Best apps for analyzing and improving battery life on your Android device

Android Battery Life

Battery life is one of those features that just hasn’t kept up with rest of the hardware on our Android devices. Our phones have extremely detailed picture quality, they’re nearing video game console levels of graphical fidelity, and they keep up with all kinds of health information and statistics about us, but getting one to last an entire day away from the wall charger is a tricky endeavor. Many manufacturers include their own power saving modes, and Google has recently added its own spin on power saving into Android with Lollipop, but there are a handful of extra steps and apps you can use to squeeze a little more life out of your device.

We’ve already covered a few of these apps, but things have changed drastically over the past few years. So this guide will let you know how some of those apps have improved and we will also let you know some new things you can do to extend the battery life of your phone.

DU battery saver

DU Battery Saver is a powerful tool with a weird name, but it can tackle just about all of your battery analyzing needs on its own. The app claims to be able to squeeze about 50% extra life out of your battery, and although that’s a claim that it’ll only be able to live up to under absolutely perfect circumstances, it can still help just about any user get some extra time out of their device.

The premise for Battery Saver is pretty simple. It keeps an eye on your phone’s battery and charge, gives you estimates on how long your current charge will last and how long it’ll take to finish up charging, and gives you shortcuts to keep your apps and performance in check so you don’t have anything wildly draining your battery in the background. It can run a quick “optimization” that checks what’s currently chewing up the most battery life on your device, which includes power hungry apps and different radios on your device. It will then give you the option to close them out or turn them off. Some of the app scanning can be hit or miss and reminiscent of the old Android 2.0 task manager days, but being able to see a discernible difference in battery life measured in minutes by turning off your Bluetooth is very useful.

The app also features some different profiles for different situations to maximize your battery, including an extreme mode, a general mode, and a sleep mode. The extreme mode shuts off your mobile data and other radios but still allows you to receive calls and texts, which should theoretically give you the best battery life. The general mode keeps most things on but shuts off WiFi when it’s not being used, and the sleep mode turns off unnecessary data and usage but keeps your alerts and alarms on. You can also create your own modes, and with an in-app purchase, you can set the app to automatically change modes depending on different circumstances.

DU Battery Saver also touches on an issue that most apps ignore, and that’s healthy charging habits. Lithium ion batteries are pretty resilient, but they can go bad and can hold a drastically smaller charge over time. The smart charging here uses a fast charge for the first 80% of the battery, then a slower charge for the remaining 20%. At this point, trickle charging kicks on, which, theoretically, keeps everything flowing inside your battery to make up for the constant discharging. The app recommends doing this healthy charge at least once a month, and it actually includes a calendar to track when you’ve done it. While this very specific charging may not get an extra six hours of your battery, it will keep your battery healthier for a  longer period of time so you won’t need to replace it after a year or two. Definitely a useful trick for someone that wants to squeeze every bit of performance out of their device.

The app has a few more little bells and whistles, including an app monitor that closely resembles what you see in Android’s system settings and some unlockable extras. Some of the unlockable features are pretty useless, like automatically closing apps when you turn your screen off, but other things like the smart battery mode changing might be worth the small investment.

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Play Store Download Link

battery guru snapdragon

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Battery Guru is still a regularly updated on the Play Store, and it’s extremely useful for anyone with a Snapdragon processor. Despite what may happen in 2015, right now there are tons and tons of devices running some kind of Snapdragon chip that can benefit from this app.

Battery Guru starts up and runs in the background for a few days monitoring your typical usage, including when you’re sleeping and not using the device, when you connect to specific WiFi networks, and checks up on how often certain apps are eating into your battery. Once it’s collected enough information, the app kicks on and runs in the background, adjusting apps and settings as needed based on intelligent algorithms. At night, for example, it’ll stop your apps from refreshing and keep some of your radios off, since you’re asleep and not using them.

