March 12, 2015
Today’s smart devices are modern miracles, with all the built-in capabilities of a super-computer.
As smart devices and operating systems increase their technological capabilities, it’s also becoming more important to ensure that we can utilize this power at all times. After all, with a dead battery, the best device in the world is just a hunk of metal and plastic.
That means fewer restrictions on device usage, which begins with longer battery life.
Below, a series of important tips for the modern age and its inhabitants with Android devices.
Check out our other posts about saving battery and data:
Take Advantage of Battery-Saving Modes
Many Android devices have a built-in power saving mode or other battery management settings in the menu. Don’t ignore these valuable tools – make use of them to conserve everyday battery consumption, and your device will thank you.
Many Android devices (and modern devices in general) have screens that only illuminate colored pixels. So, save battery power by choosing a black or dark-colored background for your home screen. This also applies to using apps with darker color schemes – the darker the colors on your screen, the less battery will be used.
Get Rid of Auto-Brightness
Auto-brightness settings often choose brighter levels than needed, wasting precious battery power. Instead, manually set a low brightness level (of course, make sure you can still see what’s on your screen) and just adjust it when needed.
Contrary to popular belief, your battery has to work harder to vibrate your device than to simply ring it. Whenever possible, it’s better to avoid the vibrate setting – and the same applies for haptic feedback functionalities.
Remove Extraneous Features and Widgets
Today’s devices come with the latest visual technology designed to entertain and ‘wow’ us. With that being said, many of these features look cool, but they’re virtually just battery suckers. A few examples: Samsung’s air gestures and smart scrolling features, or Google hotwords, which uses a huge amount of battery power. The same goes for widgets – especially those that connect to the Internet, such as social media widgets to provide notifications. If you don’t use it, lose it.
To disable Google hotwords:
To disable animations:
To change polling frequency:
Note: These directions may vary with different Android devices.
Auto Lock Sooner
You’re finished checking emails for now, but you’ve put your phone down and forgotten to manually lock it. Now it’s just sitting there, the display is still on and it’s using valuable battery life. Changing settings to lock your device 20 seconds sooner might not seem like a huge change, but even the smallest alterations can make a huge difference.
Switch Off WiFi and Mobile Data
Allowing your device to search for available WiFi networks at all times is – you guessed it – a huge waste of battery life. In addition, poor signal strength can be the culprit for poor battery life: your device will work harder to search and connect to a stronger signal. Thus, when your phone isn’t in use for long periods of time, disconnect it from the Internet and prevent it from using mobile data. The same applies for Bluetooth, NFC and mobile data – just use it when you need it. In addition, turning off all notifications (whether you’re asleep, at work or in a meeting) can do wonders for your battery life.
Note that every device is different: some offer sleep times or blocking modes (e.g. airplane mode) – learn what options your device offers.
Pro tip: For those who often use WiFi and have regular access to these networks (i.e. at home and at work), the “Always on during sleep” setting for WiFi will actually use less power than having your WiFi reconnect every time you use your device.
Turn Off or Optimize Location Services
For the most part, location services and your device’s GPS are unnecessary functionalities that drain a LOT of battery life – especially since Android keeps location-based apps running in the background. Just turn it on when you really need it – or, you can set your location settings to a battery-saving mode. If your phone has a power control widget, you can use it to quickly turn on/off GPS (the largest power drain), NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LTE. On stock Android, swipe down to display the Notification bar, and then tap the icon on the top right corner.
Use Lock Screen Widgets/Notifications
With lock screen widgets or notifications, you can essentially access all of your content without fully unlocking the device. This will save battery life all around, shortening the amount of time you spend checking and navigating around your device – especially if your lock screen notification background is dark-colored, so the screen doesn’t have to light up as fully.
If your device doesn’t support these features, or if you want more customization options, use an app (e.g. “Dynamic Notifications”), and your battery will thank you.
Stay on Top of Apps
Always update your apps (app updates usually contain memory and battery optimizations), and take a minimalist attitude when it comes to your app collection. Pay attention to which ones you use, as old apps you don’t use anymore could be wasting extra memory and battery life on your device.
With that being said, it’s best to set apps to update only when you launch them. This way, you can eliminate those automatic updates and push notifications, which could be running in the background and using your battery/data.
Go to your Google Play Store settings and switch to manual updates. You can check for app updates in Google Play by hitting the menu key and going to My Apps.
Pay Attention to Syncing
Constant auto-syncing data from Google accounts can put a huge drain on your battery power. Chances are, you probably don’t need to update your Google accounts every fifteen minutes. Go to Settings and Google account, and turn off auto-sync for apps that don’t need constant updates.
Identify the Battery Killers
For more personalized insight into battery usage, check out the Battery section. Here, you can see the top list of battery drainers on your device. Plus, if you see any apps or features you don’t use, you can uninstall the app or disable the feature.
You can also check a list of apps currently running in the background. By tapping each one, you can see what they’re for and stop any unwanted apps.
Beyond just removing the battery-sucking settings, it’s also important to take good physical care of your device’s battery – especially since, these days, fewer and fewer devices have removable batteries.
In short, “you’ve got to take good care of the one you got.”*
Keep It Cool
Your smart device runs on a lithium-ion battery, which degrades fastest when exposed to heat (regardless of whether you’re using it or not). Thus, one of the most important tips for keeping your battery in optimal condition is to protect your device from spending long periods of time in hot environments.
Buy Battery Cases or Larger Extended Batteries
Battery cases combine a hardware enclosure, which protects your phone, with an extended battery that can double your phone’s endurance. You can find models compatible with popular Android devices from a variety of manufacturers.
Avoid Knockoff Replacement Batteries
When it’s time to replace your battery, using batteries from original or respected third-party manufacturers is your best bet. While you may save a few bucks in the short-term with a knockoff battery, the unfortunate truth is that knockoff parts could end up performing poorly, or worse, even damaging your device beyond repair.
Avoid Wireless Charging and “Fast Charging”
The lithium-ion battery’s sensitivity to heat means that wireless chargers, which generate a lot of waste heat, should be avoided whenever possible. If you have the time, stick to standard plug-in charging.
With that being said, many new devices have “fast charging” features to reduce the amount of time spent plugged into an outlet. It’s great for those in a time crunch; but your battery will benefit more from being charged and discharged at low, consistent speeds.”*
Top It Off
Lithium-ion batteries perform best when topped off whenever possible. But, use caution and follow these best practices: