Sunday, March 18, 2012

Preserving cellphone battery life in the backcountry

Dazzle-Android-batteryI imagine that a lot of our readers are trying out their smartphones in the backcountry, using mapping applications for navigation. One of the problems with this (and there are several), is that few things will drain your battery faster than your phone searching for a signal where there is none, or where reception is marginal.

One easy solution is to put your phone in airplane mode, but I recently came across a specialized use case where that wouldn’t work. Using the SPOT Connect, I needed to have Bluetooth enabled, and airplane mode wouldn’t allow it. That’s when I discovered Dazzle, a free Android widget (shown above, at top) that lets you independently turn off your phone’s cellular radio. It can be configured to take up less space, and you can select which items you wish to control with it.

I covered this in my SPOT Connect review, but it was buried pretty deep, so I wanted to bring it to the attention of other folks who might have a use for it. Oh, and according to one reader, iPhone users can just put their phone in airplane mode and then go back in and enable Bluetooth or WiFi as needed.

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. Jonathan says:

    Here are some battery saving tips from David Pogue’s recent article in the New York Times:

  2. Jonathan says:

    Here’s a correction to one of the tips from Pogue’s article, sent in as a comment:
    “Holding the Home key until the apps wiggle and then touching the circled X deletes the apps rather than just closing them. To close them, hold the Home button until a circle with a horizontal bar appears next to each app, then touch the circled bar for each app you wish to close. To recover apps that were deleted by touching the circled X, connect your iPhone to your iTunes, select the Apps tab, check each app that you need restored to your phone, and then synch your phone.”

  3. don’t save power use it 🙂 I have a 5000mAH backup that i use when geocaching on the trail. it allowed me to use my droid to go all day (84 caches) on a bicycle logging and finding as we went, charge my friends droid incredible, his wifes droid extreme and my wifes droid and still had power to spare.

    he got one of these which can full charge about 7 phones or one phone 7 times.

    and of course there is one bigger, 11000mAH :

    which will be my next one when my 5000mAH dies

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