This post was updated in January 2015.
You have your new shiny Android device and you are playing with it non-stop till you get the low battery warning and wonder where all the juice went. Well in this case, you probably used it all up. Android devices often don’t take too well to constant heavy use, especially those with large displays (your phone’s display is mostly the largest consumer of your battery life). On average, a mid to high range phone gives about 4 hours of intensive gaming time. So if you are having battery issues, you might want to tone down the obsession a little.
On the other hand, if you take your phone off charge in the morning, make a few phone calls, browse the internet for a bit, text a little and find your battery down by the evening, you definitely have something going on in that device of yours. What most users don’t understand, is that out of sight is not out of mind when it comes to Android. Even if you close an application, and don’t see it anymore, it does not mean it is completely killed. Background processes are a major part of Android’s functionality, and if left unchecked, they can eat up a lot of your precious battery time.
Most messaging and social networking applications (WhatsApp, Facebook) keep running in the background, even when you exit them (that is how you receive new notifications at once) and obviously use resources. However, most of these apps have been optimized now and their battery use in the background is negligible. Nevertheless, if you install tons of applications, all of them running in the background will make a difference, both in performance and battery life.
Earlier, with older versions of Android, task killer apps were very popular, and allowed users to completely kill apps which would otherwise continue to run in the background. Now, Android’s own memory management has improved, and given how new phones boast more RAM and processing power, constantly killing apps does not do much good. Instead, the recommended approach is that you keep your device clean and install only those apps which you need and use regularly.
If you go to your device’s settings page, you will see the ‘Battery’ option, which will open up the battery menu, looking something like this: [lightbox full=”http://thedroidreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Android-Battery-Menu.jpg” title=”Android Battery Settings”]Click here for image[/lightbox]
This page will show you a list of applications and their respective battery consumption. For instance, in the picture above, the phone battery stands at 75% – (25% has been used) and the display accounts for 41% of it. Any other apps that you use (Skype or Google Maps for instance) will show up in this list, along with the battery percentage they consumed. Checking the battery menu periodically is important if you want to trace the source of unexpected battery drain. If you see an app here which you haven’t been using much, uninstalling it to check whether battery life improves is recommended.
You might be interested in: 13 Battery Saving Tips for Android Phones & Tablets
Finally, you should try and give your battery a full charge (from 15% or lower to 100%) at least once a week, using the charger which came with your device. Using other chargers is not advised, since different phones have different battery capacities and manufacturers nowadays pack chargers according to your device’s capacity (devices with larger batteries – for instance the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, have chargers with higher output).
There are some useful battery monitoring applications which provide more details about your device’s battery consumption, but they are for advanced users and I will be covering them in future posts.