As much as I love the Android OS on mobile devices, the battery life leaves much to be desired. If tasks or applications get out of hand and start eating up memory or CPU cycles, you can kiss your battery goodbye. I have watched the battery meter on my phone go from full to 3/4 before my very eyes.
It seems that no matter how sparingly I use my networking, Bluetooth, GPS, etc., the battery still drains. This problem is so pervasive that I often see Android users carrying multiple chargers and multiple means of charging their mobile devices — USB cables plugged into nearly every computer they own, car chargers, solar chargers… whatever it takes. It doesn’t have to be this way.
One way to fight against unnecessary battery drainage is to use Advanced Task Killer, which allows you to manually kill running tasks, set up ignore lists, and much more. You can purchase the tool from the Android Market for $4.99 or get the free version. (Note: I won’t walk you through the installation because it’s a simple process. Be sure that you install Advanced Task Killer and not Task Manager.)
Once Advanced Task Killer is installed, follow these steps to configure the application:
- Open your Applications menu and click the Advanced Task Killer icon.
- When the application is open, click the Menu button, and then click the Settings button.
- From the Settings window, you can configure the app to suit your needs. I highly recommend these settings because they seem to be the best for keeping rogue apps from eating away at the battery: Enable Auto Start, Enable Show Notification, Default click action: Select/Unselect, Default Long Press Action: Popup.
Let’s look at some functionality that will increase the chances of saving your battery.
The popup menu
This is where you really get control of your applications. When you open Advanced Task Killer, you will see a list of running applications. If you long press one of those applications, a popup menu will appear that will allow you to select from the following:
- Switch to
- Force Stop/Detail
From that list, if one of those apps is an app you want to make sure is not killed by Advanced Task Killer, you should select Ignore. Now when you kill running applications, that application will be exempt from the list.
I tend to notice when my phone (HTC Hero) is having issues because it will start to get warm. When this happens, I have a quick fix. If you add the Advanced Task Killer to one of your home screens as a widget (not a shortcut), when you click that icon, it will kill all applications, freeing up memory and CPU cycles. It’s the fastest way to keep your mobile device under control. (Make sure you do not add the application shortcut to the screen because this will only open the application.)
Give it a go
If you decide to download Advanced Task Killer, report back to let the TechRepublic community know if you get longer battery life.
Related resource: Read my four other tips for saving battery life on an Android phone.