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How to Extend your Smartphone Battery Life

By Walson

Smartphones have made life comfortable and easy in so many ways, giving us an integrated set of functions all converged on our smartphones. At first phones were exclusively for making calls, but now it has brought convenience to us, taking up so many complex functions like monitoring the health condition of patients and coordinating with medical personnel. It has become an exercise monitor; some phones even measure the number of steps you walk in a day. In addition, our phones can now serve as diet aids, planning our diets, becoming a guide to the lost by ingenious features like GPS navigation, and so many wonderful innovations. These trends promise that even more is yet to come.

All this convenience is the reason why we want our phones near to us at all times. Often times though, we are disappointed just when we need it the most. The battery is after all very important since nothing works without it. Having a powerless phone is as good as having no phone at all. Here, we have compiled for you a list of proven ways on how to save power in your smartphone battery, and get the best android battery life possible on your device.

Buy a Smartphone that has a good battery capacity, or buy a better battery

It is futile trying to prolong the battery life of a low capacity battery when it is supplying a power hungry device like a smartphone. On android devices, the capacity of the battery is measured in milliamp Hour (mAh). A large value of capacity is a good sign but again the battery quality goes first before capacity and performance. For example, tests were carried out on the Asus ZenFone 3 Zoom which has a battery capacity of 5,000mAh. The battery lasted 19 hours and 50 minutes. Similar tests were performed on the Motorola Moto Z Play with a battery capacity of 3,510mAh giving a whopping 23 hours and 3 minutes. This leads us to the conclusion that the capacity shown doesn’t say it all.

Doing a background check on the net for the phone you plan on buying, or the replacement battery you want to get is a great idea. There are some fake battery apps for android devices that claim to be able to increase battery capacity, but it is not possible because it is not a software issue.

Be sure to use the right charger to charge your phone

Using the right charger to recharge your smartphone is an android battery saver precaution. Most batteries have specifications written on them indicating what kind of input they prefer. If you are using the original charger of the smartphone, then there is nothing to worry about, but in case that one is lost, you need to avoid getting a charger that delivers a much lower power than what the battery’s optimum charging current and voltage demands. This unnecessarily increases the charging duration of the phone, reducing the battery’s ability to store charge.

The more dangerous extreme is having the charger deliver more power than the battery is designed to take. This results in extreme heating during charges, and rapid depreciation of the battery capacity, as well as its ability to hold charge. This makes it difficult to deliver the best android battery life possible. Using the right USB cable is also of importance as the cables are designed with varying power transfer characteristics. Some battery apps for android devices will even tell you if the charger is a mismatch and that is a good thing.

Regulate your screen brightness and activity

It is very interesting to find out that on the average smartphone, the screen uses more power than all other parts, accessories, and applications. To know how to save power using this information is common sense.

Reducing the screen brightness is one way to go about it. It considerably reduces the power consumption of the screen of the average smartphone device. Sometimes though, it is not easy using the dimmed screen in bright weather conditions. Therefore, we would recommend using the automatic brightness feature available on almost every smartphone today. Every good battery optimizer for android should have this option. This is usually step one on how to save battery on android devices in particular and smartphones in general.

Another way to adjust screen power consumption is to use themes and backgrounds that are on the dark side which do not require the device to emit bright or white light. This lowers the consumption of the screen, and also helps the battery to last longer.

And while we are considering this option, don’t forget about your wallpaper. Live wallpaper looks good and gives great style, but is power and resource hungry.

You can also limit the screen-on time when the phone is not being used interactively, by reducing the time under the auto-lock settings. Go to Settings > Display and change your “Sleep” length to be as short as possible. This enables your device to actually stay up and running much longer. All these are ways you can customize your screen to achieve a longer battery life.

Manage your connectivity services on your smartphone

Connectivity tools include Wi-Fi, mobile data, GPS (location based), NFC, Bluetooth, etc. One thing common among them all is that they are power demanding for their operation. Turning them off when they are not being used is how to save power they should have consumed on your device. It tends to be difficult to remember to turn them off as we depend on them daily for critical services like GPS navigation.

Also, patterns of use, amongst these connectivity options determines the power consumption. Knowing their consumptions helps a lot if you want to know how to save power. Mobile data consumes far more power than Wi-Fi, and so, using a Wi-Fi network increases the time you can remain connected to the internet.

Putting up a quick switching widget (power control widget) on your home screen may help remind you

Good or No Signal

Sometimes you may find yourself trying to use a Wi-Fi network, in a bid to save power, but if the signal is not strong, it ends up consuming more power than using a good mobile data signal would. This is because the device tends to generate a much stronger radio signal in order to remain in communication with the Wi-Fi source, which in turn demands more battery power. The same case applies to mobile data connections. They consume more power compared to the other connection options.

