The Android phone: it can do everything… except hold a charge. It’s a common rant: all the fancier phones seem to never hold enough juice to last more than a couple of days at a time. Some phones might even die midday despite just sitting there on your desk the whole time.
While this is definitely a big issue for a lot of Android users, you don’t need to get an extra battery just yet. A lot of Android experts have made it their goal to find the best way to conserve their phone’s battery. Check out a few tips below, these might just solve your battery woes.
1. Tweak your display settings.
Try lowering the brightness of your phone when indoors. More often than not, the light inside will be bright enough to see your phone’s screen clearly even with the backlight turned way down. Adjust it to a comfortable level though since you still want your phone to be useable. Turn off automatic brightness as well.
Hand-in-hand with lowering the brightness of your phone, you can also reduce the time until the screen turns off when not in use. Unless you plan to use your phone very often (for checking incoming mails for instance), try to put this at the lowest setting possible.
Another thing that helps is to use a dark, static wallpaper. That’s part of the reason many Android menus have a black background: it consumes the least amount of power and resources. Stay away from live wallpapers and choose a wallpaper that’s mostly black or just use a black background altogether.
Your Android phone has lots of wireless radios, with some you probably don’t even use: Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS and more. Turning off some of these when you don’t need them will definitely help extend your battery life. For instance, you can turn off WiFi when you’re on the road or shutdown 3G if your office cubicle doesn’t have good reception. You can quickly toggle these on and off by using Android’s built-in power widget, your phone’s custom widgets or one from the Market like Extended Controls.
If want a quick and dirty way of shutting off everything in one go, put your phone in Airplane or Flight mode. You can quickly toggle this with a long press of the power button, or with one of the widgets I mentioned. It’s not for everyone but it’s helped me save some juice at times I don’t really need my phone’s wireless capabilities, like when I’m in a meeting or while I’m asleep.
If you don’t have a data plan and use your phone as more for calls and texts, then switching to GSM or 2G will save you some battery life versus the power-hungry 3G mode. Go to Settings > Wireless & networks > Mobile Networks > Network Mode and choose GSM only. Even if you do have a data plan, GSM is still a battery-saving alternative if you mainly use it to get your emails. Related tip: If and when you do need to surf the web, try to use WiFi whenever possible instead of 3G as well.
You can also disable autosync. Many social apps like Facebook and Twitter let themselves into your autosync preferences without telling you what they’re up to. Rein them in by going to Settings > Accounts and Sync, then tap the misbehaving app. Uncheck the boxes so that it doesn’t sync. Don’t worry, you can still sync those account manually if you need to.
You might also want to check your other social apps like Tweetdeck. They often have their own sync schedule in their settings which aren’t visible in the Android Settings.
Another way to save some power is to make your built-in mail app check less frequently. By default, it checks for new messages every 15 minutes which can be quite a strain on your battery. Make it check every hour instead or even better, let it update manually. If your email client is your lifeline, then set it to “push” instead so you still get instantaneous email access. Surprisingly, this always-on setting consumes less power as well. Not all Android email clients support push though but if you’re looking for one, use K-9 Mail or if you’re on Gmail, just use that app instead (it’s push email so you’re safe).
Some apps just don’t know when to quit, making them almost malware-like in their persistence to stay running. Remove them by going to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications. Just tap on the rogue apps and hit Uninstall to be rid of them. For particularly clingy apps, you might need to go to Settings > Location and Security (or Security for some phones) > Select Device administrators, and uncheck the app there to be able to uninstall them.
Widgets are one of the main draws of Android, showing you the information you need right on your home screen. On the other hand, they are also notorious for draining power most especially those that connect to the internet. If the battery drain outweighs the convenience these widgets provide, just remove them from your home screen. You can check the info using the main app anyway.
Keeping your phone in a warm place reduces its battery capacity over time. Avoid placing your phone in warm places like near a sunny window, on your car’s dashboard or on top of your computer monitor. Don’t hide your phone in your pants pocket all the time as well since us mammals are heat source,s too.
