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How to make your Android smartphone's battery last longer

Smartphone batteries don't last forever, and some devices have an almost-embarrassing screen-on time. Those big, luscious AMOLED and LCD screens and taxing apps 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. Let's explore how to increase battery on your smartphone.

How Android batteries work

First, some background: most smartphones have either a lithium-ion battery or a lithium-polymer battery. Both are actually lithium-ion though, and as such, do not have a 'memory', which means you can charge them from any level – you don't have to fully discharge them before charging them up – and you don't have to charge them all the way to 100 percent.

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 and you can increase battery on your Android device.

To our chagrin, most flagship devices released in 2016 don't have removable batteries. This looks like it won't change anytime soon. And despite most of them being close to 3,000 mAh they still need to be optimized, especially for Pokémon Go. Take advantage of some of the tips below and really get the most out of your smartphone.

Black wallpaper can increase battery

If your phone has an AMOLED screen (like most Samsung devices), use a dark-colored background. Black wallpaper can increase battery life 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.

To download a completely black wallpaper, tap the link here. Now, save the picture and go into your Settings. From there tap Wallpaper hit Choose wallpaper and scroll down to Gallery. You should be able to find the black wallpaper you just saved. Hit set to wallpaper and lock screen. Watch the video below to see how this is done.

Doze Mode

Doze mode has been around since Android Marshmallow, but with Nougat, it's been much improved. Before, Doze would only work when the smartphone has been stationary for a while. But now, it can also work when it's being moved around (in your bag or pocket while you're on the go, for example). The screen just needs to be off to work.

Doze mode essentially just shuts down things you're not using depending on how long it has been since you've touched your phone. Network connection is severed and syncing only happens during specific intervals. When you're away from your phone even longer, more things are stopped, like GPS, Wi-Fi scanning and all syncing.

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 wreak 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 of OK Google, just tick the From the Google app box to ensure your device is only listening when you're in the Google app. Follow along with the video below for the full process.

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 for 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.

Once you've ensured your apps are up-to-date you can go through them individually and check if they're optimized for battery life. This can be done quite quickly. Just go into your Settings and tap Battery. From there hit the menu button (three dots at the top right of your screen) and go to Battery optimization. From there you can see which apps are optimized and change them. You can only change the non-essential system apps. Watch the video below to see how this is done.

Use Greenify

Unlike many Android apps that claim to optimize performance and increase 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.

This can be helpful in many situations. For example, you might use the Amazon app to browse for things to buy, but don't want it to operate in the background or send notifications. There might be other apps on your Android device operating in the background without a good reason. Greenify stops this by sending those apps into hibernation, which reduces their impact on the system, saving battery life while improving performance.

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Doze promises to reduce battery drain while your device is not being used. / © AndroidPIT
Greenify Install on Google Play

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.

To ensure your adaptive/auto brightness is off go into the Quick settings in many devices and you should see Auto with a box above and a checkmark in it. Uncheck this box and your auto will be off. With some devices you might need to go into the Settings then tap Display. From there you should see Brightness level and in it you'll find the auto settings.

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Save battery by using the manual brightness controls. / © AndroidPIT

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. Watch the video below to see how you can do this.

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.

IFTTT Install on Google Play

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. This will increase battery on your Android device.

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. Most of these can be found in your Quick settings.

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.

If you already have a bunch of useless widgets on your device then you just need to do a couple of things and they'll be gone. Long press on a blank space on your home screen. Now drag the widget you don't need into the trash bin at the top or bottom of your screen (it depends on the brand).

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.

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.

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Battery saver promises to reduce battery drain while your device is not being used. / © AndroidPIT

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 running multiple auto-refreshes 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.

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


Write new comment:
  • Nice sharing!

  • For the diehard energy savers I have this tip: the app Pixel Filter from Google Play store. ....

  • Thanks for sharing with us !!!!

  • There's a lot of power hungry apps as well, for example the facebook app. Removing such apps also help reduce power and save battery life.

  • Compare with Purify app, which one is better, I am using Purify app, and I think it is ok for me.

  • Screen Filter is the application I find out to stop my Galaxy phones battery draining,Google should have realised by now that Android can end up being a battery draining software,and the Exit function should be included in everything created for android,that's what applications I always look for on Android,pressing screen filter before I press the screen off button does really help my battery when I go to bed or using my phones in the day,cool bright as well for setting my screens brightness

  • Black wallpaper ftw!! If you have a Samsung device, I would highly recommend black wallpaper on the home+lock screen, and getting rid of TouchWiz by installing a simple homescreen like Nova Launcher. Whicons icon pack goes well with pitch black background. If you're a fan of board games, I actually created black-background ad-free Android games on Google Play for those AMOLED folks! I published a zero-permission Chess, Sudoku, and Spider Solitaire games, and have Checkers, a blacked-out Bejeweled, and a racing game on the way! Just search my full name "Aaron Gillion" up on the Play Store!

  • Thanks for the tips! Have already utilised quite a few of them. Always so handy to have a selection of changes you can make on those days you need your phone desperately. I compiled by own list which works universally for most smart phones- Small changes such as decreasing brightness and stopping automatic updates makes a massive difference to the battery life. It just takes 5 minutes to learn them and then you should be equipped with the knowledge necessary to reduce battery usage.

  • Thanks! It made a big difference to phones battery life! simple tips and tricks you can use to make your phone's battery last longer, plus point out the battery saving. Thanks a lot for sharing with us a useful topic.

  • Uninstall google chrome

  • While I use Greenify when I expect a long break between charges, overwhelmingly the drain is the screen. My cure is a low brightness setting indoors, a fierce 30 second time-out, and a reliable app-specific screen-on app to override that: I use Keepscreen. I also have No Screen Off to just plain stay on, when needed. After some surprising trouble with ridiculous "tablet idle" on Android M (following an update soon after activation) I used Recovery Mode to wipe the system cache, and that reduced it a lot. I've also activated Developer Options (google it) on all my devices, to disable all three animation settings - saves battery and makes screen changes snappier.

  • Hey droid users, should you wish to cut down the screen consumption (and also gain more privacy in the process), try the lightweight BlackScot on Google Play.

  • Wait a minute, in another post about saving battery using auto brightness was recommended. So what information I have to believe?

  • I have found that adaptive brightness is LESS than what I have it set to. Also, Samsung recommends the use of auto brightness in order to save battery, so maybe it depends on the device, or you guys are regurgitating outdated information.
    Also, I've switched from Greenify to Purify. I feel it works better at actually hibernating apps.

    • I don't see why auto brightness would help save battery because it's like allowing some sensor to constantly work to understand how dark the environment is. I'm not an expert though, so I might be missing something.

  • Alex P. 9 months ago Link to comment

    This is the same article posted again and again i has seen the same article here for many years.

  • Oggy Jack 9 months ago Link to comment

    Nice article. Google hotwords and Doze is new to me elsewise all the rest are known to me.

  • peter 9 months ago Link to comment

    Thanks for sharing with us about battery saving

  • Joshua 9 months ago Link to comment

    Wow, thanks for sharing these tip bits

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