Android Battery Saving Tips

Battery usage on all so called “smart phones” is almost universally woeful. Big high-res colour screens, fast processors, sound, wifi and 3g networking all consume gobs of battery power.

Here are some battery saving tips for Android phones. I’m going on a long flight in a few days time so I’ll be trying these tips out before I go!

  • Go into Settings->About phone->”Battery use” to see what’s chewing up your battery.
  • Turn off haptic feedback. That’s vibration alerts when you press your screen. Turn off vibration as a notification too.
  • Apparently 3G uses more power than wifi so make sure wifi is always on. (Settings->Wireless and network->Wifi Settings->Advanced->Wifi sleep policy and select “Never”). My Galaxy S switches to 3G when the screen blanks by default but apparently this is a big battery saver. Only when you have a wifi network around I guess.
  • Always press “BACK” when you want to exit an app.
  • Turn off GPS. If your phone uses the cell network to find your location turn that off too.
  • Turn on power saving, and reduce the screen timeout so it goes black faster.
  • Turn off wifi when you leave your house or work. That stops your phone trying to connect to a network.
  • Turn off bluetooth when you don’t need it.
  • Turn off 3G and use 2G. (Ugh, slow!)
  • Turn off background data and syncing.
  • Turn down the brightness on your display.
  • Don’t use your camera.
  • Don’t use a live wallpaper, what’s wrong with a static picture?
  • Don’t use a homescreen widget that pulls data and updates all the time.
  • Task manager are generally frowned upon but some apps misbehave and don’t close properly. “Watchdog Lite” is a useful app that tells you how much CPU each app running on your phone consumes. Beware closing apps too much. They may look like they’re running, but they’re not. Android keeps them in memory, so they start up quickly next time.
  • Get Juice Defender off the Market. Besides a ton of battery saving features, the like of which I’m still trying to understand, it has a handy widget that will disable mobile data completely. Nice!

I’d love if Android phones totally disconnected from the Internet when I closed the browser, Tweetdeck or whatever app was using the network. My old Nokia 5800 did that. It connected each time I opened the browser and had wonderful battery life.

So, what other tips can you suggest for power hungry smartphones?

Update! With wifi and the 3G radio on the other night 6% of battery was used over about 6 hours. I switched off wifi and 3G (using Juice Extender) and the phone only burned through 2% of battery power over the same period last night.

Author: Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Google+ and Twitter.

7 thoughts on “Android Battery Saving Tips”

    1. Haha, it hasn’t. I got to level 8 or so and haven’t played it since. My son on the other hand calls it “Cross birds” and loves firing the birds in all directions..

      No, I’m playing a bit more “galaxy Domination” right now. 🙂

  1. some great tips. I have an Android EVO phone with sprint, and they sell an extended battery that doubles the use time per charge for about $80 – but it gives the phone an ugly “bump” in the back (because it has more cells). I like the idea and tips you gave to turn things off you’re not using as a better way to conserve the battery.

    1. Install Juice Defender and you’ll be glad you did. It turns off 3G when the handset is locked, only switching it one for 1 minute every 15, or however long you want. It really makes a difference to battery life!

Leave a Reply