How to Extend Android Battery Life the Right Way

Battery performance is a concern for many Android users. There are many background services and apps that drain your battery without you knowing it. In this Appuals guide, we will show you how to optimize and extend the battery life.

Basic Battery Drains

  • Brightness and Themes: This should be obvious, brightness has a large impact on your battery life. If you have an AMOLED display, its recommended to use dark (or pure black #000000 hex value) wallpapers, and dark / night mode themes for your apps. Its been proven you can save up to 40% battery consumption simply by switching to black themes in apps. Here is a pure black .PNG you can use for your wallpaper (click for full size):
    Pure black wallpaper for AMOLED screens.
  • Cellular Network: If you don’t plan on using mobile data, you can toggle LTE/3G to 2G Only in your device’s cellular network settings. This works best if you’re travelling underground, or through a rural area where signal fluctuates. Your phone spends a lot of energy searching for the best signal (known as ‘hopping’) – if your device is constantly hopping from 2G to 3G / 4G, its wasting power making those switches. Simply limit it to 2G or turn off mobile data altogether while traveling underground by train, for example.
  • WiFi: Your phone constantly scans for WiFi signal, usually as a way to enhance the GPS / Location accuracy. Your phone does this even if you have WiFi disabled. You can turn off WiFi scanning via Settings > WiFi> Advanced > switch off Scanning. This does not prevent your phone from discovering WiFi networks once you enable WiFi, it simply prevents constantly scanning for WiFi in the background.
  • Location: This is another battery drainer, especially on “High Accuracy” setting. You should always disable Location if you don’t need it. You can also go to Settings > Location > Device Only GPS, instead of WiFi + Bluetooth scanning. If you need high accuracy scanning such as driving with Google Maps / Android Auto, turn it back on.

High Battery Consumption Apps (Background Services)

Some of the most popular apps are also some of the biggest battery drainers, even when the apps aren’t technically open. This is because the apps are usually pinging for information in the background, searching for the latest updates, push notifications, and constantly monitoring your location.

Please note, there are many apps that are poorly optimized and have large battery consumption while they are being used – however, this list will focus exclusively on apps that drain your battery even while closed, due to background activity.

  • Facebook / Facebook Messenger: Numerous optimization issues, such as audio threads not being properly closed (thus consuming CPU resources) after a video call has already ended. Recommend to install Facebook / Messenger Lite versions.
  • Snapchat: Constantly requests your location, even when the app is closed. It literally tracks your every movement. This is due to the “Snap Map” feature. Recommend to uninstall Snapchat, but if you must use it, opt out of Snap Map and enable “Ghost Mode” in the settings.
  • Tinder: Similar to Snapchat, it constantly tracks your location to find nearby matches, even while app is closed. You can disable “Background Refresh” in the app’s settings to kind of fix this.
  • Instagram: Searches for updates and refreshes the feed in the background, so you always have the latest feed when you open the app. Data and battery hog.
  • Google Maps: Runs in the background to update your location. Recommend that you keep Location disabled if you aren’t using it, and set Location scanning to “Device Only”.
  • News apps: This includes official apps from the likes of BBC, ABC, New York Times, etc. These apps constantly refresh the news feeds in the background, draining your battery and using up data. Recommend you simply uninstall these apps and check their website versions if you need the news.
  • Amazon Shopping: Very poorly optimized interface, but also constantly runs its server in the background to notify you of latest shopping deals (push notifications). Recommend to simply uninstall and use the website version.

Tools for Optimizing Battery Consumption

In this section, we will discuss a few available tools for optimizing your battery consumption. It may not be necessary for your phone to be rooted to use some of these app’s features, but you will get much more mileage if your phone is rooted. You can search Appuals for Android root guides specific to your device (if you don’t find a root guide for your device, leave us a comment!).

Greenify

Greenify app analyzer menu.

Greenify will force apps to hibernate when they are not being used, thus preventing them from running in the background. In many cases this will prevent notifications, so you may not be alerted to Facebook messages until you actually open the Facebook app – however, it’s a small price to pay for increased battery life.

To install Greenify and take advantage of all its features, you will also need Xposed – which requires root. You can grab Xposed from the official XDA thread. After installing Xposed, you can grab Greenify from the Google Play Store.

After you go through Greenify’s setup wizard and grant it all the necessary permissions, you can use the App Analyzer to discover which apps have the most background activities. Go through the entire list and choose the apps that will be hibernated when Greenify activates. Be careful here, and choose apps that you really don’t need running background activities. If you rely on push notifications from apps like Google Maps while you’re driving, for example, do not hibernate Google Maps.

Amplify

Amplify for Android.

While Greenify is for blocking and hibernating background services, Amplify is for handling wakelocks and app alarms. Wakelocks are app permissions that literally prevent your device from going into deep sleep when your screen shuts off, because the apps are requesting system resources for various activity.

Technically, Greenify does a similar job, but Amplify is a bit more advanced (and thus recommended only for advanced users), because instead of targeting entire apps, you can target specific activities from specific apps. Thus, its recommended to read a guide to using Amplify – we won’t include one here, because they’re generally just a huge list of various app activities that are safe to disable via Amplify.

L-Speed Root

L-Speed Root.

This is a root app that combines a number of scripts and tweaks to optimize your device. The tweaks can enhance or drain your battery. For example, you can set your CPU performance to “Battery” which will reduce the CPU performance a bit, but extend battery life. Or you can set your CPU to “Performance” which does the opposite.

Most of the Battery tweaks are under the “Battery” section, and L-Speed Root has a built-in “Optimize” button that performs a variety of basic optimizations (disabling WiFi scanning, automatic screen brightness, etc). But there are also a few other things you can enable/disable for further optimization. Each setting has an explanation in the app, so just go through it and play around with the various tweaks.

RAM Cleaners

It is not recommended to use “RAM cleaner” apps for battery optimization for a particular number of reasons. The first being that “RAM cleaning” is actually detrimental to your battery performance. By force-closing every app on your phone and clearing it from the RAM cache, you are forcing your phone to restart the process every time you launch the app – this consumes more battery. Whereas if a commonly used app is sitting in the RAM cache, it is much easier for your phone to launch it.

RAM cleaning apps have been proven time and time again to have a negative effect on your device, and should only be used if you really need a large amount of available RAM, such as during high-performance gaming. Even then, your Android device will allocate the necessary resources to whatever is on your screen, and a RAM cleaner is pretty much unnecessary. A much better approach is to regularly use an FStrim utility, which restores NAND chip performance by cleaning sluggish data blocks on your storage. For this, we recommend Trimmer (fstrim) from Google Play (root required).

The other reason RAM cleaning apps are generally bad is because the most common apps are bundled with ads and background activity. For example, Cheetah Mobile develops some of the most popular “cleaning” apps on Google Play, yet their apps are generally loaded with ads and background activity that negatively effect your device’s performance.

Battery Monitoring

For monitoring several aspects of your device, such as the current discharge rate, or charging rate while its plugged into a charger (to detect a faulty charging cable, for example), we recommend Ampere.

While you are charging your Android phone, Ampere will monitor the current voltage input vs the discharge. So if your phone is only charging at 660 mA, but it should be charging at 1100 mA, for example, then somewhere your phone is using 500 mA – which can either be a faulty cable charger, or a lot of background activities sucking up power.

Kamil Anwar


A former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.

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How to Extend Android Battery Life the Right Way

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