Tech Made Simple

Hot Topics: How to Fix Bluetooth ProblemsTOP PICK: The Best Toaster OvenBest Headphones Under $100 | Complete Guide to Facebook Privacy

Use It

author photo

What's Draining Your Android Battery?

by on March 13, 2014
in Phones and Mobile, Cell Phones, Mobile Apps, Android Apps, Tips & How-Tos, Tech 101 :: 40 comments

low batteryTired of carrying your Android phone charger or backup battery to ensure a full day's worth of use? Fortunately, Android has some of the best tools to find out what's killing your battery. Once you've identified the culprits, chances are you can extend your phone's battery life by changing some settings and taking a couple of steps to conserve battery power. Read on to find out how to max out your battery life.

Before we start, a note: All of the information below is accurate for Android 4.4.2 (KitKat). If you're running an earlier or later version of Android, you may find the location of options screens and the type of available options to be slightly different. Users running a version of Android that's been modified by the manufacturer (Samsung, LG and HTC, among others) are likely to have a slightly different experience. If you have trouble finding a setting mentioned below, please consult your manufacturer's documentation.

Android battery useWhat's killing my battery?

Want to know what's draining your battery? Android makes it easy: Head to Settings > Battery to pull up a list of exactly which apps have used up your battery power. The worst battery hogs are listed at the top — and if they're apps or features you can live without, it may be best to disable them.

What you need and what you don't

Even if you know what's draining your battery, it may not be immediately obvious what to do to fix it. Some things like phone talk time aren't easy to simply stop using — after all, you probably own a phone so you can make and take calls on the go. But there are other functions you can live without, and maximizing your battery life is about figuring out which ones.

Some manufacturers, like Samsung and HTC, make it easy by offering a low power mode you can run in or set to turn on when your battery reaches a certain percentage. These modes will automatically dim the screen, limit the processor's speed and turn off vibration feedback, among other things.

If your phone doesn't have a low power mode or you want to customize your setting, here are the features you can turn off (or tweak) without much impact on your day-to-day usage.

Lower your screen brightness

Chances are that screen brightness was somewhere near the top of your battery use list. You can make a few easy tweaks to reduce battery drain from screen brightness. Go to Settings > Display > Brightness, and dial down the brightness to the low end of your comfort zone.

Similarly, you can set the screen time-out to one minute or less of inactivity to minimize battery drain. Go to Settings > Display > Sleep, and set it to the lowest setting for the best energy savings. If the low-end setting at 15 seconds is too quick for you, 1 minute is a reasonable time-out.

If your device has an AMOLED screen (check with your manufacturer), you can enjoy big power savings just by using a black background for your home screen. That's because AMOLED screens use less power to display black. You may be surprised how much these small tweaks help.

Disable Bluetooth

If you don't use any Bluetooth accessories with your phone, it's an easy call to turn off Bluetooth entirely. But even if you do use Bluetooth devices, you probably don't use them all the time. To minimize battery drain, switch off Bluetooth when not in use under Settings > Bluetooth.

Turn off GPS

Though we love location services, which allow us to do things like navigate in unfamiliar areas, find nearby restaurants or check in to favorite places on Facebook or Foursquare, we don't always need them. In KitKat, go to Settings > Location, and change your location mode from high accuracy to battery savings to lower your battery drain. In this menu, you can also see applications and services using locations and gauge whether or not they really need it. If you aren't on KitKat yet, you may be able to turn GPS off entirely.

Turn off voice services

Your device may include voice services that drain your battery by always listening for a command. Turn off that feature by opening Google Settings (a separate app from Settings) and going to Search & Now > Voice, and then unchecking hotword detection, which prevents your phone from constantly waiting to hear if you say "OK Google" to search.

Turn off NFC. Your phone may or may not have NFC. If it does and you don't use NFC (which powers Android Beam and other wireless features), you don't need to leave it turned on. To disable NFC, go to Settings > More, and uncheck NFC.

Watch your Wi-Fi

If you're in an area without Wi-Fi, turn off Wi-Fi to prevent your Android device from using power by regularly checking for Wi-Fi networks. If you don't need data connection at all, turn on airplane mode, which also disables cellular data and Bluetooth. This is no good if you're waiting for an email, but it's a great way to save battery life if you're out of range of cellular service or are only doing offline tasks.

