Software Development compare

Five tips for saving battery life on an Android phone

You can't really count on a smartphone if it's constantly running out of juice. These simple measures will help prolong your Android's battery life.

Smartphones can save our skins in many ways. But only if they have enough juice to do so. There is nothing worse than being on the go, trying to access a critical email, only to find your battery doesn't have enough power to even bother rendering that precious message. So what do you do when you need to eke out as much of that battery as possible? Here are a few tips that will keep your battery in top form.

1: Shut off unnecessary services

I have found the GPS does little to get me through the day. So unless I am using an application that absolutely must have the GPS turned on (and it's an app that I must use), I leave that feature turned off. It can drain the battery the fastest, so when you need battery life over location discovery, turn it off and leave it off. Turn off WiFi as well. It's another top offender. Although many might argue against this, I find the speed gain of WiFi is not significant enough to offset the battery drain.

2: Upgrade your firmwar

You would be surprised how much better 2.x is at retaining battery life than is 1.x. It was a significant upgrade on many levels, but none was more significant than battery life. One of the critical issues that was fixed was the ever-present messages application not going to sleep. Now the tool goes to sleep, thus saving your battery from an untimely demise.

3: Turn off notifications

Believe it or not, notifications can seriously drain your juice. I like to leave on notifications for text messages but no more. Turn off both sound notifications and LED notifications to save as much battery as you can. Just remember that you will have to manually check your email to see if anything is new since the last time you checked. Common sense, but you never know.

4: Turn off keyboard feedback

This one may not seem so obvious to most users, but that vibration does use power. As often as you use your keyboard, you're adding to the decline of your battery power click by click by click. This actually serves two purposes. With the feedback turned off, your keyboard will also respond much faster than it would with it on.

5: Add a task killer.

I like Advanced Task Killer Free. This tool allows you to kill any task that is currently running. I actually place a shortcut to this tool on my desktop so that a single press will kill any unnecessary tasks that are slowly chomping away at my battery life. I will randomly hit this during the day (especially when I feel my phone heating up) to kill those background apps. I have yet to experience an app like this taking the phone down with it, so you can generally feel pretty safe using such tools. And the battery life they will save is certainly worth the price of admission (even the non-free apps).

Simple steps

How quick was that? If your Android phone suffers from a short battery life like mine does, following these rules should make your battery last quite a bit longer than it does with the stock setup. It's not perfect, and you won't find yourself with multi-day use from a single charge, but you will get far more life from that battery than you were getting.


Check out Five Tips... the newsletter

Get a concise roundup of solutions and techniques that will make your IT job go more smoothly. TechRepublic's Five Tips newsletter, delivered every Tuesday, gives you instant access to the information you need. Automatically sign up today.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

10 comments
yeshua87
yeshua87

Some other battery saving tips that I advise customers follow include; -Still Wallpaper. Motion wall papers use Battery life and CPU speed. -Leave Bluetooth off unless it are in use. This means that the user will have to mannually turn this function on and off before and after use. -Turn on the phone's auto brightness feature. -Do not leave phones in hot vehicles.

yeshua87
yeshua87

I am a cell phone technician and I have found that the Android Advanced Task Killer generates a lot of problems. First, it is counterproductive, in that it is always running, therefore pulling on the battery. That also takes back the CPU speed quite a bit. Most customers with the app experience a lot of lag, freezing, and force closes. Also most Android phones are on the 2.3 OS (Gingerbread) or 2.2 (Froyo) and have built in task killers. Some phones can even have a program monitor as a widget.

IT.vgomez
IT.vgomez

Thanks some of this tips are really going to save me some headache, especially now in the summer when you want to be in the park with your familly but still able to check your important email without having to worried so much about your battery life...

Babydoll25
Babydoll25

Although I too have used task killers if you don't understand how android rates applications 100 running in foreground 200 running in the backgroundand it goes down the line with the apps rated 400 and 500 being able to be killed off memory usage plus is an app that uses this strategy

dold
dold

On my Blackberry, the GPS turns off automatically when I'm not using it. When I start the camera, the "geotag" icon is red for a while, and then turns green when the GPS has a fix. When I start Google Maps, the "location" is cellular aided for a while, and then switches to GPS. If I leave Google Maps running, but it isn't in the foreground, the GPS shuts off. This is most obvious if you use Google Latitude history. If Maps is in the foreground, you get GPS tracks. If it is not in the foreground, you get cellular positioned tracks, with an obvious change in resolution. I would be surprised if Android is any different, so turning off GPS would accomplish nearly nothing in battery life.

jlsjonas
jlsjonas

hey, android also has this, but sometimes you don't really need the GPS-based high-precision positioning, turning the GPS on/off, looking for a spot etc drains your battery; so it's best to turn it off :)

abiemann
abiemann

on my Evo (android 2.1 still), when Navigator turns on GPS, GPS stays enabled no matter what. I guess the app developer needs to ask to turn off GPS when the app exits or is closed.

jcockrell
jcockrell

You left one out turn your brightness all the way down to its lowest setting. You will see that the screen is actually still bright at that setting. Just use a power widget to adjust the brightness on the go when you need it, settings like 0, 50, 100.

jlsjonas
jlsjonas

hey, do you use google navigation? or custom navigator? custom navigators might have coded themself so they don't go in sleep, thus they require GPS-update all the time. also not sure if GPS has sleep on 2.1.x