18 Battery tips and tricks for longer battery life

This guide has been updated: You can find the newer version here

If you’re new to owning a smartphone the biggest thing you’ll have to get used to is how often you’ll have to charge your phone. Especially if you’re coming from a phone that was, well, just a phone; it’ll be a big change from charging your phone once  every other week to once every other day. So here are some tips that can help you max at your battery life.

If you try and do all of these it may ruin your Android experience because you’ll be constantly finicking with your battery; thats not what this is for. These are ALL the tips/tricks I know. Even I don’t use all of them. Using just a few of these (possibly even one or two) should be enough that you notice an increase in your battery life.

FOR ALL USERS

1. Turn off of your radios when not using them

Radios are what connect your phone to the rest of the world. You have your general mobile connection, wifi, data/internet connection (3G), GPS, and/or 4G. Those are listed in order from least to greatest in battery consumption. If you’re not using the radio turn it off. If you know you won’t be online for a long time, why turn 3G data on? If you’re at home, use wifi instead of 3G. If you’re not using Google Maps why is your GPS on? You’d be amazed at how much battery life you can save just by turning off the radios that you aren’t using. There are plenty of widgets in the market that will allow you to turn off the radios without even going through settings (Sense users have these widgets packaged in).

2. Vibrate uses more battery

Anytime your phone vibrates a lot of battery is used. This include haptic feedback. A lot of keyboards have the option to turn off haptic feedback and I would recommend it. If you’re a heavy texter you’ll notice very quickly how much longer your phone will last. Also, if you’re in a place where you can easily hear your phone why do you need to have vibrate enabled? If you know you’ll be able to hear your phone there’s no reason for it to be buzzing too.

3. Don’t use task killers

Crazy, right? Especially if you’re on Froyo (Android 2.2) or higher, Android has it’s own task killer that’s actually very good. If programs are using too much memory your Android OS will kill it. A common misconception is that apps run in the background forever; this is not true. If an app is using too much memory (which links to battery life) it’ll be killed by your phone. That’s why if you play a game, check a message, and come back the game is still running. It’s memory usage isn’t that high. However if you put your phone down, walk away for an hour, and the game is still trying to run in the background, there’s a good chance it will be closed before you come back. Separate task managers have to constantly be running in the background which can actually use more battery than it saves. Yes, task managers can use more battery than they save.

4. Do this shenanigans

Originally posted by kthejoker20, this trick came from HTC themselves and can seriously DOUBLE your battery life.

With the phone in the on position.

Fully charge the battery with the phone on… (until the led turns green.)

Once the led turns green, unplug the charger until the led goes off.

After the led goes off, plug the charger back in. When the led turns green , power off the phone.

now…. with the phone fully powered off…

1. Unplug the charger.

2. Wait until led goes off.

3. Plug charger back in until the led turns green. When it turns green, unplug the charger again and go to step 1.

4. repeat steps 1 and 3, 10 times. This may take anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 mins per cycle. Typically only about 1 minute. though.

It takes too much work for me, but I’ve done it once just to test it. It works.

5. Juicedefender

A lovely free app (there’s an extended version called UltimateJuice) that helps your phone save battery. You have to see it to understand it, but anyone who is serious about saving battery needs this app.

6. Don’t use live wallpapers

They look awesome, right? They also use a lot of battery (especially the more complex ones). We’ve all used live wallpapers to show off how cool our phones can be, but for daily use they can KILL your battery.

7. Set your screen timeout to something shorter

Some phones start with their screen timeout at 3 minutes or more. That’s completely unnecessary. While you don’t want it to be instant, you know your preferences. Set it to as low as you see fit. The sooner your screen goes off, the longer your battery life will last.

8. Kill tasks you aren’t using

Not the same as an automated task killer. Find an app in the market that can kill programs MANUALLY. People running AOSP Devices (Android Open Source Project…aka your phone is pure Google and not HTC Sense or some other skin) have the benefit of being able to hold the back button to kill apps.

