Since the first days of the smartphones we always had the battery problem issue. As performance got better and better and the hardware used more and more power we didn’t see any meaningful progress in the battery ability to store more electricity.
The current technology still uses plain old Lithium based storage. While certain technologies like the quantum batteries hold lots of promises (http://nextbigfuture.com/2009/12/digital-quantum-batteries-theoretically.html), for now we still have to ask and answer the following question. How do we get more efficiency using what’s available today on our devices? In the following lines I will try to provide some tips towards that end.
- The first answer would be to get an extra battery be it internal or external. However since some latest devices like the HTC One X don’t have a removable battery we are left only with the option to have an external 3rd party external battery which tend to be weaker and more cumbersome then the stock internal versions. And always be careful of what you buy. While you think the number of mAh represents the total capacity this is not true. Each battery doesn’t run at 100% efficiency. Let’s say we got 2 1800 mAh batteries available, one which is from the device manufacture like HTC, Samsung, Sony, Motorola etc. and the other one is from a Chinese company. The first one runs at around 89-95% efficiency while the Chinese usually run at 50-70% efficiency. So be mindful of that.
- The second one is an important rule. When you get a brand new device. Wait for it to discharge, and then fully charge and discharge 3 times in order to make sure battery runs at peak efficiency. Also after that it is recommended you charge in one go. Frequent partial recharges are known to significantly decrease over time the battery life. This includes what is known as fast charge which is charging up to 80% of capacity.
- The following involve software solutions so let’s take a look at those.
- Make sure any data connections are turned off when not in use. This includes mobile data, WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS
- If you don’t use the phone during meetings is best to either go to airplane mode or shut down your device. The cell standby consumes 3-8% of your total battery life so if you don’t think you will get a phone call turn it off. Any missed calls will be sent as notifications by your carrier so don’t worry about loosing them.
- Turn screen brightness to minimum or very close. The screen is usually the biggest battery hog and the least energy it take the better. You can do this by going to Settings/Display/Brightness. Also you can change the screen sleep timer as well to 30 seconds or lower. It might cause some issues when reading because you usually don’t touch the screen and keep it active. It’s up to you.
- Turn of location access. This is both for your privacy and battery life. You don’t want something to always run in the background and consume energy do you? . If some apps need it you can enable it and disable it after your done. You can do this from Settings/Location access on Android 4.+ . I would also recommend uninstalling or disabling Google Maps if you don’t need it or use it often. It has a background service called prefetch which always runs in the background even if you’re not using the app.
- Turn off automatic sync for apps in Settings. If you don’t use the app every 5 min then it’s just better to leave it off and manually sync each time. Saves up a lot of battery.
- Make sure you exit installed apps that run in the background like Facebook, instant messengers and so on. DO NOT USE a Task Manager. It will shut down system apps as well which will be automatically restarted by the Android OS and they will consume even more battery in the process in contrast to leaving them alone. You can always check which installed apps run in the background by going to Settings/Apps/Running, clicking on the desired app and clicking on Stop. Some displayed apps won’t have the Stop option so leave them alone.
And the last will be using a custom ROM and kernel with a CPU governor to save even more battery life. However this steps are not recommended to beginners since you have a chance to mess things up and brick your phone. If you still want to give it a chance you can go to http://www.xda-developers.com/ , find your device forum section and follow the instructions. The result will amaze you trust me.
This is it. If you have any more suggestions for improving battery life I’m looking forward to hearing them in the comments. Hope you found this tips useful and see you next time.