Android Battery Saving Tips

Here my list of battery saving tips given my experience of helping many with their Android phones.

Know that the major culprits for affecting battery performance which we try to minimize the impact of are as follows:

  • system components known to use a lot of power such as the GPS, mobile data or the screen being used extensively
  • background activity that prevents the device from entering a power-saving sleep state, usually with specific applications

10 tips that work

  1. Avoid running the screen at higher brightness setting than necessary by ensuring that automatic brightness is enabled for indoors use and possibly avoiding use outdoors. The screen timeout setting should be under 2 minutes, and for most people the default factory setting should suffice.
  2. Ensure maximum cellular signal reception as much as possible. Low signal strength causes the phone to chase for one and waste battery in the process. If you are in an area without reception for an extended period of time, consider toggling on airplane mode. Leave the data speed be the default with all the modes enabled, applying to most recent phones out there.
  3. Reduce background activity
    1. Turn off all unnecessary push notifications and synchronization services from the settings portion of the application. You can tell in part when your notification bar is mostly clear of notification items as you use your phone, without having you to clear them
    2. Remove any unused widgets from the home screen
    3. Use a static wallpaper instead of a live wallpaper
    4. Disable or uninstall unneeded or misbehaving applications. OS Monitor and Greenify are good tools for finding misbehaving applications together with to the built-in Android battery settings tool. Facebook and Google Location History are several known culprits for having significant impact on battery life. It may be better to use to the mobile version of a website by visiting it from your web browser, rather than to install a native Android application in order to avoid impact to your device.
    5. Remove unused data synchronization accounts or disable data synchronization configured. Use manual synchronization whenever possible and reduce the frequency of automatic synchronization
  4. Swipe away and fully exit applications you do not need to return to, when you are done with them for good
  5. When performing battery draining activities, connect the device to power. Some applications Google Photos backup have an option to only perform photo and video backup when plugged into power
  6. Reduce GPS sensor activity by disabling use of this feature on application or system level. Alternately kill the offending applications as soon as you are done with them.
  7. Prevent built-in media scanner (Mediaserver) from doing excessive work by adding ‘.nomedia’ files to storage device where files are frequently written to, such as into the default download directory ‘Downloads’. Ensuring there are no malformed tags in your audio or video files if manually adding these to your device. See also this article
  8. Disable Google+ and its profile synchronization features if you can get by without this. Correct contacts synchronization errors when they appear by ensure that there are no malformed contacts. This can be done by running Contacts Sync Fix periodically. This only affects certain devices.
  9. Disable unnecessary accessibility features which are known to impact battery usage such as display color modes, device administrator applications, Samsung features such as smart stay
  10. Turn on WiFi and have it connected to a service with internet as much as possible if you have mobile data, so it uses WiFi as much as possible

Aggressive tweaks

  • Turn off mobile data when it is not needed together with WiFi to stop all network activity. This can be done at night, but I personally cannot recommend this for practical purpose.
  • control misbehavior applications – use Greenify in root mode
  • eliminate background activity  – use Power Nap for Xposed before Android 6 Marshmallow, or Greenify’s aggressive doze mode which does not require root after Android 6

So so advice

  • disable sound, vibration , haptic feedback – these features don’t drain that much power, and is usually just overkill
  • disable transistion and window animations from developer settings – I do this myself as a performance tweak, not for saving battery
  • reduce screen timeout – changing this from 2 minutes to 30 seconds can actually make it worse because the user may end up having to toggle the screen power more often, which actually increases system activity
  • keep your phone cool – a warmer phone actually ends up saving more power because phones are designed to throttle down in speed when they overheat, thus consuming less power, but note that this is NOT advice to warm up your phone
  • power saving mode – this is an aggressive setting that can ends up significantly reducing the functionality of the device, and it depends on the device’s implementation of this feature. Better off leaving it disabled.
  • use a black wallpaper – most devices aren’t on their home screen for very long, and you need a specific type of display to take advantage as well as clearing the home screen of any icons which are not dark enough. Practically this is pretty terrible advice unless you are changing the lockscreen wallpaper combined with the use of ambient display.
  • install custom firmware – making further customizations will not guarantee better battery life and often results in reduced device stability and functionality. I will not go into this on an in-depth basis here because I believe there are many other guides that cover this elsewhere.
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