9. Your camera flash and battery don’t get along

If you like using your camera LED for a flashlight realize that will absolutely MURDER your battery. In all seriousness, your flash uses battery more than any other process on your phone.

10. Low cell signal hurts battery

Your phone is always searching for a stronger signal…This process gets more hectic as the cell signal goes down. So if you’re at one bar your phone’s battery life will drop faster than if you’ve got full coverage. There’s not much you can do here, but if you’re in a place where your phone has little to no signal anyway, you probably won’t be making calls so you might want to just turn on airplane mode or your phone off.

11. Turn off always on mobile data

I know on my Evo the setting is hidden under menu>settings>wireless & networks>mobile networks>disable always on mobile data. What this will do is turn off your internet/data when you’re not using it (specifically after your phone’s been asleep for 5 minutes). It will turn back on shortly if you have a new email or need to sync something.

12. Speaking of syncing…

Check your settings to see what is syncing and when. You probably have things syncing you don’t even use (stocks, news, contacts, etc). You can turn those off and edit the other ones. I don’t need my contacts’ statuses every hour, so my facebook sync is scheduled for once a day rather than the old once an hour. However, I like my weather being up to date so it’s synced every half hour. Find out what you need and how often you want it, and turn the rest off.

13. Don’t use GPS unless you have to

Some apps give you the option to precisely determine your position using GPS, or make a general estimate (usually within 100 meters) based on wifi or 3G data. While this isn’t always the best (like if you’re driving or getting navigated), try to use the 3G connection when it doesn’t really matter. The data radio uses far less battery than GPS.

FOR ROOT USERS

If you’ve rooted your phone you have a few more options. You don’t gain too many more options, but they are even more effective than the ones listed above.

14. Trickle charging kernels

Try and get kernels that use trickle charging. These will really ramp up your battery life.

15. Find out if your phone likes HAVS

Basically, try undervolting kernels and see if your phone likes them. If it does, use them. They change the voltage your phone uses based on your activities and how much battery life you have left.

16. If it doesn’t…

Use the Collin_ph Battery Tweak. That one is specific for the Evo, however there are other builds for other devices. I personally use this and can testify that it works WONDERS.

17. Underclock your phone

Just like SetCPU can overclock your phone, it can underclock it as well. Set it to underclock when the phone is sleeping or even lower the max clocking speed.

18. Try different kernels

Just because he/she said that it works for their phone doesn’t mean it will work for yours. Every phone handles kernels differently. Trying some of them (GIVE THEM A DAY OR TWO TO SET IN) can give you a perfect experience of performance and battery.

Try using these tricks and your battery life will never be better!

» See more articles by Andrew Greenfield


Google+5Facebook0Twitter176
  • http://www.Twitter.com/QDOG8 QDOG8

    Could someone explain #8? I have the T-Mobile G2, and holding the back button doesn’t kill tasks..

    • Guest

      With my at&t gs2 it kills app like FB, messenger, if I exit by first holding the back button for a few seconds and then releasing. That simple. Before I was just tapping “home” or “back” and my apps would continue to run until I used the built in task manager to close them, now it’s almost unnecessary. 

  • http://talkandroid.com Andrew Greenfield

    QDOG8:
    Your G2 may not have that feature (not all AOSP phones or ROMS do sadly). If your phone DOES have the feature, you should be able to hold back and the app will not only close, but be “killed” as well (completely turned off, not running in the background). For some reason in recent updates Google has elected not to keep this feature in (to my knowledge). Some AOSP ROMs still have it implemented though :)

  • Android

    #3 is false
    The provider Taskkiller offer very insufficent configuration. My Samsung Galaxy S under Froyo last twice longer with “Taskkiller free”

    Taskmanager are running constantly in the background but respond to events like other android apps. You can also configure it for point #8 without having to do anything

    Froyo free memory by killing apps when the available memory is very low… still keeping useless thing in RAM that consume battery

    • http://talkandroid.com Andrew Greenfield

      I’m sorry Android, but #3 is not false. There have been a lot of tests done that show that using taskkillers on newer phones is actually detrimental to their battery life. While I agree that they CAN be helpful, most people don’t now how to use them and any app running in the background all the time uses CPU cycles which uses battery. I’m glad you’ve considered your taskkiller to work for your phone, for most people it is actually problematic :)

  • http://gadgeteer.co.za Danie

    Biggest user of my Galaxy S’s battery is the backlight. I leave the backlight completely off while inside as it is not needed to see the screen. I have also set up Tasker to keep backlight at 0 when ambient light is under 90% and to set it at 100% when ambient light is over 90% (such as for in the sunlight). Dramatically extends the battery life.