Also often times when charging or tinkering with it on your desk, you phone might get a bit toasty. Utilize a dock or stand to make it both easier to use and to let it cool down faster, instead of putting it flat on the table. I use an inexpensive but classy aluminum business card holder for my phone (like the one you see above), something you can easily get at any office supplies store.
Some outdated articles out there recommend you use task killers to save battery charge. My tip: don’t use them. You might be killing apps willy nilly but often what you really want is to remove runaway, CPU-hungry apps instead of those that are just sitting in your RAM. Killing those apps actually makes your phone consume even more power because those apps usually start themselves up again right after and drain power, instead of sitting happily in RAM ready to be used.
If you must use a task killer, get something that shows you CPU-usage instead of RAM (sadly, the one built into your phone doesn’t do this). Something like Watchdog Task Manager (Lite) will do the trick, which alerts you when an app goes above a certain amount of CPU cycles so you can kill it if needed.
If you’re the tinkering type, there are a lot of apps available that you can use to automatically change the settings we’ve mentioned above. Some of the go to apps are Juice Defender (easiest one to use) and Tasker (most customizable). Other apps that can help are Power Schedule (shuts off stuff at based on the time of day) and Llama (shuts off stuff based on where you are).
Until such time that Android phone manufacturers create a phone that lasts a week with heavy usage, you just have to be more mindful of the way your phone uses your battery. I’m not saying you use your Android phone less; on the contrary, you need your phone to sip less power when it’s not in use. That way, you have enough juice when you do need to use it. Your best bet is to automate the settings above and to remove the fancy stuff that you don’t really need, like live wallpapers and autoupdating widgets.
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The black background saving power only applies to amoled screens. I.e. galaxy s series, nexus one, etc
Very helpful, thank you.
I’m quite happy with the information provided above, I’m sure this is going to help. I’ve been using Juice Defender for now 24hr period and I’ve noticed a nice increased in the time I can use my phone without having to charge it.
Model: Desire Z
OS: 2.3.3 cyanogen mod7
At this time I’m writing this, I’m using Dolphin Browser HD 5 running the full interface for the website. The value let of my phone’s battery is at 32%
I’m a heavy user of my mobile and thus use it on a regular basis, either for email, surfing, facebook, google+, gaming and what not. I think that a few more hours is a good thing.
For french community take the same topic in french at Android Buster : http://www.androidbuster.com/2011/05/astuces-accelerer-android-phones.html
I dought very, very much if anyone on here gets a full day from any “Smartphone,” with any amount of use. A very good thing for any of these sites that review mobile/cell/hand phones would be a standard test for operational time with a given load. Also test the apps and acessories which are installed. I have a HTC Desire, a good…no a very good phone. Can I use it for a full day with moderate use such as checking email once per hour (manual as 3G is always off), perhaps a position on Maps and maybe a few calls and a dozen SMSW’s..short answer, NO. How about the GPS? I have to say it is 3rd rate. To get a fix, outside, unobstructed view, will take at least 5 to 7 minutes (I am on the equator). The FM radio…yes I still use it as I listen to BBC while travelling at least half of the time and to tell the truth the FM radio really sucks. Both of these compaired to my two previous mobiles, Nokia E90 and Nokia E66 is a no brainer..SO, my point, a good site with standard tests would be a very good venture especially now that Android is really taking off..
Why would you even consider “3G is always off?” What, exactly, is the point of a smartphone with all the cool features turned off? No. You CAN’T get a full day from your “good…no very good” HTC Desire. DO you REALLY need to? I mean really? Most of the time I can boost my smartphone (right now, a Motorola Droid Razr, a good…no excellent phone) battery’s charge during the day, either while I work or in the car, and I also have a 5500mAh battery for quick boosts on those rare occasions I really AM away from a power outlet all day. But I don’t turn ANYTHING (except hotspot–to prevent unauthorized connections) off.
One of the best articles on android battery life around! Great visuals and thanks for the tips on keeping the battery cool – I did not know about the reduced capacity over time.
