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What can I do to get better battery life on my Droid? Battery life seems awful. Less than 15 hours or so on normal usage.

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19 Answers

I played with this for a little while after getting my Droid, and found that there are a few easy things you can do that make a big difference. There's also a lot of misinformation out there, so you need to do some testing. I get 20 hours of regular use or 16 hours of heavy use.

Note that these are my results on a Motorola Droid with OS 2.1. Your results may vary, particularly if you're using a different OS version!

  • Don't use Live Wallpapers. They're cool, but they eat battery.
  • Don't use Sense UI. That's HTC's home app. Again, it's pretty, but not friendly to battery.
  • Prefer the back button over the home button. The back button lets apps decide if they want to run in the background. The home screen often leaves apps running when they don't need to.
  • Don't use app killers! There's no need for them if you use the back button, and you'll end up crippling other apps because of non-obvious dependencies between apps.
  • Use WiFi whenever you have access to a network because it uses less battery than 3G. (Shorter distance, lower power.) Turn WiFi off when you don't have access to a network, otherwise it will keep looking for a WiFi network it can use (which drains battery).
  • Reduce the frequency at which apps refresh their content. Common offenders are social media clients (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), email, and news or weather apps.
  • Finally, watch your battery usage under Settings -> About Phone -> Battery -> Battery Use. This will show you what has been using the battery since it was last charged. (So it shows nothing while charging!) If anything unexpected is using the battery, consider replacing it with another app or service.

Best of luck, and enjoy your Android phone!

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how do you turn the sense UI off on an HTC phone? –  Warren P Jul 30 '10 at 19:59
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@Warren P, you can download Launcher Pro or ADW.Launcher from the market and press Home it should prompt you to choose which you want to use. I know some HTC phones won't let you not use Sense. For them you would have to get a bit more forceful and install a custom ROM. Or at the very least, root it and do some trickery. –  Jake Wharton Sep 22 '10 at 20:54
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Live Wallpapers don't actually make that much difference. They are only active when your screen is turned on and you don't have an app running. –  James Oct 19 '10 at 9:28
    
@Warrn P you should ask that as a question ;-) –  Ivo Flipse Nov 2 '10 at 7:06
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so don't use your phone? –  Adrian Jan 25 '11 at 11:21
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Some of the biggest power drainers: GPS, Wifi, and Bluetooth.

In general, it is best to keep these services off unless you are using them. However, GPS will only be used when an application calls for it, so you could technically leave it on all the time.

Some other tips:

  • Lower the screen brightness
  • Turn off 3G (if you have a phone that you can switch between 3G and 2G).
  • Disable automatic Data Sync or:
  • Set your apps to sync at longer intervals or don't use apps/widgets that do synchronize often
  • Turn off any unnecessary vibrations or haptic feedbacks
  • Disable the keyboards backlight
  • Avoid using the speakers, opt in for using headphones
  • Underclock the CPU (rooted users)
  • Turn off data completely (using an app like APNDroid)
  • Don't use task killers to automatically kill off processes. They simply will respawn. Uninstall undesired apps.
  • Use applications like Locale or Tasker to control your phone's Wifi/GPS/Bluetooth/Sreen brightness/etc. settings automatically with profiles that activate under certain conditions
  • Set your screen timeout to a short time interval. Then use Screebl to keep your phone screen on when the phone is only held at certain angles.
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I read somewhere that if you use APNDroid the phone will actually use up more battery as it constantly tries to connect to the fake APN. Don't know how accurate this statement is, though. –  kitsched Sep 14 '10 at 5:32
    
Don't be feared by @Bry 's suggestion to underclock. The best part of underclocking (i.e. with SetCPU) is to create profiles for when you want 250mhz, and when you want 800mhz. –  mfg Sep 14 '10 at 13:24
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Some of these suggestions like disable haptic feedback may indeed slightly increase battery life... But unless there's some hard data otherwise, you'd probably use more battery by hunting through the settings just to find the option than it would save in relevant amount of time... –  colithium Sep 16 '10 at 4:09
    
Removing OSmonitors and task managers is good! I was worried when I first got my phone it wasn't being fast enough, so I installed all that junk. I just removed all of them (like 5 apps) and it's faster and more battery conversationary than ever! –  glasnt Sep 16 '10 at 22:38
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@Jordan I didn't mix them up, but let me explain myself better: Tasker can do the exact same thing as Locale, but Tasker is very configurable and may be daunting to use to a novice. It is a very scripty/programmatic type of app. Locale is very simple and easy to use. You can make the same kind of schedules that Locale uses with Tasker, it just takes a bit of extra work to do it. If you're looking for simplicity, go with Locale. If your looking for something highly configurable, go with Tasker. Or both, depending on your needs :) –  Bryan Denny Feb 8 '11 at 16:04
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Android comes with a widget to easily turn on and off the most common power drainers.

