Tech Talk: Improving Battery Life in Android Phones

By Joe Lambert

It seems that the common theme of phone developers is to try and sell us the biggest phone

with the fastest processor and the newest (and not always useful) features. I don’t know about

you, but I would like to see a phone that can go more than one day of use without a recharge. It

seems crazy, but shouldn’t we live in a world where we don’t have to plug our phones in every

single night? We all know closing apps and dimming the screen are ways to improve battery life,

and all batteries are prone to degradation after a number of repeated charges.

This article aims to shed light on some of the things going on behind the scenes, and

hopefully help you take full control of the content your phone delivers to you, and as a result, to

take full control of your battery life.

1. Get a task killer – Task killers help kill some of the background services and processes

that are started by your apps. These processes aren’t necessarily bad, or even battery

intensive. They do, however, occasionally time out. This can cause repeated attempts to

get back to the developer’s servers, which is a battery drain if left alone all day. Killing

these services periodically ensures that they don’t stack on top of each other.

2. Uninstall useless or redundant apps – Is there a mobile site you can use for the same

purpose as some of those apps? Banking/credit card sites are usually fully functional.

Downloading the app just gives them an excuse to gather data on you and use up your

precious battery life!

3. Manually install updates – Has an app ever updated itself and the resulting changes

were terrible? A less noticeable bug that can occur with periodic app updates is a

massive battery life drain. Only update the apps that you have complete confidence in. If

it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

4. Disable apps you can’t uninstall – Do you use the Google Play suite (books, games,

music, movies & TV) of apps? If not, it’s in your best interest to go into Settings > Apps >

All and disable them for good. This should keep Google Play Services down to a minimal

impact on battery.

5. “Battery Saver” apps? – In my personal experience, these apps apply more of a

placebo effect than anything. They have fancy loading bars and animations but don’t

seem to do much more than a simple task killer. I don’t personally use them, but your

mileage may vary. Many of their methodologies for saving battery life are flawed, such

as requiring location services to determine whether you sync your phone more often at

home or at work. Just having the location services enabled will drain more life than the

app will save you.

In conclusion, battery conservation isn’t that difficult, but in order to keep from always

having a charger on hand, some measures might need to be taken. Until phone developers

understand that most people just want a significant improvement in battery life, we’ll have to

take some extra measures to be sure we’re getting the most out of our smartphone experience.

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