One of the most popular (frequent?) subjects on the Android forums relates to Battery Life, or the “lack of it”.

There can be many reasons for rapid battery depletion and it will take some research to ascertain what exactly is causing the battery on your phone to drain at a much faster rate than normal.

The word “Normal” must be put into proper context however, because each person has their own unique preferences on how they will use their phone.

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  • For some, it is simply a multi-media entertainment device and seldom used for phone calls. Heavy role playing games place a heavy load on the CPU and impose a heavy demand on battery life, as well as creating a lot of heat in the phone. Watching a lot of videos and movies also uses a lot of power.
  • At the opposite end of the usage spectrum is the person who simply wants basic phone use plus text messaging. But also wants to have access to the “Smart Features” that allow for web surfing, GPS applications in their job or hobby, access to weather resources, document writing, spreadsheets, and more. This type of use is easy on the battery and its life will be more than a Heavy User will experience.

 

Okay, let’s get on with your problem: Your phone’s battery is rapidly depleting, so what is wrong with it? The following description will use the Samsung Galaxy S5 menu phrasing, but the techniques are applicable to any Android phone or device.

The first screen I look at is “Data Usage”. The culprit application will be at the top of the list if that application is trying to “call home to moma” and consistently updating databases, polling for news updates, messages, etc. Social apps are especially bad as they contain a lot of images, and images contain a huge amount of data that must be downloaded so you can see it. Push updates are terrible with these apps.

The 2nd screen I use if a major application does not show up in the 1st screen, is to look at “Battery” use. This screen will show the features (of the phone) or the applications (by name) and the percentage of battery consumption. This screen must be looked at in context though, because it really depends on how the phone has been used during the current battery “life cycle”.

  • For instance, if Screen and/or Android System is at the top of the list, that means that you have not been using the phone very much, the screen time is minimal. Usually the 2nd item in this instance will be Android OS, but not necessarily. This does not mean that the Android System is bad, it just means that the phone has been mostly idle and just listening for phone calls, messages, operator keyboard use, etc… IF you actually have poor battery life in this category, pull the battery out for a while, Restart the phone. If this does not fix it, then consider getting the phone replaced.
  • If Screen is the top item, then the meaning is that you have been actively using the phone and the use will be listed in descending order of use: Phone, email, text messages for a lighter version of “heavy use”.
  • Heavy role playing games might be on the top of the list if multi-media is your thing.
  • A bad/rouge application might be at the top. Amazon Suites is infamous for this type of activity and is the first thing I uninstalled/disabled on my personal S5. That one app was using a horrendous amount of battery life on my S5 phone.

 

Once you have determined what is causing the heavy battery drain, you will need to correct the problem.

  • If it is an app, uninstall it if possible or turn it OFF. You will usually find more than one app causing a high drain. Uninstall/turn OFF the culprits.
  • If it is an Android “feature”, you will need to make adjustments to that feature to reduce the power requirements for it.

o      Screen: Reduce the brightness level to the lowest amount you are comfortable with

o      Data use: Consider turning OFF data when not needed, and/or turn OFF Background Data (Google don’t like this)

o      Network connection: Delete the connection and then restore it again. This often gets rid of glitches with WiFi especially. It is normal for WiFi radios to constantly be scanning so don’t get hung up on “why is it scanning?”. It is supposed to, and it does not effect the channel you are using.

  • Restart the phone and recharge the battery so that you have a new Baseline to measure the next Discharge cycle from.

 

This procedure may have to be repeated if you have a severe battery consumption caused by applications, you might not have disabled/uninstalled all of the heavy users.

It is possible that you have a bad battery, that can be tested by substituting a “known good” battery for comparison.

Attached is a screenshot of a Galaxy S5 depicting a phone with very light use.  Screen is the first item on the list and showing 25% of the total percentages of battery consumption. However, this is where you have to put these battery use screens into Proper Context. Note the amount of time on battery is 4 hours and 40 minutes, and the battery still has 93% life left. This phone is configured to keep all background data stopped until the user (me) wants it ON. I have an app called Battery Doctor configured to turn OFF Data and WiFi and Bluetooth when the Lockscreen is in effect. To me, there is no point in draining the battery down while I am not using my phone.

Battery Use Light JPG

Hopefully the above will help you solve your battery problems.

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