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How to save battery life on your Android device: 20 tips for better battery performance

Authored by: Kris Carlon — 5 months ago

It's no secret that smartphones are notorious battery hogs, with some devices having an almost embarrassing screen-on time. Those big luscious AMOLED and LCD screens are an obvious drain on your battery, but did you know there's lots of things you can do behind the scenes to get the most out of your Android? Read on for our best battery saving tips to make your battery last longer.

androidpit big battery teaser
Learn how to save battery life with these Android smartphone tips. / © ANDROIDPIT

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, so it's actually much better to charge them, even if only a little, whenever you have the chance rather than to fully charge and fully drain them.

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1. Use a dark colored background

If your phone has an AMOLED screen (like most Samsungs), use a dark colored background, 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 battery you need to light them up.

2. Make apps darker too

Using darker app backgrounds/themes and darker launcher themes will further prolong your battery life (if your device has an AMOLED screen).

3. Get rid of auto-brightness

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

AndroidPIT Battery1
Nice bright wallpapers may look lovely on AMOLED screens, but they drain power. / © AndroidPIT

4. Vibrate away!

Switch off vibrate. Unless you really need that added awareness, turn off vibration. It actually takes more power to vibrate your phone than it does to ring it. Turn off haptic feedback too. Sure it feels cool, but it doesn't really add anything to your experience, and it's another battery drainer.

5. Don't use a knockoff

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.

Samsung Round Battery
Stick with OEM or respected third party batteries rather than dodgy cheap ones. / © Samsung

6. Take a timeout

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 the amount of power to have it on, every time you switch your screen on, than if your timeout is set to 15 seconds.

Studies report the average smartphone user turns their smartphone on 150 times a day, so anything you can do to limit that frequency (through self-control or other methods listed below) will help keep your battery running for longer.

7. Get your notifications to leave you alone at night

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.

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.

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.

androidpit galaxy s3 blocking mode
Most ROMs have battery saving features or a power saving mode, you just have to find them. / © AndroidPIT

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

Turn off smart features like air gestures, smart scrolling and the like, especially if you have a Samsung. Unless you really use these features every day, they're just using battery power for a feature you don't use.

9. Nor do you 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 setting it 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 these consume very little power), and there's no need to have both Wi-Fi and mobile data turned on at all times.

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.

Moto X Notifications
The more information you can access without turning your phone on fully, the better. / © Motorola

10. Try out Dynamic Notifications

Use 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 still need to light your screen up, but you'll have it on for much less time than normal. If you have an AMOLED screen device, using a lock screen notification app with a black background can save your battery life significantly.

11. Don't get bogged down by widgets

Ditch widgets you don't really need, especially those that are connected to the internet like weather widgets.

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

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

13. Use your battery saving mode, now!

If your phone has a battery or power saving mode or other battery management option, make use of it.

oppo n1 unboxing power supply
Finding all the battery optimization settings mean you'll need to rely on this less frequently. / © AndroidPIT

14. Explore the battery saving features on your phone

All ROMs, whether it's stock Android, OEM UI's like TouchWiz or custom ROMs like CyanogenMod, have various settings in the menu to help conserve or optimize battery consumption here and there. Find these various options for your device and ROM and make them work for you!

15. Choose when you sync your data

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

16. Be the master of your app updates

Set apps to update only when you launch them. If you rarely (or very frequently) open an app, it might be better to only have it update when you do so, rather than updating automatically all the time via push notifications or sync intervals.

If you only check email once a day, why not let the app update then only, and if you're on a widget or app every couple of hours anyway then why not have it update each time rather than every fifteen minutes when you're not even looking at it.

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Auto-updating apps can drain your battery without you realizing it. / © AndroidPIT/Madfinger Games

17. Be app update savvy in the Google Play Store

Change your Google Play Store settings to manual update your apps. If you have the Play Store set to auto-update, you might have fifteen apps updating when you least expect it, destroying your battery life (and data plan) without you realizing it. If you use even half of these battery saving tips you'll see a marked improvement in your battery life.

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.

Go into "Google settings" from your app drawer and tap the "voice" heading. On the next page, select '"Ok Google' detection". In this menu, the best option for battery life would be to untick all boxed, but if you are a fan of "Ok Google", tick only the "From Google Search app" box to ensure your device is only primed while in the Google app. 

19. Get rid of animations

Disable animations. This process may differ slightly from device to device but the crux of it should remain the same. Go to your settings and to the "about phone" page. Tap on the "build number" around 7 times. You will be notified that you have become an "Android developer" (don't worry, enabling the Android developer options doesn't have any adverse affects, it just adds another option in your settings menu).

