Universal tips for improving your Android phone's battery life
Our smartphones have gotten tremendously powerful, but one area where they still remain unfortunately weak is battery life. Sure, there are some models out there that tend to outclass their competition in this department, but as a whole, rarely can a modern smartphone deliver more than one or two days of unplugged usage. And while some of the bigger models out there offer tolerable battery life, the prevalent case is much gloomier. Thankfully, there's a good number of tricks you can implement in order to improve your Android phone's battery life.
In the gallery below, you'll find 14 useful tips on how to preserve your battery life and optimize your phone's power usage. Hardly will just one or two of these produce truly satisfying results, but if you make sure to have all the boxes ticked, then you should definitely expect your phone to start behaving noticeably better in the all-important battery department. Browse through the following slideshow and let us know how you manage your precious battery resources!
Android has a built-in battery consumption report which shows you exactly where your precious battery juice is going. Usually, that's the screen and the Android OS, but it's helpful in hunting down any applications you may have that are especially inconsiderate when it comes to battery usage.
Do you happen to have a bunch of apps/widgets or whatever sitting around in your launcher, doing nothing? Well, maybe it's time to get rid of them and allow your device some more breathing space! Another thing you should consider is to disable any built-in/bloatware app and services that you don't use. This may not have a direct effect on your battery life, but optimizing the content on your phone is always a good place to start when you're looking to lighten things up and make life easier for your phone.
Some applications tend to remain fairly active even when left in the background. Some of them even leave small icons in your status bar, indicating that they are still in operation. Sometimes, these apps sport a dedicated exit button. Should we even say that when this is the case and you no longer wish to have a such an app open - you should definitely make that extra step and tap the exit button! This way, the application will be truly closed.
Do you have numerous email accounts set-up? Maybe you have a good number of online services installed on your phone? All of these need to connect to the internet an transfer some data in order to work. Depending on the particular scenario in place, this may have a serious impact on your battery life. What you have to do is to tweak the sync/fetch times of such services in order to make them update in longer intervals. Do you really need your phone to check for email every 5 minutes? If not, you can just set the update interval to something bigger, like 15, 30, or 60 minutes. Many of the third-party services that you may be using probably also have such settings - take advantage of this flexibility and tone things down - this has the potential of giving your battery life a much-needed boost.
That's right, these radios are major battery hogs - limiting their usage to a minimum will probably extend your battery life in a significant manner. If you have the habit of keep all of these features activate, without really using them, be sure to turn off those that you don't need. It may be a bit more difficult to part ways with LTE, but just in case your market doesn't have proper 4G coverage, there isn't much use in keeping it on. If you have LTE in your area, though, we would totally understand if you decide to keep it enabled. But GPS? Well, if you don't rely on navigation regularly, and you aren't using many location-based services, you might as well consider disabling it. Your phone's battery will be grateful.
Most smartphones nowadays have some form of power-saving feature. And interestingly, some of them, like Sony Xperia's Stamina mode, can improve your battery life without really having any visible impact on the functionality of the device. Others, like the Galaxy S5's Ultra power saving mode are a bit more extreme, because they disable pretty much all non-vital functions of your device. Whatever power saving options that your phone may be equipped with, it's definitely worth checking them out and seeing if there is something in there that may be worth taking advantage of.
Live wallpapers, although full of eye-candy, tend to be more demanding in terms of system resources. Sadly, eating up system resources often translates into yet another hit on your battery life, so one logical thing to do in case you feel the need of more juice is to get rid of your fancy animated wallpaper and switch to a static image instead.
Having numerous widgets on your homescreen may look cool, but it can also be taxing on your performance and battery. Visual goodies, constantly updating services or news readers? If you have anything too fancy on your homescreen, it may be worth getting rid of it, for the sake of keeping your device neat and tidy. This usually has a positive effect on a phone's system and battery performance.
Don't tell us you're one of those people who keep their brightness level cranked all the way up! Needless to say, there's absolutely no need to do so, as an unnecessarily bright screen can very quickly burn through your phone's limited juice supplies. Of course, the most power-efficient way of managing brightness would be to tweak it manually and keep it at a fairly low level, but we think that's too much to ask nowadays. Let's say that having the automatic brightness toggle activated, and setting the fine-tuning option (many phones allow you to fine-tune the brightness even when automatic brightness is activated) to something more considerate would be a good way to manage your brightness level, without sacrificing too much comfort or battery life.
Having both your firmware (system software) and third-party applications up-to-date is always a good idea. Developers often implement various kinds of bug-fixes and performance improvements in their updates, so you should rarely be hesitant about updating your software.
The screen's sleep time might be a small detail, but you should definitely look into it, if you aren't sure about your current setting. If the sleep time is set to something long like 1 to 5 minutes, and if you don't have the habit of manually-locking your phone by clicking the power button, this means that your screen may have some unnecessary 'on' time, draining battery power without doing anything beneficial. Just to be sure that such occasions are kept to a minimum, it might be wise to set the display's sleep time to something like 30 seconds, and also to develop a habit of pushing the power key when you're done working with your phone.
Is your phone equipped with an AMOLED screen? Many of Samsung's higher-end phones use this technology. One thing that's important to know about it is that it consumes more power when displaying brighter colors. Respectively, displaying darker colors requires less power with an AMOLED screen. Because of this, it's a good idea to use a darker image for a wallpaper, as well as to switch as many apps and UI elements as possible to a dark theme.
As every other feature on your phone, the vibration motor requires power in order to function. If you are receiving a lot of notifications that make your phone vibrate all the time, you may consider turning vibration off. Just make sure that you don't start missing your important calls and messages because of that!
Is the battery of your phone user-replaceable? That's good, but you should be careful not to purchase and use replacement batteries made by unfamiliar third-parties. Not only is using such juice-packs dangerous, but they are also more likely to fail or exhibit shorter-than-normal battery life. If you're willing to go down the replacement battery road, be sure to buy ones made by the manufacturer of your phone. Genuine batteries are usually more expensive, but the added safety and reliability make them a worthy investment.