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How to fix Android battery drain issues and extend battery life
Listening to music, playing games, watching movies, taking photos, browsing social media, and more — we can do it all on our smartphones. One aspect that unfortunately hasn’t kept up is the battery. Batteries are getting bigger, the software is more optimized, and charging is faster, but a phone lasting a day is still considered impressive. If you’ve been experiencing battery drain issues on your Android phone, look no further. We’ve rounded up some tips and tricks on how to fix Android battery drain problems.
Apps that can cause Android battery drain
It’s great that there’s an app for literally everything, but some aren’t particularly kind to your phone’s battery life. In a few cases, certain apps could be causing unnecessary battery drain without you even knowing about it.
How to check app battery usage
- To check which app is using the most battery, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Usage. Keep in mind that the steps may vary and depends on your phone’s software. On a device running stock Android 9 Pie, Battery Usage is found by tapping on the menu icon (three vertical dots) at the top right corner.
- If you use an app for a long period of time, that app will likely show up at the top of your battery usage list. However, try to spot any anomalous behavior, especially in apps that you haven’t actively used in a while. Some apps run in the background without you even knowing it, causing unnecessary Android battery drain.
- Also be sure to check your screen brightness. Your screen is one of the most resource intensive parts of your phone, so leaving the brightness on full blast can definitely result in poor battery life.
- Some apps start to cause surprising battery drain after an update. The only option is to wait for the developer to fix the issue. If the battery loss is significant enough to be a problem, your best bet is to uninstall the app until a fix is available.
- If you find a lot of apps running in the background, check out our very useful guide on how to fix this problem.
Read more: How fast charging really works
Check GPS and location settings
If you’ve ever used a navigation app, you’ll know that the GPS can cause the battery to drain really quickly. However, some apps also use location services when active or even when running in the background.
How to control location settings
- Completely disabling location services isn’t always feasible, but is ideal if you want to extend battery life.
- If you aren’t using the phone for navigation, you can switch the location setting to Device Only. With the high accuracy modes, the phone utilizes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to accurately pinpoint your location. However, this causes extra strain on your battery and isn’t really necessary that often.
- Go to Settings > Security & location > Location and switch the mode to Device Only. On Android Pie phones, you will have to go to Settings > Security & location > Advanced > Scanning and disable Wi-Fi Scanning and Bluetooth Scanning. Again, these aren’t the most convenient settings to switch off, but they can drastically help prevent Android battery drain.
- You should also check and make sure that apps aren’t using location services without needing it. You can check which have location access by going to Settings > Apps & notifications > App permissions > Location. Disable access to infrequently used apps that don’t need location services all the time.
Adjust display settings
A bright, vibrant display is always great to look at, but it’s certainly not great for battery life. There are a few changes you can make to help you get the most battery out of your smartphone.
- Almost every phone has an Auto-Brightness feature that makes adjustments to the display brightness by taking ambient light into consideration. To stop battery drain, the best option is to turn off this setting and manually set the display brightness to a relatively low level. The only time you’ll need to bump up the brightness is outdoors during the day to help with visibility.
- To do so, go to Settings > Display > Adaptive (or auto) brightness and turn it off. In the display settings, you will also find a Brightness setting that you can adjust. Better yet, a brightness slider should be available in the notification dropdown as a part of the Quick Settings menu.
- If you have a phone with an AMOLED display, you can also boost your battery life by switching to a Dark Mode at an app or system level, if available. Android Q will introduce a system-wide Dark Mode. But many Google and third-party apps come with the feature already. Even if Dark Mode isn’t available, simply using dark wallpapers with lots of deep blacks can make a small difference.
- You can also reduce the Sleep timeout setting. This ensures that the display doesn’t stay on for too long after inactivity. The shortest duration available is 15 seconds. Go to Settings > Display > Advanced > Sleep.
- Flagship Samsung smartphones let you change the screen resolution. Go to Settings > Display > Change screen resolution and select Full HD or HD.
Enable a power-saving mode
Power-saving modes are a fantastic way to get a little more juice out of your smartphone battery when it goes below a certain threshold.
- In most cases, this mode disables non-essential services and features, and ensures that you can at least make a call or send a message if needed.
- Different OEMs have very different takes on the power-saving mode though. For example, Samsung and Huawei devices also come with an Ultra power-saving mode that basically strips the smartphone down to a feature phone.
- In stock Android Pie, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Saver. If you enable this mode, you will have the option to set the battery level at which it’s automatically activated.
- On Android Pie, you will also find a battery setting called Adaptive Battery. This limits battery for infrequently used apps and adapts to your usage the longer you use the phone.
Miscellaneous setting and features to consider to prevent Android battery drain
There are often a slew of features and settings that are enabled by default and can cause unnecessary Android battery drain.
- Live wallpapers are great, but can reduce battery life. Regular wallpapers are definitely the more battery-friendly choice. And if your phone has an AMOLED display, dark wallpapers with lots of blacks is even better.
- The same holds true for widgets. They are useful, convenient, and puts everything you need front and center. Keeping only essential widgets, or ideally, none at all, will help extend your battery life a bit.
- Turn off settings like NFC, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi when not in use. In newer phones, you may also have a feature called Automatic Wi-Fi that can be disabled. You can find these in the Quick settings menu in the notification dropdown.
- A poor network connection can also cause your battery to drain really quickly. Unless you absolutely have to be connected to a mobile network, switching Airplane mode on can help boost battery life significantly.
- You can also try turning off vibration and reducing the volume of ringtones and alerts to squeeze as much life out of the battery as possible.
That’s just some of the ways you can reduce Android battery drain on your smartphone and extend your battery life. Nothing is going to double your battery life, but every little bit helps, particularly when a phone gets old.