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best practices to maximize battery life (and some related thoughts)

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by boofer, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. boofer

    boofer Member
    Thread Starter

    i own a stock, un-rooted Galaxy SIII on Verizon.

    1. the graph below is your friend. you can see it by going to settings > battery and then tapping on the graph at the top of the screen.


    mobile network signal: green is good, yellow is okay, red is bad/no signal.
    GPS on: self explanatory
    Wi-Fi: self explanatory
    Awake: if you see blue, that means the phone is working. it's processing something, it's displaying something, it's sending or receiving data, etc.
    Screen on: self explanatory

    if you see blue on the Awake line but no corresponding blue on the Screen on line, this means the phone is doing things while it's in your pocket and the screen is off. if this is occurring excessively, it is generally not a good thing, but it's inevitable to some degree. for instance, if you have a weather widget or Gmail syncs regularly, you will see this happen.

    if the phone is off (i.e. the screen itself is not being turned on at all) for 8 hours while you're sleeping and the Awake bar is heavily littered with blue or it's a straight blue bar, then 99% of the time you have an app that's causing wakelocks, meaning it's taxing the phone without you even using it. depending on the wakelock, it can really kill your battery fast.

    2. if you have lots of wakelocks, you can download an app like BetterBatteryStats. however, it costs money, and some find it to be confusing. a better way to tackle this is to check all of the sync/push settings in each of those apps.

    for instance, i use apps like Instagram and Pulse. both of these apps have settings for background updates:



    my advice is to uncheck these boxes whenever you can, and many apps out there will have these sort of settings. another thing to look out for are apps that have a "send anonymous usage data" option. tons of apps out there have this functionality checked by default, so you should un-check them wherever possible.

    3. the stock Email app. in my limited use, it has proven to be a complete battery nightmare. if you use Gmail exclusively, then use the Gmail app and don't touch the Email app. too often, people will set up one or multiple email accounts via the stock Email app and have them all set to push notifications. this can kill your battery in 6-8 hours with the screen completely off, and the phone will get hot as well. if you absolutely have to use the Email app, make sure you change your settings to sync email once an hour or two instead of push/every five minutes.

    4. if you live in an area where your signal is weak (go to settings > about phone > status to see signal strength), your phone is going to drain battery faster than if you had a strong signal, all other things equal. -70 dBm is pretty close to perfect, -90 is decent, -100 is poor, and -110 is pretty bad. likewise, if you're roaming, you will burn through your battery almost as fast as if you were watching a movie via Netflix.

    5. this isn't really advertised much, but in general, when you are quitting an app, you should use the BACK button to do so, NOT the home button. the back button usually acts like an "exit" button, but the home button basically leaves that app open and takes you back to your home screen.

    to test this out:
    - open up Youtube, let it load, then hit your home button to take you to your home screen.
    - long press the home button to bring up recently used apps.
    - tap Task manager on the lower left.
    - observe that Youtube is still an Active application:


    now, re-load Youtube, but use your Back button to exit out of it. repeat the steps above to check Task manager and you'll see that it is no longer in the list of active applications.

    there are undoubtedly some applications that don't consume much battery even though they might be in the list of "Active" applications, but i still believe that utilizing the Back button to exit apps is a good way to go about using your phone throughout the day.

    final various thoughts:

    - your mileage may vary, but i haven't found that leaving wifi on constantly or off constantly really makes a difference while i'm home and connected to my network vs. using cellular data (Verizon). my focus is on minimizing wakelocks, and just having wifi on with no wakelocks doesn't seem to cause excessive battery drain. i do also have a very strong signal at -70 dBm or so. i lose about 5-7% with the phone sitting next to my bed overnight. this is normal usage, and when i wake up and check the battery graph, there are only a few wakelocks (Gmail and Beautiful Widgets syncing, and not much else). in the end though, when i'm out and about, i will turn off wifi if i'm not going to be connected to a network.

    - leaving bluetooth on or off doesn't really make a difference in my battery life either. i generally connect when i get in my car, but if i have it on and it isn't paired with anything all day while i'm at work, it doesn't really consume my battery at all. therefore, i leave it on all day (even though it is un-paired) and i don't notice excessive drain whatsoever.

    - i usually average about 4-5 hours of screen on time over a period of ~18 hours in a normal day, with auto-brightness on.

    - if you had good battery life and it started going downhill recently, think about the apps that you have recently installed. chances are really good that there's some setting in those apps that are causing wakelocks, and in turn, excessive battery drain.

    - google now seems to drain my phone fast, so i disabled it altogether. it's somewhat of a neat feature, but in the end, i just leave it installed on my Nexus 7 tablet and keep it off of my phone. i have enough things drawing power on the phone as it is, and i can still do voice searches on Google and whatnot.

    - i took the 4.1.1 OTA update over the weekend and got pretty marginal battery life for a day, so i decided to do a factory reset and re-do all of my screens and re-install many of my apps. i'm still tweaking it but my battery life seems to have stabilized to something close to what it was with ICS.

    anyway, this got very long, but i hope it was informative. your mileage may vary but i do believe that most of these points are pretty fundamental and will apply to your phone's battery life, whether you're rooted or not.

    trale, MrNice, trucky and 12 others like this.

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  2. scary alien

    scary alien not really so scary
    VIP Member

    Nicely done, boofer! :)

    You've got a very complete and detailed list. Don't know if you also want to mention live wallpapers are a bit of a luxury as far as battery life goes.

    Great job!

    boofer likes this.
  3. Sandroidfan

    Sandroidfan Android Expert

    I also think leaving WiFi on all the time doesn't harm battery life to the contrary of some claims, perceptions. I think it's best way to utilize the battery saving from WiFi. It automatically reconnects with saved access points when I get there. So I don't see the point of setting up location based WiFi enable/disable in apps like Juice Defender, Tasker as it will use more battery power with GPS.

