Battery Life Management Questions from a Smartphone Newbie
Hi everyone, I am a pretty technically savvy person, but a newbie to the world of smartphones. I just got a MT4GS this week and have been getting used to it for the past few days. My main concern is the battery life - understandably, compared to my old feature phone, the smartphone is going to use a lot more juice. I just wasn't expecting to charge it overnight, have it plugged most of the day at work, and still be down to ~70% power by the time I get home. I'm not even doing anything that intense with it. It worries me to think that my phone might die on me if I'm out somewhere for the day. And what is the point of having a phone that can run programs and do all these great things, if you're afraid to use it?
After reading around here, I've already picked up a lot of great tips: I ordered a set of the Anker batteries (my phone was purchased used, and while it is physically in great condition, who knows about the battery), and I installed the 2x Battery app. I've reduced my screen brightness; turned off background data; turned off GPS; and when I'm on WiFi, I have 4G off, and vice versa.
A couple of questions:
1) Without doing anything crazy to the phone or default OS, is there anything else you recommend doing to conserve battery life?
2) In 2x Battery, there is a setting "Pause when WiFi on." The description here is kind of confusing, and I can't tell if it's working or not. If I want the mobile data connection off when connected to WiFi, do I want this option checked or unchecked? Right now I'm connected to WiFi, but it appears that mobile data is on whether this box is checked or not.
Thank you so much for all the great info so far, and for any advice you can offer me )
Well, firstly, good call on the anker batteries. I have one, and it's changed my life with this device. I went from being exactly as you described (scared to go somewhere without knowing exactly where my next source of power was) to not paying it much mind.
Secondly, if you are unrooted stock - then you have a whole lot of apps working in the background and conspiring together to drain your battery. ...and there's nothing you can do about it because both T-Mobile and HTC saw fit to place them there, running around the clock and beyond your control.
This is known as bloat, and on this phone it's beyond out of control. It's out of control on other phones, but they took it to a special place of exasperation on this one.
I am not sure about this 2x battery app you're speaking of, i've never used it. Consider this, though, it's one MORE app running on your device and draining your battery - and if you are stock this may be something you can ill afford.
As far as the wifi/data dance, this is nothing more then a feel-good measure that really isn't doing anything for you except adding to your interaction with the device. The time your screen is on to make that change takes more battery use then you would save on several hours of having one or the other switched off.
For me, running my custom ROM with an anker battery and all the apps/widgets I prefer to use I can get 6-8 hours out of a charge on the anker battery with semi-steady usage.
This is with both wifi, mobile data and background data on, and the screen on but at mostly dim brightness for 4-5 of those 6-8.
If I overclock the processor to 1.7Ghz (stock it stops at 1.2Ghz) and hook it up to a television using a playstation (game console) emulator...running flat out at full speed I can drain the (anker) battery in as little as 3 hours.
Something that may interest you as time wears on and you get used to having the anker batteries and using them is what is mentioned in this thread:
...and there are many out there and good deals to be had on some, poke around a bit and you'll find one suitable if such is your desire.
One last thing to consider - make sure you are using the proper charging port.
Most USB ports on computers only push half an amp, as well as nearly every single secondary port on chargers (think car chargers with an 'extra' USB port). Half an amp is not enough current to charge the device if being used, and barely enough to see positive battery increase if not.
Make sure whatever you plug into is pushing 5volts 1amp, or you'll see your battery level continue to drop as you are charging.
(oh, and GPS is something you WILL see more battery life from turning off if not using - so having something like a soundhound app widget on your home screen with location on will eat your battery before you know it's gone by activating the GPS.)
Dimming the screen if possible will see you the greatest gains in battery life, and then getting rid of any apps you can that are running in the background is the next biggest step - but again, if stock and unrooted there is only so much you can do on app management.
DON'T USE TASK KILLERS - EVER. (they do much, much more harm then any falsely perceived good you may think you are getting from them.)
Screen = biggest battery drain.
GPS chip/use = second biggest drain.
Apps in background = third biggest drain.
Blue pretty much covered everything that I was going to say. I also have the Anker battery, and I also have the Anker 5600 mah external battery, and I no longer have battery worries. I choose the Anker external battery over the other ones because of its small portable size, even though some of the other ones have more capacity. I find that I can get about two full charges of my phone with it, and it is small enough to fit in my pocket or purse with no problem. I highly recommend an external battery just for piece of mind, knowing that I no longer have to be searching every place I go for an outlet. I love that I can charge my phone while it is in my pocket or purse. Also the price isn't too bad, I bought mine for about $40, but I see Amazon now has it for $33. I bought it from a company called Laptop Mate on Amazon, and it was shipped amazingly fast even though I just got standard shipping. Laptop Mate then said if I wrote a review I could choose a free gift. The gifts were not anything spectacular, but the gesture was nice. At the time I could choose between a usb powered reading light, a card reader, and I forget what the other one was. Again nothing great, but it was just a nice bonus, I will definitely buy from that company again. So with my Anker internal battery, and my external battery, I could reasonably not have to plug my phone into the wall for at least two days, I could stretch it more if I was camping or something. I really like keeping my screen at full brightness, so that is where most of my drain comes from. Well, sorry for the long winded response, and welcome to XDA. I bet that in a month you will wonder what you ever did with out a smart phone.
Thank you so much for your very thorough responses! I am happy to report that since making a few little changes (turning down my screen brightness, turning off the background data sync), performance is already noticeably better. Yesterday I was on battery power for close to 14 hours, was on and off WiFi, talked on the phone probably a couple hours total, and used it what I would consider a "normal" amount (e-mail, photos, some social networking)... and still had ~50% power left by the time I went to bed. That is much more reassuring to me, and I can only assume performance would get even better once I get those new batteries.
