Setting up an Android smartphone for maximum battery life


The same smartphone may work differently for different people. Someone uses all the possibilities inside and out, while the phone can easily survive for a day or even two, the other has a discharged battery by lunchtime. In this article, we will try to make out all the points that affect the operation of a smartphone, see what to look for and how to set it up. They often expect from me in the aspect of setting up a smartphone secret codes, instructions, they do not believe that it only requires an understanding of what you are doing and how. I will try to share this understanding with you so that you can consciously approach the question of how your smartphone (and any other device) works.

I took my Galaxy S21 Ultra as a starting point, it has several additional modes, scenarios, but everything else coincides with most Android smartphones, so this material will not only concern smartphones from Samsung. They simply have the richest possibilities for additional customization.

You need to start dealing with the battery in a smartphone with one statement, which is ignored by many, but in vain. The battery is a consumable item! Whether or not a replacement battery is in your device, it is a consumable item and will change its characteristics as you use it. Until mankind came up with an “eternal” battery, which on the first and last day of life would demonstrate the same characteristics. Over time, the capacity of the battery, the ability to work at negative temperatures, changes. Associated with this is the first myth that turned into an urban legend.

The myth about the battery on an Android smartphone in a year

After a year, the battery of an Android smartphone loses a noticeable part of its capacity, the smartphone performs much worse. At the very beginning, my smartphone lived a full day, now it is discharged in the evening or at lunchtime. And you don’t need to tell me that this is not so, I see it all with my own eyes!

True or Fiction? I am sure people are sincere in talking about what they observe on their devices. And there are several reasons for this, each of which affects the discharge of the smartphone, but battery wear does not play any role here, since in the first year, the capacity under the most difficult operating conditions cannot decrease by more than 15%, on average it is 10% for everyone users.

The first reason is in ourselves, as well as the availability of cellular communications, in particular, mobile data transmission. An increasing number of people are watching high-definition movies, downloading them over a cellular network, transferring large files, and constantly using cloud storage for their data. At the end of last year, we conducted a large study, we studied how people use their smartphones, what they cost in the first days of use, and what they put later.

It will seem banal to some that in the first month the number of programs on a smartphone is minimal for most users, then it begins to grow and reaches a peak by the fourth month. Something changes, some programs are removed, some are installed. But there is no constant and endless growth in the number of applications, this is a finite process for the vast majority of users.

Many applications use network access, including mobile, take up RAM and waste phone energy. Most smartphones automatically put unused apps into sleep mode.

Setting up an Android smartphone for maximum battery lifeSetting up an Android smartphone for maximum battery life

This is a great notion that allows you not to configure everything with your hands, the smartphone itself understands that you have not used the application for a long time, and therefore puts it into sleep mode. You launch the application, and after that for some time it continues to work as if it would be needed at any time.

Those who try to replace the standard interface, for example, use third-party shells, replace the interface from the manufacturer, face problems in the operation of a smartphone. The beauty of Android is that you can replace anything, but it comes at the cost of running time. Third-party skins and interface design elements are not optimized at the system level, as a result, they spend significantly more energy. And here you need to realize that you will pay for a different interface, in this case it is the speed of work and the operating time from one charge.

It is also worth remembering that the more applications you have, the higher the power consumption (not in tens of percent, but gradually accumulates). Therefore, my advice is simple: everything that you do not need can be safely removed. If necessary, install from the application store, there is no point in keeping hundreds of applications in store in memory.

Another important point is related to the transfer of data, for example, to the clouds. You can choose how your files are downloaded, programs can use both Wi-Fi and mobile data.

Setting up an Android smartphone for maximum battery life

Those who want to be surprised can order the details of the data usage on your SIM card for the last month (take a full month!), As well as for the same month last year. Many will be surprised at the differences, since the difference will be huge. You use your smartphone more – it discharges faster, everything is logical, isn’t it? The myth that the battery wears out so much in a year that the operating time changes and it sharply decreases is just an urban legend. The reason for this is that you use your device more actively, but simply do not pay attention to it (it is enough to change the resolution in streaming services to increase the power consumption dramatically, the device will transmit more data).

Non-obvious energy eaters – memory cards, the amount of memory used

Many people treat their smartphones responsibly, trying to take care of them to the best of their strength and capabilities. I don’t know who laid the first brick in the myth that you need to free up RAM on Android smartphones. In the “Settings” section, you can see how much the device’s RAM is used, be surprised that there is almost no free memory, and manually clear the memory.

Setting up an Android smartphone for maximum battery life

This is definitely not worth doing, since Android is excellent at managing RAM, there is no problem of occupied memory. The architecture itself is such that the applications and services that you may need are kept in memory, the system anticipates your desires. By unloading them from memory, you are actually forcing the device to do the same work twice, then they will need to be loaded and spend more energy on it. Regardless of whether there is an application in memory or not, it still spends the same amount of energy when working. But energy is always spent on data transfer. Please do not need to get your hands on something that works great. I do not like the fact that all manufacturers have added utilities to clean up RAM, as they are more harmful than useful. But they give the deceptive impression that you can take care of your smartphone.

On the other hand, in the S21s (more precisely, in OneUI 3.x) there is a Bixby script, this is an automatic optimization of applications. At night, the device can close those applications that have not been used for a long time, but remain in the RAM. There is no harm in such a scenario; there is also little that is useful. My experience shows that auto-optimization is needed, since it gives up to 5-7% increase in operating time without closing applications.

