Battery Doctor HD by Beijing Kingsoft is definitely the best free battery app you can get. In fact, their motto is “Lengthens battery lifespan – free app that’s more professional than paid apps!” (Note: I took the liberty of translating this from the original Chinese into English). This app does so much than just display the percent battery.  If used correctly and regularly, Battery Doctor HD can actually help you to extend your battery’s lifespan.  Here are the various functions:

1)Displays battery life for various activities.

Not only will Battery Doctor tell you how much battery is left on your device, it will tell you how much longer it will last for each activity you perform, such as playing games, listening to music and watching videos.  At the end of the day, this information is much more practical and useful than the battery percentage, which doesn’t really tell you all that much.

2)Protects your device while it’s charging, and prevents it from being overcharged.

I’ve done some online research on lithium batteries (which is what itouches use), and found contradicting information.  Some say that a lithium battery will automatically trickle charge towards the end of a charge cycle to protect itself, and stop accepting additional charge once it’s full.  Others warn that if you overcharge a lithium battery, it will shorten its lifespan at best, and explode at worst.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be safe than sorry, so until someone can show me concrete proof that first theory is true, I will continue to use this app.  Thank-you very much!

Battery Doctor HD will charge your ipod’s battery in 3 stages.  The “Fast Charging” stage will charge the battery quickly until it is 80% full.  The “Continuation” stage will continue to charge with decreased current until the battery is almost fully charged.  Lastly, the “Trickle Charging” stage involves charging with small current until the device is completely charged.

When the ipod finishes charging, the app will remind you by playing a sound so you would know to stop charging.  You have a variety of sounds to choose from.  If you’re charging through the night and don’t want the sound to wake you from your beauty sleep, toggle the “do not disturb at night” option to “ON”, and no sound will be played between 11pm and 7am.

Battery Doctor App Review3)Keeps records of your charging activities.

Even Apple states on their website that:

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. (Source: Apple website)

Here is what is meant by a “charge cycle”:

A charge cycle means using all of the battery’s power, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a single charge. For instance, you could listen to your iPod for a few hours one day, using half its power, and then recharge it fully. If you did the same thing the next day, it would count as one charge cycle, not two, so you may take several days to complete a cycle.  (Source: Apple website)

Note that in my video review above, I mentioned that a charge cycle is charging from less than 20% battery to full.  That’s not entirely correct, although it’s close.  At any rate, Battery Doctor will keep a record of how much and how often you charge your device, and let you know how many full cycles you’ve done in a given month.  Keeping an eye on these records and making sure that you do AT LEAST one full charge cycle a month will do your battery good.

4)Provides tips on conserving battery.

The app has a section where it gives you various tips on how to conserve power on your ipod.  Most of these tips have to do with turning off battery-draining functions that your ipod performs in the background.  Using less battery means fewer charge cycles, which translates into longer battery lifespan, which will in turn save you time and hassle in not having to replace your battery as often.

On Using This App

I won’t go into every little detail on all the settings and what they do – you can play with those and find out for yourself.  I do however want to point out 2 main things you need to do in order to make this app work the way it’s intended.

1)Keep the app open while charging.  This will allow Battery Doctor to keep accurate records of whether you did a partial charge or full charge cycle and on what date.  More importantly, it will guide the charging process through the 3 phases (fast, continuation,trickle) to protect the battery while charging, and play a notification sound when the iphone’s/ipad’s/itouch’s is fully charged, so that you’d know to unplug it to prevent overcharging.

2)Manually specify the settings of your device in the app.  If you tap on the “Status” tab within the app and choose the timer icon near the top, you’ll see a list of things you can turn off / turn down to conserve battery, namely turn off the WIFI, GPS, and Bluetooth, and adjust the brightness to 20%.  By tapping on these entries you can SPECIFY that they are turned on or off, but this won’t actually change the settings on your device.  (I think that in the original Chinese version, you can change these settings from within the app, but I can’t figure out how to do this in the English version – if you figured this out please let me know.)  Whether or not you actually decide to change your device’s settings, you’ll need to come back to the app and manually tell it what these settings are.  This will enable the app to show accurate times for the various activities listed.  Of course, if you don’t care to know how much longer you can use your device for until the battery runs out, then you don’t need to mess around with the settings at all.

Lastly, did I mention that this app is free?  Download it from the appstore and try it out today.  Your battery will thank-you.

US iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store

For a list of tips on extending your ipod’s battery life and lifespan, please see this post.

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