During the day, this can also be useful when it learns what networks you typically connect to. The app will turn the WiFi radio off when you don’t need it, then click it back on when you do. The longer you use it, the more it learns and the better it can perform. Fortunately, it also shows how much battery it’s saving by being installed on your phone, so you can decide if it’s worth keeping or not.

Battery Guru does some of the same things that DU Battery Saver does, but it goes for a more hands-off, intelligent approach to improving your battery life. It lacks tons of extra features outside of managing some radios and controlling how often your background apps can refresh, but if you’re looking for something that doesn’t involve constant monitoring on your part, it’s a slightly better option. Plus, it’s completely free, and Qualcomm regularly keeps it updated for their newer chips and devices.

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Play Store Download Link

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Greenify is an extremely useful tool that brings some nifty features to both rooted and unrooted features. The app was originally designed just for rooted devices, but has recently been updated to work with unrooted phones, so you’ll be able to take advantage of most of the core features without tinkering with your device too much. If you do happen to have a rooted phone, though, you can do a few extra things that other users won’t have access to.

Greenify works by looking at which apps are running in the background and putting them into “hibernation,” which effectively stops them from running in the background at all. This actually force stops the app, but this means it won’t turn back on unless you specifically open the app again. This is a much more sophisticated approach towards killing background apps, since it actually puts them in a sleep mode where they won’t wake back up as soon as they’re closed. By avoiding that cat and mouse game that task killers play, you’ll actually notice a significant performance and battery increase if you have some apps that just refuse to play nicely.

Of course, the drawback here is that a hibernating app is almost completely shut down in the background. If you hibernate an instant messaging app, for instance, you’re not going to get notified of new text messages. You wouldn’t want to apply that to something like an alarm clock or an app that you need push notifications for, but if you’re trying to stop a game or something similar from constantly turning on in the background, this approach works very well.

If you have a rooted phone, you’ll get access to a few other useful tricks, like automated hibernation and some Xposed modules that allow sleeping apps to still send you certain notifications. Regardless of your phone state, Greenify is a free way to extend your battery when dealing with resource-hungry apps.

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Play Store Download Link

ccleaner

CCleaner is a program developed by Piriform and is extremely popular on the PC. The Android app isn’t necessarily designed to improve battery life, but instead to improve performance across the board and clean up clutter on your device. While it won’t do anything for managing your WiFi and Bluetooth radios or telling you what app is eating the most battery, it will help to trim up the fat from your apps and quickly uninstall apps in bulk, which will indirectly improve the performance and battery life of your phone.

The Android version of CCleaner does many things that the PC version does, including clearing the cache from your apps without having to go in and do everything individually, as well as sweeping out your download folders, browser history, old call logs and text messages. Not only will that give you some extra space on your device, but with your apps running and performing better, they should be draining less battery as well. If there are multiple apps that you need to quickly remove from your device, CCleaner can handle that in a few taps, too. It’s a much faster process than wading around in Android’s system settings to remove everything.

The best part of CCleaner is how automated everything is. You can keep all of your clutter cleared away in just a few clicks, and you can quickly view your battery level, RAM usage, and a few other system metrics right from within the app. It’s very lightweight and doesn’t consume much power to work, so running a scan and cleaning once a week should help to improve performance and battery life on your device.

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Play Store Download Link

wakelock detector

Wakelock Detector was mentioned in our last guide, and although it has lost some functionality thanks to changes in Android, it can still be a very useful tool for pinpointing exactly what’s causing battery drain on your device. Prior to Android 4.1, the app could check what apps were keeping your device awake, which causes potentially massive battery drains. After Android 4.1, apps could no longer access that information without a workaround or root access. If you have root access or are comfortable using ADB and developer settings with your device, however, it can still be a powerful tool.

Assuming you’ve gotten the app set up and working properly, Wakelock Detector will track and show you which apps are keeping your device awake since your last boot, plus provide detailed info about each wakelock, like how often and how long the app is doing it, and when it’s happening. The app can’t do anything on its own with that information, but it gives you a starting point to hunt down where your battery drain is. It also shows technical details about apps, like their current state, CPU usage, and the total time they’ve spent awake on the device.

