dead battery woesThe battery in the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone is supposed to last for 18 hours on standby, 10 hours if you’re talking, 8 hours if you’re playing a video. We’ve been lucky if ours lasted half that. A free app called “Greenify,” along with some basic adjustments, has made a big difference.

Greenify for Android phones hibernates any apps you don’t need to have running. Our phone stays on for at least 18 hours now, with light use. Some apps, such as the Amazon Kindle app, take a little longer to load with Greenify running in the background, but that’s better than a phone that dies when you don’t expect it.

Before Greenify, we tried several other battery life extenders: “Wavelock Detector,” “GSam Battery Monitor,” and “Watchdog Task Manage.” among them. All gave us information but didn’t fix the problem. In fact, having information about what’s causing your battery life problem tempts you to attempt a “forced close” of a whole bunch of apps, which can make your phone unstable. (Ours got so freaky we had to turn it off a couple of times.) In previous columns, we’ve recommended “Battery Doctor,” but it has not proved satisfactory since then. It routinely closes the apps we have running, but they come back a few minutes later.

In desperation, we turned to HelpHelpNow.com, a tech support site. Kenny, the owner, told us that Greenify is the only one that works.

We had been puzzling over poor battery life for months. Sure, we had turned off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, maximum screen brightness, and location services when we didn’t need them. But that’s just for starters. We should have set our screen to turn off after a minute; ours went off after 10 minutes.

We used to have “live” wallpaper — animation, but that also eats up the battery.

A really dumb move

Here’s the dumbest thing of all. We didn’t know we weren’t exiting apps when we tapped our home button; they were all still there running in the background! To get rid of them, hold the home button for a few seconds and then tap “X.” On other Android phones, tap the multitasking button. On the iPhone or iPad, hit the home button twice, and then swipe the apps into oblivion with a wave of your hand. To find out what’s hogging an iPhone’s battery, tap “settings,” then “general” then “battery usage.”

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