Setting up an Android smartphone for maximum battery lifeSetting up an Android smartphone for maximum battery life

A couple of words about SIM cards. Just as the battery is a consumable, over time, the contacts of the SIM card can oxidize, which does not affect the operation of the phone, it sees the network, works great, but at the same time spends a little more energy on it. If you use two SIM-cards, then the power consumption increases, by about 10-15%, depending on the model. The reason is that the radio part now has to poll each network, since the radio part is single in most models. If you use an eSIM, then there will be no difference with a physical SIM card, the power consumption is about the same.

The use of memory cards also consumes energy and cannot be avoided. An installed microSD card reduces the operating time of a smartphone by 3 to 6% on average, it all depends on the specific memory card and its characteristics.

I use flagships and choose models with a large amount of internal memory (in the Galaxy S21 line, memory cards have been completely abandoned), I do not use memory cards. Android smartphones have the ability to encrypt the contents of the memory card. If you do this, it is worth remembering that working with a memory card will require additional energy consumption.

Now is not the most obvious point, which, nevertheless, is the most relevant. The operating time directly depends on how much memory is free in your phone. The minimum volume that needs to be kept free is about 10% of the capacity, it is optimal to keep up to 20% of the space free so that even “heavy” applications do not run into slowdowns when working.

Bad apps and what to do with them

It’s no secret that there are various applications in the world, some are written well and work correctly, some are written crookedly and discharge the smartphone before our eyes. One of the applications that are harmful to the smartphone’s battery is Facebook, this social network wants to monitor its users, in fact, we can say that it is a full-fledged spy program trying to collect any information about you and your device. I never put Facebook on my main smartphone, I try to use this social network through a browser window, and not a separate application. And this is not a fear of surveillance, the reason is that with Facebook installed, the smartphone is discharged by 15-20%. It makes no sense to lose up to a fifth of the battery charge per application. But it is possible that your work is associated with this social network and you cannot refuse it.

Among my applications, Skype is also harmful, but here the discharge occurs during operation, the battery melts before our eyes, since the software is far from being optimized, the codecs used consume the battery.

Built-in applications are always optimized to work with the device, for example, the video player consumes a minimum of energy compared to third-party programs. At the same time, I like MX Player, I use this application. In the settings, you can choose to process the image using the hardware of the device or software. In the second case, the energy consumption is slightly higher, you also need to know about this.

In years past, the Chrome browser was another energy eater, but today everything has changed, it behaves completely differently. Please note that it is worth periodically closing tabs, the more open tabs, the more memory the browser takes up, spends more energy on working with the application (I confess, I always have several dozen tabs open, but it’s more convenient for me).

Setting up a smartphone, what is required and how

Modern Android is an advanced system in which you do not need to crawl under the hood to customize everything for yourself. But there are a few settings that are important in order for the system to optimize battery consumption.

The first thing to look out for is the screen brightness. You can turn the brightness up to the maximum (and many say that otherwise they paid money in vain, they will look at full), but this is strange, since the maximum brightness is not always comfortable. I have adaptive backlighting, it adjusts to my preferences (you can adjust the brightness, the phone remembers your choice and next time it suggests the correct level).

Setting up an Android smartphone for maximum battery life

The second point is the screen resolution, in the same Ultra there are QHD and FullHD + resolutions, the second is the default, the less data is processed for display, the less power consumption. On Ultra, the difference is 7-10%.

Setting up an Android smartphone for maximum battery life

The screen frequency of 120 Hz is very pleasant, but it is also an increased power consumption (the difference between 60 and 120 Hz is about 10%, that is, an hour of screen operation, remember that).

Setting up an Android smartphone for maximum battery life

In the battery settings, you need to set the adaptive mode, it helps to optimize power consumption.

Setting up an Android smartphone for maximum battery life

Those interested can play with the GPS settings, but the system does a good job of it (setting access permission while using the application is enough). Always on NFC does not matter, as well as Bluetooth, my watch is on and I also use wireless headphones, listen to music or podcasts.

I do not touch any other settings, since they are superfluous, what I described here is enough. And in this case, on the same S21 Ultra, you can easily get 10-12 hours of work, or even more.

Setting up an Android smartphone for maximum battery life

How to charge a smartphone – fast or slow charging

There is no point in training the battery, you can charge your device the way you like. Fast charging has long removed the question that you need to charge your smartphone at night and remove it from charging in the morning. My charging scenario assumes that I charge my smartphone as needed, usually in the morning. If I leave for a meeting, then I have about half an hour, during which time even a completely discharged smartphone gets up to half the charge. It charges completely in an hour (fast wired charging). In the car, it can be wireless charging. The myth that wireless charging greatly wears out the battery has not been confirmed in life, about the same degradation of the battery in the first year, there are no differences.

You can discharge the smartphone to zero only out of curiosity to see how it holds the load. But in everyday life this is not necessary, charge the device as needed. You should not charge your smartphone in very warm conditions, for example, by placing it on a battery or on a hot summer day on a car torpedo (I’ve seen this, it’s not a joke).

There is almost no difference between slow or fast charging, so close your eyes to all the differences, assume that everything is the same.

In the end, I want to say that everything with setting up the battery in a smartphone on Android is very simple and trivial, there is no higher mathematics. Everyone can cope with this, but my main advice is this: do not meddle in additional settings, engineering menu, you will still most likely make things worse for yourself and your work time. The modern Android smartphone is frankly good at taking care of itself. The main thing is not to interfere with this. Long work for your devices!

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