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I've read a bunch of forum posts about the Android OS battery drain bug. This is where the 'Android OS' process is showing large percentages in the battery statistics.

For me, I'm running 2.3 Gingerbread. I don't use bluetooth or GPS. I'm on 2G most of the time. Some days I get 40 hours out of a battery. On these days in the battery usage settings, the 'Android OS' process uses about 3% of battery. However other days I get about 8 hours with similar use. On these days the 'Android OS' process uses about 35% of the battery. I really want to find out what causes this.

The fixes suggested so far are:

  1. Reboot (Temporary).
  2. Turn off and remove battery for a couple of minutes.
  3. Reset battery stats.
  4. Change WIFI sleep policy.
  5. Use a task manager
  6. Flash stuff to the phone.
  7. Revert to older versions of the OS (not really a fix).

Does anyone know the definitive cause of this problem and the correct fix? Or is it possible there are multiple issues that cause this so different things will work for different people?

Here are some of the threads:

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1039696

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1038812

http://androidforums.com/samsung-galaxy-s2/337492-s2-battery-drain-problem-solved-now.html

http://www.darkyrom.com/community/index.php?threads/v10-rc5-android-os-process-battery-drain.2546/page-4

http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=16721

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please provide sources for a bunch of forum posts so we know which bug you're talking about. –  Lie Ryan Aug 11 '11 at 14:56
    
For what it's worth, I haven't seen this. Can you please add your device and carrier to your message? –  Al E. Aug 12 '11 at 10:42
    
This depends very heavily on what OS you are running? 2.2-Froyo? 2.3-Gingerbread? –  Chance Aug 12 '11 at 17:42
    
Running 2.3 Gingerbread. –  sickgemini Aug 13 '11 at 9:59
    
Why the downvotes? This is a legitimate question. Many Android users including myself have trouble with battery time and, by observation, on some phones battery drain is connected with "Android OS" appearing to consume more than 30% of battery charge. –  Jan Sep 25 '11 at 20:33
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6 Answers

I believe, there is at least one bug related to "Android OS" and battery drain. I'll outline how to reproduce the issue: (Tested with Motorola Flipout, Blur_Version.0.28.9_MB511.Retail.en.DE (stock ROM the phone was sold with), Android 2.1.)

  • Start with a fully charged phone.
  • Download the Audiobooks (free) app and launch it.
  • Choose a book from the free library and listen.
  • Send Audiobooks to the background, e.g. by clicking home button.
  • Go back to the Audiobooks app by the same operation you used to start it, e.g. click the icon in the app drawer. (This is the only way I am aware of to get the app in the foreground again.)
  • Do whatever it takes to stop the audiobook playback. (There is a "shutdown player" button, but I never get to use it, because the player just stops/disappears before I can navigate to the player screen.)
  • Leave the phone idle. After 8 hours the battery will be almost flat (<15%). Android's battery usage monitor attributes 33% of the batter consumption to "Android OS". The remainder is split between "cell standby", "phone idle".
  • Shut down the phone. Switch it on. Recharge.
  • Leave phone idle.
  • After 8 hours, check the battery status (>50%). "Android OS" does not show up as draining battery.

Whether this is a bug in the Audiobooks player or Android or both is not clear. However, this does not appear to be normal behaviour.

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I just had this problem. I think what caused it was that I had removed some email accounts (but not the app) and the data continued to poll for something in "running services" in applications. This caused "Android OS" to consume up to 43% of "battery use". In less than 8 hours the phone was dead.

After the app had its "clear data" activated, I also tried it with all apps that I had installed but seldom use. It then went down to 13%! Proves that the "removed" cache data had something to do with it. Cheers

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Basically you are answering your own question.

To begin with I'll go with BMitch, this is NOT a bug. There are various reasons for high rate of battery drain. Also it depends a a lot on the firmware, android version and device you are using. For example : I have a Samsung Galaxy 5 device. Initially it came loaded with Android 2.1 and a pretty poor battery life of utmost 2 days. I rooted my device and I saw a significant increase in battery life of around 3 days without charging. Next I gave a tried out a custom ROM for my handset and the battery life inreased tremendously to 5-6 days and when I upgraded to gingerbread its back down to 2 days. Also it depends on how you use your phone.

