The Only Guide to Android Battery Life You’ll Ever Need

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on November 13, 2017, How To Guides

Battery life is a big issue for most smartphone owners. That flashing low battery warning is enough to strike fear into the heart of any commuter or even student. It used to be that finessing the maximum amount of power out of your phone was a fine art, but times have changed. Thanks to new Android features, getting the most out of your battery is easier than ever. As long as you’re running Android 6.0 or above, the below is all you’ll ever need to know about improving battery life on your Android.

Step One: Know Where to Find the Info You Need

The most basic step of all is knowing how to check out what’s eating up battery power and what’s not. Pull down your notification bar, hit the cog icon, then scroll down to battery and hit that. On some phones that’s enough, on others you’ll see a further button called battery usage so hit that if you’ve got one.

What you’re now seeing is a break down of what’s using power and what’s not. There’s a graph at the top followed by a list of apps and how much power they’ve used since the last charge. Scroll down this list and check to ensure that there’s nothing that’s sucking down loads of power (Facebook is a usual culprit for this). If there’s a power hog, then consider deleting the app and getting an alternative (you can use Facebook on your internet browser, for example, rather than having the app).

One last thing you can do: click on that graph and you’ll get a more detailed overview of something called “wake locks.” A solid bar means that something is on 100% of the time (if you never turn off WiFi you’ll see a solid bar under that heading, for example). Check the bar that’s titled “awake.” If this is a solid bar you have a problem because your phone is never going to sleep (despite having a black screen). Sadly, the only fix for this is a factory reset of your phone (don’t forget to back up first), though this should dramatically improve battery life.

Check out your battery usage stats at least once a week.

Step Two: Optimise!

Okay, go back to your settings menu, hit battery, then click the three dot icon on the top right and hit “battery optimisation.” This will show you a list of apps that are and aren’t optimised for low power consumption. The greyed out apps can’t be optimised, but if there’s anything else that shows “not optimised” under the app name, click it and optimise it!

Step Three: The Unlikely Culprits

Battery life optimisation has changed a lot in the last few years, and there are some things that just aren’t totally necessary anymore. Turning off Bluetooth and WiFi, for example, used to give you tons more juice, but no longer do. The amount of power used by Bluetooth and WiFi these days is pretty small, so turning them on and off all the time really isn’t necessary. Having said that, every little bit does help sometimes, so if you’re running seriously low on juice switching these two functions off isn’t going to hurt.

The other old culprit is notifications. Again, in the old days, notifications used to suck up loads of power since your phone was constantly searching for new emails, messages and the like. Now that most apps use Push notifications, this is no longer true. However, there are still a couple of apps that use the old POP3 notifications and could be sucking up power.

How do you know which notifications suck down power and which don’t? Go into the app you’re worried about (email apps and social media apps are generally the only ones left that occasionally use POP3), hit the settings button in that app and go to a heading that says something like “notifications.” If you then have the option to set a “sync interval” (sometimes called “sync frequency”) say for an hour, a day or whatever, then chances are that this is a POP3 notification app. In this case, set that frequency for the longest amount of time you can bear, or switch it off altogether to save juice.

Step Four: Pro Tips

There are a couple more things that you should know to help you get the most out of your Android battery. One is an app recommendation. The free app Greenify is a great download that will help you keep an eye on battery life and that ensures that background apps go to sleep and don’t run full time. It is free, and set up just takes a couple of minutes, so it could be worth a download just so that you know you’re really doing everything that you can.

Secondly, there is one thing that still affects mobile batteries no matter which Android version you’re using, and that’s temperature. Extreme heat and cold drain batteries extremely quickly. Whilst this shouldn’t be a huge problem, for the most part, you may want to keep it in mind on sunny days. Not leaving your phone in bright sun on the dashboard of your car could mean a few extra battery percentage points at the end of the day.

Skip the Task Killers and Battery Lies

On a final note, there are a couple of things that are so old school that they’re really not worth remembering anymore. One is task killer apps. Whilst these used to be a good way of keeping juice in your phone they’re absolutely no longer useful, so save your money (and your memory space) and don’t bother downloading them.

And don’t worry about the old battery charging advice either. You don’t need to run your battery down completely before charging, or unplug your charger as soon as you’re at 100%. Plug in your phone whenever you like, and leave it there as long as you like, neither of these things are going to affect your battery life.