Nice posting man, keep it up !!
Total crap for kindergartners.
Great info. Thanks.
bravo ma silviu si ios roman
bn macar ca intelegi engleza…
i used JuiceDefender personally on my GSI and it alone more than doubled my battery life. it does things that really should be in the OS. like if the screen is off and nothing is downloading, it turns off wifi and 3g and just uses 1x for email and stuff, which saves a TON of battery life, especially if you are in a low signal area.
very helpful tips thanks
This is excellent. I think the biggest ones are brightness and turning off mobile data.
What about Juice defender am using it Please tell is it right or not!!
Don’t use task killers, great point people think they are cool but they are useless!
fuck you dude. .
I’ve only had my Android for awhile, and this is very helpful information; thanks a heap! A quick question: I deleted my GPS icon, stupidly. Now I can’t figure out how to get it back. Tips?
You know, I consider widgets and live wallpaper necessary. There are very few functions on my phones I’d even consider turning off. I’ve spent a good deal on my high-performance phone, and I don’t see turning off everything that makes it special. If you’re gonna turn off all the features, get a flip phone, for FSM sake! Before 4G came to my area, I turned off the 4G radio, because it didn’t change the phone’s performance except for battery life. But 4G is here now, and leaving it on makes my phone perform. I carry a backup battery, and I’ve used it often, but I let GPS, 3G and 4G, Wifi–and pretty much everything except hotspot ON all the time because those feed the MANY widgets on my homescreens and I fully enjoy my phone! WTF is this about lasting a week with heavy usage? Why would that be necessary? Do you not live in a house, with electrical outlets? Do you not sleep there every night? I really would like a phone that I didn’t need the spare battery to get through the day, but last a week? Ppfffttt! NOT necessary! No reason I can’t charge nightly while I sleep.
You say that “superphones” and dual core tablets aren’t available “in your town.” Do you live in the third world or something that prevents you from getting pretty much whatever you want from, say, AMAZON? Is that why you’d consider it necessary that a phone’s battery power the phone a week under heavy use? And if you’ve never owned a superphone, what makes you an “Android Authority” anyway? Depending on what one defines as a superphone, I’m either on my third or my sixth. (I don’t see any doubt my HTC EVO 4G, Samsung Nexus S, or Motorola Droid Razr are superphones. One can argue that, for their time, so were my Apple iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3Gs. I am early adopter to the core.) It’s hard for me to see you as an “authority” about things you’ve never owned. David Pogue, for example, is an iPhone authority, because he’s owned many and been a power user of them.
Holy cow chill pill mr/mrs im gonna blow this as way far out of proportion as i possibly can. First off the last a week thing was an obvious over exaggeration of wishful thinking. Second the point was to toggle between features you need. Not everyone needs wifi and 3G and 4G and all other features. Some do. ie your case where a simple i need those more often and cant turn them off so i just carry a spare battery wouldve summed everything up. The point of this was to help conserve battery which is what the above does.
I have an EVO 3D and get amazing battery life. An excellent app to use is Mobo Task Killer.
I’ve been rooting android based phones and tinkering with different kernels well before it became popular, and I’ve never been able to achieve the battery life I am getting now with my NON-Rooted Evo 3D. This app also works very well with my Rooted EVO 4G, but I don’t get nearly as much battery life out of that phone. Lastly, there really is no reason to root your phone unless you are looking to port it to a prepaid network.
Nice tips. I have few more which has helped me. Couple of tips are interesting and worth trying
> Restart the phone once a day
> Change Refresh Intervals
> Playing videos
Excellent tips Glenn! Good point about the black backgrounds. There’s even a Black Google Mobile at http://bGoog.com which lets you search the web with a black background. It loads fast on my Android and I can search images in black too which looks great.
You are stating obvious things for most of the times and the rest of it you don’t have a clue how it’s working. You just read it somewhere in some blog.. mainstream…task-killers are bad… .outdated info… etc. It’s age of idiocracy.