When the signal is failing, or repeatedly being dropped, or very weak, you may notice a reduction in quality of service in terms of internet speed. To know how to save battery on android devices using this method is fairly easy; monitor changes on your mobile device by just looking at the network bar, which will lose some of its bars as the signal strength drops. The android phone in a bid to maintain the connection may rapidly consume the battery power.

Optimize Email synchronization

Email apps can have a major impact on battery life especially if you have multiple email accounts and receive lots of emails. Your smartphone can update your email automatically using a fairly recent technology called push, bringing new messages to your phone the instant they are received. Push and related services can be a power disaster as it requires your phone to constantly check for new messages, so if you have this option enabled, it is definitely one of the things that will use up lots of energy.

To save battery power, most phones can manually be configured using a battery optimizer for android or within the E-mail app to instead check for (or “fetch”) emails on a schedule — say, every 30 minutes — or only when you manually tell your email app to refresh.

Block adverts

When browsing the internet, your phone uses more power when it downloads adverts on websites. Unfortunately, almost every website we visit has them, ads everywhere, and the browsers by default do not have a choice but to download the adverts. How to go about this problem? Install an ad blocker. It will not only be an android battery saver but ensure that you have a better and undistracted browsing experience.

There is also the case of some android systems which download full screen picture and video ads, which play up on the screen randomly, even if no browser is open, biting through data and battery life. The ad blocker should also be able to handle this problem. Be sure to get an ad blocker that has good reviews to avoid getting a problem rather than the android battery saver you need.

Play downloaded content instead of streaming

This next tip may come as unwelcome news, especially if you prefer cloud based services to using your own mobile storage. Nowadays, cloud streaming is the most popular way to listen to music, watch movies, with services like Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video/ Prime Instant video, and other fancy new options — but this method of getting media uses up lots of battery power. In fact, it is a tested fact that the streaming media actually consumes on a minimum twice the battery power consumed by playing media from the device’s local storage.

Fortunately, streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music still give you the option of downloading the media, and do the playback the old-school way: by playing the media stored right on your device helping you to get the best android battery life.

Charge your smartphone at night

Most times, one begins the day with a battery that is far from full, only remembering to charge the phone for about 30 minutes before kicking off for the day’s engagements. By simple logic, it stands to reason that a full battery will last longer than one which is depleted to begin with. So charging at night prepares the phone for use in the morning when you awake.

There is a general worry that charging the smartphone all night may produce problems such overcharging the battery, killing it, but recent devices have highly integrated batteries that manage the inflow of power to ensure that the battery is protected, even up to the rate at which the battery is charged, reducing the charging current as the battery approaches the 100 percent mark. There are also some battery apps for android devices that will alarm when your smartphone is fully charged.

Shut down or minimize vibration

Vibration is very useful especially if you’re in a noisy environment and would not be able to hear your cell phone ring. For you maybe, the subtlety of vibrating notifications is indispensable on the job especially in office conditions where distractions may be sanctioned.

However, smartphone vibrations are very mechanical in production. To produce the vibration effect, your device has to power up a small vibration motor every time, which is really power demanding and drains your battery. This goes for haptic feedback as well (the slight vibration you get when you touch the screen), the light buzzing your phone may produce when you tap keys on your on-screen keyboard also goes a long way to drain battery power. If you really want to get the best android battery life, you should minimize your phone’s vibration options.

Power-saving modes

Depending on your smartphone type, you may find that the manufacturer has included power-saving modes that go beyond anything you might be able to have in your smartphone by default, or even achieve by a battery optimizer for android devices.

Enabling the power-saving mode customizes the phone's power-draining features for you. It would, for example, prevent background activities of most apps such as updates and synchronizing, reduce your screen brightness, reduce the screen timeout settings duration, disable most, if not all animations, and switch off vibrations. Normally, by default, the smartphone usually gets into this mode when your battery level drops to 20 percent, but you can set it to kick in at 30 percent, and in some phones, even 50 percent instead. The sooner the phone switches into this power-saving mode, the longer its battery will last.

Manufacturers looking for ways on how to save battery on android smartphones, have developed what they call extreme (or ultra) power saving modes. It turns everything off except the functions necessary for making phone calls and sending text messages, and can prolong the smartphone’s uptime by 24 hours of emergency use, even if your battery is down to just 15 or 20 percent.

Advanced Techniques

There are some advanced techniques which can be used to drastically drop the power consumption of your smartphone, thereby extending battery life. These techniques are only available by unlocking the bootloader of the device in a process generally referred to as rooting. Rooting is in simple terms gaining access to advanced customization options of your mobile device. To a novice this could be a dangerous process as that permission level gives you the ability to do and undo the device. You may mistakenly render the phone less useful than a brick. That said, let us explore the options available to rooted users which enables you get the very best android battery life out of your device.

