8 simple tips to improve battery life of your Android mobile phones and tablets

By Saransh Kataria | Published on Mar 11 2014
8 simple tips to improve battery life of your Android mobile phones and tablets
HIGHLIGHTS

Android OS, being a true multi-tasker, has the propensity to consumer high battery life. Thanks to the customization options provided within the OS, you can improve the battery life of your Android device by following these simple tips.

When it comes to battery life, no smartphone has a battery that is sufficient enough to fulfill our needs. Every person using a mobile device feels the need of carrying an extra battery with him/her. And, when it comes to Android, the operating system is known for sucking your device’s battery within a short time span. Here are a few quick tips which only require tweaking of your device’s settings which would easily help you get the best out of your device’s battery.

 

Network selection mode:
Though switching to 2G mode from 3G won’t save a lot of battery, but it can be a real life-saver if you are low on battery and need to save some juice for crucial minutes later on. Switching to 2G network makes the device consume lesser battery. This is generally because 2G has a better reception and hence your device doesn’t have to shout out to the operators every time asking for a connection establishment request. This in turn uses lesser battery.

Note: If you are in an area with great 3G reception, 3G is a better option since it consumes lesser power (that is the whole point of evolving to a new protocol, right?) overall.

Here’s how you can force your android to use 2G.

Screen brightness:
Although auto screen brightness is a safe bet, for overly bright screens, manually setting the brightness would be a better way if you can do it manually every time. The auto feature is a good addition, but when you do it manually, you can assess at what level of brightness you are still able to read. Also, just in case you are too lazy to do it manually, you can use an application called Lux Lite to do the hassle for you, though it will keep running in the background consuming some battery on its own.



(Disabling auto, adjusting brightness automatically)

Close background applications:
Killing background applications doesn’t really improve on your performance (KitKat onwards) but there might be some applications which could be requesting internet data in the background by pinging the servers for requests, ensuring a connection establishment or updating in the background. You should consider killing these applications instead, in order to reduce the energy demands of the device which can be done later on as well. Also, you can restrict background data from the mobile data section to avoid background applications from fetching data and in turn give your battery some boost.

Disable GPS:
People are generally smart enough to keep their GPS off when it isn’t needed, but what they generally don’t do is disable the location reporting and history when they are actually using GPS. These two services are pre-bundled with android and are enabled by default as soon as you turn on your GPS. The motive of these two is not stated clearly anywhere, but they do keep a track of your location and help Google Now and related services use internet to send data to servers. These two, according to Google’s help page, are there to improve your experience, but overall they consume a lot of battery power to survey your location. And chances are you are good without these turned on. If you wish to turn these off, you need to go to Settings > Location > Google Location Reporting and disable these.

Moreover, when you are not in need of applications that require your precise location, you can set the mode to battery saving to conserve some battery.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
You should keep your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi drivers off when you don’t need them to preserve your battery. Also, in case of Wi-Fi, even if it is disabled, the device constantly scans nearby surroundings for available networks. You should turn it off as well. Head to Wi-Fi settings > Advanced and uncheck the Wi-Fi scanning option. You will have to connect to Wi-Fi manually after doing so but it’s worth the effort to prevent it from hogging on your device for power. 

Wallpapers and Themes
Live wallpapers are a flashy and fun thing to have on your device’s home screen, but again they take too much battery and you should consider not using them if you really want your battery to last longer.

Also, using the default launcher for your device uses lesser footprint (Google Now Launcher) as compared to other launchers and you should switch to it just in case you are low on battery.

Darker themes consume lesser battery as compared to brighter ones.

Disable Google Now cards
Google Now is a great assistant to have and once you start using it, you will find that it is unmatched in quality. Although you may not use all of the Google Now services, they still keep running in the background. So you might wish to avoid the battery drain by disabling the informational cards. For example, “Nearby Places” card, which is a seemingly cool feature, gives you the hangout places nearby that you don’t usually travel to. I think it is unnecessary and one could live without it turned on.

To disable specific cards, go to Now, scroll to the very bottom and touch the magic wand icon located at the lower center of the screen. From here you can customize the cards you need and disable the ones you don’t. As a thumb rule, cards relying on GPS (such as Travel Time, Nearby Places etc.) will drain more battery. So you can disable those to boost your battery a bit.

Sync
Sync is a feature in which your device constantly contacts Google’s servers for downloading emails, calendar records and other information in the background. This uses loads of battery power and you should shut it down when it is not needed. Don’t worry; everything will be synced later when you turn it on again.

Note:

  1. If you are really low on battery, switching to airplane mode is the best way to save some battery to be used later when it’s crucial.
  2. If you are still unsure of what is draining your device’s battery and wish to monitor battery usage statistics by various applications, you can read more about it in this post.
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Saransh Kataria

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