Picture this: you're enjoying a nice, family dinner when one of your children suffers an allergic reaction.
You reach for your cell phone - the only phone in the house since your family dropped the home line - but realize the battery has died.
It's a scary situation, and one that is worryingly common now that we all depend on cell phones.
If you're in a pinch, trust these seven handy tips to charge your phone in a flash.
1. Turn It Off
When you really need your phone, and you're racing to charge it, you might be confused by whether turning it on or off is best.
In fact keeping your phone off is the smart move.
When your phone is on, but not being used, it's still doing plenty of small background tasks that waste your battery power.
Most new phones will display the battery as you charge it - even when the phone is off - so keep it shut down until it's ready to use.
Of course, if it's a serious emergency turn that phone on ASAP and start dialing for help.
2. Use Airplane Mode
I call this little switch the handiest smart phone feature that most people never use.
Named because it avoids interfering with airplane equipment, this mode keeps your phone from searching for cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth signals.
Those little changes add up to a lot less wasted energy, and help your phone's battery level zip right up.
In fact, airplane mode has been shown to speed up charging by up to 25%.
Just don't forget to turn this mode off when you're finished charging, or else some features won't work.
3. Take Off The Case
Really? Yes, really!
Your phone is a very sensitive and complicated piece of technology.
The machinery inside is affected everything from air pressure and humidity to the temperature.
Charging your phone when it's too hot or cold will slow down the process, and could even damage the hardware.
Apple actually warns customers to take the case off their iPhones while charging:
"If you notice that your device gets hot when you charge it, take it out of its case first."
The ideal temperature for your phone is between 62° and 72°, so take off that case and let it cool down.
4. Use The Right Charger
You may be surprised by what a difference a new charger can make.
First and foremost, not all phone cords are created equal.
Most basic cables are 24 gauge, while 28 gauge types charge your phone significantly faster and cost almost the same.
A wall charger also works faster than a USB plug or a car charger by design, which most people don't realize.
Some phones also have special Quick Charge ports which work best with matching Quick Charge cables.
But the fastest charging cable of all - if you use an iPhone - is an iPad charger.
These handy cables are compatible with other iOS devices and charge much, much faster than a phone cord.
And despite what you may read, the powerful cable can't "overcharge" or damage your phone.
5. Let Your Battery Die
Surprised by this tip? You shouldn't be, because Apple warns their users to let their smartphone battery die every so often:
For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, it's important to keep the electrons in it moving occasionally. Be sure to go through at least one charge cycle per month (charging the battery to 100% and then completely running it down).
Doing this regularly will keep your phone battery working well, and it will charge faster as a result.
Here's another easy way to keep your battery in good shape: never charge it overnight.
The best way to regularly charge a phone is to let it get to around 30% or lower, then charge it back to 100%.
6. Clean Out Your Ports
It's a small space, but you would be amazed by the amount of dirt and gunk that gets caught in your phone's ports.
Do yourself a favor: grab a toothpick and give your phone a thorough cleaning.
Gently scraping the dust out of the charging port will make a big difference in your phone's recharging speed.
7. Give Your Phone A Boost
If your phone just can't keep up with your busy lifestyle, consider bringing a portable charger with you.
These handheld batteries are much slimmer than you might expect, and most hold enough juice for multiple charges.
If you get a Quick Charge enabled device it can boost your phone back to 100% in no time, no wall plug required.
Regular power banks will fill your phone as quickly as a wall socket, but make sure that your charging cable is strong enough to handle the output.
Here are more helpful life hacks:
- 10 laundry hacks guaranteed to make your life easier.
- 21 cleaning hacks that will transform your home.
- 9 thrifty home hacks your bank account will love.