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The Truth About Your BatteryGeneral

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  1. Easilyamused

    Easilyamused Well-Known Member

    When browsing these forums, you're bound to run across that thread where a frustrated user is yelling, "I hate my S3 the battery sucks!". It can't be avoided; there is always one similar on the first page of the forum.

    You can't help but get sucked in, either because you feel sorry for the poster and want to help, or you're simply curious as to what it could be now. There are always some offering help (sometimes useful; most times not), some sharing that their battery is "just fine" while not offering anything useful, and some just making some statement to the effect that the original poster is an idiot... You know. You've read that thread. You may have even started that thread :) . Unfortunately, much of what you read in that thread is misinformation, so, before the next person starts yet another thread on that matter, I'd like to offer some truths about your S3 and its battery.

    1. You have a bleeding edge, full featured 2012 Smartphone, with a huge, beautiful screen. It's gonna suck juice. 3G/4G/LTE data running in the background is the other killer of your battery life. Those 2 are the worst offenders, but that's what owning a smartphone is all about. It isn't all bad however, if you're not playing games or posting to Facebook 24/7, it really should last you the day without having to recharge, provided you go through and make sure you apps are set up properly.

    2. Will turning off Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth significantly improve my battery life? No. In fact, it may shorten it. When your W-Fi is connected, the 3G/4G/LTE radio is basically in "sleep" mode. It's on, but it doesn't actually use any resources unless called up to do so. Since your S3 is getting it's data from Wi-Fi (which uses significantly less power than your cell radio), the only time your cell radio will use power is if it receives an SMS or other carrier related data that puts it to use.

    Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth when they are turned on by themselves don’t drain your battery. What drains your battery are the apps running in the background using whatever connectivity you have turned on. So instead of shutting down features your phone uses, check your apps. Only use those apps that you really need. If you only need data when you open your app, then turn off background syncing, or if you need it, set the time limits to hours, not minutes.

    Here's a good example. My phone was connected to Wi-Fi for a couple of minutes. The rest of the time, it was out of range of it's normal AP's, while in range of other AP's it does not normally connect to. Bluetooth was on, however there were no connections.


    As you can see, the Wi-Fi and bluetooth used a combined 0.6% of the 61% battery power used over a period of almost 10 hours.

    3. Will installing task managers and task killers boost my battery life? Not really. Android (and yes, even iOS) is "smart" enough to handle task management on their own. And if there is that rare occasion you might have a rogue app, there is always the built in task managers like the one on Android.

    4. How about "Conditioning" my battery? Won't that increase my battery capacity? Battery memory does not exist in today's Li-Ion batteries. You may let it drain down all the way and recharge to 100% so the OS will "learn" your batteries actual capacity, but in general discharging to near 0% repeatedly will lower the life of your battery (which does wear out over the batteries lifetime).

    So What Can You Really Do To Make Your Battery Last Longer?

    If your battery requires recharging several times a day then it's either an app that is causing that, or efective hardware. Get an app like GSam Battery Monitor (free) or BetterBatteryStats (paid) to find that rogue app, try replacing the battery, or even the handset if nothing else works (as an example, you could have a bad radio that stays on when it shouldn't).

    Gsam Battery Monitor Download

    BetterBatterStats Download

    Manage the intervals certain apps have to update information (email, social networking, weather). These apps will wake the phone from sleep or stanby states to update. Do you really need to update Facebook every 15 minutes? Set it to every several hours, or even to "Manual".

    Turn off vibration. It uses far more juice than ringtones.

    If you use your phone indoors a lot, you can set your manual brightness to 20% or so which will give you a moderate boost, and just move the slider up as needed when outside. Removing "live" wallpapers will only save you around 2% or so of your total battery usage, so use at your discretion. If you found one you really like and it's cool to show off, then do so. It's not killing your battery :)

    Turn off unnecessary notifications. It seems as though almost every app checks the Internet in search of updates, news, messages, etc. When it finds something, the app may chime, light up your screen and display a message, make your LED blink, or all of the above. All of this consumes energy.

