Extend Your Android Device’s Battery Life

11/9/2012 12:00:14 AM

If your battery keeps running out, here’s how to make your phone or tablet run for days on a single charge

Android device may be wonderful portable powerhouses that put a huge choice of apps and tools in your pocket, but all that computing can take its toll on their battery life. Checking your email, making calls, playing games and browsing the internet all use up valuable power, and even just having the phone or tablet on standby means that the battery is slowly draining.

Fortunately, Android comes with built-in settings that can be toggled to preserve battery life, and which can be customized to particular scenarios. Going for a long walk? Than turn off everything but GPS to track your route via Endomondo. About to go to bed? Turn off sync, so you’re not woken by the inevitable 2am Groupon email. There are many other settings, too, and here we’ll show you how to make the most of them.

1.    Power control

Description: Power control

Android’s built-in Power Control widget is the first step to more battery life. It’s included with all versions of Android, and it enables you to turn settings on or off. To get it, long-press on the home screen, then choose ‘Widgets’ followed by ‘Power Control’. You need a long, clear space on your home screen to install it.

2.    Wi-Fi Bluetooth

Description:  Wi-Fi Bluetooth

To the left the Power Control strip you’ll see the Wi-Fi icon – turn this off when you’re away from a Wi-Fi hotspot and you’ll save a huge amount of power. We also need to think about Bluetooth, which wirelessly connects to computers, car stereos and speakers. Turn it off if you’re not using it.

3.    GPS and brightness

Description: . GPS and brightness

GPS is handy when you want to use Google Maps and location services, but it uses a lot of power and should be turned off when not in use. Reducing your screen’s brightness stops your display draining the battery, and some phones can set the brightness automatically to suit the ambient lighting.

4.    Sync

Description: . Sync

Sync means that the phone constantly contacts Google’s serves to download new emails, contacts, calendar entries and other background information. It uses a lot of power, and you can safety turn it off for a while – anything that isn’t downloaded will appear on your device when it’s turned back on.

5.    2G networks

Description:  Sync

2G networks are noticeably slower than 3G, but 3G uses more power. You can switch to a 2G network by choosing ‘Settings’, then ‘Wireless and networks’ followed by ‘Mobile networks’. Check the box marked ‘Use only 2G networks’ to activate it. You’ll be able to make calls and send texts.

6.    JuiceDefender

Description:  JuiceDefender

JuiceDefender is a handy app that switches off certain settings when they’re not in use. Download it from and install it, then run it and choose ‘Enabled’ under ‘Status’. Deactivate the app if you’re downloading a lot of data, because itmight stop connectivity when your phone switches to standby.

7.    Battery use

Description: Battery use

To find out exactly what’s eating your battery, choose ‘Settings’, then ‘About phone’ and ‘Battery use’. Here you’ll see list of the applications and tools that are using the most power. Some of these functions can be selected and forced to stop, which will save you a little more precious power in the future.

8.    Got the power

Description: Got the power

Next time your device is running low on power, or there’s nowhere available to plug in your charger, you’ll know exactly what you can turn on and off to make the battery last a little longer. The above tips are also handy for other situations, such as when you go away on holiday and want to avoid using too much data.

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