To get it on the home screen:

  1. long press on empty area of home screen
  2. select 'android widgets'
  3. select 'power control' (it takes up a whole row)

It allows you to turn on/off bluetooth, wi-fi, gps, auto aync and screen brightness.

The notifications bar allows wi-fi, bluetooth and gps to be turned on and off.

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I have this on the same screen (and have used steady since i got the phone) with my maps/location apps and it is terrific for being able to instant on the GPS and launch an app while saving on GPS battery drain. –  mfg Sep 14 '10 at 13:22
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I usually find that the display uses the most battery. Turning down the brightness drastically improves my battery life.

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There are so many things one can do I don't wanna repeat here: Remove bad apps, reduce brightness of your dis... ahem, said: not repeat, OK. But if you think about what you could turn off/down and what effect it offers: There's a nice table to be found at the German technology site Heise, titled Energiesparplan (Google Translate Version here). They slightly modified a Motorola Droid to be able to get precise data on energy consumption -- and ended up with a nice table like this, which already substracts the "base consumption" and thus gives the data for each component/action.

In July 2012, the same publisher again made something similar with his article Durchhaltetraining (Google translate: Hang on! -- this article is not yet available online, but usually becomes available after a while, say 12 month or so), this time utilizing the more recent Samsung Galaxy S3 -- so I add its values here:

┌─────────────────┬────────────────────┬───────────┐
| Action          | Motorola Droid     | Galaxy S3 |
├─────────────────┼────────────────────┼───────────┤
| Video recording |            1557 mW |   1683 mW |
| UMTS Upload     |            1410 mW |   1033 mW |
| UMTS Download   |            1349 mW |   1074 mW |
| EGDE Upload     |            1179 mW |           |
| Wifi Download   |            1158 mW |    549 mW |
| Play Video*1    |            1135 mW |    597 mW |
| UMTS call       |             983 mW |    637 mW |
| Camera*1        |             934 mW |   1460 mW |
| EGDE Download   |             853 mW |           |
| BT receive      |             751 mW |    487 mW |
| Display (max)   |             730 mW |   1568 mW |
| GPS Searching   |             550 mW |    263 mW |
| GSM call        |             511 mW |    297 mW |
| BT send         |             487 mW |    454 mW |
| Wifi Upload     |             479 mW |    488 mW |
| Display (min)   |             310 mW |    567 mW |
| MP3 play        |             160 mW |    153 mW |
| UMTS Standby    |            18.3 mW |   10.9 mW |
| GSM/EDGE Standby|            11.6 mW |    9.5 mW |
| Wifi Stdby 2.4  |             7.8 mW |    9.3 mW |
| Wifi Stby 5 GHz |               -    |   14.6 mW |
| BT Standby      |             2.8 mW |    1.8 mW |
| GPS Standby     |             0.4 mW |    0.7 mW |
| NFC Standby     |               -    |      4 mW |
| Wifi Tether*2   |                    |    372 mW |
| Wifi Tether DL*3|                    |   1254 mW |
└─────────────────┴────────────────────┴───────────┘

*1 fullscreen, already minus the display
*2 Tether active with 1 user
*3 download from notebook via Wifi Tether

As an additional reference, the baseline: Ariplane Mode: 6.4 mW.

Recommendation for cold days to get warm fingers: Take your device with both hands, plug in the charger. Now stream a HD video from youtube via 3G, play it fullsize, and in the background do some video recording which in parallel gets uploaded via 3G. CAREFUL !!! Wear gloves... #-)

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+1 for wearing gloves at the end of the beautiful ASCII tabular drawing... ;) –  t0mm13b Aug 16 '12 at 19:26
    
For the second: All glory goes to the Zuul :) –  Izzy Aug 16 '12 at 19:29
    
All hail the err... might Zulu Warrior.... _o/ –  t0mm13b Aug 16 '12 at 19:30
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Consider JuiceDefender. This app turns off your data services when the phone's screen is off and then only enables them again for 3 minutes every 15 (this is configurable). By making all your apps sync at once on a schedule you prevent a lot of thrashing on your radios. It can also prevent the wifi from searching for hotspots when you are not close to any stored hotspots. Also, watch out for task killers, since they are always running, monitoring apps, they can end up causing more drain than the apps themselves

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I personally prefer the Green Power [free version] which is great for WiFi + data + syncing (and more advanced functionality, which are Pro version). Also, 2x Battery Saver is best if you use syncing + mobile data + no-WiFi. There's also Battery XL which I've heard something good about but have yet to try it. –  muntoo Aug 11 '12 at 20:29
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I run Tasker on my HTC and it's made a noticeable difference without me having to think about power-management. It's kind of a scripting tool for the phone - set a condition and what you want to happen as a result.

