Some Android smartphones are loaded up with huge long-lasting batteries, and super high-tech battery-saving technology to go with them. Other Androids… not so much.
If your Android falls into the latter category, the good news is that there are a few things you can do to get a bit more time between charges. In fact, we've got eight great tips.
Bear in mind that different kinds of Android phones have slightly different menus in the Settings app. We'll give the basic settings for stock Android, but on your own phone you may have to search around a little to find the exact setting you're looking for.
(Got an iPhone? Check out our guide to saving iPhone battery for some better tips for you.)
1. Update Android
With each new version of Android, there are new features and better optimisation that makes your phone's battery last longer. Android Nougat, for instance, comes with the juice-saving Doze 2.0 feature. So the first thing you need to do is to make sure you're running the latest operating system.
To do so, go to Settings - About phone (or device) - Software update. This is where you'll be able to see whether there's a new version you can download.
If you're in luck, remember to plug your phone in and connect to Wi-Fi - this kind of download can use up a lot of battery, data, and time.
2. Use battery saver mode
Usually, battery saver mode is there for dire emergencies where you need the last 10% or so of juice to last a couple of hours… and it may do extreme things like making everything greyscale. But hey, in a power emergency, it's a lifesaver.
Enable it by going to Settings - Battery - Battery Saver.
3. Disable the things you're not using
When you're not using them, it's best to disable things like:
- Location or GPS
Each of them sucks at your battery life, and it's unlikely that you'll need all of them enabled at once, after all. Most can be disabled by swiping downwards from the top of the screen and deselecting them.
During those horrible times when you can't even get signal, or when you just don't need it, you can even put aeroplane mode on to switch everything off and save on battery that way. Do this by going into Settings - Wireless and Networks - Flight mode (it may be under a "more" tab).
4. Turn off notifications
Every time your phone checks for a notification, then makes your phone vibrate and make a noise, it uses up a bit of battery - which is even worse if you're popular and getting them all the time. Flashing LED lights are particular battery drainers.
To fiddle with notifications, go to Settings - Sound and notification. Under this menu, you can turn off the flashing LED, change which apps send push notifications, and turn vibration and sounds down or off.
There's also 'Do not disturb' mode for just a brief respite, which stops notifications temporarily. This works differently on different Androids, but on many you'll find it by swiping down from the top of the screen and selecting 'Do not disturb'. Pick 'Total silence' if you don't want your phone to bother you with noises and vibrations at all, and choose how long you want it to shut up for. This mode's perfect for reserving battery while you're at work or asleep.
5. Optimise your screen
The brighter your screen is lit up, the more energy it uses - so turning the brightness down is great for saving battery life. Turn it down in Settings - Display - Brightness. Some phones will let you adjust the brightness by swiping down from the top of the screen and using the slider that appears.
We also recommend setting a shorter screen timeout. This'll save your screen from staying on when you're not using it, and therefore save it from draining your battery. Go to Settings - Display - Sleep, and turn it down to 15 or 30 seconds.
And here's another trick for phones with AMOLED displays: switch your wallpaper to something dark-coloured. AMOLED displays only illuminate coloured pixels, not black ones, so if there's more black on the screen, it's pulling less energy from the battery to power it. Phones with this kind of display include almost all Samsungs, some Huaweis, and some Motorolas.
6. Sort out your apps
The best bit of an Android smartphone is all those apps you can use, but boy can they be battery drainers. Here are some things you can do to keep them in check:
- Look up which apps are using the most battery, under Settings - Battery. If there are some particularly guilty battery-guzzlers (such as Snapchat, Netflix, Amazon Shopping, Outlook and WhatsApp), consider deleting them, using them less, or adjusting their settings a bit.
- Ditch all those widgets on your home screen, especially ones that constantly update.
- Install the latest updates for your apps - the newest version are usually more optimised. Go to the Google Play Store, tap the menu button in the top corner, select My Apps, and then tap to install updates. Again, make sure you're connected to Wi-Fi first.
- Use 'Lite' versions of your favourite apps. More economical and battery-efficient than their full-fat relatives, these versions are stripped down to their essential features - Facebook and Messenger both have Lite apps available.
- Set apps to auto-sync less often. Go to Settings - Accounts, then select the account or app you want to sync less.
7. Vibrate less
Not you, your phone.
The more violently your phone vibrates, the more battery it's eating up each time you get a text. Turn it down, or off altogether, via Settings - Sound and notifications - Vibration intensity.
And let's talk about haptic feedback - the little vibration your phone does when you're typing. It's not much, but each bit of feedback takes a little bit of battery, and when you're typing there tends to be a lot of it. Turn it off by going to Settings - Sound and notifications - Vibration intensity, then adjusting the haptic feedback setting.
8. Stay cool
This is good advice anyway, but particularly so for your Android.
Hotter batteries drain faster - so it's best to keep it out of direct sunlight, out of your pocket, and out of the oven. Certain sources put Android batteries' limit at around 35 degrees Celsius (35 Fahrenheit), so that's a good benchmark to go by.