When Android phones were first introduced, you had to keep a keen eye on the battery to ensure it wasn’t depleting too quickly. Connecting and disconnecting manually, constantly adjusting the brightness, and the like are things of the past now, but there are still a few things you can do to maximize your handset’s battery life.
Let’s review Android’s progress before moving on to the how. As part of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Google introduced a new feature called Doze Mode, designed to improve battery life by “forcing” the phone into a deep sleep when it’s not in use – just let it lie on the desk or table for a while. Doze would kick in, saving you a lot of energy.
Doze was then improved even further when Android Nougat came out. Rather than kicking in while the phone is completely still, it now does so while it is in your pocket, bag, or anywhere else it is not in active use. So when you aren’t using your phone, fewer apps will consume precious resources, resulting in longer battery life.
As part of Android Oreo, Google implemented a set of new features called “Vitals,” which, among other things, are geared toward optimizing battery life by managing background activity.
First: Know Where to Check Your Usage
Look at your phone’s battery statistics if you think your phone’s battery is draining faster than usual. To find the Battery section, pull down the notification shade, tap the cog icon (which will take you to the Settings menu), and scroll down.
In some cases, such as Samsung Galaxy devices, you’ll see a basic screen with some estimates. You’ll want to click on “Battery Usage” for a closer look at what matters.
I never switch off my phone’s Wi-Fi, so the screenshot above shows that it is always on and connected. There is a simple way to read this screen: the bars show when each specific sub-head is “on.” The same goes for cellular signals. While GPS is always on, it is not being used, as you can see.
In Oreo, Nougat, and Marshmallow: Check Android’s Battery Optimization Settings
Android has some built-in battery optimizations in newer versions of the OS (like Marshmallow). Most of these are enabled by default, but it doesn’t hurt to check to ensure everything is working properly.
Tap the three-dot overflow menu in the upper right corner of the battery settings menu (Settings > Battery) to access these settings. Next, choose “Battery optimization.”
Apps that aren’t optimized out of the box will be displayed by default. It might not be possible to optimize some of these, which is why they’re not optimized. It may be available in other cases but disabled for practical reasons, like in my case with Android Wear. My watch stays connected to my phone even when optimizations for that particular app are disabled.
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Disable Wireless Connections
Let me be clear: I am not going to make any promises that this will increase the battery life of your mobile phone, but I will say this anyway: disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS if you do not need them.
As time has gone on and Google has improved Android, we don’t need to do this step as much to optimize your Android device’s battery life. Still, you don’t have to worry about Bluetooth if you don’t use it. Lastly, if you disable Wi-Fi while away from home, don’t forget to turn it back on when you get back. You don’t want to use all your data. You can toggle Bluetooth and Wi-Fi by pulling down the notification shade and tapping the appropriate toggle, or you can go into Settings and tap the entry for each service.
Check Notification Settings
The truth is, as, with everything, notifications can drain your battery a bit more complicatedly than that. Push notifications are mostly used these days. Push notifications use Android’s built-in always-listening port instead of constantly monitoring new notifications (which is very draining). In other words, Android is always ready to accept new information from services enabled on the device, instead of the app connecting to the internet every few minutes to check if there is any new information. Because it’s a passive service, it’s far more battery-efficient.
Apps that do not use push notifications are still available, however. It’s probably still possible to find email services that still rely on POP3-though they’re few and far between at the moment. It’s also possible that social networking apps use POP3 as well.
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Keep the Device Out of Extreme Temperatures
It’s a bit trickier with this one since it doesn’t just involve tweaking or toggling-it is based on where the device physically is. High and low temperatures and extreme humidity can cause the battery to drain much faster.
Consider the case of someone living in a hot climate (like Texas, for example). The month is July, and you jump in your car, put your phone in a dock, and fire up Navigation. This means the GPS is turned on, the display is active, and blazing in the sun. A hot device working hard will run hot, and adding in the hot sun can do a lot to drain your phone’s battery life. The same thing has happened to me when devices are plugged in under this situation. It is so frustrating.
Do Not Use Task Killers or Fall for Other Battery Myths
Last but not least, you should know what not to do. The first rule of thumb is to avoid task killers. No matter what anyone says, could you not do it? It’s an old-fashioned way of thinking that’s been around since the ’90s when blackberries were the hottest thing, and mobile operating systems were a disaster.
Stopping apps from running may seem like a good idea, but it’s not! Sometimes, they’ll restart right after shutting down, wasting more battery than they save. Using task killers completely disrupts how Android is supposed to work. Not only does this result in decreased battery life, but it also adversely affects the system as a whole. Rather than running background apps, try using Greenify instead.