Battery Care Tips for Your Android Phone

By Dan Gookin

Perhaps the most important item you can monitor and maintain on your Android phone is its battery. The battery supplies the necessary electrical juice by which the phone operates. Without battery power, your phone is about as useful as a tin-can-and-a-string for communications. Keep an eye on the battery.

Monitoring the battery

Your phone displays its current battery status at the top of the screen, in the status area, next to the time. The icons used are similar to those shown below.

Battery status icons.

Battery status icons.

You might also see the icon for a dead or missing battery.

Here are some things you need to know for handling your phone’s battery:

  • Heed those low-battery warnings! The phone generates a notification whenever the battery power gets low. The phone generates another notification whenever the battery gets very low.

  • When the battery is too low, the phone shuts itself off.

    The best way to deal with a low battery is to connect the phone to a power source: Either plug the phone into a wall socket, or connect the phone to a computer by using a USB cable. The phone charges itself immediately; plus, you can use the phone while it’s charging.

  • The phone charges more efficiently when it’s plugged into a wall socket rather than a computer.

  • You don’t have to fully charge the phone to use it. If you have 20 minutes to charge and the power level returns to only 70 percent, that’s great. Well, it’s not great, but it’s far better than a 20 percent battery level.

    Battery percentage values are best-guess estimates. Just because you talked for two hours and the battery shows 50 percent doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed two more hours of talking. Odds are good that you have much less than two hours. In fact, as the percentage value gets low, the battery appears to drain faster.

Determining what is drawing power

The phone’s Battery screen informs of you battery usage over time, as well as which of your apps have been consuming power.

Battery usage info.

Battery usage info.

To view the Battery screen on your phone, open the Settings app and choose the Battery item. On some Samsung phones, tap the General tab in the Settings app to locate the Battery item.

Tap an item in the list to view its details. For some items, the details screen lets you adjust power settings.

The number and variety of items listed on the battery use screen depend on what you’ve been doing with your phone between charges and how many different apps you’ve been using. Don’t be surprised if an item (such as the Play Books app) doesn’t show up in the list. Not every app uses a lot of battery power.

Extending battery life

Here’s a smattering of things you can do to help prolong battery life for your Android phone:

  • Dim the screen. The display is capable of drawing down quite a lot of battery power. Although a dim screen can be more difficult to see, especially outdoors, it definitely saves on battery life.

  • Disable vibration options. The phone’s vibration is caused by a teensy motor. Although you don’t see much battery savings by disabling the vibration options, it’s better than no savings. To turn off vibration, follow these steps:

    1. Open the Settings app and choose Sound & Notification.

    2. Disable one or all of the vibration settings.

      Most phones lack a single setting for vibration. Instead, you find settings such as Vibrate While Ringing, Vibration Intensity, and Vibrate on Touch.

  • Deactivate Bluetooth. When you’re not using Bluetooth, turn it off.

  • Manage battery performance. Many Android phones have battery-saving software built in. You can access the software from a special app or from the Battery item in the Settings app. Similar to your computer, battery-performance management involves turning phone features on or off during certain times of the day. Third-party battery management apps are also available at the Google Play Store.