If anyone were to Google search about how to save precious minutes on the battery life on their Android phone, they'd come across at least a 100 articles, blogs, etc that believe that they have the authority and knowledge to say, for sure, what kills battery. The problem is that these guides are often conflicting and, like Britain's Got Talent, leaves us wondering about how they could do this to us. Also, unlike Britain's Got Talent, it leaves us wanting to know more.
Well, fellow Mobotniks, this is where the contradictions end. Below are five tips that have been proven to work in decreasing the amount of battery life required to make it through an average day and help Android phones all over the place make it from sunrise to sunset without needing that midday charge. If only there were energy drinks for Android phones without that 2pm feeling.
The object of this is simple: to provide all the details needed to prove why these are the methods everyone should follow in order to save more battery life. No more of those articles where some stuff works, others do not and the author doesn't even have the courtesy to explain how or why it helps or hurts. So without further adieu, here are five tips that actually save your battery life.
Change the background on your display to black or red and lower your brightness settings.
If you're an avid reader, it is recommended you check out this recent study done by owners of the Samsung Nexus S. You can find it here. For those who aren't big fans of reading spreadsheets, it is an in depth chart that shows what uses the most battery and focuses mainly on parts already on the device, such as screen and processor. If you were to look under screen colors, you'll see that black and red colored displays use the least amount of battery life. Therefore, the beginning of your journey begins at finding a nice black or red background to use as it really will save your battery life. Since black and red are very dark colors, the units in the screen don't have to spend so much energy creating the color and, therefore, use less energy.
Additionally, producing light costs energy. Producing bright light costs more energy and producing less light costs less energy. Therefore, lowering the brightness of your screen will invariably shave off some energy costs and keep your Android phone running longer. Done separately, these two might not do much, but together there should be a noticeable difference.
Lessen the frequency of updates of apps that run in the background
This includes things like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, your weather application, MySpace (for those still in denial) and all the accounts attached to your email application. These use data and battery life constantly. Do you really need Facebook updated every hour? Most users end up updating it manually when they check theirs. The same goes with Twitter and Foursquare.
These apps always update when you open them and usually if you're checking them, you pretty much have to open them. So you can change the update times to their lowest settings, which is typically several hours or a day. Another option would be to turn them completely off and only update them when you open the application. For weather, maybe take it back from 15-30 minutes to an hour. That's exactly half the effort it'll be using over the course of the day and, as with your social networking, you can always open the app and manually update if you need to know right then.
The email is a little tricky because some people require their emails immediately. The answer to this is simply a little effort. During the down times of the day, turn the update schedule to a lower time frame or off and only leave it on its max settings during times of the day you expect the most email. Personally, I go 15 minutes during peak hours and 4 hours during down time. As with all the others, you can also manually update if you need to check during down time.
This is probably going to be your top battery saver. We have smartphones and smartphones drink data like they need it to live. If you limit how much data the device uses by controlling the applications which use data, then your phone is going from updating all these applications constantly to every so often. Going from 5-10 applications using data every hour to 5-10 applications using data every 4 hours is approximately 75% less data usage. Through one day this will mean that the phone works 75% less often. Even more so if you go the manual route. That translates to better battery life.
Turn off any services you aren't actively using.
Unless you're using navigation or signing into some place on Foursquare, there aren't a lot of good reasons to leave your GPS turned on. To save yourself some trouble, turn off your GPS when you aren't using it. It takes a lot of juice to digitally say hello to the satellites in space and that's juice you could be saving. So, when you're finished using your GPS services, turn them off. If you use geolocation in your weather service, you could switch it to just the city that you're currently residing, thus lowering your overall GPS usage.
This goes for Bluetooth as well. Believe it or not, some people walk around all day with their Bluetooth on and wonder why they can't get six hours out of their battery. If you're not using those Bluetooth Speakers or that Bluetooth Headset, then turn off your Bluetooth service. If energy were money and your battery were a bank, then that would be money in the bank.
Use WiFi whenever possible.
Connecting to Mobile Data, be it 3g or 4g, is rough on a battery. Having to negotiate cell towers all day long just sounds tiring, so it isn't hard to imagine why it would tire your Android phone so much. The process of searching for a tower, gaining access to the tower, then making sure it stays connected to the tower so it can bring in data from the tower sounds like the worst job in history right behind the guy who cleans the toilets in that shady pub on the wrong side of town. Not to mention that you're likely competing with hundreds of other users for bandwidth on that tower. Competing costs energy.
The solution is whenever you're at home, at the office, at a friend's house or anywhere that has WiFi access, use that WiFi access. It is much less work for the phone to negotiate a WiFi router since there is much less traffic and a much stronger signal than a cell tower. Imagine trying to use data on a tower that hundreds, even thousands of people are connected to as opposed to a WiFi router which has, at most, a couple of computers and a gaming console on it. It just makes sense to go with the connection with fewer devices battling for bandwidth. So, unless you have to, stay on a WiFi connection. You'll see your battery improve a lot.
In conjunction with the prior step, when you're in an area where you cannot use WiFi, turn it off. It'll continuously search for signal and it doesn't take an advanced physics degree to tell you that'll drain your battery.
Uninstall applications you no longer use.
This can be a real killer if you let things get out of control, but if you're not using an app anymore, trash it. Apps can randomly open and remain open for a long time if gone unchecked. As an example, if you use Amazon Market, the alternative to the Android Market, it will open itself randomly to search for updates or to see if you have an app that needs updated and you'll never even know about it. Virtually all apps do that to some degree so to keep your phone moving light and staying alive, uninstall the ones you don't use anymore. There's no way anyone can have 250+ applications and actually use them all regularly, so do yourself, your memory and your battery a favor and get rid of them. It's not like they're not in the Android Market whenever you need them again, right? These apps use valuable RAM and processor power when they open and run randomly, and that's battery life down the drain.
There are other things that you can do, but they don't always work. Live wallpapers are a known battery drainer, but they look so cool and how much time do you actually spend staring at your home screen? A lot of other blogs will have you do things that border on the absurd, such as kill off your mobile data and WiFi when you're not using it. But let's face reality, it's a smartphone, 50% of its function requires mobile data or WiFi. That's like telling someone that they can save their energy if they turn off one lung and a kidney when they're not using it.
However, with the tips outlined above, users should see a definitely increase in battery function. Personally, using these tips, I've gone from having six hours a day to, well, this:
So remember, Mobotniks, there are ways to save your battery life without reducing your phone to an expensive paper weight and destroying your productivity. You just gotta be a little smart about it.