We’ve gone over some tips for improving the battery life on your Android device before, but sometimes you might just need to analyze your battery to see exactly what’s causing a problem before you can fix it. Here are a handful of apps that do an excellent job of analyzing your app and battery usage for you.
Battery Drain Analyzer is a sophisticated app that tracks your battery and power usage behind-the-scenes to give you an idea of what’s using the most juice. Think of it as Android’s built-in battery usage app on steroids; it offers tons of statistics and numbers that should satisfy even the most demanding power user.
As the name implies, the app will analyze app and power usage and let you know which apps are draining the most power, or if it’s even an app that’s causing battery drain. The Analyzer screen shows what percentage of app drain is caused by what system activity, whether that’s your screen, applications, phone idling, WiFi or Bluetooth radios, etc. Below that, it shows which applications are consuming the most battery, including the infamous Android OS battery drain, rated by percentages. If Facebook is using 65% of the battery drain caused by apps, for example, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s causing your power usage.
Aside from the basic analyzing, the app also offers a handful of numbers and graphs that can be extremely helpful. There are several graphs that show a history of your battery life, like how long your battery lasted every day for the past two weeks. For example, you can see that you managed to go 30 hours on a single charge on Wednesday but only 20 on Thursday, so whatever you were doing on Wednesday was easy on your battery. Information like that is extremely handy for adjusting your usage habits to maximize battery life.
Another really great feature is the battery life estimation the app will display. It takes into account your usage habits and the current running apps and active radios and gives you a rough estimate of how long your battery will last and how quickly it’s discharging. This can be handy to see if your battery is going to last you until the end of the day or if you’re going to need to find a wall outlet in the next few hours. It also offers profile switching which will control certain radios, like Bluetooth or WiFi or cell radios, and application syncing depending on which profile is selected. A day profile may sync less often but keep Bluetooth on for connecting to a headset, for example, to conserve battery.
Overall, it’s an excellent, fully-featured app that’s great for any power-user’s toolbox.
Battery Doctor is a helpful battery analyzer and extender that also has a few tricks in its toolbox that you won’t find in other apps. On the surface, it offers a very clean interface for checking out your battery life. It gives a rough estimate for how much battery life left you have left in your current charge based on your usage habits at the time, but it goes a step further by showing how much potential battery life you can save by turning off specific radios or application syncing. Turning off that Bluetooth radio that you aren’t using might squeeze an extra hour out of your current charge, for example. It can also estimate how much battery life you’ll get if you start doing things like playing games or streaming music. If you’re stuck at work for an extra few hours, this is a great tool for managing what you need to turn off to make your battery last for the rest of the day.
The really great part of Battery Doctor is the actual Doctor part of the application. It acts as a personal battery adviser by giving you tips on when to charge your battery for maximum battery life and what apps and hardware functions you can disable to extend your charge. Disabling haptic feedback, for example, gives a little more juice than you think it would.
Not only does it offer tips for extending your battery life, but the Battery Doctor even charges your phone in a more intelligent way to maximize your battery life. It enables a special three-step battery charging phase whenever you plug your phone in that’s designed to make your battery last as long as possible in between charges. The app starts off your charging with a fast charge to get it up to about 90%, then goes into a cycle charge phase. The cycle charge will charge the battery to 100%, discharge to 90%, and repeat a few times. At that point, it trickle charges (a slow charge designed to maximize battery life) back to 100% before alerting you to be unplugged. It gives you a heads up in the app how long it’s going to take before the charge finishes, too. It’s a great feature that you’re not going to find in any other app, and definitely worth trying out.
A major culprit of battery drain that can be hard to track down is wakelock. There are two types of wakelock. Partial wakelock is essentially when an application keeps your device from going into a deep sleep when your screen is off, which can cause abnormally high battery drain. Ideally, you want your device to hit a deep sleep state soon after the screen turns off to get the most out of your battery life, but sometimes apps that are poorly written or syncing too often can mess that up. Full wakelock is when an application keeps the screen awake (and consuming battery) past the point when your device would normally automatically turn the screen off, such as some music playing apps or alarm clock apps. Wakelock Detector is an application that’s designed specifically to help you identify a wakelock problem.
Wakelock Detector shows a list of all applications on your device that are causing some types of wakelock since your last reboot. It shows screens that will tell you how long an application has kept your device awake, sorted by which apps have caused the most wakelock, as well as how many times each app has woken your device out of deep sleep. A single wakelock for 10 seconds in an hour wouldn’t be as bad as 10 wakelocks for 10 seconds in an hour, for instance. At a glance, this information can help you track down an app that may be syncing information too often, which could cause your wakelock issues.
Of course, it wouldn’t really be a great Android app without some really technical features, and Wakelock Detector has plenty of detailed system information if you really want to start digging into battery analyzing. You can do things like look at your apps based on their current application state, such as running or suspended, show CPU and screen wakelocks, sort your apps by name, wakelock time, running state, or view “Wakeup Triggers” on your device that cause higher amounts of wakelock. If you think wakelock is the problem behind your poor battery life, Wakelock Detector should be on the top of your list for apps to try out.
Qualcomm’s Battery Guru app is a little more limiting because it only supports devices running a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, but considering that a large chunk of Android devices do use some type of Qualcomm chip, it’s definitely worth a recommendation. The Battery Guru app sits in the background of your device and intelligently learns how you use it, then makes some adjustments to apps and radios to maximize your battery life. It sounds more complicated than it really is, but it does provide results.
Basically, if the Battery Guru sees that your Facebook app is syncing every hour even though you only open it every 6 hours, it can slow down Facebook’s syncing intervals to keep it from waking up your device and consuming data and battery. If it knows you always connect to your work WiFi around noon every day, it can automatically turn on your WiFi around that time, then turn it off when you normally leave from work. All of these intelligent management features make it easier for you to set the app up once so you can enjoy the battery savings without too much extra effort.
The Battery Guru doesn’t offer too much in the way of battery analyzing, but for the casual user, it’s enough. It shows potential battery savings based on toned-down app syncing as well as intelligent radio management, and it easily displays most of your app’s refresh settings on one screen. You can easily scroll through the list and see which apps are syncing often and which ones are only syncing when you need them, which can help you find an app that you might not want to sync as often. If you just bought a new (US) Galaxy S 4 or HTC One, the Battery Guru is 100% compatible with those new phones, so it’s definitely worth a spin.
Battery apps are a dime a dozen in the Play Store, but these apps stand out for a handful of reasons when it comes to analyzing and managing your battery life. Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments.