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Android customization - how to make your screen stay on longer

We've controlled screen timeout before, using Tasker, this time out, our Android customization project does the same stuff using Android's built-in tools and settings.
December 4, 2014

So, how many days until Christmas now? If you had followed along last week’s Android customization project, you’d be able to answer this question by just saying the words out loud. Of course, that was a bit of a larger project, focused on using voice input and output, as well as heavy duty variable management in Tasker.

This week, we need to take things a little easier. Heading back to our basics, let’s look at how to manage display timeout settings on your Android device, to control how long your display stays lit before it puts itself to sleep.

As always, we’ll be working off of a stock Android device today, your settings may differ.

Before we get started

There are many factors to consider when you start playing with your display sleep settings. The two main concerns are battery consumption and security.

Adjusting your display timeout is an exercise in managing the aspect of your device that consumes the most amount of energy. Increasing your display timeout, even by just one minute, will likely result in noticeable battery life changes over the course of a day. Which means, turning the setting down can save you battery life.

By default, Android is usually configured to enable your screen lock shortly after your display goes to sleep. In my experience, you get 5 seconds. Should you happen to misplace your device with the display turned on, which is more likely with a greater timeout setting, there would be nothing stopping anyone that finds your gear from accessing your system.

Stock Android, as well as most other versions of Android, have built in tools to manage your screen timeout, and the process is fairly simple.

Android screen display sleep timeout settings

Head into your device Settings.

Tap on Display.

Tap on Sleep. (Your device may say Screen timeout, or something similar.)

Simply choose the amount of time that works best for you.

That is all there is too it, go ahead and exit your device Settings and enjoy your new display sleep configuration.

What’s next

I mentioned above that your device will automatically enable your security lock a short time after your display goes to sleep. For my use, this feature is more problematic than the display just turning off. Sure, Android 5.0 Lollipop, more specifically, Google Play Service 6.5+, is able to use a new feature to disable your lock screen based on the proximity of a secured device or network. For now, the default 5 seconds before the device auto locks after the display goes to sleep is not long enough for my needs.

Android Security Auto Lock

You can change the auto lock settings in your device Settings -> Security -> Automatically lock. Choose an appropriate time for your needs and enjoy not having to unlock your device over and over again.

While you are in there, you’ll also see the option called Power button instantly locks. This option does exactly what it says, I like to turn this off as well, leaving the Auto lock setting from above to take control of my security.

Finally, everything we’ve looked at here today is controllable by apps like Tasker. Indeed, we’ve previously put Tasker to work on this very project, check out that Android customization project for more details.

Next week

If your display has been going to sleep too fast for your needs, or staying on longer than you’d like, I hope today’s Android customization tip has saved you some grief. Next week, we’d like to break our own rules a little bit by looking at a brand specific feature. We’ll be taking a look at how to enable and configure Guest Mode on your LG device.

What is your preferred screen timeout setting?