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7 tips for maximizing battery life on your smartphone

7 tips for maximizing battery life on your smartphone

Battery drain, slow charging and system-hogging apps are just some of the problems Android phones have with poor battery performance. But we're here to help. In this guide, we run you through seven of the worst battery problems you might be having and provide solutions to help you through them.

Jump to a section:

  1. Power-hungry apps
  2. Replace your old battery (if you can)
  3. Your charger does not work
  4. Google Play Services battery drain
  5. Switch off auto-brightness
  6. Shorten your screen timeout
  7. Watch out for widgets and background apps

1. Power-hungry apps

First thing's first. We need to learn the behavior of our battery to locate the problem and subsequently to find a solution. To get a better understanding of what makes your battery tick, go to Settings > Battery. If you find apps on this screen that are using up a lot of battery then, think about whether you really need them. You could save battery life by removing the ones you don't depend on. Check out this AVG report on the apps that drain the most battery - you may be running several of these on your phone.

If you want to go into more detail about your smartphone's battery usage, you'll find a number of apps in the Play Store that provide statistics and detailed information on battery consumption. We recommend GSam Battery Monitor.

Once the app is installed, it takes a couple of days to gather data on your smartphone and battery usage, then after that it'll give you a great overview over what's using how much battery on your device.

androidpit lollipop battery screen
Access the 'Battery' screen through 'Settings'. / © AndroidPIT

2. Replace your old battery (if you can)

If your smartphone is a few years old, the sad truth is that its battery might be simply dying a natural death. If you don't have a lot of background processes running and are keeping your screen brightness down, then it's worth reading our review of your phone, and comparing our battery experience to yours.

If yours is considerably lower, it might be time for a change. Manufacturers often say that a battery should perform well for up to 1000 charges, but that depends on many factors.

ANDROIDPIT battery 3
Removable batteries might soon become a thing of the past. / © AndroidPIT

If you have a smartphone with removable battery, it's simply a case of buying a new one (a major advantage to choosing a smartphone with removable battery). Unfortunately, the removable battery is fast falling out off favor with manufacturers for a variety of reasons. While technically, you can still replace a battery yourself if you're willing to break your phone apart, this will void your smartphone warranty.

3. Your charger does not work 

If after a full night's charging, you notice that your smartphone battery drains super-fast, then it's worth checking first thing in the morning whether it actually fully charges. If not, then you're looking at a defective charger.

Check whether your cable works with another phone, or conversely whether your phone works with another cable. If your charger proves to be faulty, remember to only buy chargers from reputable manufacturers, otherwise you risk becoming the subject of those all-too-frequent news stories about phones setting houses and people on fire. No, we're not joking, it's happened.

androidpit USB 1
Is your charging cable dying? / © AndroidPIT

4. Google Play Services battery drain

Google Play Services is another service that consumes a lot of battery. Unfortunately, you can't stop it because it's a crucial Android feature which lets your apps communicate with each other on your phone. Still, you can bring it under control.

Go to Settings > Applications > All > Google Play Services. Here, tap the Clear cache button. This should refresh Google Play Service and stop it draining your battery. Repeat this process once a month.

AndroidPIT google play not working 4
Clearing data used by Google Play Services can help your battery last longer. / © ANDROIDPIT

5. Switch off auto-brightness

Don't act all innocent. The law states you should never use automatic brightness, but you've been abusing it behind closed doors. Though automatic brightness is usually sophisticated enough to produce a comfortable viewing setting for each individual, it is not capable of selecting the optimal setting. How could it? Smartphone sensors don't know the strength of your and your great aunt's eyesight, do they?

Samsung Galaxy S8 Auto Brightness
You should be changing screen brightness frequently / © AndroidPIT

Setting the brightness level yourself will invariably provide better battery life, so long as you set it to a comparatively low value. Fortunately, the Android platform makes it very easy to adjust brightness settings, and it can easily be adjusted from the quick-settings menu with a two-fingered downward swipe. 

6. Shorten your screen timeout

It's a well-known fact that the display is one of the biggest sources of battery drain on an Android phone, so managing it is crucial to its longevity. The "screen-timeout" or "sleep" setting determines how long your display will stay awake for after it has been engaged with; if your screen remains on while you aren't looking at it, it's wasting precious battery life. Best to set it to the lowest value you are comfortable with in regular use, and only change it when you need to. 

