Today’s Android phones pack big, bright screens and high-end features that suck plenty of power. Here’s how to squeeze the most juice out of your battery.
There are a number of factors that contribute to poor battery life on your Android phone. Thinner bodies, brighter screens, faster processors, more background software, and speedier internet connections all take their toll on phone batteries, but manufacturers are also incorporating more powerful batteries to compensate.
1. Turn On Power Saving Mode
Think you’re going to be stuck in a situation where you need your phone battery to last longer than it normally does? Switch your phone into power saver mode, which automatically cuts back on functions that may eat battery life. On our test device, we opened Settings > Battery and device care, then tapped the Battery entry.
Below the battery usage chart, we enabled Power saving mode to immediately limit networking, syncing, and location services, and turn down the screen’s refresh rate. However, by tapping Power saving mode, we could further customize the feature by turning off the Always on Display, limiting CPU speed to 70%, or decreasing brightness by 10% in order to save even more battery life.
For maximum power-saving, the Limit apps and Home screen option enables only selected apps and limits all background activity when power saving mode is turned on. For older versions of Android, you may be offered multiple power saving mode presets, each with a different balance between performance and battery life.
2. Airplane Mode Is Your Friend
Sending and receiving wireless signals can strain your phone’s battery, so consider turning on Airplane mode whenever you don’t need to use your network data. Your easiest option: open the pull-down shade and tap the Airplane mode button to instantly disconnect your phone from Wi-Fi, disable Bluetooth, and turn off mobile data. Tap it again to restore access.
3. Your Screen Is Too Bright
Smartphone screens are big and bright, but they’re also battery hogs. You probably don’t need your device turned up to the brightest setting. Go into your Display settings and turn down the brightness on the screen. You can also open the pull-down screen and control the brightness from there. While you’re at it, consider disabling auto brightness. This feature adjusts based on your perceived needs but can also raise the brightness of your display higher than it needs to be. Turn off the switch next to Adaptive brightness and your eyes (and battery) will thank you.
4. Let Your Screen Turn Off
Speaking of your phone screen, it’s OK to let it turn off when not in use. That means changing how long the screen stays on under Display settings. Find the Screen timeout option and set it so that your screen turns off sooner when not in use.
Also, that always-on display that tells the time and date even when the phone screen is off? Shut it down. Head to your phone’s lock screen settings and select Always on Display. You can set a schedule for it to turn off when you don’t need it, set it to only display when you tap the screen, or shut it off completely.
5. Turn Off Active Listening
If you activate your voice assistant with a wake word, your device is constantly listening to you and using up battery life while it waits. You may find this convenient, but it costs more power than it’s worth. Whether it’s Google Assistant or Samsung’s Bixby, you can turn this feature off and save a little extra juice.
Many Android phones have Assistant embedded into the OS, so just hold down on the home screen button to call up the feature and tap the inbox icon. Otherwise, open the app. Tap your profile image and open Hey Google & Voice Match, then disable Hey Google if it’s turned on.
If you’re constantly bumping into issues with Bixby, you can simply turn the whole thing off. Here are detailed instructions on how to disable Bixby on your phone.
6. Try Dark Mode With the Right Screen
Dark mode is nice on the eyes, but it doesn’t really do anything for your battery unless your device has an OLED or AMOLED display. Most older phones use LCD screens, but flagship phones from Samsung, OnePlus, and Google have transitioned to using this newer display technology.
If you have a phone with an OLED or AMOLED display, it means the phone actually turns off the pixels that are displaying black, so you’re saving some battery when all those bright white panels have now gone dark. According to iFixit(Opens in a new window), you could be saving as much as an hour of battery life by switching on dark mode.
Some phones have dark mode in Android 9 (Pie), but it wasn’t until the release of Android 10 that all phones received the option. Open the pull-down shade and tap Dark Mode to turn it on and off. Otherwise, open your phone’s Display settings to make the choice. You can also tap Dark mode settings to schedule when dark mode should go on.
7. Take Control of Your Apps
Apps continue to run in the background even when you aren’t using them. This will, of course, eat up data and battery life over time. You can put unused apps to sleep under Battery or App Power Management settings. Choose Background usage limits and enable Put unused apps to sleep to prevent apps from wasting your battery life.
You can go a step further and manually tell your phone to put certain apps to sleep. Select Sleeping apps or Deep sleeping apps, then tap the plus (+) icon and add your app to the list. Keep in mind that sleeping apps will only receive updates occasionally and deep sleeping apps will not work unless they are in use, so updates may be delayed.
It’s a good idea to periodically check on the apps that are draining your battery the quickest to see if there are any outliers you can delete or disable. You can view this information under battery usage in Settings, then decide which apps should be allowed to run in the background and which should be turned off when not in use.
8. Dumb Down Your Phone
Modern smartphones are like small supercomputers that fit in your hand, but you don’t really need the processor running at full speed all the time if you’re just searching the web. Stop the phone from overworking itself by opening the Battery settings and finding Enhanced processing, an option that will ensure faster data processing at the cost of longer battery life. Make sure this is disabled.
9. Automate the Process
If all this is too much to remember, automate the process. Open the Battery settings on your phone and find the automation options. In Android 11, tap the three-dot menu, then select Automation and enable Adaptive power saving. This will turn power saving mode on and off automatically when you’re not using the phone.
You can also use Google Assistant and turn phone settings into programmable routines. Open Google Assistant, tap your profile icon and select Routines to create new commands. For example, you could set it up so that the phone will prompt you to turn on power saving mode when you tell Google you’re leaving the house or turn on Airplane Mode when you’re home.
Select a routine (or tap + to create a new one) then tap Add action. While there are many preset actions, for our purposes, select Try adding your own at the bottom of the list. Basically, if it’s a command you can give Google Assistant, type it in and you can turn it into a routine.
You can also create automated workflows with If This Then That to turn off services like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth based on your location, for example, or disable specific services when your battery falls to a certain percentage.