I understand about the "bloat" and having all these extra things running, but I think doing anything with the ROM is a little above my expertise at this point. For now, things seem to be working reasonably, so we'll see...
I like the external charger idea, but I am going to hold off for now. I ordered the 2-pack of Anker batteries, so once I get those, I'll have 3 batteries. One should be fine for a normal day, and if I'm really going to be out for a while and not have any opportunity to recharge, or will be using the phone a lot, I could just bring along a spare or two. (Good thing I am a lady with a purse - what do guys do?! Carry a man bag? My husband is considering getting the same phone, so this is a valid concern.)
I'm apparently too new to post a link to 2x Battery, which I've seen mentioned elsewhere on this board, but that's the name if you want to look it up in the Android Market. Even if it is using a little more battery power, I think it's worth it. It puts controls for things that use battery power all in one place, and it makes it very easy to monitor the current battery status. I think I'll stick with it, at least until I get a better sense of how my use affects the battery.
Per the question of a man hauling batteries, I just carry a spare battery or two I'm my front pocket. If I am carrying keys I will slap a piece of tape accross the terminals to prevent a short. One or two guys carry their spare gear in a camera case. I can haul most all I need in a corner of my Levi's front pocket.
I also used to run Juice Defender, it got irritating waiting for the data connection to spin up and the benefits were outweighed (IMHO) by the downsides. Killing data every time the screen turns off was grim.
I have a zipper case I keep the phone in, and it's not much larger then the device itself. Above and beyond keeping dust out ( primary function ) it also has a small pocket on the outside I keep a few knick-knacks in, like a retractable micro-usb cable, backup memory card ( recovery purposes) mini flash drive and spare battery.
I highly recommend some kind of small zipper case for the device to keep out the dust, best $10 investment I've made for the phone.
Not in a position to link pics at the moment, but I'll do so over the next few days when I get the chance - especially floating loose in a potentially dusty purse it's something to consider.
I wish the video cable was something I could cram in to it as well, but that presents too much bulk for it to work, I have a mini camera case I carry sometimes with the A/V cable, AC adapter, another micro-usb cable and some memory cards and flash drives - something to consider for yourself for carrying cables and such since you most likely have room in your purse for a mini camera case with such things.
I threw in the word potentially because while I have seen some pristine purses, i've also seen some which haven't been vacuumed out in a long time, if ever. The very fine dust that gets in during the course of normal travel is what our enemy is here. (...and yours may be vacuumed out on a consistent basis, really only you can know.)
This need not just be dirt, even the fibers of the material wearing off in tiny fractions of an amount from simply carrying it around (material rubbing against material as it's shape stretches, bends and contorts) is enough to be a hazard to the device. Over time this adds up.
(though, saying it has it's own pocket/pouch within the purse itself lends a good deal more protection and paints a much better picture then the previous blanket statement of 'in my purse')
Due to the slide mechanism and the exposed back of the LCD screen it is very easy to get dust under the screen, in between the layers of it.
Slide it open with the screen at max brightness, then flip it over. Look at the very end of the slide channels on the screen side, from an angle on the side. You will be able to clearly see the light shining through opposite the T-Mobile branding on the backside of where the genius button is. Look past the greenish tint and see the whitish light, noticing how it extends inwards.
You can now look at the other side, right by the T-Mobile branding in the same spot and though you can't see the light shining through, you can see how very fine dust can work it's way in between the digitizer and screen.
'Dust under screen' is something that people who post here at XDA have made warranty exchanges over, as well as who knows how many who don't post have done. It's a valid exchange gripe that is in fact covered under warranty from what the people who have posted about it have led us to believe. There are also plenty of 'dust under screen' doubleshots on reduced price on ebay that you could look up this very moment.
Again, I meant no offense, but was simply trying to use the situation presented to illustrate a potential hazard your new device could fall victim of. Hopefully by bringing it to your attention you can take steps to minimize any damage, or at least present you with the opportunity to later be in a situation of:
'Oh well, at least I knew it was coming'
...as opposed to:
'Wow, I wish I knew that could have happened'
We only wish you to get the best experience possible from your Android, and while there is a lot of important info here...'tis easy to become overwhelmed by it all and miss some of the important things that could help you immediately, or should be known immediately.
Glad to hear you are already in better straights over the management of your available power!
By the way - thanks for endeavoring to clarify the app you were using for battery management, i'll definitely scope it out when I get a chance.
Thanks for the tips about dust, though. That wasn't something I had really considered, though I'm hoping to get a bit more life out of this phone than my last few (cheap, and switched on a whim), so I'll be sure to keep things clean. Is it ok to spray the back of the slide-out with some compressed air, or could that cause other problems?
I did use a little compressed air to clean out the back of the phone, so hopefully I didn't hurt anything.
Two different cases are on their way to me - I'll see which I like more and return the other.
I've had the Anker battery in for just a couple hours, and it's already amazing! I've been using the phone a decent amount, turned on notifications and everything I'd switched off, and it's still at 100%! Also feels much cooler than the other battery. It was a tight fit, like everyone said, but I did get it in and fit the back cover over it.
But, weird thing: when I turn the phone sideways, the screen no longer rotates. It will still rotate if I slide the keyboard up, but otherwise it's like it doesn't recognize that the orientation changed. Did the battery mess something up?
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