Don't to worry about apps which require the screen to be on permanently while in use, like games or eBook readers, they know to stay awake no matter what your setting is. 

androidpit battery automatic brightness sleep
In your settings > display menu you can turn off "adaptive brightness" and shorten your "sleep" time. / © AndroidPIT

7. Watch out for widgets and background apps

Widgets are stone cold battery killers, mercilessly updating in the background while you go about your business. You might be under the impression that a simple news ticker and weather app won't do much harm, but you'd be wrong, and once you start adding more and more, it will seriously take your battery to task. 

Consider the frequency with which you want your widgets and background apps to update. You could potentially set your weather app to update every hour, but the more frequently it updates, the more power it requires. If you only check your weather twice per day, try setting the refresh interval to every 12 hours instead.

Many apps will prompt you to set up the update frequency when you first place them on your homepage, though you can return to their settings at any time to alter them. Just be aware that some apps don't offer this at all, and these may be real battery assassins to watch out for.  

Which Android battery problems are you always on the lookout for? Let us know in the comments below.

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32 comments

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  • Hi guys, my phone is Samsung S4 i've been charging it for 3hrs before it gets fully charged. I opened my phone and start using it a few minutes ago my battery percentage getting low too fast, the 100% battery percent going to drain within just 1hr only. Can someone help ,e


  • Screen usage is the number one battery depleter on my phone. So what I do is turn brightness down to just above what I can see well, and I also use a black background wherever possible (on a 2k resolution AMOLED screen, black uses no energy.) Then with a black background, colors pop out more, allowing the brightness to be turned down even more - yet remain very visible.


  • Based on my experience, battery life and general performance, both has improved with the latest Android Pie. Of course, it also depends a lot on how well the update has been implemented by the vendor after been well tested and approved by Google. In case you feel the update is a downgrade for you, just wait for upcoming security patches for bug fixes.


  • Zaxx Aug 3, 2018 Link to comment

    Article posted '13 hours' ago that has crap comments n replies from 2016?

    Recycle trash much AP?


  • Androids stock auto brightness is brutally slow, I use lux. It's eating better and much more effective.


  • D. L. Nov 19, 2017 Link to comment

    I bought a brand new aftermarket battery with lifetime warranty for Galaxy S4 from Batteries Plus, which has online store with brick & mortar stores around the country (US) don't buy those really cheep ones, because they might be used, or sat on a shelf for way too long, thus, loosing effectiveness.
    This store has batteries / chargers, for all kinds of phones, toys and much more. Even light bulbs.
    Here is where to find them. Add https to link, because I'm too new.
    ://www.batteriesplus.com/battery


  • The screen is normally the big gangster, with a few settings shoplifting a few minutes - although some apps like Facebook and some widgets are serious underworld thugs. I use a 15 sec screen off, but use Keepscreen to identify apps that need to be lit and don't have their own settings - it's much quicker than fooling around menus looking for individual app settings. I also use Greenify as a one-click hibernate when serious about saving battery life off the grid.


  • One more: don't manually close apps. Let Android manage that. Made a huge difference for me.


  • Hello guys, I'm an Galaxy a5 2016 owner and recently i've noticed that by the time my device's battery lv reaches 5% it drops to 0% in less than 30-40 sec, Can someone explain that to me and also give me some tips ? thanks in advance


    • you might need to change your battery if you can or get a new phone, it seems to be a battery issue more than apps draining your battery.


  • Thank you for your help , it's really awesome . I tried with my phone but cant fix that so I sold my mobile on webuyback.com.au .
    if you want you can Old phone sell like Sell my phone.


  • because of this problem my battery keeps draining too fast than its normal draining time.. even its screen is off my battery keeps draining.. because of that fucking screen consuming 64% of my battery look at the picture above.. the normal consumption of the screen is a bit lower.. not higher than 20% or 10%.. if you know that noobs..


  • the battery is consuming too much percentage of the battery and its not normal.. anyone who is not noob? to fix this problem? cause there are too many people that doesnt know how to fix it and ses' "its normal" duhhhh.. idiot!


  • For me it's saying thad my screen it's consuming 163% out of my battery and they are others thad consume 89% and i don't know what to do. Some times it's going back to normal but it took time


  • My phone's unit is CKK. Last week my phone suddenly decrease RAPIDLY. Maybe 1 minute per percentage. What's worse is it took me 6 hours to charge it to 50 percent. Mygod. What's happening to my phone?! Heeeeelp please :(


    • What really annoys me, is that my phone's battery decrease faster when it is sleeping. fml. huhu


    • With GSAM I also use a variety of Cheetah Mobile apps, CM Battery Doctor in particular, that allows me approx. charging time of 2 hrs and custom modes to help with it.
      P.S. I also keep my phone on charge while I sleep.

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