Android Tip: Prolong Battery Life

Since the beginning of time, most Smart Phones are known to be power Hogs. More so that most Android Devices suffer from the same because of the Demanding Hardware and OS of these phones. Some Apps we install also sometimes run rogue and on occasion, Android System just starts to bug out and consume more power without warning.

If your phone has an independent GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) aside from the CPU (processor), then any app that requires these hardware to start running, in consequence will make your phone consume more battery juice, what more if they turn rogue or malfunction?

GeePlease is giving you an understanding that most of the power problems of Android is primarily caused by either a rogue application, the Android OS itself and malfunctioning hardware (CPU, GPU, Battery, Display, Buttons Getting stuck, etc.). So if your phone suddenly just started consuming more power than usual after functioning normally for a while, before you start replacing your battery with new ones, ask yourself these few basic questions first; have you run a recent update to your apps? Installed new ones, or updated your phone OS/firmware? After that, your first course of actions is really easy…

Quick Tip: Shutdown and restart your phone. Power it off and then wait for a few seconds and power it back on, if this solves your power problem, then it was just the Android OS(operating system) needing a rest and to stop apps that got stuck. If that doesn’t solve your issue, we need to take a look at the next probable causes and their corresponding possible fix below.

 

Next on the list is to try uninstalling Recently updated or installed applications. Sometimes, apps go haywire and trigger your standby process and wake processes. These processes are kernel based (meaning part of how Android works) that sometimes get triggered by poorly written applications, or just decided to run out of the blue. This keeps your phone from getting a deep sleep on standby, that’s why sometimes even if your phone is just sitting on the table and your not using it, it consumes too much battery juice. It is normal if your battery stats show your display as using much of the power, but once the OS overtakes the stats, then it is with great possibility that these kernel apps are the culprit. (Android is based on Linux, so most of these kernel apps are part of how it works and cannot be removed. just tinkered with to work properly). There is a built-in battery monitor on your Android device, or you can download countless of battery monitoring Apps on the Playstore.

The second probable culprit is your phones radio. Either Wi-Fi or the Cellular Signal/Data itself. If you have poor signal in your area and your phone struggles getting a full bar either with Wi-Fi or Cell Signal, then it will consume more power. 4G connections also consume more power, and LTE more so. Especially if your are from a different carrier, different Mobile Cellular Provider and you recently traveled and notice after arriving to a new country or city that you phones battery consumption has suddenly increased. Also, some apps will automatically sync and poll for data any way it can, either via your Carrier or Wi-Fi. So it’s also best to stop these apps. (Facebook, Twitter, E-mail and Gplus. Apps that updates itself and syncs are major culprits as well.) Most of the time, your phone will struggle to find the radio signal (wi-fi, gps, cellular) and the process of connecting to the base station or source of signal consumes more power than usual.

Third. If you came from an update or you plan to update your Android Version, it is always best to do a factory reset after an update and reboot your phone. This will prevent other power hog issues on your device. This is one of the basic best practice when updating your phones OS/Firmware.

I will outline a few methods below that could possibly help your phone maximize it’s power consumption and solve your battery consumption problems. Applying these tips will help extend your battery life and save power if you have a current normal usage and you want to extend your phone batteries a little bit more. (applying some of the tips will even help speed up the response of your phone).

The Basic Power Saving Tip

Difficulty: Easy

1. Turn-off Sync for most of your Apps, I suggest you use Sync-on-demand. Only sync when you open the app you want to use. Basic apps like Weather can be automatic, but e-mail, facebook and twitter should be on-demand. It is known that the default mail program hogs to much power and polls often than it should.

To turn-off general Sync Capabilities of your phone, you can go to Settings>Accounts and sync Select those you don’t want to auto-sync, or you can select to turn them ALL off.

2. Drop your screen brightness to around 25% which basically just enough for reading on your phone, too bright and it’s not conducive to reading anyway and causes eyestrain. Also make sure to check your Browsers brightness settings separately as well, as most of those who browse the internet often forget that the browser has it’s own brightness setting/controls that needs to be set since browser brightness settings doesn’t get affected by the general phones brightness settings on the phone settings area.

To Lower the General Brightness, go to Settings>Display>Brightness. Set brightness to just around 25%. You can also tinker  with your screen timeout and make it lower.

3. Do you need 3G or 4G data access often? If you have Wi-fi available at home and at the office anyway, then it is advisable to use just GSM mode for your cellular connection. This will save you the most power. You can also install a widget that you can quickly just turn on and off your 3G, 4G and LTE on-demand. Just make it default that your phone is on basic GSM mode. If you just use the phone all the time for SMS/Text, Phone Calls and you have Wi-Fi available for surfing, then GSM is more than enough.