De-bloating your smartphone

As we have explained, rooting does not make the smartphone consume less power, but de-bloating can. This involves removing (uninstalling) the apps referred to as bloatware, because they are usually installed by the device manufacturer, and are usually useless to the user, but lack the uninstall option, except on rooted devices. If you have a smartphone, you may already know the kind of applications we are referring to. Carefully following expert instructions (which may include removing your battery optimizer for android app), you can rid your smartphone of these persistent power-hungry applications which cannot be stopped and do not really help the phone in any way.

Under-clock your device

Under-clocking your device is reducing the working frequency of the smartphone’s CPU. It is interesting to know that the CPU is the most power-demanding part of the smartphone, especially in high-end devices where the CPU has more power than the phone needs. In such a case, under-clocking your CPU will save you battery life, while increasing the operating frequency will drain your battery much faster, overheat the device, and probably become unstable. But overall the CPU frequency determines the performance of the smartphone.

Custom kernels and ROMs

As long as we are talking about rooting your device, you end up with unlimited options. You might as well consider installing one of the many available custom kernels and ROMs which are android battery savers, which are designed with ways on how to save battery on android devices in mind, yet giving you all the liberty that can be gotten from using your un-rooted smartphone devices. You can check from websites like Android Authority and Cyanogenmod to get the instructions for your particular device.

Myths about Battery life for android devices

Giving tips on how to prolong battery life of your smartphone device is not all there is to the matter. We also need to be aware of the myths about prolonging battery life, because in an effort to prolong battery life, one may actually in effect be reducing battery life. So expounded here below are the myths about smartphone battery life extension.

Don’t always choose Wi-Fi over Cellular data

All things being equal, Wi-Fi connection consumes far less data than the cellular data over the same period of time. This has led to the myth that Wi-Fi connections should always be favored above cellular data connections. But in some cases, a Wi-Fi connection would consume more power than cellular data. This would be the case when he Wi-Fi signal is weak or failing. In such a case, the mobile device spends much more power trying to maintain the dying connection than the power that it would have spent in keeping up a good cellular data connection.

So the summary of this matter would be to always keep a lookout for the strongest connection or if you must favor Wi-Fi, you may consider buying a mobile Wi-Fi device such as Huawei mifi devices, which is a device type that is designed mainly to be a modem to store power for a strong active Wi-Fi connection with your smartphone device while maintaining a cellular data connection with your ISP. In this case maintaining a Wi-Fi connection over cellular data may actually not be a myth.

Closing all unused apps doesn’t always help

There is the common misconception that closing (or force-quitting) applications you are not currently using is the first step to stopping them from draining your battery. This is not how to save power. In fact, most apps when in the background do not continue to do much.

This is a differentiating factor between the smartphone and the computer. It is actually preferable to allow the applications running, such that at the next time we need them, the smartphone doesn’t have to load all of that data once again to the RAM, which would be a more energy consuming process. A few exceptions remain of course to some very heavy background applications which are not designed to have much visual content but designed to work in the background such as media converting apps and app updaters. Such applications work whether on-screen or not. So it’s probably best to close them real good when not using them.

Apps that help with battery life

Rather than help, most battery apps for android actually are the top of the list of apps that drain your battery as they are constantly on, pushing notifications and shutting down apps which only end up being restarted by the system again at the cost of more power.

Some of these applications are actually traps, links for ads and app installers. Without your notice, they would have installed three or more useless apps and games. Generally, the only real use of most android battery saver apps is to estimate usage time left and display battery percentage, all of which it derives from the phone. 

Some people in looking for how to save battery on android smartphones even go to the extent of installing two or three of these power hungry applications in the hope that they will solve the problem but it just further compounds it. Though most of these apps are wolves in sheep clothing, there are only a few battery optimizers for android devices that really do a good job of preserving your battery.

An example of a good battery apps for android smartphones is Greenify which helps you identify which apps are draining your battery, and puts them into hibernation mode when you are not using them. This stops them from lagging your device and leeching the battery. When this is done, they can do nothing without an explicit launch by you or another app, while preserving full functionality when running in the foreground (on-screen).

Keep in mind that when this is done, most of the functionality of the app is disabled, so it’s not a good idea to use it with alarm clocks or messaging apps which may need regular synchronizing. Greenify also has “Aggressive Doze” and “Doze on the go” features, for devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and above. You can download Greenify from the Google Play Store for free. Doze is a new feature that is built in to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which does a great job of preventing the Android OS from draining the battery when the device is idle.

Doze mode only kicks in when the device is not charging and has not been used for more than 30 minutes. If you are looking for this feature, but without these conditions, you can download an android battery saver app called Doze, which gives you that feature on the go. 

After all has been said, it is interesting to point out that all the tips and suggestions given are performance related. There is no way to avoid using power, but we can only try to reduce the rate at which it is consumed by your smartphone device. If trying all the above is just not your thing, you might as well consider getting a high capacity power bank, with which to recharge your smartphone device when you run low on the magical juice. That would definitely do the trick, if you don’t mind the extra load.

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