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How To Improve Android Battery Life

1. Use Android Power Control widget
Put simply, you’ve got to take control. The best way of maintaining battery life is indeed to dumb-down your all-powerful new phone by switching off features – but do it in a stylish way. Don’t just leave everything turned off all the time, or you may as well still be using a Nokia 6610.
Home screen widgets that flip Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and other power-hungry options on and off with a single press take the pain out of switching features off, while Android 1.6 added Google’s own power icon strip – set it up by long-pressing and installing the Android Power Control widget on your Home screen.

2. Calm down on the status updates
No one’s saying you can’t use your Android phone’s features, but do you really need to be pinged every two minutes about a new Tweet or email? Lower the notification frequency in any apps that constantly update you on the minutiae of everything everyone does, ever, and you’ll maybe still have a bit of battery left by bed time. So you can tweet that it’s your bed time. Then tweet ‘night night’.

3. Switch off auto-sync
If you’re not a power-user of the Google life-management apps, turn them off. If you can live without Google Calendar and Gmail, it’s possible to do away with auto-sync altogether – just remember to manually sync your Contacts every once in a while, in case you drop your phone in a toilet.
The app MySettings will give you numerous little toggle switches and let you turn auto-sync on and off easily, if you like the idea of having a whole screen full of power-saving icons.

4. Disable 3G connectivity
Good old 2G is perfect for calls and texts, so kill 3G unless you’re planning a bit of emergency web browsing on your phone. You’ll also benefit from the general feeling of increased calmness that follows naturally once you’ve stopped staring at the 3G icon every two minutes and fretting about what your mobile network connection state is.

5. Lower the screen brightness
As impressive as it might be to have your stunning OLED screen blazing out so much light that the current inhabitants of the International Space Station have to squint and lower the sun visors when you wake it up, it’s completely unnecessary. If you’re inside, Android’s default 0% brightness setting ought to do. Again, install a brightness widget on your desktop, for easy access when you do need a visibility boost.

6. Turn off GPS
GPS is a monster power-drainer, and it’s barely of any use most of the time. Is it? Really? Even famed mobile-sensitive app Foursquare can do a good enough job of tracking you down via approximations based on which mobile masts you’re connected to, so unless you’re actually doing a bit of serious satnav action, switch it off. You’ll be able to hear your battery sigh with relief. Seriously. Try holding your phone to your ear as you uncheck the box.

7. Monitor everything
Android 1.6 introduced a menu that lets users see precisely where their battery life is going, with the OS giving you a percentage breakdown of what sucked away all your phone’s power in the final few minutes before you actually wanted to use it. Like a mobile black box recorder.
The ‘Battery Use’ tab under Settings/About Phone will give you a detailed breakdown of what’s absorbing the most power, letting you take manual control – and delete any power-hungry apps. Try replacing them with alternatives and see if there’s a difference. One rogue app that sucks power on your particular phone could be the problem.

8. Set a Wi-Fi timeout
There’s a semi-hidden ‘Advanced’ Wi-Fi management screen in Android, accessed by navigating to your phone’s ‘Wi-fi Settings’ tab and then pressing the Menu button. From here, you’re able to manually select a timeout option for the Wi-Fi connection – one of the biggest power drains on idle phones.
It may make your phone take longer to connect to Wi-Fi when you wake it up, and therefore feel a little less ‘smart’, but at least it’ll still be significantly smarter than a lump of useless plastic with a dead battery.

9. Go Gothic
Modern popular thinking has it that phone screens, particularly OLED versions, use more energy when displaying brighter, whiter colours. So go Gothic. Ditch that vibrant wallpaper and select a nice, dark Home screen background, then enjoy not having to reach for the charger for at least an extra minute every day.

10. Install a time-sensitive power manager
There are plenty of time and location sensitive apps on the Android Market which automatically handle your phone’s power and communications settings. For example, there’s no point leaving your phone connected to the mobile network while you’re asleep – so a simple app like Airplane Autoswitch, which kills all radio communications, will save loads of power and also help you sleep uninterrupted by notification pings.
Set it to activate Airplane mode at your usual bedtime, then get it to fire itself up again when you wake up. Simple, and your battery will make it through the night with only a minuscule drain.

11. Put your phone somewhere there’s a good reception
Your phone uses more power when it’s seeking a mobile mast connection, so, believe it or not, your battery will last much longer if you leave your phone in a place where it gets a good reception. Put it on the other side of your desk, or on the windowsill. It will make a difference.
An app like Antennas will give you a ridiculously detailed summary of your phone’s current network connectivity state and all the masts in the area, if you fancy locating the optimum low-power placement within a three-mile radius of your home.

12. Don’t drain the battery
The old advice to completely drain your battery to ensure proper operation doesn’t stand any more, thanks to modern lithium-ion batteries. They don’t have the charge memory issues that affected previous generation cells, and in fact perform better if you regularly charge them and keep them topped up.

13. Buy an in-car charger
And leave it in the car. Buy a spare one and leave it in a friend’s car. Also leave USB cables everywhere. And get a spare battery. And a spare spare battery. There’s no guaranteed way to beat the system. It will be flat the one time you fall down a cliff and need help.
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