If you're in an area with Wi-Fi, using Wi-Fi will drain your battery less than pulling down data in cellular mode. So if you're going to be streaming video, syncing or downloading data, keep Wi-Fi running. Tweak your Wi-Fi settings under Settings > Wi-Fi. If you want to turn on airplane mode, go to Settings > More > Airplane mode.

Stop syncing everything

Your Android device helpfully tries to sync all your data with your Google account. While this is great for things like calendar and email, it can drain your battery and pump up data usage when it syncs things like photos. To make sure your phone isn't constantly backing up things you don't want or need to back up, go to Settings and then click your account listed under accounts. From there, click on your email address to see everything Google is syncing. Uncheck anything you'd rather not sync.

Manage your settings with widgets

To more easily wrangle some of these settings, add Android's power widget to your home screen. Go to Widgets, then select Power Control and drag it where you'd like it on your screen. This widget lets you tweak settings for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, location settings, syncing and screen brightness with a simple click rather than making you dig through settings menus.

Let an app manage your settings for you

Lots of apps in Google Play help you get the most out of your battery, but our favorite is Juice Defender. Juice Defender comes in three versions: free Juice Defender, $1.99 Juice Defender Plus and $4.99 Juice Defender Ultimate. The free version definitely gets the job done, automatically turning off big battery drainers when your screen goes to sleep. When you wake your phone up again, Juice Defender turns these things back on, so you get the best battery life possible without having to worry about switching things on and off.

If you want battery life management that's a bit less draconian, look into Agent, a handy app that does things like silencing your phone during meetings, remembering where you've parked and responding to text messages while you're driving. Agent also turns off features that you specify when your battery level gets to a certain percentage. If you like its extras, it's free to download

Android app: Watchdog LiteWatch your apps carefully

Whether you have an Android smartphone or tablet, the experience is all about apps. Every app you have running uses at least a little power, so using these tips ensures your apps don't drain too much battery power.

Keep your apps up to date

The whole point of app updates is to make the apps better — and "better" often means bug fixes and improvements for issues that might have been causing your apps to use too much battery power. Updating your apps is easy. Just fire up the Google Play store and go to the My Apps section, which you'll probably find listed when you tap the Play Store button. Any apps in need of updates will be listed at the top. Click on the app, then hit Update, then Accept to load the newest app versions. Speed through multiple updates by clicking Update All.

To keep updates as simple as possible, when you're on an app's page (before you've clicked Update to update it), click the checkbox to allow automatic updating so that your Android device will automatically download and install future updates. Some updates could still require manual installation, so check My Apps regularly for updates.

Uninstall unused apps

Even if you aren't using an app, it could still be running in the background, doing whatever it's still supposed to do. If you've tried an app but don't plan to use it again, go ahead and uninstall it. To uninstall an app, go to Settings > Apps, and tap on the app you want to uninstall. In the App info page that comes up, tap on Uninstall in the upper right.

Pay for the apps you use

Research has shown that ad-supported free apps can drain your battery much faster than paid apps. That's because they're running your processor and using your data connection to download and display new advertisements. For apps you love, it's definitely worth it to shell out a few dollars for the full version.

Android open appsDon't run more apps than you need

The ability to run more than one app at a time (multi-tasking) is great — except what it can do to your battery life. Check out what's eating your battery (Settings > Battery) and what's gobbling up data (Settings > Data usage). If there's anything here using a lot of resources, consider whether you really need it to be running.

Close running apps by hitting the recent apps button at the bottom of your home screen, which will bring up a list of currently running apps. Swipe to close the application. (If you're running modified versions of Android by HTC, Samsung or other manufacturers, these processes may be different.)

You might find that some apps seem persistent, always wanting to run. For these apps, check to see if there's a setting inside the app that causes it to open automatically or to check regularly for data or status updates. You may be able to tell it not to run all the time or configure how often it checks for updates, reducing your battery drain. If you're still having trouble, it may just be a flaw in the app itself; if you're having battery problems, you may need to consider whether you need the app at all.

