For most people these days, a "low battery" alert is typically followed by an immediate feeling of panic -- since a dead smartphone can mean no lifeline to work, family or friends, no GPS, no reminders, no social media -- the list goes on.

But what many people don't realize is that how you use your phone actually impacts its battery life -- and there are things you can do, and things you should avoid, to make it last longer!  

3 easy ways to extend your smartphone's battery life

1. Avoid "quick charging" as much as possible

Many smartphones have the ability to quick charge, which means they can re-charge faster when plugged into a more powerful charger.

But while it may be convenient, this can damage your phone's long-term battery life. So whenever you can, just charge your phone the regular old slow way. That will help it stay charged longer and last longer over time.

And when you're charging your phone overnight, you should always use a slower charger!

2. Never let the battery get down to 0%

According to Consumer Reports, letting the battery get down to 0% can actually damage its ability to hold a charge. 

3. Don't let it get too hot:

Allowing the battery to get too hot can cause permanent damage, so try to avoid leaving it out in the sun -- in the car, outside etc. -- whenever possible.

Read more: Easy ways to get more storage on your smartphone

More ways to save battery life

Changing a few of your phone's default settings, and knowing which features to turn off, can also you save some serious battery life. Here are a few tricks to keep in mind:

  • Shorter screen timeout: Set the screen "timeout" to take effect after the shortest amount possible (For iPhone: Settings, General, Auto-Lock).
     
  • Lower the brightness: First set the screen brightness to Auto (For iPhone: Settings, display & brightness, switch Auto-Brightness on), so your phone adjusts to indoor and outdoor lighting.

    Then lower the baseline brightness (For iPhone: Above the Auto-Brightness switch). Lower it to a level you can stand, but the lower the brightness, the less battery usage.
     
  • Use airplane mode: If you're in an area with no signal, and you know you won't get one until you leave, turn the phone on airplane mode.
     
  • Turn off Bluetooth: When you don't need it, it's just draining your battery. So flip it off when you know you won't use it for a while.
     
  • Take a notification break: Reduce the frequency of auto updates from email, news, social media and other apps. While you may need text and phone call alerts on all the time, you may not need alerts from every app on your phone every minute of the day. So just change the notification settings to reduce the frequency of alerts.
     
  • Turn off location services: Unless you're using it for directions or something real-time, turn off location services for apps so they aren't constantly monitoring your phone's location (and simultaneously draining your battery life).
     
  • Turn off vibrate: The vibrate function uses more battery than a ringtone.
     
  • Turn off push email: Having your phone check for new emails once or twice an hour uses less battery than having it constantly monitor for updates. So decide how often you need to be updated, and then change the frequency in your mail settings.

Read more: Free apps & tricks to reduce data consumption