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Disable Wi-Fi scanning and save your battery life

Constantly got the low battery blues? Try cutting back on Wi-Fi to boost your phone's battery lifespan.

The screens are super hi-res these days and the processors make our old PCs look like something from the Flintstones, but the more smartphones change the more one thing stays the same: we never have enough battery life.

There are a hundred tips and tricks for extending the battery life on your phone, but one of the lesser known ones is to disable Wi-Fi scanning. Here's what it is and how to do it.

What is Wi-Fi scanning?

Most people know that turning off Wi-Fi will extend their phone's battery life. You knew that, right? It will, but you'll want to watch your data usage after you've done it!

But it's not just a binary on/off option here.

You can also leave the Wi-Fi on and disable the Wi-Fi scanning feature. In fact, unless you tell your phone not to perform Wi-Fi scanning, it'll do so even when you've turned off Wi-Fi.

That's because Wi-Fi scanning isn't about finding a network for you to connect to. It's actually part of the location services on your phone, meaning that it's scanning for networks to get a better idea of where you are at any given time.

It sounds sinister, but it's the feature that allows Google Assistant to tell you about all the cool stuff in your immediate vicinity.

But it does use up battery along the way, so here's how to disable it.

Turning off Wi-Fi scanning

Android

You may think you'll find it tucked away inside your Wireless Network options but no, it's not there. In fact, if your phone doesn't have a search function in the settings, it can be tricky to locate.

In a pure form of Android, such as the one found in the Pixel range from Google, it's actually in the Security and Location settings.

You'll find it at "Security & Location". Under the "Privacy" subhead, tap "Location" then tap "Scanning". You'll have the option to turn off both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning if you like.

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For all other Android phones, it should be in a similar place. Again, search it if your phone offers that much-needed feature.

Apple iOS

As of iOS 11, you can't choose to disable Wi-Fi scanning for location services.

Apple has made it clear that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections will still be available for a number of system features, including location, even when you've turned them off. That's just the way it is.

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