12 ways to improve Android battery life

12 ways to improve Android battery life

Summary: Whether you're running stock Android on a Nexus or a customized version on a Galaxy S5, here you will find simple tips and tweaks that will help you to understand more about what's going on with your device and how to get you more battery life.

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  • Introduction

    The old anxieties about processor speed or how much RAM a device has have been replaced by worries about how long the battery in a device will last. While modern Android smartphones and tablets promise hours of use from the battery between recharges, the truth can be somewhat disappointing.

    What follows is a series of tips to help you get the most out of the battery in your Android smartphone or tablet. Feel free to pick and choose the tips you think will help the most – there's certainly no need to do everything listed here!

    Whether you're running stock Android on a Nexus or a customized version on a Galaxy S5, here you will find simple tips and tweaks that will help you to understand more about what's going on with your device and how to get you more battery life.

  • See what's going where

    Knowledge is power, so the first thing to do is to see what's sucking at your battery the hardest.

    To do this go to Settings > Battery to get a breakdown. From here you'll be presented with a list of features and applications that are draining your battery the hardest, and if you see a feature or service sucking up a lot of power, you can shut it off.

  • Reduce screen brightness

    One of the biggest draws on the battery will be the device's screen. The brighter the screen, the more power it takes. Therefore, by cutting down on the brightness of the screen you can get more time out of your battery.

    Go to Settings > Display > Brightness (or swipe down from the top-right and click on Brightness) and turn down the display to a point where it's just bright enough for you.

    While you're there, you can disable auto brightness.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Smartphones, Tablets

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38 comments
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  • Are you in a 4G enabled area?

    The push for 4G is all well and good. However, for those of use who aren't in a 4G area, switching 4G off can also save battery.
    keebaud1
  • turn notifications off plus other tips

    Some apps misbehave, causing this feature to cause battery drain. I wish apps would be installed with this turned off by default but every time you install app, go and turn this off immediately. You can turn them on as and when needed individually.

    You can turn sync off for an account.

    Location history collection and reporting can also be turned off.

    Automatic backup also has to be turned off (on by default).

    Google play automatic updates should be turned off to save data AND power.
    GrabBoyd
    • I only turn sync on...

      ...when I actually want to sync. Likewise with GPS (yes, paranoia can save your battery).
      John L. Ries
  • Apps using up your battery

    Note on "what's going where" - consumption bars from 98% battery life to 97% is meaningless. You should look at 98% to 38% range which includes normal use and standby and see what is using up the battery.
    olngrumpy
  • you'll never get unruly applications under control

    Without using something like Wakelock detector and privacy guard to suitable permissions. You can terminate then all day long but they will just start up again otherwise.
    LarsDennert
  • Just turn it off............

    If you don't want data, or email, or notifications, or widgets, or GPS, or weather updates etc etc - just turn them off. But if you didn't want those things you'd probably have Nokia 6210 with 10-day battery life.

    It's rechargeable, just charge it up.
    johnafish
    • is that 110v in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

      "just charge it up", I hope you were being sarcastic with that.
      frylock
  • better life battery on Android

    If you have to turn off everything to save battery life I have bad news for you.
    ahumeniy
    • Isn't THAT an interesting interpretation

      Where are you reading "you have to" do anything?
      You have the option of turning things down and off to extend battery life.

      I'm going to assume, because you seem surprised and bewildered at the concept of adjustments, that you have an iPhone, where you can't configure these options.
      You are left at the mercy of the Apple corporation - which would be the equivalent of not making any of these adjustments on an Android phone and living with defaults.

      It's why iPhone battery life recently has been terrible, and good luck to you when Apple tries to adjust to making phones with real size screens, as rumored for the next iPhone.
      Then you won't be so smug about not being in control of your phone settings.
      geolemon
      • The key word was "everything"

        Something it sounds like you missed.
        mdsock
  • Easier way

    There are better ways to keep make your phone stay on longer. In some cases, MUCH longer. At first, I just bought an extra battery and kept it with me. Then I found out about companies like ZeroLemon and Mugen. They make aftermarket batteries with as much as 3 times the capacity of the OEM version. My Note 2 has a 9300 milliamp battery(ZeroLemon), compared to the stock 3100 milliamps the stock Note 2 comes with. I Samsung Mega Duos that came with a measily 2600 milliamp battery. I bought a 5200 milliamp from Mugen. I don't bother to turn anything off. I am not going to turn my smartphone into a dumb phone for the sake of battery life. I would rather carry around a little bigger phone. I don't wear skinny jeans, so it isn't an issue for me.
    sgtm8
    • And get an external charger too

