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How to calibrate the battery on your Android phone or tablet

Authored by: Kris Carlon — 2 months ago

Battery problems are among the biggest concerns for smartphone users, which is why we offer so many useful tips for solving battery drain issues. If you notice that your battery performance and duration has decreased, it could be time to calibrate your battery. Today we'll explain what battery calibration is, how to tell if you need to do it and how to do it, with or without root access.

ANDROIDPIT battery 1
This is how to calibrate your Android battery. / © ANDROIDPIT

How do I know whether my battery is the problem?

First of all you need to identify why your battery performance has decreased: is it the Android system's calibration or the battery itself? We'll move onto calibration in the sections below, but you should check if your battery itself is damaged first. 

If your phone has a removable battery cover, turn of your phone, remove the cover and inspect the battery. Look for bulges or leaks. In the image below, the battery of our Galaxy S6 battery swelled up and pushed the non-removable back off the phone. If your phone also has a non-removable battery, keep an eye out for similar occurences. If your phone doesn't sit flat on the table anymore, that could also be a sign of a swollen battery.

Galaxy s6 back taking off 3
This is an obvious sign of a swollen battery. / © ANDROIDPIT

If you're satisfied that the battery itself is not the problem, you can move on to the steps below. If you think your battery might be the problem (even after trying to recalibrate it), we'd advise you to take it to a repair shop for an expert's opinion. If it turns out you need to replace the battery, go with an original or reliable third-party battery. Scrimping on a cheap knock-off battery only leads to more headaches in the long run.

Keep in mind that there are plenty of other things that can cause a battery to malfunction. If your phone doesn't charge, there might be a problem with the port, so check our guide on what to do when a phone won't charge.

If you've just updated the firmware on your phone, battery drain is a common complaint, so you might want to clear the cache partition on your device. Thankfully we have plenty of guides on how to clear the cache on various devices.

AndroidPIT Nexus 6 wireless charging
It's a good idea to be familiar with what's normal for your battery. / © ANDROIDPIT

What is calibrating a battery?

The Android operating system has a feature called Battery Stats, which keeps track of battery capacity, when it is full or empty. The problem is that it sometimes becomes corrupted and starts displaying data that isn’t real, which, for example, causes the phone to turn off before it reaches 0 percent. Calibrating your Android battery simply means getting the Android OS to correct this information so it is reflective of your actual battery levels once again.

It's important to understand that you can't actually calibrate the battery: it is, after all, just a cell that stores power and discharges. However, lithium-ion batteries do include a printed circuit board (PCB), which serves as a protection switch to stop them exploding or deep discharging.

Battery DEAD ON fire ANDROIDPIT
Although some batteries do explode, it's rare. / © ANDROIDPIT

Smartphone battery myths

Lithium-ion batteries don't have a memory so there's not much you need to do to keep them running as they should. The problem lies with how the Android system reads and displays the current capacity of the battery, not the battery itself. 

The same goes for the myth that deleting the batterystats.bin file will magically recalibrate your battery. That file (on most devices anyway) simply stores data about what is using the battery when it is not being charged. It is also reset every time a battery is charged to over 80 percent and then disconnected.

The batterystats.bin file contains the info you see made prettier in the Battery section of your phone: it's the Android system keeping track of your battery's usage, per charge cycle. When we talk about battery calibration, it's the percentage meter that gets out of whack, and that is what we need to fix. 

I'd advise you to read these two background articles on battery technology from the Battery University too:

whatever
If your battery has given up the ghost you should try to recalibrate it. / © ANDROIDPIT

How to calibrate an Android device battery without root access

The old 'fully charge and discharge' approach stands as one of the simplest ways to 'recalibrate' your Android battery. We've warned you in the past about low voltage problems in lithium batteries and the negative impacts of fully draining a battery on its lifespan and the same holds true here. But if your phone battery is causing you real problems, it's worth taking the risk.

Method 1

1. Discharge your phone fully until it turns itself off.

2. Turn it on again and let it turn itself off.

3. Plug your phone into a charger and, without turning it on, let it charge until the on-screen or LED indicator says 100 percent.

4. Unplug your charger.

5. Turn your phone on. It's likely that the battery indicator won't say 100 percent, so plug the charger back in (leave your phone on) and continue charging until it says 100 percent on-screen as well.

6. Unplug your phone and restart it. If it doesn't say 100 percent plug the charger back in until it says 100 percent on screen.

7. Repeat this cycle until it says 100 percent (or as close as you think it's going to get) when you start it up without being plugged in.

8. Now, let your battery discharge all the way down to 0 percent and let your phone turn off again.

9. Fully charge the battery one more time without interruption and you should have reset the Android system's battery percentage.

Remember that it is not recommended to perform this process all the time. Even when your battery is so dead your phone won't even turn on, your battery still has enough reserve charge to avoid system damage. But you don't want to poke the tiger with a stick. Perform this process once every three months at the most. If it is required more often than that you have bigger problems at hand.

