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[Guide] Battery Saving Tips
Battery Saving Tips
1. Keeping mobile data (i.e., 4G or 3G) or wifi on all of the time uses battery. Ask yourself if you really need to be notified in real time about every new email, Facebook post, or tweet. If it isn't that important, then keep mobile data and wifi off until you really need it. Although most devices make it easy to toggle wifi off and on, it's a little more inconvenient to toggle mobile data with the stock controls. I like Power Toggles, which is very customizable and easy to use; another popular choice is Widgetsoid.
2. The biggest power drain is usually from the screen. The longer it's on and the brighter it is, the faster your battery drains. Adjust your screen timeout so that it turns off after 30-60 seconds of idle. Turn the brightness down to 50% or less, which is usually more than enough for indoor lighting. Automatic brightness may or may not help save battery--some think that constant sensing and screen adjustment may actually contribute to battery use.
3. Many apps (e.g., Facebook) by default will try to refresh their data on the web at certain intervals. In order to do so, they have to partially wake the device up from sleep, then try to access the web, and then refresh data, all of which uses battery. If you don't need realtime updates, you can typically change to manual refresh in the app's Settings, which prevents the app from waking up the device. For Facebook, all you need to do when you open the app is just swipe down, and your newsfeed will manually refresh to what's current.
4. Google Currents is notorious for being a memory and battery hog. Many people have reported that battery life improved significantly after changing its refresh setting to manual and/or disabling Google Currents completely. (Update 7/2014: Google Currents has since been replaced by Google Play Newsstand, which manages memory much more efficiently, without the same battery drain.)
5. Along the same lines, consider turning off the device's Background Sync. You can find the switch to turn it on or off under Settings/Accounts/Google, but it's easier to use the stock Power Control toggle or the better Power Toggles or Widgetsoid apps. Turning off Background Sync means the device is spending less time and energy syncing your Google account. If Background Sync is off, you can always manually refresh any of the Google apps within their respective menus.
6. Some apps partially wake a device up from sleep (called a "wake lock") numerous times a day to do things like trying to check the web for data updates as well as reporting location data. Install an app to detect wake locks like Wake Lock Detector. Let it run for the better part of a day, then open it and find out what apps are responsible for the most wake locks. (Update 7/2014: KitKat no longer allows apps like this to report wakelocks unless your rooted.)
7. #6 is how I discovered that Google Maps was burning up a fair amount of battery due to its Location Reporting (previously for Latitude, now used for Google+). If Location Reporting is turned on, then Maps causes very frequent wake locks to check location and report it. I don't think Latitude was that popular--I certainly didn't use it, because I don't really want other people to know exactly where I am, so I turn off Location Reporting by opening Maps, tapping Settings/Google Location Settings, and turning off Location Reporting. Note that this does not affect the ability of your apps to use your location to refine searches, for example.
8. Widgets are definitely a cool feature that makes Android unique, but some of them also contribute to battery drain--specifically the ones that need to access the web to update their information (think weather widgets). Review your widget use and remove the ones you really don't use.
9. Live wallpapers, another feature that distinguishes Android, can also use up power like crazy--typically the ones that are very graphics/animation intensive, or the ones that also access the web for information like weather. Use static wallpapers instead, but if they're too boring, here's a list of some of my favorite live wallpapers that use minimal battery:
Blox (my current fave)
10. Vibrate uses a lot of power. Do you really need your phone to ring and vibrate at the same time? Do you really need the haptic feedback when you're typing (especially if you're using Swype-style gesture typing)? Turn off vibrate.
11. GPS is another big power-sucker. For most location-based apps, using Google Location Services (based on the wifi hotspot's MAC address or by triangulating your nearest cell towers) is enough, since it generally locates you accurately within about 100 meters. Use GPS only if you need a more precise location, like if you're driving and using Navigation. Otherwise, turn off GPS by changing the setting to "Battery Saving."
12. You never know what kinds of processes the bloatware on your device might be responsible for, but they might be contributing to battery use as well. Go to Settings/Apps/All Apps, go through the list, and disable any bloatware apps that you don't need. Be cautious that you don't disable an important system app--if you aren't sure, just post a question in one of the AC Forums, and someone is bound to know.
13. Understand how Android utilizes RAM, and resist the urge to use task killers. To understand how things work, read this article by the esteemed Jerry Hildenbrand here, as well as this guide by Ambassador extraordinaire Golfdriver97. Apps that you kill manually will often restart on their own, which in itself takes a little bit of CPU and battery power--so if it's happening hundreds of times a day, it can become significant. The main reason to use a task killer is if there is some runaway process that you know is bogging the system down and won't shut down on its own. It might still restart on its own--if the cycle keeps happening, it's probably a problem with the app, which should be uninstalled or disabled.
14. Poor cell reception kills battery, because the radio is working overtime to try to establish the connection. If you know you're going to be in an area of poor reception for a while, consider turning on Airplane Mode to temporarily shut off your cell radio. You can get some idea of how much time you're spending in an area of poor signal by going to Settings/Battery, tapping Cell Standby (if it's there), and seeing if it says how much time without signal there was.
15. If none of the above tips are helping, then try wiping the cache partition, which is the portion of memory where Android stores a lot of temporary data. It's a little different from clearing the cache of individual apps, because the cache partition also stores a lot of temporary data used by the system. You need to access your device's recovery menu in order to wipe the cache partition, and this process varies with the device, so the best way to learn how to do it is to do a web search for "wipe cache partition [your device name]." Here's an example: Wipe Cache Partition - DROID RAZR / RAZR MAXX by MOTOROLA