The Android platform has numerous fortes, but state-of-the-art features and always being connected come with a drawback: comparatively large battery consumption, and hence short battery life. This is a concern that has been mentioned in many reviews, perhaps particularly in regard to the HTC Desire.
Many users don’t consider Android’s lack of stamina an issue, as they routinely charge their phone before the battery level drops. But I’ve actually been rather frustrated by it, and I have tried to find ways to improve the battery life on my HTC Desire. I already had the background updates set to sensible intervals, most of them were even turned off, and I didn’t have any unnecessary apps or widgets running. That didn’t quite seem to take me where I wanted, though, and I decided to try to bring my parsimonious approach to Android battery consumption to the next level.
Some might argue that making these changes will nullify a few of the things that make Google’s OS great in the first place, but they haven’t resulted in any drawbacks for me personally. Here’s a list of various things you can do to make your Android phone run a little longer on each charge – many of which are common sense, and please note that a few of these steps may only have a very slight positive effect on the battery life.
19 Tips to Save Battery Life on Your Android Device
Disable Always-On Mobile Data
Disable the Always-On Mobile Data option from Settings > Wireless & networks > Mobile networks > Enable always-on mobile data. This setting is on by default, and allows your phone to be constantly connected. But does it really need to be? If you turn the option off, you will still get push Gmail, and naturally multimedia messages and phone calls as well. Even Google Talk seems to work as normal on my Desire, and the few apps I have running in the background will still refresh themselves at the specified intervals. Because there are no apparent changes, there have been endless discussions on forums about exactly what the always-on setting actually entails. In theory, you could encounter difficulties with some third-party apps that need to stay connected, but I haven’t noticed any drawbacks myself.
However, if you have a lot of apps running in the background that regularly need to pull information from the Internet, disabling this option may actually have a negative impact on your battery life, since turning the data connection on and off will require more energy than simply having it on all the time. But if you have many automatic background updates, you’re probably not that concerned about battery life, anyway.
Turn off Wireless Network Positioning
Don’t Use the GPS Without Good Cause
Always Keep Bluetooth off When Not in Use
Turn Down the Screen Brightness
Set the Screen Timeout at a Maximum of 1 Minute
Avoid Live Wallpapers
If Your Device Has an AMOLED Display, a Dark Wallpaper Will Use Less Power
Turn off Wi-Fi
If You’re Inside a lot, Having Wi-Fi Always On May be Preferable
If Your Phone Often Struggles to Find a 3G Connection, Disable 3G
Use Widgets Wisely
Streaming Apps Will Kill Your Battery
Find Out What Has Been Using the Battery
Set a Reasonable Frequency for Background Updates
- The HTC Mail Client
I have two email addresses added to HTC’s email client, both of which don’t need to be checked more than once a day. The refresh interval setting can be accessed by launching the Mail app, pressing Menu, and then entering More > Settings > Send & receive > Set download frequency. I think the default update interval is 15 minutes, and that’s a very big difference.
- The HTC Weather App
This is one background update that I actually find quite useful, and I have set the Weather app to update itself every six hours. You can change the interval from the application’s settings. Some people prefer to have the auto updates disabled here, though, since it’s easy to just tap on the little update icon on the bottom of the Weather widget instead.
- Facebook, Flickr and Twitter
Recent HTC Android devices, and the latest Android builds in general, provide great integration with social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Of course, to supply this integration, your phone needs to ping network servers and that uses battery power. You can control the various refresh intervals from Settings > Accounts & sync. On my HTC Desire, I have the Facebook for HTC Sense sync disabled, as well as the auto updates for Flickr and Stocks. I use the official Facebook client and the touch version of the website for my Facebook needs, and I can access all new Flickr and Facebook pictures from the Photos app, and I’m not interested in stocks at all. I use a manual update schedule for HTC’s Twitter app, but I have the update on launch option on. A lot of battery life can be gained with this modest approach to background notifications.
- Third-Party Apps
Many third-party applications that connect to the Internet, particularly the official Facebook app and Twitter apps, have background updates on by default. I always look over the settings to make sure a new app will behave the way I want it to.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Use Task Killers
While I haven’t managed to get the same battery life on my HTC Desire that I had on some of my former and less advanced phones, I’m actually enjoying quite an improvement by making these changes and hopefully you will too. Do you know of any more tricks that can make Android stay running a little bit longer before it needs to be plugged into an outlet?