1. Tweak the brightness
No, we don't just mean lower the brightness to the lowest level that still allows you to make out the screen, even though that would be optimal.
Instead, even if you set the brightness to Auto, you can still tweak the relative gains or losses when the GS5 decides its time for a different level of brightness. This is easily done by checking the Auto box in the brightness slider, but still sliding the indicator to the lowest possible value (-5). That way, the GS5 will still dynamically tweak brightness, but it'll also stick to more conservative values.
2. Enable Auto adjust screen tone
Found in the Settings > Display menu, the Auto adjust screen tone option, when checked, will dynamically tweak brightness levels based on the image you're looking at at any one time.
Just think about it: In a given environment, 200 nits of brightness may be insufficient to provide a clear viewing experience when the screen is displaying very dark content, but those same 200 nits are probably an overkill if you're looking at content that has a lot of white in it (like, say, the browser). In that scenario, the aforementioned option will be able to squeeze extra battery life by adjusting the brightness intelligently, while still allowing you to view content comfortably.
3. Be aware of the advantages and limitations of the AMOLED screen
Whenever the GS5's AMOLED screen needs to display a lot of white content, it's drawing a lot of power. This means that while a cool full-white wallpaper or theme may look appealing, it's also draining more power than if it were displaying something darker. Indeed, a fully-black wallpaper would be optimal (as those pixels won't be at all turned on), but you don't have to go to extremes -- just find something equally satisfying that isn't completely white.
4. Avoid live wallpapers
A lot has been written on the topic of live wallpapers. The truth remains the same, however -- a moving wallpaper will always draw more power than a static one. In our experience those usually account for 2 to 5% of the total battery drain on a phone, so if power saving is a priority for you, you may want to skip on them. There are literally thousands of amazing static wallpapers available, anyway. Try HD Backgrounds
, for example.
5. Turn the screen to monochrome
Quite a few people seem to be unaware of this option, but you can actually force the GS5 to be completely monochrome, and without entering the special Ultra Power Saving Mode or Emergency mode.
Go to Settings (General tab) > Power Saving > Power Saving mode and turn it on. On the bottom, you'll see a Gresycale mode option -- turn it to on, and your screen will instantly become completely monochrome, thus saving you power.
6. Restrict performance
Available through the very same Settings (General tab) > Power Saving > Power Saving mode menu is the Restrict performance suite of options. In it, you can choose to restrict CPU performance (the phone still runs just fine), screen frame rate, and also turn off the GPS and capacitive navigation keys' light. In addition, turning on Restrict performance by default removes vibration feedback and turns off the screen just 3 seconds after a new notification is received (they wake up the screen), instead of the default 10 seconds.
Decide which of these you can do without, and choose accordingly.
7. Turn off Air wake up
Air wake up allows you to wake up the GS5's screen by just waving over the proximity sensor located on the top left, next to the earpiece. We would however suggest you turn this off, especially since you're gaining an awful little in exchange for precious battery life. In one instance, when testing the feature for a day, we saw that the feature accounted for 8% of the total battery drain. This, in part, is because we kept accidentally waking up the GS5 every now and then.
Turn the feature off by going to Settings (Device tab) > Accessibility > Dexterity and interaction > Air wake up.
8. Turn Smart stay off
Getting rid of Smart stay will likely win you a few minutes of extra battery life, since the feature uses the front-facing camera to detect when you're looking at it. If the camera sees that you are, it'll keep the screen on indefinitely. This is one of the best features of the GS5, so it might be hard for some to let go of it, especially if they use a low display timeout setting (say 15 seconds) to conserve battery, but also read and browse a lot (it's annoying to constantly have to touch the screen to keep it from going to sleep). A good work-around is to simply increase the timeout setting to something like 1 minutes, which will keep the screen on without requiring interaction in 99% of scenarios.
Turn off Smart stay by going to Settings (Device tab) > Display > Smart stay.
9. Disable 3G/LTE, Wi-Fi, and GPS radios when not needed
Are you currently using Wi-Fi? If you're on the go, then no. But if the Wi-Fi is on, it'll still continue picking up open networks, which obviously eats away at battery life. In those scenarios, keeping Wi-Fi off involves no sacrifice. Also, unless you're actively using the phone for navigation, then having the GPS set to off will prevent apps from using it (trust us, they do, but more on that in the next slide).
Finally, it's usually a good idea to dynamically turn 3G or LTE on or off (or data completely), depending on whether you actually need the extra speed. This will cause your GS5 to revert to a 2G GSM network, which is plenty reliable in terms of phone calls, and still allows for data transfer fast enough for notifications and chats to continue working. This saves you battery, especially in areas with poor reception. Trust us.
10. Put your apps in line and disable automatic Play Store updates off Wi-Fi
Nobody is here to tell you to not install apps -- that would be against the very idea of owning a smartphone -- but it's almost always true that you could be managing them better. This is especially true if you're an app junkie, and simply have to test them all. In those cases, unless you clean up the resulting mess, you'll usually end up with a bunch of apps that you're not using. And yet, some of those apps may be performing tasks and shooting requests at your GS5 all the same. These can be small-to-medium battery hogs if poorly optimized, or if they constantly ping your location, for example.
A good way to manage such apps is by installing BitDefender's Clueful app
. Clueful will alert you to your current privacy status, but will also allow you to filter apps by the type of permissions they ask for. For example, you can sort apps so that only those that ping your location are shown, and, if you have root, download one of the many App Ops applications available on the Play Store
and revoke that permission. If you're not rooted, and you want to keep certain apps that require your location, you can still check if they allow you to turn that permission off manually through their respective settings menu. Most do.
Lastly, make sure that automatic Play Store updates are either completely turned off (not recommended), or at least that those only update over Wi-Fi (Settings > Auto-update apps). This way you'll save yourself both data and power, and you'll be giving up essentially nothing in exchange. After all, it's usually the case that whenever you're on Wi-Fi, you're also near a power outlet.
11. Captain Obvious bonus slide: Turn on Ultra Power Saving Mode
If all else fails, you're hours away from a power source, and you just need your GS5 to make it through, then you have no other option than to go into Ultra Power Saving Mode (UPSM). In this mode, the entire theme is changed to a far more restrictive one, the screen goes into monochrome mode, and data is disabled when the screen is off. That's a whole lot of limitations, but at least you can still receive calls and browse the web if need be.
To activate USPM, go to Settings (General tab) > Power saving > Ultra power saving mode and flip the switch to on. Keep in mind that it'll take a while for the mode to activate, so sit tight.