Media Release

Desperate times call for desperate measures: How far would you go to charge your smartphone?

  • reveals Aussies’ desperate measures to charge smartphones
  • 7.2 million Australians ‘borrow’ electricity from power points in office buildings
  • How to maximise your smartphone’s battery life

30 November, 2016, Sydney, Australia – Whether it’s hanging out at a power point in a public toilet, borrowing a stranger’s laptop USB port or paying for a courier to collect a forgotten charger, Aussies are going to extreme lengths to charge their smartphones, according to, Australia’s most visited comparison website1. surveyed 2,005 Australian smartphone users about the desperate measures they have taken to charge their precious devices, and it seems that nothing is ‘off-limits’ when it comes to their connection with the outside world.

The most common emergency solution was borrowing a power point in an office building, with two in five (40%) -- equivalent to 7.2 million Australians -- admitting to pinching electricity in a location they had no business in.

While other measures included going to the gym to ‘juice up’ or purchasing a pre-loaded battery pack, a concerning one in 12 of those surveyed revealed they’ve asked to borrow a stranger's laptop to charge their phone.

Alex Kidman, Telco Expert at, stresses the security risks involved with plugging your smartphone to a random person’s laptop.

“Charging at unknown points is a genuine security concern. If people are borrowing a random person’s laptop, it wouldn’t be difficult to unknowingly transfer content between the devices once they’re connected such as personal photos or sensitive documents.”

Gen Y goes to the most extreme lengths to find charge, with 4% admitting to paying for a courier to collect their charger from work or home, compared with 2% or Gen X and 1% of Baby Boomers.

One in four (25%) of Gen Ys have charged their phone in a public bathroom and almost one in 10 (9%) have visited the gym only to charge their device.

“Finding ways to charge a flat mobile phone has become as essential as filling the car up with fuel -- it’s a necessity,” says Mr Kidman.

“People genuinely feel panicked when their phone goes flat in public and battery life is something device makers are constantly trying to improve.”

Mr Kidman says people need to reevaluate the role their phones are playing in their lives.

“If you can’t handle a few hours with a flat phone, you might be too dependant. You will survive a 30-minute train ride with no phone to occupy you.”

Gender Breakdown:

  • The research shows women (23%) were more likely than men (18%) to charge their phone in a public bathroom
  • Men (7%) were twice as likely as women (4%) to ask an Uber or cab driver to charge their phone
  • Women were more diligent at having their phone charged than men, with 34% of women never having to recharge ‘on the go’ compared with only 28% of men
RankTop 10 extreme measures to charge upPercentage
1Borrowed a power point in an office building40%
2Asked at a restaurant or pub31%
3Borrowed a battery pack27%
4In a public bathroom22%
5In a retail store (used display charges like at Apple store, JB HiFi)21%
5Purchased a pre-loaded battery pack21%
7Used a stranger's laptop13%
8Bought a new phone9%
9Asked an uber/taxi driver6%
9Gone to the gym just to recharge6%

Top tips on prolonging your smartphone battery

1. Dim the screen or select ‘auto-brightness’
Your screen’s brightness consumes battery faster than any other component. Adjusting your settings to auto-brightness will ensure that your screen remains readable in all environments and will save you a fair amount of battery life compared to having it set to bright all the time. Keeping your screen dim and only brightening it as you need it will save you even more battery power again.

2. Switch off your Wi-Fi

When you’re out of Wi-Fi hotspots, turn your connection off. When your phone is searching for signal where there is none, it’s sucking up unnecessary power.

3. Disable GPS or location services
Your mobile device’s GPS uses a lot of battery power. You could have apps running location services and using power in the background that aren’t necessary, and that you aren’t even aware of -- think Uber and Pokemon Go. Once you’re finished with an app that uses location services, switch it off.

4. Invest in a portable charger
Avoid having to charge in public bathrooms or risk the privacy of your personal photos through borrowing a stranger's laptop and purchase a ‘plan b’. Portable chargers, power banks and battery packs are all ideal for when you need to charge on-the-go.

1 Experian Hitwise since 2015


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