Micro-update (April 9th ’15): our awesome readers left some cool ideas in the comments, go ahead and check them out. I will make sure to include the best ones in the next post update.
I recently stumbled upon an article on a major clickbait website (you know exactly which one I am referring to), that mentioned a study, which showed that people tend to check their phones up to 110 times per day. Since the article didn’t link to the source, and, to be honest, 110 times per day seemed a bid high to me, I dug a little deeper.
Turns out that this number is even higher than I expected: according to the report “2013 Internet Trends” by KPCB, some people check their phones up to 150 times per day! And every single time they will press the phone’s power button to turn it on, and then once again to turn it off. Over a year, that’s roughly 110.000 power button presses!!! No wonder they keep breaking! Anyhow…
So your power button stopped working. What now?
There are multiple ways you can replicate the functionality of your power button in case yours doesn’t work anymore. Here I will tell you about the only two methods, excluding the obvious other one – having it repaired: turning your phone on and off with the help of apps and a neat little piece of hardware to help you do the same.
Turn your screen on and off with these apps
There are tons of apps out there, which allow you to turn off your screen if your power button isn’t responding anymore. However, some apps don’t take into account that you will need to turn on your phone eventually.
Pro Tip: if you need to install the apps I will tell you about in this article, but your phone doesn’t turn on, have someone call your phone or call it yourself to wake it up. Alternatively, connect it to a charger to turn the screen on.
Give your volume buttons the power to turn your screen on/off
Go ahead and check out an app called “Power Button to Volume Button”. All it really does is exactly what the name suggests: it will “move” the power button to your volume buttons, which will effectively replace it for you. It even allows you to turn of your screen from your notification bar.
It is super easy to install and works like a charm (you don’t even need to be rooted). However, it has one major flow. In order to recognise all the volume button presses your phone needs to be awake at all times, just with the screen off. The app is designed to keep your phone on high alert, which will, unfortunately, drain your battery significantly.
If you are not too sensitive about your battery being drained by mid afternoon, this app is for you. Your battery is drained so quick even without this app installed? No worries, I got your back. There is another way! (Also, check out this mobile charger. It’s worth it. It really is.)
Use gravity to turn off your screen
No, not throwing it on the ground hoping it will break. I’m talking about an app, that uses your phone’s built-in gyroscope and accelerometer to determine if you are using your phone or not. This app is called Gravity Screen, and is available for free from the Play Store.
It’s really simple actually. If you pick up your phone – the screen turns on. If you place it back on the table – you guessed it – the screen turns off.
According to the feature list, it is also supposed to recognise when your phone is in your pocket to turn the screen off, but I couldn’t get this feature to work on my Nexus 5 for some reason.
If you need something temporary while you wait for your ultimate solution to arrive in your mailbox, this will do the trick. And now, without further ado, I present you the #1 way to breathe some life into your dead power button.
If you have ever owned a proper headset before, then you know that you can control certain things on your phone right from your headphones: play/pause your music or change the volume for example. This means that the audio jack inside your phone is able to receive commands and actually do something with them.
Some smart person has created a neat little piece of hardware called the “Quick Button”, which is, in its essence, an audio jack without any cables attached to it and with one single button on top of it, which plugs straight into your phone’s audio port. And, with the help of numerous apps out there, you can assign your own actions to the button, like, for example, turning your Android’s screen on and off!
These Quick Buttons range anywhere from $2 to $20 a pop, but, to be honest, price doesn’t really matter here, since all you really want to do is turn it into another way to turn your screen on and off. Don’t mind the bad reviews, since most of them talk about the lack of functionality, and that some more advanced actions don’t really work. But we don’t need them to begin with.
To create actions, download this app and set it up later.
So, simply go ahead and order this bad boy for $2.29 (with free shipping), and, while it’s being shipped right to your door, use one of the apps above to get yourself through the dark times.