    Most newer Android phones such as the S3 include a Power Saver mode that helps manage the phone's various power-sapping features. Power Saver mode automatically prevents your apps from updating in the background, dims your screen, reduces the screen timeout setting, disables on-screen animations, and turns off vibration. By default, this mode usually turns on when your battery level drops to 20 percent, but you can set it to kick in at 30 percent instead.The sooner the phone switches to Power Saver mode, the longer its battery will last.

    Anyway, i'll reiterate.. if you are having battery issues, check your apps! If not apps, try swapping batteries. Apps and defective batteries will account for almost all of the battery drain issues. Hope that helps if you are having problems!

    Also, as a last resort, do a factory reset your phone, then check your battery usage. If it's fine, then slowly add apps while continuing to track your battery usage. When you add an app and then the next day notice a significant drain on you battery, you found the culprit!

    Edit: I should clarify point 2 a bit further.. in addition to SURoot's comments below, since 3G/4G/LTE is one of the significant drains on the battery, it IS useful to use Airplane Mode (you can quickly access it from one of the buttons in the S3 Notification Bar) when in areas of no coverage, as this prevents the radio from constantly trying to seek a signal where there is none, which will have an adverse affect on the battery.

    Keep in mind tho, if you're in a normal coverage area, turning off the data will have negligible effect, however if you're in a weak or non-coverage area, it will prevent excessive drain due to radios constantly trying to find/connect to a signal.

    References & Useful Links:
    GSam User's Guide
    How multitasking really works on Android and iOS | ExtremeTech
    Why Your Smartphone Battery Sucks | PCWorld

    marcus33, mydian, jaymzway and 100 others like this.
  2. SUroot

    SUroot Well-Known Member Developer

    To be clear on point 2. Choosing Cell over WiFi is nonsensical. GPS is only used when its in the status bar when an app is using it, bluetooth is negligible.

    However, WiFi will use a fair amount of power if it is not in range of your remembered networks. It constantly scans for SSIDs to connect to, even if "Network Notification" is not set.

    Another thing (thats kind of counter intuitive), Keep WiFi on during sleep should be set to "Always". Constant disconnecting and reconnecting when you turn on and off your screen is a drain. Just leave it on and connected.
  3. ryancalif

    ryancalif Well-Known Member

    #3 is an excellent one. Just use the phone.

    If there's an app thats causing problems, end it.
  4. Tman5293

    Tman5293 Well-Known Member

    This is probably one of the most helpful and informative posts I've read on this forum. You've provided a great service to the community sir. Well done.
  5. Easilyamused

    Easilyamused Well-Known Member

    That's an excellent point.

    Appreciate the thought. Thanks!
  6. MBM7881

    MBM7881 Well-Known Member

    Very true lol
  7. jaydee77ca

    jaydee77ca Well-Known Member

    This is interesting. If I'm understanding correctly does this mean that using an app like JuiceDefender or GreenPower is actually bad for the battery? These apps turn off the data connection and wifi when the phone is asleep and only turn them on at set intervals or when the phone is unlocked. Thoughts? Do any of you power users use these types of apps?

  8. jerofld

    jerofld Fixing stuff is not easy VIP Member

    While it is true what SURoot says about GPS only costing power when the receiver dish is on, I've noticed that certain weather apps, even the stock Samsung weather widget will turn on GPS if it's set to find your location. So turning off GPS and letting things like weather widgets and other location necessary widgets will save a little bit of power.

    I turn off my GPS satellites and it shaves off the little GPS pings I would get occasionally.
    SUroot likes this.
  9. Easilyamused

    Easilyamused Well-Known Member

    In my opinion it's time has passed along with task killers. There was a time most apps were using polling (checking for new info every x minutes), but more and more apps today are using push notifications, which are nearly instant and use far less battery than polling.

