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Mobile tablets are great for streamlining processes and increasing productivity; that is, until the battery dies just before the afternoon rush begins. Every brand is different, but mobile tablet batteries can last anywhere from five to twelve hours. Heavy usage and wi-fi connectivity can significantly reduce that time. Without proper maintenance, a battery with a twelve-hour life span will quickly be whittled down to eleven, then ten, then nine...
To keep your mobile tablets ready for action--and your employees productive--follow these tips for battery care:
1) Buy extra batteries with a portable charger. Mobile tablets require a significant up-front investment, but don't be tempted to skimp when it comes to investing in an extra battery. When things get hectic, there may not be time to re-charge tablets or employees may forget to plug them in. Having a spare battery in its own portable charger makes it easy and fast to swap out batteries and stay productive.
If you do have extra batteries, it's a good idea to swap out batteries every other week, even if your current battery lasts all day. Batteries should not be stored in their fully-charged state for weeks or months at a time. Inactivity reduces battery life, so be sure to give those extra batteries an occasional work out.
2) Reduce screen brightness. Bright screens drain batteries quickly. If you're working outside on a bright day, you'll need to keep the screen brightness high; but while inside, reduce the brightness to preserve battery power.
3) Turn off wi-fi connectivity. This may not be possible on busy days because tablets need to be connected to stay productive. But if you're taking a break or going offline for a while, disconnecting from wi-fi will help keep battery power strong.
4) Turn off location tracking apps. In general, it's probably best to discourage employees from downloading non-work related apps onto your mobile tablets. If left open, these apps run in the background and drain battery life. Many apps are installed with a default state of "always" tracking your location, which also eats up battery life. To prevent this from happening, close apps you're not using and change the settings of your location-based services from "always" to "while using" or "never."
5) Don't turn it off. Your tablet uses more juice while powering up than it does while it's napping. If you're not using your mobile tablet, put it in sleep mode.
6) Check settings. Other settings that can drain battery power include Bluetooth and email. Bluetooth is always looking for a device to connect with, so turn it off if you're not using it. If your tablet has an email client on it, change the "fetch data" settings to once every fifteen minutes or as long as you can reasonably go without checking for and retrieving new emails.
7) Don't fully discharge batteries. Older, nickel-based batteries had to be completely discharged from 100% to 0% in order to keep their capacity. Modern devices use Lithium Ion batteries, so this rule no longer applies. In fact, allowing Lithium Ion batteries to drain to 0% on a regular basis is bad for the battery. If possible, don't allow the battery to fall much lower than 20% of capacity before re-charging. If you have a habit of only allowing the battery to get down to 50% or 70% before re-charging, that's actually a good thing--Li-ion batteries last longer if you do more frequent, shallow charges.
8) Get a battery-saving app. If you'd rather not be bothered with having to worry about preserving battery-life; there's an app for that! These apps monitor your battery usage, alert you if something is draining your battery and give you tips on how to help extend your battery life. Here are a few apps to consider, but you may want to do your own research:
9) Consider wireless charging pads. A wireless charging pad is a nifty accessory that transmits a charge via a transmitter coil to a receiver coil in the mobile tablet. These would be handy to have out in the service drive, because all you have to do is set the device down on the pad and it automatically begins charging. However, ONLY consider this option if your wireless network has the capacity to handle large amounts of data, which typically requires enterprise-level Internet service, enterprise-grade routers, modern switches and an adequate amount of wireless access points.
10) Don't leave your mobile tablets in the heat--or cold. Electronic devices and especially their batteries are sensitive to extreme temperatures. If you leave your tablet out in the sun or in a hot car, the battery will wear down much faster. Likewise, leaving batteries in the freezing cold is also bad for battery life (and don't store batteries in the freezer!) As much as possible, try to keep your tablets at or near room temperature.
With proper care, your mobile tablet batteries should last up to two years. Over time, it's normal for batteries to degrade 20% to 30% from their original state. But that degradation happens much faster with careless handling, so follow these tips to help protect your mobile tablet investment. What battery-saving tips do you have?