    As for the battery drain with Google Now, it's location based services in it that's hitting battery life badly. Once activated, google now automatically enables location report/history in google map which monitors and tracks your location in background. I think it's the main reason why Jelly Bean is giving worse battery life for many. You can manually turn off those setting in google map and still use google now. This way you can get battery life on par with ICS or better though google now will be somewhat limited in location based services.
    javamann and scary alien like this.
  4. boofer

    boofer Member
    Thread Starter

    i agree - i don't use JD or tasker at all, and location/GPS based services will kill your battery fast too. i think i've drained it from 100% to 5% in 4 hours using it as a GPS. to be honest that's not terrible but it's not ideal unless you have a power source in your car (which i do).

    i have one other addition to my original post:

    i didn't mention that i also went into settings > application manager and disabled a bunch of applications/processes, where the stock system would let me. the list of things that i disabled are:

    allshare play
    exchange services
    kies air
    media hub (i use google play music)
    music hub
    s suggest
    s voice (is pretty slow, and bad)
    sync service
    verizon tones
    VZ navigator

    i would have disabled more, but it won't allow me to without rooting and flashing a custom ROM and/or freezing/uninstalling apps with Titanium Backup.

    here is a screenshot of my battery life from yesterday/last night. you can see that when my screen is off, my phone is generally not getting woken up (no blue on Screen on and two tiny blue blips on Awake), and as a result, my battery life has been very stable.

  5. silentwitness

    silentwitness Android Expert

    having a look at ure screenshot it seems as though ure phone sleeps really well when the screen is off, can i ask do u have google maps active or have u disabled it?
  6. boofer

    boofer Member
    Thread Starter

    i checked and google maps was active and running. however, i went into settings a few days ago and disabled basically all location tracking things that i could..."enable location sharing," "enable location history," "automatic check-ins," etc.

    i swear though that sometimes when i turn on my screen, i see the GPS icon with the dot in the upper left of the notification bar on, and it disappears a split second after the screen comes on, which leads me to believe that maps might still be doing some things in the background.

    if you're super paranoid, you can go into task manager and kill the (usually) two or three instances of Maps after you use it. sometimes i have three instances: two have the uptime clock running, but the third one just says "restarting" and it appears to just hang there. i generally kill at least that process, but unless i know i'm going to be away from a charger for a long time, i don't worry about this.
  7. silentwitness

    silentwitness Android Expert

    the maps reload themselves i am running gsam battery monitor and saw in a 18 hr period the maps woke my device up 648 times which is alot so trying to figure out why its doing that.
  8. boofer

    boofer Member
    Thread Starter

    do you use apps like Google Latitude or Local? also, did you uncheck all of those boxes in Maps > Settings?
  9. silentwitness

    silentwitness Android Expert

    nope dont use google latitude or local. I have disabled all the settings in maps. Will check it again overnight and see.
  10. Roadie1015

    Roadie1015 Well-Known Member

    I have a question:
    The lines for my Mobile Network Signal and Wifi are totally solid all of the time (in the "History Details" when I click on the graph). Even though during the day I'm at work and not on wifi, and I have Juice Defender set to turn my mobile data off when I'm not using my phone. Is this normal? The lines only break if I manually turn either of them off. My battery life isn't horrible but I don't remember it being this way before Jelly Bean.
  11. nav2012

    nav2012 Newbie

    Your explanation has helped me maximize the battery life a lot.
    Previously I was using Llama location profile, SmartWifiToggler, JuiceDefender...removed all of them.

    By understanding how battery is consumed even when the phone is asleep and tweaking the email sync frequency, I am now burning about 5% every hour with normal use. If I use the screen for a little longer like reading the emails, facebook etc, it consumes little more as expected.

    The phone can atleast now last 12 hours before re-charging.

    MagicJack was a big culprit. Have not figured out how to stop that app from automatically starting up when rebooting the phone. From this graph, I could see the darn thing was keeping the phone Awake all the time and I could feel the phone warm when picking up the phone. So I now manually kill it once I am done making outgoing phone calls with that app.

  12. Jeepmaster

    Jeepmaster Well-Known Member

    A few things I have to add. I use tasker to turn on/off WiFi and data according to the radio tower location, which your phone has this info already from your cell signal. It does not use GPS, or wireless location function, which does use more battery I agree. It's up to how you program tasker.

    Also I use the stock email app for my hotmail account and set to push, which for me use less battery than pulling every hour. It all depends on how often you get new email. Someone that gets new email every 5min will use more battery than someone that's getting 2 emails a day.

    My s3 last me over a day with normal use, but I'm rooted with lots of tweaks. Biggest drain is probably WiFi and data, so when I'm playing games, my tasker turns off WiFi and data for me.
  13. nav2012

    nav2012 Newbie


    I also use the stock email app to pull email from 2 Gmail accounts and 1 Yahoo account. I don't understand how you can get hotmail to "push" emails and not pull. Pushing of emails is something that Blackberry does and that would involve installing the proprietary Blackberry enterprise server.

    I did not think any of the major free email service providers did push of emails. Unless this is something that you get as an option in a rooted SG3.

    EDIT: Found the info on how to setup Gmail to push.

    Have setup one of my gmail accounts this way and will see how the Battery graph and details look like now, before converting other email account same way.
    KOLIO likes this.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Forum

The Samsung Galaxy S3 release date was May 2012. Features and Specs include a 4.8" inch screen, 8MP camera, 1GB RAM, Exynos 4412 Quad processor, and 2100mAh battery.

May 2012
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