Consider a task manager app

Task managers (sometimes called task killers), which help shut down battery-draining apps on your Android device, have very mixed reviews. Some (like the 50 million people who have downloaded Advanced Task Killer) would say they're essential tools for keeping your Android device running smoothly; others would argue that they're needless on Android devices.

There is one app in this category, however, that we really like: Watchdog (free or $3.49 without ads). Watchdog is great because it gives you the information you need to decide when an app is misbehaving without terminating apps left and right. Watchdog tells you how much of your Android device's memory and processor power an app is using and alerts you if any seem to be gobbling more than their fair share of resources. When you know that, you can kill the app, check for updates, tweak its settings or just uninstall it.

More battery life tips

If you're still not getting the battery life you want, here are a few other things to try:

  • Turn off any live or animated wallpapers. Go to Display > Wallpaper and selecting a non-live background.
  • Use fewer widgets. Loading your home screen with widgets (all of which run in the background all the time) could be bogging everything down. While widgets are a great feature of Android, don't use more than you need, and cut back if you need the battery life more than the widgets. To remove a widget, just press and hold until a trash can or X icon shows up on the screen; drag the widget to it, and it's gone.
  • Control your syncing. Configure email, Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds and other services that your smartphone checks automatically to check less frequently or only when you ask. You'll find settings for these in a settings menu within the app itself. (Check the app's help documentation for details on exactly where.)
  • Turn off vibrations. A vibrating ringtone can really cut into your battery life. Turn it off under Settings > Sound.

Android data usageWhat's using my data?

One of the biggest battery drain culprits is applications that download data over cellular or Wi-Fi. Knowing what's using data and shutting it down can be important when you need to conserve battery power.

Fortunately, Android 4.0 and higher has a built-in tool to tell you exactly which apps are downloading exactly how much data. Just go to Settings > Data usage to see what each of your apps is doing (and whether they're doing it when you're using the app or in the background).

When you're trying to save battery life, we recommend avoiding data guzzling apps that stream media (like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and Spotify), teleconference or videoconference (like Skype, Google+ Hangouts and Google Voice), download or upload photos (like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Tumblr), help with navigation (like Google Maps) or download data (like Google Play, Google Drive and Dropbox).

Here's how to check on the amount of data you're using:

  • AT&T: AT&T should text you data usage alerts when you reach 65% and 90% of your data plan. If you want more details, the myAT&T app will let you see all of your AT&T account information in one place. Alternatively, dial *3282# to receive a text message indicating your current data usage.
  • Verizon: Verizon will send you an alert when you reach 50%, 75%, 90% and 100% of your data allowance. If you want more details, download the My Verizon Mobile app to view all your Verizon account information. You can also dial #3282 to receive a text from Verizon listing your current data usage.
  • Sprint: Sprint will send you an email or text alert when you reach 75%, 90% and 100% of your data allowance. Though Sprint doesn't have an app, you can log on to the Sprint website for account information. If you aren't keen on that, you can also text "usage" to 1311 to receive a text message listing your voice, text and data usage.
  • T-Mobile: T-Mobile will send you usage alerts that can be configured on My T-Mobile on the web. (Once you've logged on, go to Go to Manage, Your Profile page and then the Account Usage Alerts.) Download the T-Mobile My Account app to check your account info from your phone, or dial #932# to get a text message with usage information.

We hope this information has been helpful in increasing your Android device battery life. If you use any great battery-saving tips we may have missed, let us know in the comments.

Discussion loading

phone idle

From Leo Delgra on March 19, 2014 :: 9:41 pm

Hi. phone idle is the highest in percentage of battery use, but still drains fast. so what with “phone idle” thats draining battery, when supposedly its idle. Is there more idle than idle.



Will still drain

From Josh Kirschner on March 20, 2014 :: 12:54 am

Even when your phone is “idle”, it is still maintaining a signal with cell towers and syncing data. If you’re in an area with poor coverage, it can make your phone work harder to connect, causing faster battery drain.

A bad or failig battery can also cause the phone to drain faster than it should, even when idle.



huge problem

From Robert Hendricks on November 02, 2014 :: 11:51 pm

My battery has been running out so quickly that after being charged to 100% it only lasts for am hour max and it loses multiple percents a minute! What can I do to fix this????