      For $20-25 you can buy a 20,000 mAh battery pack that will charge most phones 5-6 times before the pack itself needs recharged.
      trybble1
      • I'll probably get one, but wish I didn't have to

        My phone refuses to last a day even if I coddle it, and most new phones come with middling-capacity non-removable batteries, so I guess I'll have to get an external battery pack like you mention. Sure would be nice to have a truly standalone device though.
        frylock
    • Just be careful

      A high charge density battery can be very dangerous if not manufactured to good quality standards. Packing that many cells into a small volume requires very precise manufacturing tolerances. Sometimes even the OEM can't manage it with a *standard* battery.

      Plus, as stated below, the battery has to be easily swappable.
      mdsock
  • Another reason for boycotting phones with built-in batteries

    Having a non-removable battery is a dealbreaker to me. Period.
    And the trend to phones with removable batteries is troubling.
    Remember, if you buy one, you're voting with your wallet, sending them the message that approach is A-OK.
    ...which sucks if you are a heavy user and are feeling the hurt from it.

    I'm a traveling professional, and on those rare days where I've been an extremely heavy user due to my role as an on-site consultant in some foreign city, it's tough to have your phone be your only entertainment at dinner, watch your battery power approach 0, and not have enough charge to navigate back to the "what was the name of that" Hotel, much less pull your Email up. That can leave you stranded.

    And I'm opposed to a Rube Goldberg option like paying $100 for a battery-on-a dongle that is not only embarrassingly and frustratingly awkward, but also that still doesn't ever address a battery's natural degradation over time. I have a Galaxy S3, and the two year old battery is just about useless now.

    By contrast, if your phone HAS a removable battery, you can keep a few in rotation. I travel with three and an external charger (total cost for the 2 extra batteries and external charger? $25 on Amazon with free shipping).

    That means I can keep a slim little charged battery in my pocket, and just swap it in if I kill my battery - and I'm back to 100%, and the phone is operating as engineered - no Rube Goldberg thing tethered to my phone, taking up the USB port to boot.
    3 batteries in rotation also means the batteries will die 1/3 as fast.

    "Because the iPhone does it, huyuck!" isn't a good reason to put up with this kind of planned obsolescence and inconvenience. The S5 can even be waterproof with a removable battery.

    Demand more, it's the only way to reverse this trend.
    geolemon
    • And that's not to take away from this article...

      These are helpful tips.
      But heavy usage is heavy usage, and screen-on time is simply, by far and away (even if you have a fancy relatively power-sipping OLED screen) the biggest drain on your battery.
      Following these tips will buy you some extra minutes - but usage is usage, and "what if I still kill my battery?" still needs to be a consideration.

      And even with respect to these helpful tips - I hate to feel like I'm bending over backwards, compromising my usage, or jumping through flaming hoops. I pay too much for my phone, and too much a month with too many carrier-imposed limitations as it is to also be distracted by worrying about my battery... so the "what if I kill the battery?" is still a valid question.
      geolemon
      • You hit the nail on the head

        The display is (far and away) the battery killer on every phone out there, Android or iPhone alike. iPhones have smaller screens and (depending on who you talk to) traditionally less bright/vivid screens than the large LED TV screens that Androids have anymore. There are arguments on both sides to the pros and cons of screen size, but the rumors are that's the direction Apple will go with the next iPhone too ... so before any iPhone users jump in, you'll have that large LED TV in your pocket soon enough when you can't resist the urge to stand in line for the next iPhone.

        The bottom line is, if you are someone who has to check their phone every 5 seconds for a new email, text, tweet or Facebook update ... your battery is going to be lucky to last six hours. Try to check it less and you might just find out how much more productive your day (and your battery's life) might be.
        RJL2621
    • totally agree

      Using my GNexus is a bit like driving a '74 Corolla, but none of the newer phones seem to have removable batteries. 1080+ screens with 2200 mAH batteries? That scares me.

      Even if I get a new phone I'll probably keep the GN around for when I need a long-haul device. I can get a pile of 3400 mAH batteries for just a few bucks.
      frylock
    • So so right!

      It's why I don't buy Apple and no longer use HTC. Hope Samsung keeps it removable!
      brianm101
    • If you have the Nexus-5...

      then this is a good option.
      http://www.amazon.com/Battery-Case-Limefuel-L28N5-Rechargeable/dp/B00GG0S00A#

      Doesn't add that much extra size to phone, and you could swap more than one if you really wanted.
      meski.oz