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How to save battery life on your Android device

Update: More tips added!

Authored by: Kris Carlon — 3 months ago

Smartphone batteries don't last forever, and some devices have an almost-embarrassing screen-on time. Those big luscious AMOLED and LCD screens are an obvious drain on your battery, but there are lots of things you can do behind the scenes to make your Android last longer. Read on for our best battery saving tips.

samsung galaxy s5 battery
The battery is the biggest part of a smartphone in more ways than one. / © ANDROIDPIT

How Android batteries work

First, some background: most smartphones have either a Lithium Ion battery or a Lithium Polymer battery. Both are Lithium Ion though, and as such, do not have a 'memory', which means you don't have to fully charge or discharge them at the beginning, and partial charging is fine throughout their life.

In fact, these types of batteries suffer from low voltage problems, so it's actually better to partially charge them (say, from 20 percent to 90 percent) than to fully charge and fully drain them. Battery care is always open for debate though, so for every accepted tip there will be someone that says it makes no difference. Just find the ones that work for you.

1. Black wallpaper can save battery

If your phone has an AMOLED screen (like most Samsung devices), use a dark-colored background. Black wallpaper can save your battery because AMOLED screens only illuminate the colored pixels. Black pixels are unlit, so the more black pixels you have, or the more darker pixels, the less power is needed to light them up.

2. Doze

With the arrival of Marshmallow comes a new feature called Doze, which helps you get more out of your device's battery. Along with Google Now on Tap, Doze is the most notable addition to Marshmallow. It is enabled by default and essentially allows your device to enter hibernation mode when it has been sat unused for a prolonged period of time.

The effect of this is that your phone now sleeps when you sleep, and will lose just 3-5 percent of its battery power during and average night, rather than up to a quarter, as it would have done without Doze. 

Apps are not obliged to use Doze, and you can view which ones use it and which don't in Settings and edit the list if you want to.

In addition, Sony has said it's planning to incorporate its own enhanced stamina mode into Marshmallow for its Xperia range.

AndroidPIT Nexus 6 Android 6 0 Marshmallow review 33
Doze promises to reduce battery drain while your device is not being used. / © ANDROIDPIT

3. Use Greenify

Unlike many Android apps that claim to optimize performance and improve battery life, Greenify actually works. Greenify allows you to put other apps into hibernation when they aren't in use, preventing them from operating in the background.  

This frees up system resources and boosts battery performance, but requires a bit of thought. For Greenify to be effective you can't just hibernate every installed app. But since there are a lot of Android apps that perform actions you don't know about, or necessarily want, this is a useful tool. 

androidpit greenify doze
Why let App of the Day drain your battery when you're not using it? / © ANDROIDPIT
Greenify Install on Google Play

4. Don't use adaptive/auto brightness

Don't use display auto-brightness. It may sound useful, but auto-brightness is usually way brighter than you really need. It's better to manually set the brightness to a level that is low but comfortable, and bump it up when necessary. This is one of the best ways to improve your battery life, because the screen is one of the biggest battery suckers.

5. A shorter screen timeout setting saves battery

Set your display's screen timeout to as short a time as is practical for you. Just think, if your screen timeout is set to a minute, it'll use four times more power than if it were set to 15 seconds.

Studies report the average smartphone user turns their smartphone on 150 times a day, so the difference between a long screen timeout and short one soon adds up. Reducing it will help keep your battery running for longer.

androidpit battery automatic brightness sleep
Avoid adaptive/auto brightness (left) and shorten your screen timeout/sleep setting.  / © ANDROIDPIT

6. Your phone doesn't have to be smart all the time

Turn off smart features like air gestures and smart scrolling, especially if you have a Samsung. Unless you really use these features every day, they're just using battery power for no reason.

7. Turn off vibrate and haptic feedback to save battery

Switch off vibrate. Unless you really need that added awareness, turn off vibration alerts for incoming calls. It actually takes more power to vibrate your phone than it does to ring it. Turn off haptic feedback too (that buzz you get from typing on the keyboard). Sure it feels cool, but it doesn't really add anything to your experience, and it's another battery drainer.

