Android battery life – and how to extend your battery power

When I had a Nexus 4 running Android 4.3 and earlier, I used an app called Juice Defender to extend the time between battery charging. I often went 2 days without recharging the battery!

But Juice Defender has not been updated since 2012 and due to Android changes, Juice Defender no longer works well.

Then, Android 5 resulted in worse battery life for many of us! My phone was discharging half the battery in 8 hours, even when not being used.

The only way to extend battery power is to reduce power demand. That means turning off hardware features that may not need to be used all the time (WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS location), dimming the screen or turning it off and so on. Another way to is reduce the frequency that apps wake up to “sync” or go online.

Good “Battery Saver” apps work by intelligently switching features off and reducing their frequency of use. Some battery saver apps are good and some are awful; in fact, some have displayed false battery status to pretend they are saving power! I have tried numerous Battery Savers but found only one that works effectively on the Nexus 5: Avast Battery Manager (see link below).

With that in mind, here are ideas that may help your device reduce its power demand and extend is battery life between charges:

  • Install Avast Battery Manager from Google Play. This works well for me using its “Automatic mode” settings. The app also provides information about which apps are consuming power on your phone. You may choose to stop, disable or uninstall apps that consume excess power.
  • Google Chrome and GMail apps are power hogs relative to other apps. It seems that if you visit a page, like a financial page, that periodically “auto refreshes” (e.g. for stock market data), this auto refresh may continue to occur periodically when you are not using the phone (this is my hypothesis – its not yet verified.) Avoid leaving Chrome on such pages, if you can. In GMail, go to the GMail menu (the one where you can select Inbox, Sent, Outbox, etc), scroll all the way to the bottom and choose Settings. For your GMail account, uncheck Sync GMail – and then manually resync GMail by swiping down from the top when you are using GMail. For POP3/IMAP email accounts (if any), set the sync time to 60 minutes (the longest option available) – or go to Settings | Accounts, select the email account, and turn off sync completely.
  • Many apps start up when your device is powered up and drain a small amount of power running in the background. Even if you never use the apps. Uninstall apps that you no longer use or you do not need.
  • Use Wi-Fi, if available, instead of cellular data. Generally, good Wi-Fi data links are much faster than cellular data, which means data can be uploaded or downloaded in less time. That means the transmitter (which uses more power) is active for less time, helping to reduce power. Further, due to some issues in how the cellular data protocol works, the cellular transmitter remains in an elevated power state for several seconds after being active for a data transmission. Related: While out and about and using only cellular data, turn off WiFi. You may also consider disabling Bluetooth and Location services.
  • If battery life seems to be getting worse, go to Settings | Storage, and scroll down to Cached data. Select “Cached data” and then follow the pop up menu to clear the cached memory. This is not something you do every day – but when the battery has gotten bad, taking this step every once in a while has significantly improved the battery power.
  • If you are using Avast, you can likely skip this step: Go to Settings | Battery and click on the 3 vertical buttons at upper right. Then click on Battery Saver and set this to “On”. Normally, Android’s own battery saver only activates when the battery is very low, but you can activate it manually. This built in Battery Saver reduces app data synchronization with the network, disables location services and does a few other things to reduce power. The Battery Saver is automatically turned off and remains off, once you plug in to a charger.
  • Aggressive: Set your device to Airplane mode. This turns off all built in radios and suspends background apps from doing data communications. Again, if using Avast, you are already getting good power management and this step adds only a little to the battery life. And while its activated, you cannot receive voice or text messages either!

Hopefully these suggestions are helpful to you!

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