You need a new battery

From Josh Kirschner on November 03, 2014 :: 2:45 pm

Your battery is definitely failing and you need to get a new one. There are apps that can run down your battery faster, but not anywhere near that fast unless your battery is already in bad shape/.


battery drain fast

From felix lalantha fernando on November 01, 2014 :: 11:45 am

my Samsung galaxy grand 2 battery drain fast     what is the salutation?



Great Article!

From Lisa on March 25, 2014 :: 11:12 am

I was looking for a way to turn off my internet connection every time I put my screen to sleep, because I keep forgetting to do it manually! Anyway, this article doesn’t address my issue, but it’s a great refresher for settings you forget about once your initial phone/tablet set up is done, as well as an informative resource for some great advice about some very useful apps! Thanks for the well written, intelligent, easy to follow discourse! Lisa Kelleher




From Josh Kirschner on March 25, 2014 :: 5:54 pm

Glad you found it helpful!



black help

From tom waldrip on March 30, 2014 :: 5:55 pm

Use black background on homescreen.



removed apps app

From Sheila on April 04, 2014 :: 5:44 pm

I have a removed apps app showing in my data usage but when i go to kill it under the manage apps, it doesn’t show up.  This is killing my battery. Any ideas?



Can you clarify?

From Josh Kirschner on April 04, 2014 :: 6:17 pm

Hi Sheila,

Can you clarify what you’re seeing? If you removed the apps (uninstalled) they won’t appear in your apps list. Are you saying you uninstalled an app but it’s still showing up in the data usage? What’s the name of the app?




From Angie Rose on April 08, 2014 :: 2:35 am

I just want to ask if i can leave my android phone with empty batt for a day or two and if not, please tell me why thanks!



No worries if your phone

From Suzanne Kantra on April 08, 2014 :: 7:56 am

No worries if your phone is uncharged for a few days. In fact, you can leave your phone uncharged and/or off for months and nothing bad will happen to it. If you leave your phone uncharged/off for weeks or months, though, just make sure you check for app updates. Even if you have apps updating automatically, you’ll need to approve the updates manually if the permissions change.



Not a good idea to leave battery uncharged

From pellevinken on July 07, 2014 :: 7:39 am

Li-ion batteries should be stored uncharged. They are optimally stored at around 40% charge.



Not a good idea to leave battery uncharged

From pellevinken on July 07, 2014 :: 7:40 am

EDIT: Li-ion batteries should NOT be stored uncharged. They are optimally stored at around 40% charge. (Accidentally left out a “not”)



system android

From rndnznzn on April 28, 2014 :: 3:38 am

I have a brand new phone, full HD screen, but still on top of my list with extreme 95% of battery usage sits system android. What on earth can i do? And what is it caused by?



More info?

From Josh Kirschner on April 28, 2014 :: 8:25 am

Just to be clear, are you seeing “system android” or “android system”? The latter is a core piece of the operating system, the former should not be there.

How often are you using your phone? If your phone is almost always idle, it wouldn’t surprise me that 95% of the battery usage is by the system apps, as opposed to your display or other applications.

And are you having problems with battery life or just questioning why the system is using a relatively high percentage of your battery? How long is your battery lasting, typically? Also, knowing what model phone you have could be helpful.



Galaxy Centura

From Josh on May 11, 2014 :: 3:04 pm

What does taking the battery out of the phone and waiting 60 seconds and putting it back in do.  I for 3 weeks on my internet Id open up a page on Google Chrome, Opera, or Browser and the loading page bar would barely move and just sit there and never open a page up, or the bar would move half ways sometimes and stop.  It happened on the browsers, but Facebook, and NWS app as well as CBS SPorts app didnt have any problems working.  But seems like ever since did the take the battery out thing my browser and internet is working normally.  Just dont understand what and how that fixed that by taking the battery out 60 seconds and it didnt fix it taking it out 15 seconds like I had tried 5 times probably before.



Please !!!

From Kirankumar on May 27, 2014 :: 10:27 am

My Dear friend, just wanted to tell you one thing, just stop this Fucking Tips, can’t you see its there all over, if you just type “battery saving” in google, you will about thousands of posts, with the same tips, (turn of this , turn of that, blah blah) again again and again… and still people are repeating. and You should know every one do this (even kids) these settings as soon as they get a phone. So anything apart from these “Turn off” tips, you can say else, please keep quite.

