are available to help you fine-tune the mix of power versus performance, from the default Balanced setting all the way up to Extreme, which basically disables all Internet connectivity completely.
The premium JuiceDefender Plus (*Est. $2) and JuiceDefender Ultimate (*Est. $5) offer even more customizability, such as Wi-Fi control and the ability to have different settings based on the date, time or your physical location. Note that you'll have to download a paid version if you want JuiceDefender to manage a 4G phone. JuiceDefender watches over my phone, and I recommend it heartily.
GreenPower - Android - Free
GreenPower is another well-regarded Android power-saving app, and it actually brings a bit more functionality than Juice Defender out of the box thanks to automatic Wi-Fi management. The free app also monitors 4G connections, although not all 4G phones are supported. Like Juice Defender, GreenPower is clean, easy to use and fully customizable. GreenPower Premium (*Est. $2) adds Bluetooth support, a homescreen widget, night- and location-based protection (via plug-ins for the premium Locale and Tasker apps) and ditches the ads found in the free version.
Battery Boost Magic - iPhone/iPad - $1
As I said before, Apple doesn't allow apps to fiddle with cellular or Wi-Fi radios, so battery-saving apps are fairly limited on the iPhone. Battery Boost Magic is the best regarded of the bunch, carrying a 4.5 rating with over 12,000 users checking in. Users say the app doesn't seem to make the iPhone's battery life any longer. What Battery Boost Magic does offer is a wide array of useful extra features to make the most of what battery life you have, including a list of battery-saving settings tips and a screen that shows you how many minutes you can spend on different phone activities, such as 3G talk time, Wi-Fi Internet browsing and 3D gaming.
Battery Booster Ultimate - BlackBerry - $2
Battery Booster Ultimate boasts a 4 (out of 5) star average rating after over 4,000 reviews. Like iPhones, BlackBerrys won't let apps change system settings, but Battery Booster Ultimate sends you notifications when apps are running in the background or your battery level falls beneath a certain percentage. The app's interface lets you quickly and easily enable or disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular connections with a single touch. A small number of users report that Battery Booster Ultimate sometimes freezes on its battery charge display screen, however.
Battery Saver - Windows Phone 7 - Free
Battery Saver for Windows Phones is like a mix between Battery Boost Magic and Battery Booster Ultimate; it notifies you when you should disable certain battery-hungry settings and includes a bunch of battery-boosting tips that you can perform manually. The app also allows you to pin "live tiles for key battery saving features" to your home screen so that you can change the settings quickly. Battery Saver includes ads, but it's still the best-rated pick of the slim Windows Phone battery saving apps bunch.
Which battery-saving apps do you use?