For a lot of people these days, a "low battery" alert comes with an immediate feeling of panic. A dead smartphone often means no lifeline to work, family or friends, no GPS, no reminders, no social media -- the list goes on.

But the good news is that there are ways to avoid this situation!

Smartphones come with default settings, and depending on how you use your device, certain settings may not be optimized for the features that are most important to you. So to help you get the most out of your smartphone, here are some ways to improve your device's efficiency and even save some money at the same time.

8 ways to extend your phone's battery life

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

1. 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.

2. Shorter screen timeout: Set the screen "timeout" to take effect after the shortest amount possible (For iPhone: Settings, General, Auto-Lock).

3. 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.

4. 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.

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

5. 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.

6. 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).

Read more: Free apps & tricks to reduce data consumption

7. Turn off vibrate: The vibrate function uses more battery than a ringtone.

8. 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.

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Image of Alex Thomas SadlerAbout the author: Alex Thomas Sadler

Alexandra Thomas Sadler is the Managing Editor of Clark.com and Clark Howard Digital Products at Cox Media Group. She graduated from the University of Georgia with bachelor's degrees in French and journalism, and she has a master's degree in business journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Alex is a self-proclaimed cat advocate, red wine enthusiast and loves finding new ways to stretch a buck. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband. Follow her on Twitter @TheAlexSadler. View More Articles

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