Put plainly: fully discharging a battery is bad for it. Trying to overload a battery is also bad for it. The good news is that charging batteries automatically shut off when their safe limit is reached and there's always a little in reserve even if your phone won't start. But again: do this only when really necessary, because it does have a negative impact on battery life.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S6 Ping Pong Root
If your phone has root access you can clear the batterystats.bin file. / © ANDROIDPIT

How to calibrate Android device battery with root access

Even though I'm not convinced that clearing the batterystats.bin file has any meaningful effect on how the Android system reports remaining battery charge, there are those who swear by this method.

So in the interests of fairness, we've included the process for you here (it is true that different manufacturers use the batterystats.bin file for different things). It's basically the same process as above but with the added step of a root-enabled app.

Method 2

1. Discharge your phone fully until it turns itself off.

2. Turn it on and let it turn off again.

3. Plug your phone into a charger and, without turning it on, let it charge until the on-screen or LED indicator says 100 percent.

4. Unplug your charger.

5. Turn your phone on. It's likely that the battery indicator won't say 100 percent, so plug the charger back in (leave your phone on) and continue charging until it says 100 percent on the screen as well.

6. Unplug your phone and restart it. If it doesn't say 100 percent, plug the charger back in until it says 100 percent on screen.

7. You want to repeat this cycle until it says 100 percent (or as close as you think it's going to get) when you start it up without being plugged in.

8. Now, install the Battery Calibration app and, before you launch it, make sure your battery is at 100 percent again, then restart.

Battery Calibration Install on Google Play

9. Immediately launch the app and recalibrate your battery.

10. Once you've calibrated your battery, discharge it all the way down to 0 percent and let your phone turn off again.

11. Fully charge the battery one more time without interruption while it's switched off, and the Android system's battery percentage will be reset.

That's it. Have you tried any of these methods? Do you know an alternate way to fix battery problems? Let us know in the comments.

Kris is a former AndroidPIT Editor who came to the team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

44 comments

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  • Bryn 3 days ago Link to comment

    "The same goes for the myth that deleting the batterystats.bin file will magically recalibrate your battery."

    Seems odd that you would recommend people run the app "Battery Calibration" in Method 2 - Take a look at the description for that app in Play Store and you will see that is exactly what it does!

  • I have a question.
    In method 2, 11, switch off means turn off my phone or turn off the screen?

  • samething happen to me starting to 2 days ago my INFINIX hot note. slow in charging. for good 8 hours it will not charge more than 20percent. and I use deferent USB cord and 3th party charger still the same thing. .. till today am getting it difficult to charge above 10 percent. . please what is the solution?

  • Hi friends I have problem little bit different to it. I am from Pakistan I bought a local phone. QMobile z10 very popular in Pakistan... It has 3gb ram with octa core processor... And its camera features are also very nice that I didn't see in other mobiles ... But it has some issue with battery... It drains battery very early even on stand by 10% per hour everythings off... But when it reach on 1% it can run for more then 2 or 3 hours continuously . so guide me how I can fix it plz???

  • Hi guys. I try to root my phone ( S. Galaxy s5, it's unrooted) multiply time, and my battery is quickly consumed. What to do? To follow first step? Thanks. :)

  • i want to shut my phone OFF when the battery reaches a certain level (say 15%), to prevent damage to the battery.

    is there an app for that?

    • It's a bit useless because Android does it automatically, but you can still use Tasker (paid/with root privileges) or perhaps Macrodroid (free) will do the trick. So give it a try.

  • Recently my cellphone started doing weird stuff like showing the battery percentage to be at 40% and suddenly in a space of seconds it goes to 10%. It also happens that I'm using my phone normally, the battery showing a percentage above 50% and then when I tunr it off and turn it on right after, when the phone starts again it starts at low percentage 15% or less and automatically shows the message saying the battery is dying and telling me to recharge, and if I don't the battery left goes down really fast droping 1% in 5-10secknds

    Could that be a problem in the calibrage? Should I try doing the calibration in this case or not?

  • Just to know.. cant the battery calibration work for non root device?

  • my phone not charging anymore when it's switched on nor the PC\Laptop charging it or showing the storage on laptop from 2 weeks after i calibrated my smartphone with this" battery calibration " app ....please help me tell me what should i do now...i factory reset the phone 3 times and tried to charge with different cables and chargers but still the problem exists...please help!!!

    • Reboot into reovery.....powwr+volume up+home buttons......and clear cashe partition and delvik cache.
      or power off cellphone keep on charger connected...charging mode...for some hours
      or see if ur battery is dead....check through spinning test.....spin your battery on a smooth surface if it spins quick then it needs replacement. Hope one of these work for u better luck

      • i already cleared cache partition manytimes but there is no option of delvik cache in my phone's recovery mode....and my battery is fine the problem is not with the battery i know that....

  • wiping my catch fixed the issue
    thanks

  • john 4 months ago Link to comment

    I have a questions by point 11.
    11. Fully charge the battery one more time without interruption and you should have reset the Android system's battery percentage.

    Phone must be powered on or off, when it charge ?
    And the reset Android system's battery percentage - will be automatic or how ?

    • Scott Adam Gordon
      • Admin
      • Staff
      2 months ago Link to comment

      It should be switched off ideally. And yes the battery percentage is automatically calibrated. It's the reason that manufacturers want you to fully charge your device the first time you use it. I'll make this clearer in the article :)

    • preferably screen off
      android system's battery percentage is automatically reset thru this method

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