Pixel phones are getting the iPhone's most useful battery feature

Google has introduced a new battery health information page for Pixel, and it seems other Android phones are next.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Google Pixel 8 status bar and weather widget.
Max Buondonno/ZDNET

Is your cell phone battery not lasting as long as it used to? If so, a new Android feature may soon be able to confirm (or deny) your suspicions that your phone's battery is going bad.

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As a part of the December Feature Drop, Google introduced a very basic battery information page for Pixel devices that shows the manufacture date of the device's battery and how many cycles that battery has gone through. 

What's interesting though, is that the phone is pulling quite a bit more information about the battery according to internal data -- the date it was first used, the current charging status, the charging policy (say, limiting the device to a certain percentage until an hour before it's unplugged from the charger), and battery health. 

The last one is perhaps the most important because it gives the best estimate of how much charge the battery can hold. Over time, cell phone batteries begin to degrade with use, eventually holding less and less of a charge. And if you could actually see your battery's health, you'd be able to know if that's causing any issues.

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While that information is mostly hidden for now, that could soon change. In the most recent beta version of Android 14 -- QPR2 Beta 2 specifically -- there's a more robust battery information page than what's available currently. The beta version, which isn't limited to Pixel phones, displays all the information the phone is pulling. 

Even in beta though, the page isn't fully live and the battery health section specifically doesn't offer any exact data. But, the fact that the expanded page is there shows that it's likely headed for a full release soon.

According to AndroidAuthority, code strings in the beta's APK hint that the field will show the estimated percentage of charge the battery can hold compared to when it was new, plus an option to "recalibrate" the battery -- a process that can take "a few weeks," the app warns. 

To access the feature, which is limited to Pixel devices for now, just head to settings, then tap About phone. You should see battery information about two-thirds of the way down. Tap on that to see your current number of cycles and production date. 

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