    JD (and similar apps) automatically disables your connections in order to conserve power. You can read in the original post how that affects battery drain. In my own experience it causes wakelocks and actually has a negative impact on the battery. Perhaps on a poorly set up phone it may actually help, but it you have your apps set up properly it consumes more battery than it saves.

    It can also be a hassle when you need Wi-Fi or data and it's not there, etc.
  10. blenky

    blenky Well-Known Member

    I use JuiceDefender and it made a big difference to the life of my battery.
  11. Lato9905

    Lato9905 Well-Known Member

    I have a question for you guys since I bought the phone over two months ago it seems the battery has been just ok but today I actually tried turning mobile date off and WOW the increase in life is astonishing. With that being said here's my question are their any apps that will only allow data to selected apps? For instance I want to have mobile date off essentially but I only want whatsapp to have access to it when it needs it?
  12. Easilyamused

    Easilyamused Well-Known Member

    That's what turning off all background data does - apps only use them when you open/use the app. Disable background syncing, or remove apps which don't allow you to control this.

    Again, 3G/4G/LTE (and I differentiate 4G and LTE as HSPA+, rightly or wrongly, falls under 4G) - which is your data connection - is a primary power drain on you battery. However, if nothing accesses that data connection, unless you're in an area where your radio is constantly cycling to pick up a signal (very weak or no signal), leaving data on has minimal impact on your battery reserve. It's the apps that use the connection which consumes your battery.

    Given that, AFAIK there is no such app, and if you think about it there really is no need for such an app. Besides, even if there were one, if data is disconnected, how would such an app know that someone is messaging you in order to allow Whatsapp access? It would only work when you were sending a message, rendering half of Whatsapp's function useless.

    I dunno.. maybe I'm outhinking myself :p
  13. vzwuser76

    vzwuser76 Well-Known Member

    Quick question. Ever since Li-ion batteries came out I've heard, as you stated above, that these batteries no longer have memory issues. My question is I've noticed that when I have swapped batteries (when I'd bought an extra or extended battery) on my phone after I'd made a significant change in the layout since I last used that battery that the old layout was back. I had that recently happen on both my OG Incredible & Rezound that I use as backups. When they talk about battery memory, are they talking about memory in the actual battery like the capacity, or are they referring to my situation where the device has memory that's tied to the battery that's installed, which is what I believe is causing what I'm seeing? Not a big deal, but I've always been curious as to why it happens.

    In case you're looking for a deeper description of what's happening, here it is. Say I am using the extended battery (we'll call it battery B) and I have wallpaper 1 set. I switch to the standard battery (battery A) and don't go back to battery B for a month. During that month I switch to wallpaper 2. After a month I decide to use battery B for a while. I install it and power on the phone. When it comes up wallpaper 1 is back. Hope I'm making it clear enough.
  14. horsecharles

    horsecharles Well-Known Member

  15. KeithSr

    KeithSr Well-Known Member

    I always say... my battery life is awesome. I never really understood the problems people seem to have. BUT when I'm at my vacation home in Pennsylvania, there is no CDMA, only iDEN. I have a Nextel phone that I leave at that house for when I'm there. If I leave my SGS3 on, I do notice it losing some battery life that it normally does not lose. This is something I will try. If I'm in Airplane mode, does the wifi still work? If so, I should be able to use Talk-A-Tone to make calls, right?

