Why Is My Android Phone Battery Draining?

How to protect your Android phone from excessive battery drain.

We’ve all been there: You’re out with friends, on a road trip, or in nature when you notice your phone’s battery is draining — fast. A portable power bank has become a common accessory for many in recent years, and they can certainly give your device a boost. But if you don’t want to tote around an external accessory, cables, or your charger — or, worse, ask a stranger to borrow theirs — there are quick and simple changes you can make to your device’s setting to extend its battery life.

Apps Can Be Power Hogs

The first place to look for drags on your device’s battery performance is your apps. Snapping, tweeting, and messaging burns a lot of power. Find what’s using the most by tapping Settings > Battery to see a list of each app and its battery consumption since the phone’s last full charge.

If you see an app eating up a lot of power, you can shut it down. (You might also want to rethink just how important that app is to your day-to-day experience on your phone and, maybe, delete it all together.) But it’s important to know that shutting down apps doesn’t always do the trick. It sounds counterintuitive, but closing out an app can actually decrease your battery life — you’re asking your phone to do more work at exactly the moment you want it to do less. It’s generally better to leave them running in the background. So, if you can, keep your apps open until you can plug into a power source.

Dim the Lights

It might sound obvious, but the brighter your screen, the greater your battery consumption. Your phone comes equipped with an Adaptive Brightness setting, which dynamically adjusts how bright your screen is based on the conditions you find yourself in. (You might need the brightest screen possible when outside, but that will really hurt your eyes — and offend those around you — when you look at your blazingly bright screen in a darker place.)

The best thing to do is turn on Adaptive brightness to help manage your battery usage. You can always turn the setting off if you want more control over how your screen looks. To turn this feature on,  simply tap Settings > Battery > Adaptive brightness. To manually control your screen’s brightness, tap Settings > Display > Brightness level and use the slider.

Save Your Screen

Another standard feature on all phones allows you to control when the screen turns off. You can adjust it to stay on from 15 seconds to 30 minutes. The faster it turns off when idle, the longer your battery will last. How long the screen stays on is your call, but 30 seconds to 1 minute is a safe recommended. To adjust how long your screen stays on, tap Settings > Display > Sleep.

Some Android phones have another screen setting called Ambient display. This keeps a clock and notification icon on your phone’s screen even after it goes to sleep. The information is very useful, but it does increase battery usage. To turn it on or off, go to Settings > Battery > Ambient display.

Reduce Overall Consumption

If you’re looking to use less battery overall— regardless of your circumstances — you can turn on Battery saver, which helps improve battery life by reducing and limiting usage for things like location services and haptic vibrations. Adjust your phone’s Battery saver status by going to Settings > Battery > Battery saver. You can turn it on or off and even adjust at what percent it kicks in.

Change Location Settings

Your phone’s location settings allows it to use cell towers, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth to pinpoint your phone for location-based features like finding the nearest gas station or giving you the most accurate weather report. Helpful? Absolutely. Battery drains? You better believe it.

You can adjust your phone’s location settings by tapping Settings > Connections > Location > Locating Method. You’ll see three options: High accuracy, Battery saving, and Phone only. It’s up to you to decide which mode you prefer, but if you’re worried about power usage, Battery saving is a safe selection. You can also adjust location settings on an app-by-app basis by going to Settings > Apps > [choose an app] > Permissions.

Check Your Signal Strength

A common cause of battery drain is poor cell coverage. When this happens, your phone works extra hard to find a signal. The best way to determine if this is the culprit of your device’s power woes is to check the signal bars at the top of your screen. Look for LTE, 4G, or 3G, which indicate that service should be reliable. But if you see No Service, 1X, or have low signal, you’re likely in a low-service area and your phone is attempting to find service that might not be there.

There’s not much you can do to solve this issue (unless you’re planning on building a new cell tower), but you can manage how much power it eats up by switching your phone into Airplane Mode. Go to Settings > Connections > Airplane Mode and turn off Airplane Mode. This turns off the cellular-usage part of your phone, so it won’t keep searching for coverage. When you think you’re in a better location, turn off Airplane Mode and your phone will go back to looking for a signal.

Time for a Restart

Sometimes phones need a break — especially if they haven’t been powered down in a while. So if you’ve tried everything else and the battery is still draining fast, you might try simply turning your phone off, then turning it back on a few moments later. You can also try restarting your device.

Previous Article: