Author Topic: Battery Tips  (Read 2389 times)

LeslieAnn

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Battery Tips
« on: October 13, 2012, 07:47:46 PM »
A few battery tips many may or may not know.
Updated from my original thread on Android Central

I don't use battery and radio tweaks such as Battery Defender or Juice Defender. Personally, I prefer to run lean and not need to play with those or turning on and off my radio. I bought a smartphone and prefer to use it like one.This doesn't mean I don't use any apps that could use my battery, just that I chose my apps carefully and tune them so they use as little as possible. This is what this article will focus on.

Some things here are obvious, some less so. You may not think it matters much, but gaining 1% of extra battery here or there can ad up to a lot of power in the long run.


Why do I dislike radio & battery tuning apps?
Apps like those can help, but they can also create problems and sometimes cause you to use even more battery.  When the Optimus V came out, people were using that sort of thing to get longer battery, and I had evidence some of them were messing up their connection. Since then I have been pretty strongly against anything that manipulates radios and such. The only thing I do manipulate manually is GPS and Bluetooth, though I have even stopped messing with them a lot lately. GPS I used to, and you will see why later, lately, though, I will only mess with the settings a little. Most of my apps no longer track, and I use bluetooth only on occasion. I have more than enough juice so it doesn't matter.


Before we get to software, there is one thing to discuss and that is your battery.
One of the best things you can do on some phones is upgrade the battery. If it's offered, I highly recommend Anker, they offer ones with usually 15% more capacity that fit inside the stock rear cover.  15% may not seem like a lot, but it can make a difference at the end of the day.

How you charge it also makes a difference.
What I do is I charge overnight, a nice dock makes this easier, instead of messing with cables. When I wake up, the first thing I do is restart the phone. This does two things, it clears out any programs running in the background, and allows a top up on your batter.

Lithium batteries do not trickle charge, they charge then turn off. As they charge they build up heat, a cool battery holds more than a hot battery. If it remains on a charger, it lets the charge fall a few % before the charge starts up again.  You charged your battery, it topped while warm, by morning it has cooled off, and dropped a few percent, even if it registers as 100%, it's not. By restarting the phone, you interrupt the charge cycle, and it restarts. Leaving you with a cool, fully charged battery, it may only gain you another 5-10% but it's free!

Combine a larger battery and the morning top up and you are now looking at anywhere from 15-30% more juice compared to stock and normal charge patterns.



Let's discuss some common myths about what does and not use up your battery.
Bloat.
Yeah, these will drain your system fast. Do we really need to get into this? If you are rooted, ditch this garbage. If not.. there is little you can do there except use a task manager or something. My advice, ROOT! Between adblocking, bloat and tethering, rooting is well worth the time and effort.

Social media.
This one is an obvious one to many and one of the worst offenders. These update constantly and will drain your battery extremely fast, especially if you have a lot of friends. If you plan on using these, just face the facts, your battery will suffer. Try and keep the number of social media apps to a minimum and see if you can adjust the frequency of updates. Above all else, try not to use a widget with them as that means it will have to download everything all the time in order to update the widget. If possible use an app instead that only checks when you are using the phone or the webpage.

Weather Apps.
Believe it or not, these do not use that much juice since they only do it every so often and it's very little info.  These operate similar, however they can usually be adjusted so they only update at specific intervals and when you unlock your phone. If you live in a place where the weather can change on a dime, you may want a bit faster and other places a bit less. I find every 30 minutes and when I unlock to work fine. Try and find one you like and stick with it and make sure it's only doing weather, you will see why in a moment. Weather widgets aren't the same as social media widget, they only display and download a very limited amount of info and are therefore much more efficient.

News Apps
The Google app for this combines news and weather.
This isn't such a good idea. The weather portion is fine, but the news portion, especially when used as a widget is constantly updating news feeds just like social media. If you use news apps, don't use them as widgets. Preferably use apps that update when you open them.

Live wallpaper.
These got a bad rap a while back, but tests have shown they use almost nothing more than normal wallpaper. When idle, they are doing nothing. When your phone is unlocked, yes, they can use a little more, but that is small compared to the power being used by everything else. Simple animated wallpaper is fine, however, ones that update from online or constantly rotate the background will hurt you.

Launchers
Yes, your Launcher,
Some launchers are terrible, some are not. I find Launcher Pro and stock launchers to be more efficient than many others. ADW seems to use a lot of power and is what ships on many roms. Which brings us to...

Roms.
Yeah, they can vary as well, however, many have the wrong idea. Harmonia is more efficient than similar roms simply because of the launcher and lack of extras. Not so much because of a bunch of things I have done to it.