    Edit: Never mind, I just tried it, I need to manually turn wifi back on after clicking the airplane mode. Then I can use the wifi app "Talkatone".
  16. Easilyamused

    Easilyamused Well-Known Member

    One doesn't have anything to do with the other, so I have no clue as to why that happened. Removing the battery clears active memory, so maybe somehow the old wallpaper was cached?
  17. Easilyamused

    Easilyamused Well-Known Member

    After re-reading your reply, I would have to respectfully disagree with one part of your comment. While in range of multiple AP's, but outside the range of my "Saved" networks, Wi-Fi consumed 0.3% of the 61% battery power used - The same as the unconnected Bluetooth (screenshot of battery monitor added to my original post above). 0.6% combined is inconsequential, and certainly unnoticeable without the use of monitoring software.
  18. Stuntman

    Stuntman Well-Known Member

    One thing that I have experienced with all 3 of my smartphones (one Nokia, one HTC and one Samsung) is that batter life when brand new seems to be not that good and then gets better after a few weeks. The instruction manual that came with my HTC phone states that battery life should increase after a number of recharges. I'm thinking that part of the reason may be that when I get a new phone, I am trying more things out and thus using it more than after I have had it for some time. I am not sure that this is the only reason why my battery life seems to increase after a few weeks of using a new phone. I have used it heavily at times when it was more than a month old and it seems to last longer. I have not done any controlled tests. All I know is that battery life appears to increase after about a month of owning each of my new phones.
  19. SolidSnake117

    SolidSnake117 Active Member

    Maybe try buying a brand new battery for your phone (after months of using the phone prior) and test to see how long it lasts with the same usage. Then, if the battery doesnt last as long as the other one, then you know that new batteries just need to be cycled a few times to work at full capacity.:smokingsomb:
  20. blue_sector

    blue_sector Member

    While I agree that the key negotiations associated with re-establishing a WiFi connection each time you turn the screen on can eat CPU cycles, one can also argue that leaving WiFi always enabled can waste cycles if the phone is connected to an access point. I figure, at minimum, wpa_supplicant must continue to run in the background to perform periodic re-keying.

    As a simple test, last night I configured my GS3 to keep WiFi on always, enabled BlueTooth (though there are no BT devices nearby) and disabled Juice Defender. I also disabled all app syncing. For the last 10 hours, with the exception of a 2-minute phone call, my phone has been idle. Screen off, no app updates, no notifications received. As suspected, however, GSam's battery history graph shows the phone has been in an almost constant 'active' state for the period that the phone was ostensibly asleep. Oddly, the graph does show three brief gaps (maybe 15-20 minutes each?) over the last 12 hours where the phone indeed appears to have gone to sleep. Curious. I'd need an app like BBS or a rooted phone to investigate further.

    Perhaps not coincidentally, after the test, I noticed my battery was at 77% so it had drained about 2% per hour while resting idly on my kitchen bar. With JD enabled, battery drain at this location has been between 0.5% and 1% per hour. I understand this isn't a completely fair comparison since JD does other things but my feel is the bulk of this discrepancy is due to WiFi being enabled...
  21. Covart

    Covart Well-Known Member

    I have an extra OEM battery. I don't like putting any limits on my phone or myself.:D
  22. Easilyamused

    Easilyamused Well-Known Member

    If you check Gsam you would observe that JD stops the phone going into a proper deep sleep, which contributes to battery drain. JD will use more battery than a properly set up phone.

    I might however agree that if you have no desire to go through and set everything up correctly, JD will probably decrease your overall battery use, however JD itself can be a hassle by getting in the way of certain functions when you need them.

    As for Wi-Fi and BT, I never turn them off. Currently after a bit over 30 hours, my battery is down to 40%, and Wi-Fi and BT have accounted for 0.4% combined of the 60% battery used (adj. for apps which account for half of the battery drain):


    But you're limiting yourself to just 2 batteries :p
    jaymzway likes this.
  23. Heisenberg123

    Heisenberg123 Well-Known Member

    so is the built in battery is not as good as the ones you mentioned?
  24. Easilyamused

    Easilyamused Well-Known Member

    not sure what you mean.. or who your question is directed towards... the OEM battery? Compared to what?
  25. Heisenberg123

    Heisenberg123 Well-Known Member

    sorry I guess I missed a work I meant the built in Battery usage monitor in settings/battery

    is that not as accuarate as the 2 apps you referenced to used

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