11 Tips to Increase Your Android Phone’s Battery Life

Top-tier 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 devices 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 switch from 3G to 4G networks a few years ago, particularly of 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 battery life of your phone:

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. Apps and features will be displayed in a descending list of battery hoarders. 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. Cut down on 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 reduce 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 resident location-based apps 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 (the largest 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 text messages, phone calls, web browsing, and Facebook. This can squeeze out additional hours or even a day of standby time with just a few percentage points of battery remaining.

5. Trim apps running in the background. From Settings> Applications, swipe left; you will see a list of applications that are currently running. Tap 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. Get rid of unnecessary home screen widgets and live wallpapers. Just because they’re sitting on the home screen, seemingly idle, doesn’t mean they aren’t 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 live wallpaper. (But don’t throw it all away, 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 off the automatic brightness. 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, your phone will do more to pick up 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; it’s worth putting your phone in airplane mode if you don’t need data or voice calls.

10. Check the reviews. We run battery life tests on every Android phone we review. Unsurprisingly, results vary greatly between phones, even on the same network. When choosing a phone, make sure the real-world talk time is sufficient. You cannot be guided by 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 case, which protects your phone, with an extended battery that can double the life of your phone. You can find models compatible with popular Android phones from a variety of manufacturers.