AndroidPIT LG G4 Lollipop vibration
You won't even notice that vibration and haptic feedback are gone after a few days. / © ANDROIDPIT

8. Use lock screen notifications

Lock screen notifications can also help save you battery life, especially if your phone has an AMOLED screen. This is because you can see your notifications at a glance without having to turn your whole screen on. This is especially useful if you get lots of notifications that aren't worth following up on immediately. Lock screen notifications come standard on Android Lollipop.

If you're using Android KitKat, try using lock screen widgets or notifications if your ROM supports them, or install an app that does it for you like Dynamic Notifications. You'll be able to get basically all your content without having to unlock your phone fully and navigating around. You'll still need to light your whole screen up, but you'll have it on for much less time than normal.

DynamicNotifications Install on Google Play

9. Only use original batteries

Only use original batteries or respected third party manufacturer batteries. Saving a few bucks on a battery that might damage your beloved smartphone is a poor choice indeed, and may also deliver sub-standard battery performance.

de teaser
Stick with OEM or respected third party batteries rather than dodgy cheap ones. / © ANDROIDPIT

10. Set your 'Do Not Disturb' or 'sleep' schedule 

Set sleep times or blocking mode to switch off Wi-Fi and mobile data when you don't need them. If your phone is basically off limits at work, set your device to not ring, vibrate or connect to the internet while you're at work. Many phones have a Do Not Disturb setting for just this purpose.

Likewise, you can set your phone to airplane mode when you're asleep or use sleep or blocking modes to set up limits for what your phone does during certain times of the day, whether that's while you're asleep, at work or in a meeting. Cool apps such as IFTTT let you create rules that can help you save battery life too.

IF by IFTTT Install on Google Play

Get to know the specific settings your ROM offers. Not only will you have to fiddle with your phone less throughout the day (or night), but you'll be saving on battery life too. 

Greenify Install on Google Play
AndroidPIT LG G4 Lollipop downtime do not disturb
Many phones let you set downtime, sleep or 'priority interruptions only' schedules. / © ANDROIDPIT

11. You don't need to be connected 24/7

Turn off GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi and mobile data whenever you don't need them. Turning off location data, or changing your Location settings to use Wi-Fi or 3G data rather than GPS works perfectly well.

Only turn on Bluetooth and NFC as long as you need them (even though they consume very little power), and there's no need to have both Wi-Fi and mobile data turned on at all times, especially if you know exactly when you'll need one or the other.

If you use Wi-Fi a lot though, say at home and at work, then it makes sense to keep set your Wi-Fi to 'Always on during sleep' as this uses less power than to have your Wi-Fi reconnecting every time you wake your phone.

AndroidPIT Lollipop quick settings location battery saver
Use the Airplane Mode and Data toggles in Quick Settings (left) and use the battery saving mode for Location. / © ANDROIDPIT

12. Don't get bogged down by widgets

Ditch widgets you don't need, especially those connected to the internet, such as weather widgets. If you have multiple widgets across several home screens, which are constantly syncing and updating (Twitter, reddit, weather, Gmail and the like), you're not doing your battery any favors. Just hit the apps when you need them.

13. Don't let your apps fall behind the times

Keep your apps updated. There's a reason developers constantly update apps, and most of the time it's memory or battery optimization. Keeping your apps updated also means you have the best optimizations available. Likewise, delete old apps you no longer use, because these may be running background processes that chew up RAM and battery life.

AndroidPIT do not auto update apps
Keeping your apps updated means you're less likely to a rogue one chewing up battery. / © ANDROIDPIT

14. Explore the battery saving features on your phone

All ROMs, whether stock Android, OEM UIs such as TouchWiz or custom ROMs like CyanogenMod, have various settings in the menu to help conserve or optimize battery consumption.

HTC has Extreme Power Saving Mode, Samsung has Ultra Power Saving Mode, Sony has STAMINA mode and so on. Find these various options for your device and ROM and make them work for you.

15. Use your basic battery saving mode

Even if your phone doesn't have layers of battery saving features like some (or you simply don't want disable so many features), at least make use of the basic battery saver mode. Even stock Android Lollipop has it by default and Android M has the great Doze feature (as mentioned above) to help reduce battery consumption while your phone is asleep. 