Sorry, this was not intentional, got fed up of saying this again and again, so now where I see similar tips, I scold them.



You must have a lot of free time on your hands

From Suzanne Kantra on May 27, 2014 :: 10:45 am

Perhaps one of the reasons you’re finding so many articles out there on this topic is many people are struggling with the issue of battery life and are not as familiar with these tips to fix them?

I appreciate that you must have a lot of free time on your hands to search Google and then scold sites when you find more than one article in search results, but I think we will keep writing tip articles that we feel would be helpful for our readers.





From Dave on July 04, 2014 :: 5:11 am

Yet you still browse the web reading them !



What is running in Android OS

From Labrat0116 on June 09, 2014 :: 8:27 am

The main battery user on my Android always shows up as Android OS.

My battery drains down (Bigtime! when NOT in use sometimes). I have GPS, Bluetooth Off as well during this downtime.

I use a couple different battery apps, Task Killer and a couple others to view my battery and app usage.

What else is draining the battery in Android OS ?



Can be hard to diagnose

From Josh Kirschner on June 09, 2014 :: 12:29 pm

Android OS is the description for the main operating system, and it’s not surprising to see it at the top of the list if you’re not using other apps frequently and your display is usually off. However, your battery should not be draining down “bigtime” when not in use unless your battery is old/defective and needs replacing or their is some feature of Android that is running when it should not be.

Since this is a “sometimes” thing, it doesn’t sound like a bad battery. What I would recommend is resetting your phone to factory settings (back up your data first!) and then only loading back in the apps you really want. That may resolve whatever is going whacky.

Also, note that some “battery apps/task killers” can also be battery drainers. I would lean towards avoiding them unless there are specific features you really want.



battery apps

From Nerd on September 18, 2014 :: 2:46 am

I’ve been experimenting battery consuming apps bundled in every smart phone and those available for download.  Surprisingly, some of those bundled with the phone upon purchase are the culprits! Worst, battery apps and antivirus apps drains 50% of your battery juice.  Not everybody notice this, but I have proven it in several phones I was able to tinker with. My advise is, uninstall the antivirus and battery monitoring apps including those apps you don’t use and see the difference.



On charging Li-ion batteries

From Nerd on September 18, 2014 :: 2:57 am

Don’t overcharge your battery.  Once the fully charged indicator showed up, unplug the charger.  Don’t believe in the idea that overnight charging packs more power to the battery.  It in fact is reducing life on your battery every time you overcharge it.  Don’t expect new batteries to power your phone as you expect it to be. New battery optimizes full power storing capacity after 4-5 full charging at off mode.



Android Battery

From Vikas on July 04, 2014 :: 7:22 am

I think that why Google has provided active touch notification in Moto x. It saves lots of battery and best phone for people like me, who use phone maximum time.



my samsung galaxy grand duo

From geeeee on August 23, 2014 :: 12:58 pm

my samsung galaxy grand duo jelly bean 4.2.2 charge fast (15 mins or 30 mins)and drains the battery fast. I have set the brightness to the lowest,turn off vibration, key sound press, low ringing volume to 1, turn off wi-fi, bluetooth, gps. i was thinking to change my battery to much higher capacity one. is it possible to use different battery type but same manufacturer? or will it damage my phone? thank you in advance



Sounds like a bad battery

From Josh Kirschner on August 25, 2014 :: 11:19 pm

If your battery is charging that quickly, it’s not charging to full capacity. Either your battery is old or defective. You should replace it with a new one from Samsung. The standard 2100mAh battery should give you plenty of power - I would not recommend using a battery not designed for the phone.



Lastly, root your device to

From Nerd on September 18, 2014 :: 3:06 am

Lastly, root your device to have full control of it. You cannot uninstall bloatwares in your phone if its not rooted.  Follow my advise, as well as those with regard to brightness, wifi, data, gps, synching, 3G signal, bluetooth, vibra, touch sound and network mode.  My point is, use them only when you need them.  Then you can be assured of an average 2-day battery life under normal use



Data Pack

From Akritri Soni on October 16, 2014 :: 6:26 am

Whenever I’m using my phone over data pack then it consumes more battery, not even last for 5 hours but over Wi-Fi it can make up to a day easily.. Why is it so? This is top most battery drainer for me :(



I found out the hard way...