    • http://talkandroid.com Andrew Greenfield

      You’re absolutely right Danie. It takes a lot of power to power that gorgeous screen!

  • John

    @Danie, how do you do that? At night the backlights are way too bright. How do dim them down w/ Tasker? I can’t find the option. Thanks

  • http://www.apple.com harish

    i had read above suggestion to improve battery life,in that they told to off all wifi data useage matters all then for that fucking we buying phone?in this all above suggstion its better to provide better battery by hardware provider.we want to buy phone by giving cash then telling us to reduce screen brightness and all ……. i am using htc desire what fuck battery is in that phone is that a battery ffffffffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkk

  • http://www.volt-up.com/powermax/ Joseph

    These are all good tips. But as the author states, just remembering all of these can really ruin your Android experience. But there’s an App for that … PowerMax

    It’s basically a big ON/OFF switch – toggle your Android between “normal full power and features” to maximum power save, “dumb phone like” mode. It’s basically a convenience switch, although we modify some obscure settings you would never get to, such as screen animations (which use CPU and power). Check it out and thanks for reading our plug ;-)

  • http://gadgeteer.co.za Danie

    @John, basically there are two parts you would use:
    1. Trigger – I used Light Level (find it under States) and set it from 92% to 100% for a trigger.
    2. Created Task and named it Brightness 100% and set display brightness to level 255.
    3. Created another task and called it Brightness 0% and sets display brightness to 0. This I added as an exit task for the trigger state so when the ambient light drops below 92% this task riggers and sets the brightness to 0.
    I set similar rules to only activate the GPS when certain apps are started and the exit task is to shut the GPS off again, as well as to shut off Bluetooth after the Bluetooth disconnects. Yes Tasker would use some power but it is one app does does so many things…

  • http://www.droidaccessories.org Marc

    Nice tips. Some of them are above my head at the moment as I am not familiar enough with my new phone. I do have a question though. How often should you charge your phone? Should you wait until it’s completely empty? Is is detrimental to just “fill it up” when it’s say half full? Can you damage the battery by charging it too often? I guess that’s more than one question but all related so…

    Thanks,
    Marc

  • http://gadgeteer.co.za Danie

    Most smartphones now are Li-Ion (eg Samsung Galaxy S) or Li-Po (eg Samsung Galaxy Tab) and memory effect is no longer an issue. They actually should not go down to empty and topping up is not a problem, but the phone and the correct charger that came with the phone will protect the battery and switch off when full. Important thing is to use the correct charger. I charged my iPhone daily for a year with no noticeable effect and I do the same with my Galaxy S phone even though it is on 50% left. I charge my Galaxy Tab every second day mainly because it easily gets two full days use.

  • bob

    Android you’re a moron and ignorant. If you insist on paying for a “task killer” app then you’re just a fucking idiot. The android kernel does it for you. But go ahead, buy pointless apps. Help the market, since I pirate all mine :D

  • Allen

    Marc,
    Any damage you COULD do to your battery by letting it empty all the time/whatnot would not effect it so that you could see it in the near future. If you emptied it everyday for 4-5 years, you might notice it only holds about 80% of the charge it used to. I personally charge mine right before I hit the hay every night just to make sure it’s full for the next day. Whether that’s with 20% or 60% depends on how busy my day was.

    Allen

  • http://www.droidaccessories.org Marc

    Got it. Thanks Allen and Danie!!

  • Lamont Fucking Shavers

    Fuck You.