Top-notch Android smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One (M8) are powerful, but unfortunately, they don’t have infinite battery life. In fact, many Android phone users would be happy to spend just one day, hoping that an overnight recharge will suffice.
Unfortunately, sometimes it is not. Several factors have conspired to reduce the resistance of the device in recent years. Slimmer designs with less battery space, bigger and brighter displays, faster quad-core processors, more software running in the background, and power-hungry GPS radios all share the responsibility. The move from 3G to 4G networks a few years ago, particularly the LTE variety, has also taken its toll.
But there’s a lot more to poor battery life results than that. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to stop the flow of juice from your Android device. To write this article, I used a Google Nexus 5, as it runs the latest version of Android 4.4 KitKat with no additional interface improvements, but these tips should apply to almost any Android phone. Try these tips to extend the life of your phone’s battery:
1. See what is sucking the most juice. Go to Settings> Battery to see an organized breakdown of what your phone’s battery is consuming. Applications and functions will be displayed in a descending list of battery accumulators. If you see an app that you hardly use or a feature that you never use, you’ll want to uninstall the app or disable the feature.
2. Reduce email, Twitter and Facebook surveys. Set your various messaging apps to “manual” for the polling or refresh rate, just as a test, and you’ll instantly extend your device’s battery life by a significant amount. Once you see the difference it makes, try re-enabling only the most important ones and possibly reducing your polling frequency in the process.
3. Turn off unnecessary hardware radios. It’s great that today’s phones have LTE, NFC, GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, but do you really need all five on 24/7? Android keeps location-based apps resident in the background, and constant battery drain will quickly show up. If your phone has a power control widget, you can use it to quickly turn on / off GPS (highest power consumption), NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LTE. On standard Android, swipe down to bring up the notification bar and then tap the icon in the upper right corner.
4. Use additional power save mode if you have it. The aforementioned Galaxy S5 and HTC One (M8) have Ultra Power Saving and Extreme Power Saving modes, respectively, which limit the phone to texting, phone calls, web browsing, and Facebook. This can squeeze in additional hours or even a day of standby time with just a few percentage points of battery remaining.
5. Trim applications running in the background. From Settings> Applications, swipe left; You will see a list of applications that are currently running. Tap on each one to see what they’re for; You can stop any application that you don’t need to run in the background all the time.
6. Dump unnecessary home screen widgets and live wallpapers. Just because they’re sitting on the home screen, seemingly idle, doesn’t mean they’re not consuming power. This applies to widgets that poll for status updates in the background, as well as those that just sit there but look pretty and lively, not to mention animated live wallpaper. (But don’t get rid of it all, as part of what makes Android great is the home screen customizations – just remove the ones you don’t use.)
7. Lower the brightness and turn Auto Brightness off. It’s probably obvious at this point, but you’ll be surprised how much this alone helps improve battery life.
8. Update your applications. Apps are often updated to use less battery power, so you need to make sure your apps are up to date. Even if you have set the phone for automatic updates, some apps still require you to install updates manually. Check for app updates on Google Play by pressing the menu key and going to My apps.
9. Watch for signal strength. If you are in an area with poor cellular coverage, the phone will work harder to latch onto a strong enough signal. This has an adverse effect on battery life. There isn’t much you can do about it, but keep in mind that this could be the culprit for a seemingly weak battery; Putting your phone in Airplane mode is worthwhile if you don’t need data or voice calls.
10. Review the reviews. We run battery life tests on each of the Android phones we review. Unsurprisingly, results vary widely between phones, even on the same network. When choosing a phone, make sure that the talk time in the real world is sufficient. You can’t follow what the manufacturer says; we see variations of the order of several hours of use in both directions on a regular basis.
11. Buy a larger battery box or extended battery. Battery cases combine a hardware cabinet, which protects your phone, with an extended battery that can double the endurance of your phone. You can find models compatible with popular Android phones from a variety of manufacturers.