This article is a bit uncharacteristic of our regular developer topics, but you might still find it useful since developing on Android also means owning an Android device.
Running out of battery on your Android device can be frustrating. Often, we find ourselves wishing we could get a little more juice out of our devices. If your battery life is getting the best of you, here are some tips that you can use to help keep the party going a little longer.
Task Killers Don’t Help
Task Killers have been a strongly debated topic for Android owners and unfortunately a necessary evil. Sometimes your application will not close and you have to force it. This is OK if you are a developer and you need to kill an app as part of the development process, but it may not be the best thing for regular users. It has been consistently proven that task killers do not give you more battery life due to the way that Android handles applications and memory and may actually be making the problem worse when paired with manual kills. It is best to avoid using these kinds of applications if possible.
Wi-Fi, the Silent Killer
If you have your phones Wi-Fi turned on, it is constantly scanning for networks to connect to. Most likely these are not networks that you want to join but are just available public networks that your phone picks up while you move around town. This constant searching is a big drain on your battery resources.
To turn off this search go to “Wireless & Networks” in your phone’s main settings and turn off the Wi-Fi when you aren’t using it. You can also install the Android power widget to your home screen which will give you easy access to toggle the Wi-Fi on and off.
Disable Adobe Flash
Being able to watch Flash videos or play Flash games on your device is great but the Flash plug-in eats up your battery pretty quick. You are also wasting a lot of valuable battery life by allowing Flash to load every advertisement, banner and other content on the page. For best results, set your Flash plug-in to only load content on demand, saving you a lot of load time drain.
To make this change, open your browser and hit the menu key. Go to Settings -> Enable Plug-Ins and set your Flash to On Demand. Now you can choose which Flash content will play and avoid the things that just waste resources.
Cut Down on Background Check-Ins
If you are like most Android users you have many social networking applications that connect to their services in the background on a regular basis. Many of these applications are constantly scanning their network as well as your GPS to use location based services, even when you aren’t using them. All of these apps, plus the frequency of the interval means more battery life down the drain.
You can make some different changes to the way these apps behave to get some significant results. For the greatest amount of battery life you should set the applications to refresh manually. This means there would be no background checking with the service. If that won’t work for you, you could increase the amount of time between check-ins so they are not happening so frequently.
Social networking applications are not the only culprits here. Check out other apps that use the internet in your Settings and change the update frequency for them as well. Many applications such as News & Weather and Android’s E-mail app may be syncing or requesting updates in the background and using up battery life.
Remove Unnecessary Home Screen Widgets
It may not seem intuitive to many users, but just because the application isn’t running doesn’t mean it isn’t using up battery life. The applications on the home screen may be checking for updates, playing animations and most importantly: using battery life. Cut down the number of apps that you put on the home screen and it will mean several more minutes of battery time.
Remember that a number of factors contribute to battery life including the particular device, the age of the battery, the size of the battery, the applications you have installed as well as setting such as internet usage and screen brightness. Correcting your settings and taking into account many of the things that you can change on your device can mean a significant increase in battery life so your device is ready to use when you need it.
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