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Android Battery Saver: Top Tips for Increasing Your Battery Life

Authored by: Steven Blum — Oct 16, 2012

How do you get the best battery life from your device? It's a question that's plagued us ever since we swapped our Nokias for smartphones. Those old bricks lasted for days and days, but today you'd be lucky to get 10 hours of continuous use from your smartphone. What's going on here? How can we finally solve the battery problem? Here are a few lesser-known Android battery saver tips:

Don't Download Ad-Supported Apps


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It sounds a bit strange, but buying paid apps could significantly increase your battery life. In an article published in New Scientist, researchers found that up to 75% of the energy used by free apps is spent downloading ads or uploading user data for advertising purposes. Angry Birds, for example, only uses 20% of its power to run its game and 45% to locate users and download those annoying location-specific pop-up ads. 

Buy an Android Battery Saver App

Another way to protect yourself against excessive battery drain is to download a battery-saving app.

Juice Defender is probably the most popular and extensive. When the screen is asleep, Juice Defender can turn off all data connections, including 3G and WiFi. The app can even do things like turn off data usage entirely at night or disable data and WiFi services if the battery dips below 20% power. 

Another Android battery saver app that works well is called GreenPower. Like Juice Defender, GreenPower allows you to manage your WiFi, mobile data and Bluetooth connections to find the optimal recipe for a long-lasting battery.  But GreenPower goes beyond with a very well-designed widget and a much more aesthetically pleasing options menu. We find it definitely much more user friendly than Juice Defender.

Buy a Razr Maxx, Samsung Galaxy S3 or Galaxy Note


These phones have the highest ranking when it comes to battery life. Of course, the Razr Maxx truly shines with a whopping 20 hours of talk time, but the Galaxy S3 also gets a respectable 10 hours while the Galaxy Note lasts 12 (although it's not as long-lasting when it comes to browsing the Internet). You wouldn't expect the Galaxy Note to do well given its enormous screen, but Samsung was careful to install an equally large 2,500 mAh battery on this model. HTC models, and the Galaxy Nexus perform more poorly. Just something to keep in mind.

Root Your Phone, Install SetCPU

The users with the most impressive battery results download and install programs like SetCPU to "underclock" their CPU, allowing it to drain less battery as it runs. One user also recommend a program called "Battery Calibration" which shuts off the phone when battery life reaches 1% instead of 20%, to extend the reach of your battery. Both of these Android battery saver apps require root access.

Don't Install Bright Wallpapers


By now we all know that live wallpapers are a huge drain on battery life. But what you may not know is that lighter-colored homescreen wallpapers use more battery power than darker wallpapers. We've seen a difference of almost 3 to 4 extra hours of battery life a day after installing a darker homescreen!

Buy This Umbrella

Vodafone has created an umbrella that can store charge for your Android while also enhancing signal reception. With 12 solar panels, it won't be long before that walk across the park has generated a significant amount of juice. Just plug your phone into the handle, and you're good to go. Hey, you may look ridiculous but no one said reducing your carbon footprint was going to be glamorous.

Steven Blum has written more than 2,000 blog posts as a founding member of AndroidPIT's English editorial team. A graduate of the University of Washington, Steven Blum also studied Journalism at George Washington University in Washington D.C. for two years. Since then, his writing has appeared in The Stranger, The Seattle P-I, Blackbook Magazine and Venture Villlage. He loves the HTC One and hopes the company behind it still exists in a few years.


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  • DaBartonator
    • Mod
    Oct 19, 2012 Link to comment

    @ ti...a more detail explanation of over and under clocking cpus gpus apus and other electronics use clocks (alot) theses clocks can be changed to have more processing power with more heat and electricity or with less processing power heat and electricity needed. generally there is a base clock usually 1 ghz and then a multiplier (3.3 for and i7) these can early be changed (unsure on a phone but on a pc you have to access the bios XD)

  • gnex, ftw Oct 17, 2012 Link to comment

    what phone or android version shuts down at 20% my gnex goes all the way to 1%, and I have had it at 0% (while charging) plenty also.

    I've never seen a "battery calibration" app that does anything other than rip you off (by deleting batterystats.bin), even if you don't buy it, you're giving them add money. what app specifically are you referring to?

  • Ti Mo Oct 16, 2012 Link to comment

    Alright thanks. Guess I'll try to underclock my gnex cause the battery life is terrible

  • Patrick R. Oct 16, 2012 Link to comment

    @Ti Mo Over and under clocking a CPU is a performance tweak. For example my Note 2 has a clock speed of 1.4Ghz amd with the right custom kernel can be overclocked to 1.7Ghz. It gives you a performance boost - for resource intensive apps or processes at the expense of battery life and the life expectancy of your chipset. Its gonna ger your phone hot really quick. A good kernel or properly set up oc app will throttle your OC at a certain CPU or Battery temperature to keep your phone from overheating and your CPU from going bang.

    Under clocking sets your CPU max speed at a lower threshold allowing you to save on power usage and your CPU to run at lower temperatures longer. SetCPU allows you toax out clockspeed for certain apps (3d games) and throttle your phone to minimum speeds (around 100Mhz) when the screen is off for background processes. With the right IO governor, it would give you a balance of performance and battery life.

  • Ti Mo Oct 16, 2012 Link to comment

    Eric can you explain me what over and underclocking is and what it does?

  • Eric McBride Oct 16, 2012 Link to comment

    Good point Patrick. I always keep mine at around 45% brightness.

  • Patrick R. Oct 16, 2012 Link to comment

    Also, set your display to the minimum usable brightness. You don't always need max screen brightness - especially indoors. Screen settings (idle time), brightness and a plain black wallpaper will do wonders. Simple tricks that will allow you to squeeze a few extra hours. And turn off haptic feedback. Do you really need your phone to vibrate each and every time you poke the screen? My last tip is turn off the capacitative button lights - if your phone has them. You know where they are and what they do. Don't waste precious energy lighting them up.