Mine is set to turn off Mobile Internet whenever connected via Wifi (and vice versa), only turn on Bluetooth when docked in the car, turn off Wifi when I leave home or work (and forget!) and dim the display after dark.

I've also got it to automatically turn on/off GPS when set apps are running.

It's a set-and-forget app and allows you to automate a lot of the good advice on other answers above. Downside is that it's not free; but cheap. YMMV, but I'm a happy user.

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According to the answer here, GPS is only used when the app calls for it, so turning it on and off shouldn't save power –  Casebash Oct 1 '10 at 12:42
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GPS in standby is nothing to be worried about (0.4 mW on a Motorola Droid -- compared to ~700 mW for the display and even more for UMTS data xfer). But the problem is: if it's enabled and in standby, some apps will use it, and most of them just for ads (while when it's not available, they won't bother). And that's what then uses some power (~500 mW). –  Izzy Aug 3 '12 at 16:00
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I discovered one thing that absolutely killed my battery life:
Setting Wi-Fi Sleep Policy to When screen turns off. <--- Don't do this!

Make sure it is set to Never sleep or else it will power the Wi-Fi radio on/off every time it needs to sync something.

On my Samsung Galaxy S Captivate this can be found under
Settings -> Wireless and network -> Wi-Fi Settings -> MenuKey:Advanced

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Unless you never sync or sync at large intervals. Also, on ICS, it takes like 10 minutes for this to go into effect, IIRC. –  muntoo Aug 11 '12 at 20:32
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To add to these great suggestions;

  • Dont use live wallpapers.
  • Use a dark background if you have AMOLED.

Good guide here with these points and more; Android Battery Saving Guide

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Surprisingly enough I've actually seen posts where the Pink-ish background saves the most power. –  Mondain Sep 15 '10 at 18:14
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Again, disabling live wallpapers has such a tiny impact on battery savings that it's not worth mentioning. At least a small amount of research should be done with something like JuicePlotter for each suggestion. Otherwise it just confuses people and encourages them to disable useful features for no reason. –  colithium Sep 16 '10 at 4:11
    
The link is broken. –  muntoo Aug 11 '12 at 20:34
    
@muntoo, I fixed the link. –  blade19899 Dec 23 '13 at 15:28
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If you have an OLED screen (I know the Droid doesn't), then you can get significant savings by tweaking what is displayed. Jeff Sharkey has recently posted a blog entry describing his experiments with screen colour and the effect on battery usage.

Filtering to show only red pixels only requires 35% of the original baseline OLED panel current, on average. Adding back the baseline current, the best case overall is about 42% of the original system current, effectively doubling the battery life. Also, showing only red pixels doubles as an awesome night vision mode, perfect for astronomy. :)

So a dark and/or reddish background could save a lot of juice.

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so wouldn't BLACK be the least output, for OLED? :-) –  Warren P Jul 30 '10 at 20:00
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Indeed, I consider black to be a subset of dark –  Rich Seller Jul 30 '10 at 20:20
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SetCPU is a great little software available for free on XDA forums and on the market for 1.99$.

It allows to set different CPU profiles in different conditions.

I have set the following profiles and the battery usage dropped a lot:

  • Default mode is conservative with maximum speed set to 768 Mhz (I have Snapdragon 1Ghz CPU).
  • Let the CPU run at maximum speed and performance profile when the phone is in charge via USB.
  • Set the CPU to drop to 500 Mhz and powersave profile when the screen is off.

There are many other possibilities. The only draw back is that it requires root access.

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I didn't know you could do profiles with SetCPU. You've sold me on it. –  Jake Wharton Sep 22 '10 at 20:56
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how does this differ from the automatic throttling that Android provides? (e.g. from System Panel app I see that CPU frequency [not just %] seems to jump all around depending on how much is happening) –  Michael Jun 17 '13 at 17:13
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Unfortunately battery life on android devices seems to be worse then other similar phones (iPhone and blackberry). This is from personal, anecdotal experience.

Things to do are to check your update frequency settings-> accounts & sync. You can lower your update frequencies.

Additionally keep blue tooth or wifi off when you don't need them. You can find widgets for your homescreen that will let you toggle these quickly.

Also settings-> About Phone -> Battery -> Battery Use could show you any unusual heavy hitters on your battery.

You can also find applications in the market such as "Spare Parts" that give you more detailed battery use information.

Some people have reported that that applications such as "Advanced Task Killer" can be used to periodically kill running applications if you find that your phone vendor has installed any pesky applications that you want to periodically kill. On my current phone though I've found that Advanced Task Killer just used unnecessary battery power and didn't really help me.

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Don't use Google Voice for Text Messages the way that you are supposed to use it out of the box.