To set Phone to GSM Mode, go to Settings>(on some phones, up on the Wireless and Network area you might need to click More…)Mobile Networks>Network Mode, select “GSM Only” and not the Auto Mode.

Also, to have Data-On-Demand without a widget go to the same procedure above, except on the area after Network Mode, uncheck “Use Packet Data” and “Data Roaming”. Just reverse it when you need internet connection via your cellular carrier. The easiest way is to install a widget that triggers it on and off. (Post on comments area if you need me to point you to the one I can give my recommendation).

4. Turn OFF GPS when not needed. Well same principle as above, having the GPS turned on will poll frequently for your location and such which is bad for battery health. Turn it on only when needed. Most of these battery saving tip up to this point is even on the Power Saving Info Screen of Android if you check it out.

5. Finally, can’t say this enough, minimize apps that run with your phone concurrently like Task Killers, Task Managers, Battery Savers (except JuiceDefender as it does work for some), Anti-Virus and the like. Phone managers and apps like those I mentioned usually just add unnecessary load to your phone and consume power, memory and might be in turn slowing down your phone.

The Battery Tune-Up and Battery Memory Reset

Difficulty: Easy

Sometimes, it happens that your phone doesn’t remember the proper charge of your battery. And sometimes, Apps are just locked running in memory that all your phone needs is to refresh it’s data, memory and Calibration of your battery state Read.

Did you know that your battery needs at least 4-cycles to be optimized? If you often charge your phone/device even if your battery is not yet completely depleted, you are not maximizing your battery and it’s not getting it’s full cycle which in time might even be detrimental to your batteries health.

1. To Cycle Battery and reset Phone Battery stats and recalibration, wait for your phone to just turn-off by itself after it warns it is low on battery.  You can browse the internet until it turns off by itself or run some apps.

After the phone turns off, turn it on and repeat above until it will no longer turn on. That is when you will know your battery is totally depleted or is under 1% charge.

2. Open up your phone and remove battery for about a minute or half if your not too patient. Put battery back to the phone but don’t turn it on. Plug your Charger and let it charge to 100%.

3. When the charge gets to 100%, unplug, open the device, pull out the battery again for a minute and put it back in again. This time, after putting it back in, turn the phone/device on.

You have just run your first battery Cycle. After few weeks use, do the same method again to cycle it, the maximum capacity of your battery will be achieved around 4 cycles and above. This will be then the regular capacity of your battery.

The method above also makes sure the phone reads your battery state properly and doesn’t report an 80% charge even if it is lower than 50% in actuality. It will also allow the phone to unload stuck apps as well.

The Wake Lock and Suspend Kernel problem and App Issues

Difficulty: Intermediate

1. First, Go to Settings and Turn Off any secondary sound your phone uses which you don’t need anyway. These are the Touch sounds and the Screen Lock and Screen Wake sounds. Go To Settings>Sound, and set the above accordingly to none. (There was a known bug the makes your phone on wake status with these settings turned on.)

2. Turn On your Phones Airplane mode. The quick way is to press the Power Button for a while and then a popup will be shown where you can set to airplane mode. The longer way if your phone doesn’t have the quick one is to Go To Settings>(on the wireless and network area) check “Flight Mode”.

3. Once on Airplane or Flight Mode, Turn Your Device OFF.

4. After The Device is completely OFF, Take Out The Battery for around 10 to 20 seconds.

5. After waiting for some time, Put the Battery back in and Turn ON the device.

6. Wait for the Phone to finish loading, when it gets to where it just goes on standby.

7. Turn Off Airplane Mode based on Step 2 above, reversing the setting.

This is 75% successful on most phones with the Kernel issue, if you have recent versions of Android, update and run through this sequence just to be safe.

If you have observed improvements on your phone, or experiences that could help further, don’t hesitate to leave your thoughts on the comments area below.

After going through my tips and your battery life is still poor even when it wasn’t before, then it might be time to replace your batteries. There are direct replacement manufacturers batteries and there are those that are with a higher mAh rating and extended versions. There are also charge cases where you can install a secondary battery for extra juice, but these items are reserved for another post here at GeePlease.

I do have a couple of Apps I will recommend later here in GeePlease for diagnosing issues with your phone, if you can’t wait, you can give me a holler on the comments area and Ill respond accordingly depending on the need, since most of these app recommendation are for specific purposes.

Will update this post once I experience a few more tips, like on ICS settings there are a developer section and so on some JellyBean ones. Tinkering with those is on the advance level and tips that can be applied only if your phone is Rooted is different. The Tips above are the general tips that cab be applied to Rooted and Non-Rooted devices.

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