Five Tips: Get More Battery Life from Your RIM BlackBerry

Nothing lasts forever--especially your BlackBerry's battery. But you can prolong the life of your power supply. Follow these five tips to extend your RIM smartphone's run time.

Mon, March 31, 2008

CIO — How long will your Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry battery last? That depends on a wide array of factors, starting with the device model you're using, your proximity to cellular towers, and how often you're talking on a call, sending messages or surfing the mobile Internet.

But regardless of whether or not you're constantly using your a BlackBerry 8830, 8700g or Curve in the city or the sticks, you can learn tricks to squeeze every last bit of juice out of your device. For instance, you can make sure all your unused connectivity options are disabled, your notification settings are optimized for extended battery life and your screen backlight is only as bright as you need it to be.

We recommend carrying an extra BlackBerry battery along whenever possible--or better yet, an extended-life battery--so you don't get caught in the dark even if your main power supply dies. But these tips can help extend your battery life even if you have another at the ready.

1) Set Connectivity Options Wisely

Wireless connectivity options such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth eat up BlackBerry battery life when they're on but aren't in use, because they constantly try to connect to networks or devices. Even leaving your device's cellular radio on when you're not using it drains battery life, because it's communicating with cellular towers to determine if you're still in range of the network and to update various services or applications.

Not all BlackBerry devices have Wi-Fi--in fact only a few of them do, like the 8820 and the new Pearl 8120--but most new RIM devices have Bluetooth support, and the vast majority have cellular radios.

image of BlackBerry 8800 Battery
BlackBerry 8800 Battery

To turn off one or all of these options, go to your device's icon screen and click the "Manage Connections" icon. (It looks a bit like a camera tripod with a few halos around the top.) From there, you can deactivate all connectivity options by hitting the "Turn All Connections Off" option, or turn individual connections on and off by checking or unchecking the boxes next to each. One caution: the cellular radio enables your device to make and receive calls, as well as view Web pages and transfer data, so you won't be able to place calls or surf the Web when your radio is turned off. If you enter an area with poor or no cellular coverage--when riding on a subway, for example--turn off you radio unless it's absolutely necessary, because it will drain battery trying to reconnect with the network.

You can also set your device to automatically shut down at night (or other little-used times) and turn itself back on, to save battery life. To do so, go to your device's icon screen and click the Options icon. (It looks like a wrench.) Then click Auto On/Off, select whether or not settings should apply to weekdays, weekends or both, and choose stop and start times.

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