The tasks today’s smartphones perform are more demanding than ever. And to accommodate growing needs, processors have become more powerful and screens have gotten larger.
Sadly, lithium-ion batteries haven’t made as much as progress. Here are some practical tips for improving the battery life on an Android phone.
1. Take Control of Your Location
The most drastic way to improve your phone’s battery life is to shut off the GPS function entirely. In reality, though, that’s not usually practical. Therefore, we instead recommend taking control of how your phone and apps use location.
For starters, unless you have an active navigation on apps like Google Maps, switch to the Device Only location mode (on Android Oreo and earlier). In that state, your phone’s coordinates are determined only through GPS information. On the Battery Saving and High Accuracy modes, the phone employs several other modules including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This consumes more battery life and usually is not necessary.
Head to Settings > Security & location > Location to toggle this option. If you’re on Android Pie, you’ll need to change a different option. Visit Settings > Security & location > Location > Advanced > Scanning and you can disable Wi-Fi scanning and Bluetooth scanning.
In addition, you should also revoke the location permission for apps that don’t require it all the time. That blocks them from using your location in the background. You can do so by heading into Settings > Apps & notifications > Advanced > App permissions.
Pro tip: To grant Android permissions on a temporary basis, try Bouncer. It can automatically revoke permissions as soon as you leave a particular app.
2. Switch to the Dark Side
If your phone sports an OLED screen, switching to a dark theme helps to preserve the battery. Since OLED displays can disable individual pixels, backgrounds with deep blacks allow them to consume less power.
3. Manually Disable Screen Pixels
If you’re not comfortable with darker gradients, you can also manually switch off pixels through a third-party app called Pixoff. The app can also employ one of several available grid patterns to quickly, for instance, deactivate half of the pixels.
Unless you’re watching a movie or consuming other content in HD, you won’t notice much of a drop in quality, especially if you have a 1080p screen or higher. A few manufacturers like Samsung also include a setting that allows you to reduce the display’s resolution.
Download: Pixoff (Free, premium version available)
4. Turn Off Automatic Wi-Fi
Since the Oreo update, Android comes with a feature that continues to look for open Wi-Fi networks even when you’ve disabled Wi-Fi. To turn it off, open Settings > Network & internet > Wi-Fi. Under Wi-Fi preferences, uncheck the Turn on Wi-Fi automatically option.
5. Limit Apps Running in the Background
Most apps you use are active even after you exit them. That’s where Android’s app-specific battery tools enter.
With a simple switch, you can completely restrict an app from accessing the battery in the background. Find this at Settings > Apps & Notifications and there, inside the specific app’s page, tap Advanced > Battery > Background restriction.
If you have an older phone, you can also try a third-party app called Greenify. This automatically stop apps from consuming resources in the background. However, we recommend using the native feature on modern devices since it generally works better than third-party solutions.
6. Manage Background Data Access for Each App
Similarly, you can cut off data access for apps you don’t think should use it in the background. To reach this setting, follow the steps in #5 above but instead of Battery, select Data Usage.
7. Monitor Misbehaving Apps
Your battery life can take a big hit if an app doesn’t work like it’s supposed to. This could be caused by anything from a bug to a deliberate aggressive background feature. You can check this by heading into Settings > Battery > Menu > Battery Usage to see which apps have drained the most of it.
8. Switch to Lite or Progressive Web Apps
Another nifty method that doesn’t require much sacrifice and still extends your phone’s battery life is switching to lite or progressive web apps. These are slimmed-down versions of apps available in a browser. Companies offer them to make the experience better on underpowered phones. They take fewer resources, but you won’t miss out on much.
9. Disable Google Assistant
Unsurprisingly, Google hasn’t made Assistant’s switch easy to reach. You have to jump through a few hoops to find it. First, go into the Google app and hit the More tab. There, tap Settings and under the Google Assistant header, tap Settings again. Next, select the Assistant tab and there, tap your phone’s name at the bottom of the list. Turn off the Google Assistant option and you’re done.
10. Sync Settings
Notifications are important. But if you find them intrusive and hate the persistent stream of pings, you should try disabling auto-sync altogether. That way, you’ll only see new content when you open an app and refresh it manually.
Since apps won’t constantly refresh themselves in the background to feed you new information, this can save you a ton of battery life too. To disable auto-sync, visit Settings > Accounts and there, the Automatically sync data options should be available at the bottom. You can also disable sync on a per-app basis in most apps.
Avoid Battery Calibration on Android
The aforementioned tips don’t guarantee an increase in battery life. And even if they do prove helpful, there’s a good chance you won’t conjure up a ton of extra juice.