AndroidPIT Mlais M7 Lollipop battery saver standby intelligent battery
Check the box for any power saving mode (left) and enable Battery Saver for critical moments. / © ANDROIDPIT

16. Don't fall into the auto-sync trap

Turn off auto-syncing for Google accounts. If you don't need every single Google account updated every 15 minutes, just go into Settings and Google account and turn off auto-sync for those apps you don't need constantly updated.

Some apps – like email – let you manually refresh when you launch them, rather than multiple times throughout the day when you may not need them to. The same goes for Twitter, reddit and co. Unless you need constant updates or push notifications (like for Facebook or your calendar) just sync when you actually use the app.

17. Manually update apps when it's convenient for you

If you're concerned about conserving battery life, the last thing you want to see is a whole slew of apps automatically updating. Just take a look at the screenshot below: if this happened when you were running low on juice you'd be in trouble. You'd also have no data left. You can manage your app auto-updates in the Play Store settings or individually for each app.

Screenshot 2013 10 24 02 17 37
Massive updates like this when you're low on battery are a killer. / © ANDROIDPIT

18. Turn off Google hotwords

Stop your phone from always listening. Google's OK Google voice searching is a fantastic and often very functional feature. The problem is that it can play havoc with your battery. Especially if you don't actually use it or only use it occasionally.

Go into Google settings from your app drawer and tap Voice heading. On the next page, select OK Google detection. In this menu, the best option for battery life would be to untick all the boxes, but if you are a fan ofOK Google, just tick the From the Google app box to ensure your device is only listening when you're in the Google app. 

19. Change your carrier

Every carrier is different. The way they transmit data, the frequency bands they use, etc. But if you want one sure way to dramatically change battery performance, this is it.

Of course, often you are locked into certain contracts for two years or more, and can't change your carrier in that time. But next time you upgrade, it might be worth doing some research into which network is going to provide the best standby times for your handset.

ANDROIDPIT battery 1
Choice of carrier can have a large impact on your battery performance. / © ANDROIDPIT

20. Don't be so mobile obsessed

This may sound weird, but because the screen is the biggest battery sucker on any Android, not turning your phone on as much is the best thing for your battery. I'm not saying to never check your phone, but do you really need to check it every 10 minutes? Probably not. Try to exercise a little restraint throughout the day and watch your battery life grow.

Did we miss anything? What are your best battery saving tips? Tell us about them 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.


Write new comment:
  • When will be popular with fast launcher?

  • Let's use "FAST LAUNCHER 2016" :)
     Simple - Fast - Amazing - ONLY 400KB
    * support search providers: google,  duckduckgo,  wiki,...
    * learns your habit daily
    * supports icons pack,  themes, favorites,...
    * save battery...

  • mohaan 2 months ago Link to comment

    My le1s mobile is fast during battery.. When data or WiFi mode is running its will be full drained.. 40%drained in 2hours drained.. When using uc browser. And WhatsApponly... Pls help me this is 3000mah battery what was the reasons... How to I get battery backup?

  • Philly B 2 months ago Link to comment

    I few more tips that help:

    Turn off always scan for wifi. Open your wifi settings, go to advanced, and uncheck always scanning.
    Also, enable developer mode on your device (Google how to do that), open developer mode in settings, then scroll down to window animation scale, turn it off. Also turn off transition animation scale and animator duration scale. Less animation and transition effects, more battery.

  • I spend so many time to play games,chatting or browsing. I am using this tip's my phone battery life really good it's working guys try this tip's. I really like this tip's......

  • Auto Brightness on my S4 is very dull not extra bright so I don't use it.
    As for updating apps I tend to not update them too often because devs often make changes (ES File Explorer I'm thinking of you) that I don't like or the app doesn't function right (I read the reviews in the play store before updating).
    I've started looking for alternative apps that are easy on the battery. Tinfoil for Facebook and Twidere are very battery friendly. I was always getting wakelocks with the Facebook app (and Messenger). Twidere has a night mode and as far as I know Twitter doesn't.
    I've also started deleting apps and using a browser. The latest app to be axed was Weather Underground because of the permissions. I don't see why a weather app needs to read my files and photos.