If you’re willing to get your hands dirty to maximize your Android performance, Wakelock Detector is free with a premium version available. There is a link for instructions to get your unrooted device compatible with the app on their Play Store link, so if you need this tool, grab the app below to get started.

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Play Store Download Link

These are a few of the many apps on the Play Store that track and help your battery life. Depending on your device set up, these apps are the most likely to help extend your battery life for a few hours, which might be just what you need until you can find the next wall charger. Did I miss one of your favorites? Let me know in the comments.


About the Author: Jared Peters

Born in southern Alabama, Jared spends his working time selling phones and his spare time writing about them. The Android enthusiasm started with the original Motorola Droid and an unhealthy obsession with fixing things that aren't broken. This accidentally led to being the go-to guy for anything more complicated than a toaster, which he considers more of a curse than a blessing. Jared is enrolled in online classes at the University of Phoenix, and spends his spare time on video games and listening to music.


  • Adriano

    My favoirites are Greenify, Advanced Task Manager and Clean Master. They work great for me.

    • g4n0sh

      Clean Master is 100% full of crap. Their various apps, “invent” problems for user to solve. After being alerted to simply unfathomable amounts of false – starting rogué apps, and following their steps, as soon as the various issues were rectified, new names appear to replace the deleted ones, in an effort to justify it’s claims.
      I did some checking and created a bogus app to mimic performances of various misperformers, and gave it no permissions.
      Guess what?
      37 restarts in 2 hrs.
      BULLCRAP.
      Unless the 10 Mill sheep who have DL’d the various CM apps are actively engaged in more analysis than a casual n00b, their march to profitability based upon pure propoganda instead of prrformance shall continue.
      If someone is capable of purchasing a phone that can offer the potentials of a Droid hardware, rooted or not, even casually modified to an individual’s unique uses and desires, shouldn’t that user as sudo or not, be enlighteneed enough to see through the BS shoveled by companies interested in profitability, rather than performance.

      • Zomby2D

        Clean Master is good at cleaning junk files. Everything else is just bogus.

        Fortunately, there’s also CCleaner for that purpose.

        • Adriano

          This is why I use it.

          First I run the Clean Master’s cleaner, then I hibernate all the apps with Greenify and then I leave the paid version of Advance Task Manager to auto-close all the apps which are not essential.

          The best way I found to improve my G3’s battery life though was to disable the Google+ and Facebook apps. Now I use Chrome to check my messages.

          • makapav

            All Task Killers are bad for Android 4+ You are harming the internal process manager in the long run and also destroying your battery (with the exception of Lollipop which is fucked anyway in its current iteration).

            • Kent Norton

              can you explain what is wrong with lollipop I am using a 1 + 1 Android and I wonder if what you said applies to that thank you for your insight

            • makapav

              Massive memory leaks killing background services to the point one cannot make a call (on the Nexus 5 and Moto X 2014). Manufacturers have tried to put patches against the leak but AFAIK it affects every device in some way of the other. Current version of Android M also has a leak (at least on the Nexus 5).

            • Kent Norton

              Never understood the memory leak problem at all this is a very concise short explanation thank you very much for your time

            • makapav

              You’re welcome ;-)

        • AndyShit

          Clean master is shit. I had it and uninstalled. Only crap messages and info.

      • Kent Norton

        well said and clear but not all of us can shovel through the crap I will definitely consider what you said when I am looking at these apps your analysis makes sense

      • AndyShit

        You’re right, these apps are all crap. You say you have a sheep on your phone? I have a cow. ;)

    • Gee

      Actually KTweaker does. I’ve doubled the speed at what it charges via usb and mains. There is some risk to your ports at both ends but believe me it does work.
      Sorry that was @ Scott

      • Kent Norton

        what is it mean risk to your ports

        • Gee

          There not meant to have that much MA through them and it can cause damage as a result.Apparently USB 3 headers can take more. Ktweaker shows this warning under custom MA. my s4 or s5 have been using 750ma via usb with no issues on two different mobos,and no problems with phones @ 2000ma from wall. You must be rooted for Ktweaker to function and with decent kernel. using twisted lollipop at mo on s5 900f.

