Over the years, we've shared plenty of specific tips about saving battery life on Android. But today we wanted to explain some of the fundamental concepts behind better battery life: teach a man to fish and all that. With a basic understanding of battery technology and the biggest power suckers affecting your device, you'll be a battery pro in no time.
For starters, it's a wise idea to learn at least a little bit about different battery types. I'm not asking you to enroll at the Battery University, but you could swing by the Battery University website to learn a thing or two about the kind of battery your smartphone uses.
For example, lithium batteries are very common in smartphones due to their high energy density, low maintenance requirements and relatively cheap production cost. Lithium batteries don't suffer from battery memory either, meaning that there is nothing to be gained from full charge and discharge cycles.
Using the official charger that came with your phone is always going to be a better bet than using any old charger because it is specifically calibrated to your device. A little knowledge like this can go a long way toward dispelling commonly held battery myths. It will also help guide you to making better battery decisions on your own.
2. Know your device
As mentioned above, knowing some basic details about your battery is useful, but so is knowing some simple facts about your phone. For example, what kind of screen does it use?
An LCD screen is permanently back lit, which means it drains battery power whenever it is turned on. An OLED screen, on the other hand, only illuminates individual pixels, so any black pixels are actually turned off, meaning they aren't consuming any power either.
You should also familiarize yourself with the various battery saving features your particular phone has on board. Most phones have a basic power saving mode for when your battery hits a critically low level. Others let you choose which features to disable when your battery is running low (like GPS, cellular data, haptic feedback and so on).
Some phones even have an extreme battery saving mode that turns your display gray-scale and severely limits your phone's functionality in order to eke out just a little more juice. Knowing what options are available to you is just as important as using them properly.
3. Know what chews the most battery
This is where familiarity with your phone enters the next stage. If you want to get serious about better battery life, you should regularly check in on your battery settings to see which apps are consuming the most power, what background processes are consuming system resources and whether you have any wake lock activity going on. Your usage habits are also a major factor here.
Finding fixes for battery drain bugs, ditching particularly power-hungry apps and knowing what's normal for your phone are all good uses of your time if you want to get the most out of your battery. You can also install an app like Greenify to automatically hibernate apps when they're not in use.
To give you a basic intro, the screen is almost always the biggest battery drain on your phone, so simply shortening your screen-out time and lowering your screen brightness is immediately going to result in longer battery life. Trying to avoid turning your phone on incessantly for no reason is also going to help a lot.
4. Keep an eye on everything
Once you've become familiar with the “standard” apps and Android features appearing in your phone's battery section you'll be able to identify when something is out of the ordinary. If a new game you haven't even played recently is high on the list you might want to check out why.
You can also install some system monitoring apps to keep an eye on system activity that might result in excess battery consumption. You can stop apps from running in the background and keep an eye on geeky stats by enabling Developer Options and taking a look at Process Stats. (If you need to enable Developer Options, go to Settings > About phone and tap Build number seven times.)
Like anything you care about, looking after your battery is going to take a little tender loving care, but getting up to speed with all the things in this article could be done in just an hour or two. Just weigh that time investment up with an extra hour of screen-on time each day or not having to worry about making it through the day on every charge.
5. Look after your battery
Some simple maintenance of your battery can also go a long way. Knowing that it's better to frequently charge your battery in smaller increments rather than relying on a full discharge/charge cycle is good to know. Keep your battery cool when charging and don't leave your phone in direct sunlight.
If you need to replace a battery you should invest in a manufacturer original battery or at least a reliable third party offering. Saving a few bucks buying a cheap battery might just lead to more problems than it's worth. You can also calibrate your Android battery if you think you're getting erroneous reporting of battery life.
Did you learn anything about batteries today? Do you promise to be a better battery owner from now on?