  • well described
    I use a lot of it and really helps

  • Hey don't know if this is right or not but after upgrading to marshmallows it really difficult to direct my downloads to my external sdcard and apps keep popping the "...don't have permission to your device...".l . Am using the Infinix x510 (hot 2)
    Any help guys?????????

  • When you follow that rekomandations, you can save much battery life; it is really worth!

  • Junaid Q. 3 months ago Link to comment

    Great tips

  • anshul 3 months ago Link to comment

    I have tried above mentioned tricks & they are really helpful. Well described article.

  • u cant sing the song of black wallpaper all wallpaper did nt work that much u sing the song......doze is not for evryone only few phone have doze......dont be mobile obsessed is the best point u focus.....all in all i saw something good on android pit after a long time

  • Mike King 4 months ago Link to comment

    I noticed that when I move certain apps to the SD card, I get a warning that the app won't get a 'boot complete' notification. I was a programmer many years ago, and reasoned that this notification MAY allow the app to start at boot, and by moving it to the SD card, the app may not start when I restarted the phone.

    I moved Amazon Store app to SD card. Previously when I restarted my phone, I immediately ran Greenify. Greenify ALWAYS stopped Amazon Store - showing it always started at boot. After moving Amazon Store app to SD card, lo & behold, it was missing from apps stopped by Greenify - suggesting that it hadn't started.

    My question is - would I be wrong in believing that moving a pile of apps to SD card that need the 'boot completed' notification to start at restart/reboot will stop them starting at all, and as a result improve battery life. I only use a lot of these apps occasionally, so why start them every time?

  • Prinz 4 months ago Link to comment

    My samsung s4 battery would easily last a day for the first week but now it only lasts 3 hours on a full charge and it does get very hot. well, thank you fr the info :)

  • im using Battery Super Saver in my opinion the best battery saver:

  • java is about 5-10 times more memory hungry and the vm process model is less performant and kills batteries big time. there is absolutely nothing google can do about it (nor they even wanted to, they would not care if your battery lasts like 25% of a regular iphone!). the business model is also wrong, what you get for free is anything but lunch! all these spamers and advertisers kills you battery. segregation and lack of upgrades from the vendor are also clear sign that android days are actually numbered, no matter how much we would not like this to happen. samsung is also famous for signing commercial deals with different bimbos (facebook, at&t, etc) - these deals are not only invading your privacy but also kill your battery and guess what you cannot get read of them, unless you root your phone (disabling them was taken care of by individual vendors by re-enabling them at restart time). this commercial garbage is no different that the defunct world of windows desktops and laptops... google is not a software company, they purchased android, they are advertising that's what they do... just think about it...

  • Iovan 6 months ago Link to comment

    Samsung has it's own hotwords detection via S-Voice. People need to make sure they deactivate "Voice wake-up" in S-Voice.

  • June digg 7 months ago Link to comment

    My edge is having the most difficult time. It completely died. I've took end it to ck my charger,purchase another. Nothing. My question is ... any solutions? Or How can I return a phone to its manafacter. ? Box ND receipt not in hand and gifted to me. DO U THINK I CAN CONTACT TO THE COMPANY TO REPAIR? UNSURE AND CONFUSE JANE

  • I never had a problem with battery lasting a day with heavy use on my iPhone 4. My Galaxy S6 needs to be plugged in nonstop or it'll die mid day with average usage. My wife has the Iphone 6, with comparable use (checking FB, email, some short time gaming) her battery will be near 50% by the time we leave work; whereas mine... well I don't know because I always have to keep it plugged in so it doesn't die. The 5.1.1 update (finally ATT sent it over) did help a lot but man... A phone where I constantly have to tinker with it to get it to not die in 5 hours, I might switch back to iPhone just so I can count on a phone battery to not drain because it's simply turned on.

  • These really help, however, you can increase your battery life even more by using 2 apps. More details here: fivestar-techreviews[.]com/2-apps-that-will-significantly-increase-your-battery-life .

    Edit: Since new users can't post links, just remove the [ ] . Hope I helped!

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