If you set up GV to push your SMS notifications as email (rather than maintaining the Voice app and constant polling), and then do all of your replies via email it minimizes the use for GV, saves on battery, and keeps your SMS's free.

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For 4g phones, keep the 4g antenna off until you have a use for it. And if no 4g spot is found, turn it off. 4G antenna is the most expensive power wise antenna out there. And unless you are watching videos even htc recommends turning it off.

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The order of energy usage 4G > 3G > Wifi > 2G > Bluetooth roughly corresponds to the range and speed of each antennaes. –  Lie Ryan Jan 28 '11 at 13:18
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If your main power drain is the screen, you might try a magnetic case (or adding a magnet to your existing case) + Holster Snooze to automatically turn off your screen when you put your phone away.

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If you have root access on your device, it's certainly worth taking a look at Greenify. This app takes care for those processes permanently running in background and waking up your device needlessly: As soon as you switch your display off, Greenify "hibernates" apps you selected to be handled, so they can no longer wake up your device to "do something needless". They get "re-animated" once you switch your screen back on.

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My preferred solution: get a different phone.

I had a couple of Android phones with awful batter life, and I just got a Nexus S, and I'm very happy with its battary life. I think the amoled display helps.

A bought a couple phones and returned them a week later because the battery life was awful. I suggest you do the same, if we as consumers keep putting up with poorly designed phones, they will just keep making them. Who cares if you have a superfast 4g phone if the battery is dead!

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Are you serious? Nexus S batter life is as bad. I have to charge my phone 3 times a day. –  jpartogi Apr 20 '11 at 11:14
    
Different phone? Thats not the solution dude. –  RG-3 Nov 15 '11 at 14:48
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Here is puzzle for you -- "how to increase battery life with different phone". Happy? –  greenoldman Aug 16 '12 at 19:46
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Try to do CPU-intensive tasks like downloading stuff, installing updates, watching video, etc, whilst connected to a charger. This will reduce the wear on your battery so it will perform well for longer.

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On all phones that I know of the battery still provides the power while the phone is plugged in; if there are any that bypass the battery, they're a rare exception. Charging at the same time as high power usage is a great way to heat up your battery and significantly degrade its performance. For best battery life the phone should only be charged while it's off. –  Matthew Read Nov 29 '12 at 23:13
    
@MatthewRead: You are certainly wrong. Current is either flowing from positive to negative battery terminal or vice versa -- both simultaneously is impossible. When the battery is charging, energy is being provided to it and it is not providing power to anything. It is possible to continue discharging the battery while plugged in -- in this case the external source is providing as much power as its current limit allows and the battery provides the difference. This would be less stressful on the battery than disconnected usage. What you're likely observing is (continued) –  Ben Voigt Oct 7 '13 at 20:36
    
a high current source which is able to charge the battery even when the phone is drawing high power. In that case, the voltage regulator chips have to deal with the sum of the used current and the charging current, and that regulator circuit might become hot. If the battery is placed close to the regulator, the battery could become hot as well by heat conduction, and be degraded either temporarily or permanently. So your recommendation is good -- charging with the phone turned off will protect the battery -- but your explanation "battery still provides the power" was totally wrong. –  Ben Voigt Oct 7 '13 at 20:39
    
And in a system with better thermal design, the battery won't be heated by the regulator, and then eug is correct -- supplying the power demand from the external source will decrease the number of charge/discharge cycles and reduce wear. On the other hand, if the phone varies between a power level sustainable from the external source and one that requires augmentation from the battery, then the battery will be discharged only slightly between charges, which creates "memory" in some battery technologies, destroying them. But for most modern batteries complete discharge is the problem. –  Ben Voigt Oct 7 '13 at 20:43
    
@Ben Hmm. If the battery isn't providing the power when the phone is plugged in, wouldn't you be be able to take out the battery while it's plugged in? Every device I've had suffers immediate power loss in this case. –  Matthew Read Oct 8 '13 at 0:06
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If you have a Nexus 5 the following Youtube video entitled "Nexus 5 Top 10 Battery Saving Tips" should prove useful and highlights:

  • Turning off vibrating Key Press
  • Turning off auto brightness
  • Setting GPS to Battery Saving
  • Using the Default Launcher
  • Turning NFC off
  • Use Apps like Tasker for Automation
  • Minimise the use of Widgets & Screens
  • Use a custom kernel (requires Root)
  • Use ART runtime
  • Turn off "OK Google"

Please note that whilst the video highlights the Nexus 5, it will of course be applicable to a whole host of other Android devices as well.

For a more comprehensive look see also this guide entitled "How to extend your Android’s battery life" published on April 15th 2013, for Android Authority.

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protected by Matthew Read Nov 29 '12 at 23:19

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