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Friday, October 12, 2012

Increase Battery Performance of Android Phones

Does your Android phone battery run out of gas in a short duration, like under 4 hours? If yes, this tip is meant for you. Here you will learn to increase your battery performance by analyzing your phone use and identifying applications that are sucking your battery dry.

Before we get into making changes, did you know that Android provides a screen that shows exactly what’s draining your battery? If you did, good for you. If you didn’t, let it be known that Android phones actually provide this functionality! To see what’s using the battery, go to Settings > About phone > Battery use. The screen shot below shows an example of the Battery use screen.

I’ve started this tip with this screen because it provides two types of information. Firstly, it gives you an idea of the type of applications that are draining your battery, i.e. it helps you understand where all that energy is going. Secondly, it provides an insight on how you use the phone.

Typically, the connectivity aspect of a smart phone hogs the most battery power. One simple way to increase battery performance is by switching off the Wi-fi, Bluetooth, GPS and Internet Access when you don’t need them. Each one of these features uses battery power. If you don’t want to turn off all of these features, you can select the ones you do not need permanently on. For example, on my phone, I turn on GPS only when I use applications, such as Google Maps and SportsTracker, which require GPS.

Going by the same logic, any application that requires connectivity of some sort will drain battery power. The question then lies in how much connectivity is used and how much data transfer is taking place. For example, watching a video which is stored locally in your phone’s SD card uses less power than watching a streaming video. This is because in the former case, your phone is not connecting to the Internet and downloading the video. Hence, the connectivity aspect of the phone is not being used. The connectivity problem does not stop there. Many a time, the battery gets drained because of poor signal strength.

Sometimes applications that don’t require connectivity can also suck battery power. For example, look at the following screen shot. In this screen shot, you’ll notice that the program Bubbles is hogging quite a bit of power. This is quite a surprise because the program does not require connectivity.

It is essentially a program that generates bubbles on touching the screen and then you can burst the bubble by touching it. It keeps my toddler occupied for 10 minutes. The problem is that after 10 minutes of usage the battery level drops by quite a bit and when I looked at the Battery Use screen, I realized that 21% of the battery was consumed by this application over a 10 minute period. As a consumer of a badly written application, you cannot do too much about this. You could uninstall and then look for a competing application.

The key to maximizing your battery performance on an Android phone is to know which application is consuming the most power and by switching off anything that consumes unnecessary power. Also, look into how you are using your phone. For example, if you like watching videos, avoid streaming them.

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