We need much better battery stats on Android

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
We need much better battery stats on Android
Apple iPhones were traditionally considered phones that will last for years while keeping their smooth performance nearly all throughout those years, but then something happened. In 2017, more and more users started complaining that their iPhones have become unbearably slow. There was no official explanation by the company and only months later, towards the end of the year, a user investigation revealed that Apple was secretly slowing down iPhones with older batteries to prevent them from shutting down when a more intense app tries to drain a lot of power. It was an unexpected discovery, but what is quite remarkable is not just the discovery, but the way Apple reacted to it.

The company apologized, explained everything it was doing to prevent those shutdowns from happening, explained why it was doing it and promised an update with super-detailed long-term battery stats that will keep users informed.

At the end of the day, a poor communication decision returned a benefit to the end user: the update that will soon come will give long-term battery health information that is genuinely valuable.



Unfortunately, there is one surprising loser in this whole situation and it is not Apple. It is actually Android.

Android has for years claimed a superiority in power user features: it had true multitasking years before Apple, then it had split-screen multitasking that the iPhone will probably never get, it also has themes and customization options, and widgets, and live wallpapers and what not.

One thing it does not have, however, are good long-term battery stats. The accent here is on long-term, naturally. Android has good short-term battery health data, but what about the status of that battery after 1 or 2 years, or even more?

We almost feel sorry there was no Android phone battery scandal because that would have brought change that does not seem to be happening right now.

What are those key long-term battery stats, you ask? Well, one in particular stands out as being the most important: battery cycle counts.

This critical piece of information gives you a very accurate estimate of the long-term health of a battery. Lithium-ion batteries that we use in our phones drop significantly in capacity after 500 cycles. Typically, 500 cycles amounts to about two years, but it depends on the actual usage and on the actual battery endurance of your particular device, so it can be a year, it could be three years and sometimes it could be more. The thing is that without access to this piece of data there is just no way to objectively diagnose your phone battery health on Android.

How to check iPhone battery cycle count


So while we’re not sure yet if battery cycles will be easily visible in the new iPhone battery stats screen, Apple has actually planned something that gives the consumer an even more useful piece of information: it will show the current battery health in percent and include a simple, easy-to-understand explanation of when your battery needs replacement. For example, it may show that the battery in your iPhone is currently at 90% of its health. At this point, this would mean that it’s still holding up quite good. And as the battery health starts going below that, the user can expect to start seeing the effects of their aging (or not well taken care of) battery, like reduced maximum capacity, or, as we now know to expect, slower performance at times. The battery screen will also tell the user if it’s time to replace their battery with a new one.



We don’t ask Android to directly copy that, but if you ask us for a wish about a feature that Android should support once that tasty new update arrives at the end of 2018, our wish is for better long-term battery stats.

FEATURED VIDEO

43 Comments

1. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

This! I download the AccuBattery app on all my android phones on day one to keep track.

4. bucknassty

Posts: 1318; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

I just downloaded this app for my S9+... i feel like the battery life is not up to par on mine. although i havent had it long, how accurate do you feel this app is on battery health? my estimated capacity is 3280 of 3500 now and i've had the phone 9 days

10. FreshPrinceOfH

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 31, 2017

In my experience it can be extremely accurate. I installed it as soon as i got my pixel and battery capacity was estimated at +-50mah (100%) of rated capacity. And over the months it has very gradually fallen at a rate i would expect to see. I am currently on 97% of rated capacity after around 4 months of ownership.

18. bucknassty

Posts: 1318; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

Alright i'll have to see how this fairs once it gathers more data... not to happy that my battery is at 98% capacity after 9 days but maybe it needs more data that 1.5 charge cycles. i turned off location today and the battery seems to be holding up much better

27. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

You should forget the micro managing with an extra app. You should be able to keep your gps, BT, NFC, wifi, photos auto upload, all ON all the time, like I do and still get great battery life. My U11 pulls 14-17 hrs with 4-6 hrs screen on time with everything ON. Just track screen on time is all you need in stock settings.

33. FreshPrinceOfH

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 31, 2017

Are you familiar with accubattery? It doesn't claim to increase battery life. It's simply a stats application.

36. xocomaox

Posts: 200; Member since: Dec 14, 2015

This app is known to give bogus numbers as well as accurate ones. I wouldn't take it too seriously. Apple needs to actually offer good stats for battery usage first. Like screen on time, keep away stats, etc. Android currently has a lot of apps that can tap into this information.

40. bambamboogy02

Posts: 834; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

Well when thr battery life of the device is significantly shorter than what you had experienced in the past, it's time for a new battery. No longer an option to replace the battery built into the device, new phone time. Android device will still perform using as much computing power the CPU still has, but battery life will be significantly shorter. Thay is when you know your battery is shot. I don't care to track charge cycles. It's not like I am not going to charge it regardless of charge cycle count. My charging habits haven't changed and won't. I charge every night, 100% battery evey morning. Phones typically last 3 years for me. After 3 years, SOT has taken a 10% hit. So not bad.