  • Some apps keeping running in the background and eat out battery life. Try avoiding them. Alternate solution would be using a task killer.
  • Excessive Data usage (over WiFi/3G) also reduces charge. Switch off wifi and turn on to 2G network when not using the internet.
  • Keep Bluetooth off when not using it since it also eats charge.
  • Turn off GPS when not using any kind of map apps.
  • Also there is one method many people have vouched to be working. This is be deleting the battery calibration data and forcing the system to make a new one. This however does not increase battery life. It one fixes battery mis-calibration. This app does the job.
  • Using some battery saving apps like Juice defender. It basically does some of the above tasks in an automated format.

Hope this explains it.

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Thanks. While helpful, most of this is just general battery savings advice. I was specifically trying to find out about the 'Android OS' process. I've updated the question a little to explain better. –  sickgemini Aug 13 '11 at 10:04
    
Okay to this question, it really depends on various factors. I can only provide instances and some cases. For example gingerbread on galaxy 5 uses a lot of battery especially when the orientation sensor is on because the refresh rate of the screen increases abnormally. Similarly each ROM will probably have it own reason. You should probably question the dev team of your ROM. –  Abhirup Manna Aug 13 '11 at 12:47
    
many badly coded apps on loss of network continuously keep polling till connectivity is restored, this can cause massive battery drain. –  Aadi Droid Feb 17 '12 at 10:10
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On my Galaxy S2 media scanning stuck and battery drains completely in 8 hours at night without using. Battery usage was like:

  1. Android OS - 30%
  2. Media - 28%
  3. Display - 25%

I cleared Media Storage data and the issue resolved:

Settings » Applications » Manage Applications >> All >> Media Storage >> Clear Data

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What I noticed: media scanner starts and drains battery and my Galaxy S2 became hot quickly for long minutes when I unplug the usb connection with my computer. It was same on 4.0.x (currently I got stock unrooted 4.1.2 on Galaxy S2). I have a lot of media files in phone memory and on the sdcard as well. My workaround without root (seems works):

  • Go to Settings > Apps > All
  • Find "Media Storage", tap on it
  • "Disable"
  • "Force stop"

Edit: What I noticed since I'm using this workaround:

  • ringtones doesn't work
  • Gallery app doesn't work
  • Video Player app has failure as reported by wbogacz (thanks)

I miss Gallery and ringtones a bit but I'm still continuing to use this method because the media scanner problem is more annoying for me. I'll update again if I notice other differences.

Update: Few months later I still miss the ringtones and notification sound but I can live without it. Meanwhile I've installed the Flash Notification app and I love it. :) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.manzy.flashnotification

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This recommendation causes failures of "Video Player" to find media, and "Gallery" to display photos from the phone. Restoring Media Storage to Enable, and opening Video Player and Gallery restore useability. –  wbogacz Aug 15 '13 at 18:35
    
It causes another problem what I noticed: I unable to choose ringtone and notification sound in preferences. –  Ray Aug 16 '13 at 9:32
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Start by not calling it a bug. There are lots of causes of battery usage, just like there are lots of things that will cause the electric meter to spin. A short circuit needs to be fixed, just as a bad application needs to be removed. A task manager is similar to having someone run around behind you and turning off the lights. And various settings can be tweaked to get more out of the existing system, just like you can switch to CFL bulbs. There's no one fix, because there's no one reason.

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Really looking for something more specific as to why the Android OS process would be using such a high percentage of battery? –  sickgemini Aug 11 '11 at 23:06
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@sickgemini, OS = Operating System, not a simple thing with a single switch. Some people have issues with misbehaving apps not suspending, others have hardware issues, or perhaps a network problem. Everything touches the OS and the OS touches everything, and should one of those things malfunction and get in a tight loop, it will eat CPU. There is no easy "specific" answer that will solve the problem for everyone. –  BMitch Aug 12 '11 at 2:03
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