From Adam Smith on December 13, 2014 :: 5:01 pm

When both my personal and business phone went from about a 98% charge to 15% charge in 5 hours, to put my phones in Airplane mode when I’m in a place that doesn’t get cell signal for an extended time.  I get no cell signal at all in my new office as it’s lead-lined, with lead core doors, so, of course, I have no signal.  On the plus side, I’m probably in one of the safest parts of the building if a big tornado hits.



My phone after being charged

From jass on January 24, 2015 :: 9:52 am

My phone after being charged at night I disconnect it from the charger n just leave it there when I wake up the next day it’s at 90% I don’t know why…..any ideas? And also is clean master good for your phone…. I have the note 3 by the way….



Battery usage missing

From amy on March 29, 2015 :: 5:10 pm

When i look at the battery section of the settings app, and add up all the various amounts of battery my programs are using it doesnt amount to the amount of battery ive lost.
What i mean is- there is about 26% battery loss that is completely unaccounted for (or more depending how low the battery is)
Where is this battery going, is it a fault with the phone?



From Blanco Naranja on June 18, 2015 :: 1:27 pm

I have an extreme battery drain, to the point that many times it goes from random percentages (40-50-60) to shutdown, in 30 seconds once I turn on mobile data. The odd thing is, that when I turn the phone back on, battery level is a little less that before I enabled the data. It’s an old phone though, but I guess it’s a combination of both the age and a probable bug? Whatcha guys think?



Probably bad battery

From Josh Kirschner on June 18, 2015 :: 1:46 pm

As batteries get older, they lose their ability to hold a charge, so the percentage numbers can be pretty misleading. Though if it turns back on and stays on for a while without mobile data, sounds more like a system bug. You can try doing a factory reset on your phone and see if that fixes things (make sure your data is backed up first). Else, pony up for a new battery.

May just need to bite the bullet and get a new phone, though grin


Yes, I think Ima roll

From Blanco Naranja on June 20, 2015 :: 12:45 am

Yes, I think Ima roll back to the ROM it originally came with. If that fails, I have an excellent excuse to buy a new one haha. Thanx for the response =)



Good article

From Hank Manz on July 10, 2015 :: 7:45 am

As has been pointed out, there are many articles about the subject of battery drain, but this one was easy to follow and had some good tips.  I went from battery life of around 12 hours to more than a day.  Usage didn’t change.  Settings did.  Thanks.



very nice and helpful article...

From katie woolsey on September 16, 2015 :: 6:01 am

very nice and helpful article… i work on many different techniques and software to save mobile battery life…and this content was helpful for me.



simple i dont get y

From al on September 18, 2015 :: 8:01 am

simple i dont get y plp neeed to run all there ffin programs and not disabeoe evrything but just use the ones that dont dran so much. i disabled all my apps and get day and half!!1 i dont get it. plp neeed to know theses things… effinkit kat update with droid drains the battery much faster then jb but u can mix that by getting dui battery and just going and disabig evrything.. i pretty much have 8 apps running.. out of the fb and other crap.. so go aheand diable that f and anyhing gooel related. otger stuff too and lower that dam brightnes!1 u dont need it… i can go on and on..



battery drains when off

From Jim D on January 19, 2016 :: 12:22 pm

The battery on my Ellipis 8 tablet goes dead even when the device is turned off.  Wi-fi is off and network connection is also off.  I’d like to know what is using up the battery when nothing is on.



Probably a battery issue

From Josh Kirschner on January 19, 2016 :: 1:55 pm

You can check under Settings > Battery to see what is using the battery power. However, I suspect this is an issue with a faulty device. The reviews on both Amazon and Verizon for the Ellipse 8 are pretty dismal, with many people describing issues with battery life and charging. You best bet is to take it back to Verizon to see if you can get a replacement. Or, if possible, return the Ellipse 8 and get a different model. Unless you really need the built-in LTE, you would probably be far better off with an Amazon Fire for a little more money.


© 2015 Techlicious LLC. :: Home | About | Meet the Team | Sponsorship Opportunities | Newsletter Archive | Contact Us :: Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

site design: Juxtaprose