Go back to your settings and tap on the newly inserted "developer options" menu at the bottom. On the next page, scroll down to where it says "window animation scale," "transition animation scale" and "animator duration scale", and switch all of these off. Your device's interface may no=longer look as pretty, but the battery life will be better.   

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You can activate the Developer options by tapping on the build number several times. Once it has given you a pop up message that it's activated, you can reduce the animation scales to zero. / © ANDROIDPIT

20. Make your location services more battery-friendly too!

Turning off location services isn't just a fantastic way to save on your battery, it saves on your data plan too! Go into your settings and you will find "location" under the "personal" heading - tap on it. At the top of the next page it you will see "mode" in this menu you will be able to set the options for how your smartphone determines your location. Select "battery saving" on the following page. 

Did we miss anything? What are your best battery saving tips?

Kris Carlon comes to the AndroidPIT Editorial Team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He joined the Android community while resurfacing in civilization back in 2010 and has never looked back, using technology to replace his actual presence in other people's lives ever since. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.


Write new comment:
  • Gary Bell 9 hours ago Link to comment

    Can someone elaborate about the screen timeout? Is it better to have a higher timeout time because it uses more battery every time the screen turns on? I was a little confused by that section. Thanks.

  • Robert Rollo 1 month ago Link to comment

    My LG phone, 24hrs @ best, solution change from Very expensive leather case, the magnetic clip on the case was the culprit.

    • Donna Lehr 19 hours ago Link to comment

      I had the same problem. The circle case I bought for a brand new phone very quickly drained the battery and it would not charge right either unless you took it out of the case.

  • Gokul Raj 1 month ago Link to comment

    thanks its useful

  • Angela K 2 months ago Link to comment

    Please check the new Android app called Talk Intact.
    It both saves the battery power and decreases unnecessary phone radiation exposure during the calls.

  • job steve 2 months ago Link to comment

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  • Aftab Ejaz 2 months ago Link to comment

    U may aalso like

  • Aftab Ejaz 4 months ago Link to comment

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  • Santosh 4 months ago Link to comment

    wow its great think😁😁

  • OMER 5 months ago Link to comment

    How to root moto e without voiding warranty

  • Spartan Samsung 5 months ago Link to comment

    Y my samsung s duos (GT-S7562) battery drains in switch off mode?? in swich on mode it only lasts for 4 hrs that too in standby. but same battery when used in other phone lasts for 13hrs in standby. why is it happening? its surely not a battery issue. pLZ HELP

    Kernel - 3.0.8-1279898, dpi@DELL143#1,Tue May 27 10:21:19 KST 2014
    Built - IMM76I.S7562XXBNE2

  • Azhar 5 months ago Link to comment

    سوق بلي

  • Menka K. 9 months ago Link to comment

    Or simply stop using your Android.

  • Gayle C. 10 months ago Link to comment

    Hitting the end button a second time to turn the screen off, instead of waiting for the phone to shut off the screen.

  • Brett Hermance 10 months ago Link to comment

    I think if you try to keep a lot of app icons off the home screen, you might save some power because icons have color and you want to keep as much of the home screen as dark as possible. I only have CONTACTS and the gmail icon on the home screen. All my other apps are on the side screens that you can swipe back and forth to get to. :-)

  • Kris Carlon
    • Admin
    • Staff
    Jan 2, 2014 Link to comment

    Also, Restrict Background Data (in the Data Usage overflow menu) - I only just started using this recently and while it makes a minimal impact on my syncing, it makes a huge impact on my battery life. Plus, when you have it on it sits in your notifications drop down, so you can quickly switch it off whenever you need to.

  • Cano Rodz Dec 31, 2013 Link to comment

    Can someone explain the best settings options &tricks for galaxy mega please will apreciatte thaks .

    • Kris Carlon
      • Admin
      • Staff
      Jan 2, 2014 Link to comment

      Hey @Cano, the tips above are pretty standard, it's just the path you need to take that's different on each smartphone. Samsung's have battery saving made which is good, plus all the other general ones. I just wrote another article recently about texting optimization too, and the Light Manager app can also save your battery because you can customize LED notifications, meaning you don't need to turn your phone on all the time just to see what a vibration/alert was for.

  • CJ Brown Dec 20, 2013 Link to comment

    Great tips! I'm averaging about 11 hours on the LG Spirit 4G lte ...

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