43. jtl78

Posts: 30; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

That's what I'm saying. Just charge the darn phone fully everytime! Keep a power bank near by. Who gives a hoot about cycle counts. You'll get a new phone eventually anyways. We don't need another background program using up more Rams on the phone. I disable a whole bunch of extra crap that isn't needed on the phone.

15. Sparkxster

Posts: 1198; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

Just downloaded the app now thanks for sharing this information.

24. LionStone

Posts: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

Yea, I used to use those battery apps too but the last couple years the battery life has gotten so good that I was able to eliminate yet another app that actually uses a percentage of your battery. Too much micro managing...

2. Remmy

Posts: 187; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

I've been tracking my Xperias' batteries using the service menu option. On my 2+ year old Z5 it actually says "Good, no need to replace it" with about 2544000 uAh actual capacity.

22. TechSceptic

Posts: 1156; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

What kind of monster rates capacity in µAh instead of mAh?

3. anotherfan

Posts: 62; Member since: Sep 28, 2015

I got an htc one m9 since 2015 and still get 4+ hours, playing games (clash royale), facebook, snapchat..etc.

5. jtl78

Posts: 30; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

geez...power banks are getting cheaper and cheaper by the day. For any phone with wireless charging, get a wireless charging power bank. I got one with 10000mah for only $21. Also has a wire option for older phones to use with the cord. Dead phone isn't an excuse anymore. There's too many options out there to keep it charged all day long!

11. FreshPrinceOfH

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 31, 2017

Unless of course if you want your battery to have good longevity. Keeping your battery at 100% charge is very very bad for it and causes rapid degradation. As does charging to 100% Do a google search for battery university and see for yourself. A cycle of 80%-40% is much better for the health of your battery.

6. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1345; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

PA give us a break. Come on Android has had Battery apps that do numerous things like cycles and etc.. for years now. Why would you want to turn something Apple clearly admitted it did wrong to its users into and android problem? This article is nonsense. Stop. Do better Journalism than inciting flame wars

8. Victor.H

Posts: 1050; Member since: May 27, 2011

There has never been an app to see battery cycle count on Android, at least not that I know of. As far as I am aware, there has not been a way at all to get this kind of information. If anyone in the comments knows of a way to do this, I'd appreciate you guys sharing!

9. hansip87

Posts: 226; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

agree on that. Wish Android implement this on the next Android P. Simple stat really, but influential compared to other parameters.

12. FreshPrinceOfH

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 31, 2017

No there isn't as far as I'm aware either. If this data is recorded it's not available to view. I have resorted to installing accubattery on day of purchase on all my devices.

20. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1299; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Charge cycles tell you nothing at all though, batteryhealth information is much more reliable and valuable in comparison. My phone's only lost 2% of maximum capacity in more than a year of use.

21. Macready

Posts: 1813; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

I don't think there's an OEM app that does it, but there are third party apps that collect all this data and more. AccuBattery tells me my S8 sits at 2872 Mah or 96% of its original capacity after 291 full cycles in 11 months use.

25. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Who care? When the battery goes bad you need to change it no matter what. And it all depends on how you charge and use your phone. This is just another hidden apple ad by iPA......

26. hansip87

Posts: 226; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

the second hard market cares about it. a lot easier to determine battery performance after all these times.

30. sintruder

Posts: 162; Member since: Aug 30, 2012

Actually some Android phone manufacturers like Asus show the actual battery degradation in percentage, you just have to dig a bit, you can access it through the system files using es file explorer. So for Android I feel it's the phone makers that need to add this stuff and cannot directly be blamed on google

41. slim3bdo

Posts: 163; Member since: Jun 05, 2017

Vector 1st stop turning bad thing apple did , do , does into good thing . It's not good thing to make your phone obsolete using bad battery that will not be able to keep running the phone in less than a year , this is the main problem but you are deceiving ppl with you full of lies article . So your logic is we need scandles so companies make good products , is int your job to review the products and point the bad stuff and keep writing about it till the company fix it , but I guss you left your role to consumers to look for criminal behavior of company such apple , cause you are paid to keep quiet about anything bad they do , even trying to turn bad things into good one . Journalism is dead

7. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Ha ha ha omfg.....So you document how good iphones are with the build in battery app on yhe iphone MADE BY APPLE......This so funny....

13. Cat97

Posts: 1804; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

...and we need much better battery tests on PhoneArena.

31. Clars123

Posts: 1076; Member since: Mar 16, 2015

I agree. Throwback to late 2016 when people called PA out for their inconsistent battery life tests and they went about deleting comments (and eventually battery life articles) like crazy

14. Hollowmost

Posts: 414; Member since: Oct 10, 2017

Still getting a good 3:30 hours in my beloved S4

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.