Overclocking
Believe it or not, it can actually increase your battery life, but it can also hurt you and your phone A LOT.
Unfortunately, this requires an entire thread all it's own, but it breaks down to this...

Think your phone in two states, resting and running. If you overclock, yes it can use more power while running, however, it gets the job done faster allowing it to return to idle. So while the non-overclocked phone is still working, the overclocked phone has finished and gone back to idle. On slower phones this is an even larger issue because they expend more processor power downloading and then rendering things like web pages. People on slower phones often think their internet is slower than it is because they end up waiting on the phone a lot more.

There is typically a sweet spot on a phone and believe it or not, it tends to be a few steps down from the fastest overclock your phone can manage. Again, while a lengthy subject, the faster you go, the more errors yo get, and at some point the duplicate work it has to do ends up slowing you down. So while you may have bragging rights, and appear faster, this a turtle vs the hare scenario where slower and more stable wins the race.




Some tricks to improve what you have.
Obviously you can cut back social media, and find a good weather app, turn off news widgets and change your launcher. Those go a long way, but not far enough, you see there is a MUCH bigger threat to your battery than all of these combined.

If you are rooted, get an ad blocker.
This will stop a lot of the radio usage that occurs with free aps. It won't stop them all, but it helps, A LOT and makes a big difference in your phone experience. If you use Chrome or Firefox, get Adblock Plus as well. Too many  ads on these little screens is an issue.

I run ad supported websites, and earn an income from ads, I still recommend the blockers. They lower your network throughput, and make browsing much nicer as many ad supported items and websites go overboard with them. It stinks they ruin it for everyone but they have. They also block malicious ads, which is where most malware on computers is coming from these days.


Constantly running apps.
Reboot your phone, then go into settings, apps, and look at what apps are currently running.

Now, some will say that a running app is hurting nothing. Sorry. No.
The theory is that “Android does a good job of idling apps”. That is true, however they are still using memory. Memory that could be better served on making apps you want running, run more efficient.

But ask yourself a question, why is that app running?
Does it need to be? Is it sending information back to the app creator? Is it downloading ads? Or is it just running because the app creator is an idiot? Free apps are the worst for this as many are siphoning your data, using your GPS, wifi,, and downloading ads all at the same time. Still think apps running “idle” no longer matter? Your Facebook app sits idle most of the time too...

There are some wonderful free apps, and some absolutely terrible ones. When you download them, you should watch what the permissions are, that can tell you a lot, but also, watch and see if they self start and stay running in the background after you close them. Many file managers now come with task killers that run 24/7.


Which brings up something else...
Why do you need a task manager in the first place.
For those without root, I do believe task managers can be useful to shut down misbehaving apps that drain your battery (please don't turn this into a task manager discussion, there are pros and cons either way). For those with root. WHY?! If you have an app misbehaving REMOVE IT and get one that doesn't misbehave. I believe there is almost no good reason for a task manager on a rooted phone. Get rid of the bad app, and you no longer need the task manager.

dcannoli

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Re: Battery Tips
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2012, 04:08:37 AM »
Thank you. Very informative.

dwappo

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Re: Battery Tips
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2012, 01:38:38 PM »
What do you think about apps like DroidWall that cut the connection between the apps and the network?

Bigtuna00

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Re: Battery Tips
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2012, 03:12:06 PM »
What do you think about apps like DroidWall that cut the connection between the apps and the network?

Completely depends on the app being blocked. Poorly designed apps freak out if they're blocked and consume more battery (Simi Clock does this when it can't get weather updates, it goes into a constant loop trying to updated and chews up the batter).

LeslieAnn

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Re: Battery Tips
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2012, 04:09:02 PM »
Droidwall is the same type of thing as Battery Defender and Juice Defender, and like BigTuna00 said, it just depends.

My system works every time.
Besides, running those apps, still means another app running and every time the ones you bock try to run, the battery app has to run and stop it. You are running an app, to stop an app from running.

Why not attack the source of the problem instead of using a bandage.

dwappo

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Re: Battery Tips
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2012, 09:42:27 PM »
Hmm, I understand, but what do you think about the Maps app running all the time, is there any way to turn that "off"?

But basically (with apps at least) it's just to watch the apps you put on your phone, and get rid of ones that drain the battery? (but I like my games, xDD lol jk I get you)

LeslieAnn

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Re: Battery Tips
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2012, 11:46:05 PM »
That portion of maps is required for the gps interface on quite a few programs, not just maps.