        • AndyShit

          It means that your phone may not last as long as if you did not use that stuff. Mostly close to the end of charging, the charge must run very slowly at lower current.

  • Scott

    You have to know that no app can control how fast your battery charges, no matter how popular it is. Any app that claims to do that shouldn’t be trusted.

    • balcobomber25

      They can’t control how fast it charges but they can control how fast it drains.

      • AndyShit

        Which is not the same, but the opposite.

  • Brian Green

    “Greenify is an extremely useful tool that brings some nifty features to both rooted and unrooted features.:.”……………………..FEATURES!!!!!!!

  • AndyShit

    It is funny that most real android experts tell that android, which is Linux, does not behave like Windows, does not really need most fake applications on Google play like battery savers and cleaners that delete things that android will restart almost immediately after. So, fake results.

    • Melvin Frohike

      There are many battery savers designed to do things like disable push in apps that you wouldn’t expect them to have it enabled. Or disable embedded ads that “phone home” regularly. Or monitor apps to look for apps that mistakenly go rogue due to a coding error. Or check for apps that frequently wake the device, for various reasons, but might make you decide on an alternative app instead.

      There are definitely many things that can use battery up, and there are many apps that are designed to spot, or modify them, so that battery time is maximized.

      They frequently aren’t the all in one junk apps that people grab, like auto-task-killers, but suggesting that there aren’t a number of very helpful apps used by ROM makers, and power users alike, is just as wrong as this article.

      • AndyShit

        Android often kills apps too fast, and most of those appearing when you press home button are not running anymore. I know of an app to clear those not running from there.

        What you say is good and useful, but most battery savers are just junk the way I said. There is so much junk on Google Play that I have been looking for what you mention on your two first sentences, but couldn’t find anything. Can you make a suggestion based on that, please? Because there is nothing on that direction on this review.

        • Melvin Frohike

          Take a look at GSam battery monitor, and its root addon app first. Those are good for taking a look at what is using power up.

          Then consider things like Jrummy’s ROM Toolbox pro, to stop autostarting apps (there are a number of apps that can do this, his app just happens to have a lot of other convenient features as well).

          Greenify is a commonly used app, to ensure certain apps hibernate in the manner that you wish them to.

          There are other great apps that delve particularly deep into adjusting the permissions that apps have, when they can auto-start, and so forth, but I’ll leave those three for you as a good place to start.

          On my Note 3, using a custom ROM, ported and debloated from the Note 4, I have these three apps installed, however I have not experienced a single need yet to use them actively. On a stock ROM, from a name brand carrier, on a non-nexus device, I would likely be much more aggressive with them and lock down anything that I find to be a waste of battery power. Currently, my battery life is quite excellent, so I don’t have the issues that some others might have, if they tend to load up their bloat apps and let them run full steam ahead.

          • AndyShit

            I have GSam on one phone and it is really the best I found (not 100% sure it is the best because there are too many to try to know).

            Android also has an app now renamed to “Active apps”, which turns from green to orange or red according to existing apps it shows as consuming too much juice.

            I am not saying that there are no good apps at Play Store, but most are simply useless. One of the reasons is because most people using mobiles do not have any notion of how computers and mobiles work and either give five stars or one or two according to what they understand of the app or if they are able to use it. They are newcomers to computing and completely blank. Therefore, I believe that over 90% of the ratings are based on this. They show the brain development of the voters, not the real value of the app. So the stars are misleading and every day we find more rubbish on Play Store because of that.