With just one widget and one Android app, you can significantly improve the battery life of your Android device.
While there are many, many ways to improve the battery life of your Android phone, these quick two suggestions are arguably the easiest and most effective overall.
- In the first part of this guide we’ll activate the widget and download the app – the second part will explain how to use both of them to increase your Android battery life.
- Start out by doing a “long tap” (hold down your finger) on one of your Android home screens. I prefer my ‘main’ screen so it’s always visible to me. Note: this widget will require an entire ‘row’. Select Android widgets from the pop-up menu.
- Scroll down to Power Control and select it.
- A long rectangular widget with 5 ‘buttons’ will appear on your Android home screen. Ignore it for now, we’ll get to using it in a few minutes.
- If you have a QR Code Reader on your Android phone, use the QR code below to launch the Market (and go right to Any Cut) for you. Otherwise, open the Market app on your phone and search for the phrase any cut.
- Make sure to select Any Cut 2 by taMMiz, and install it as you would any other Android app.
- Once again return to your Android home screen and “long tap” (hold down your finger) to bring up the Add to Home screen display. This time, select Shortcuts.
- Tap Any Cut.
- Tap Activity.
- Scroll down the list (it’s pretty long) and select Battery Manager.
- You’ll be prompted to name your shortcut. The default is the name of the ‘activity’ – in this case Battery Manager.
- That name is a bit too long for me, so I changed it to just Battery. Tap OK when you’re done.
- Now you should see a new ‘shortcut’ icon on your home screen. Again, ignore it for now – just make sure it’s there. Note: I’ve found it very helpful to have the Power Control and Battery shortcut on the same home screen. It doesn’t have to be your primary one, but since they go hand in hand, it’s useful to have them near each other.
- Here we go – time to get to know the Power Control widget. It consists of 5 buttons that can toggle services on and off. From left to right, those services are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Data and Display Brightness. Each of these 5 services are (to varying degrees) – pretty big battery drainers. The Power Control widget lets you turn these services off and on as you need them – without having to hunt through all of the Android Settings. For example – unless you’re downloading a large file or you’re doing something bandwidth intensive, you really don’t need Wi-Fi on. Tap that button to quickly turn it on or off. The same holds true with each of the remaining 5 buttons. You only need to have GPS enabled when you’re using Maps, a social networking service that is location based (Foursquare, Brightkite etc) or when you want to embed geo-location data into a picture (assuming your phone camera supports that feature).
When there’s a “green line” below a button, it means that service is turned on. In the screenshot below, all 5 services are turned on – which would drain a battery quickly – and unnecessarily.
- Now tap your newly created Battery home screen shortcut.
- You’ll be taken directly to the Android Battery Manager. The Battery Manager is a bit buried in the Android Settings, so having a shortcut directly to it is very helpful. Tap the “battery” picture.
- Here’s where the very helpful info resides. A list of exactly what has been using your battery the most. In my example (see the screenshot below) – the Display was responsible for 40% of my battery usage since last charged.
- Now that I know it’s the display that has been using the most battery power, I can use the Power Control widget to adjust the brightness of the display. The brighter your screen, the more battery you’re using. Turning the brightness display “off” doesn’t really turn the display off – it sets your Android screen to the very lowest possible brightness setting. The brightness display button in the Power Control widget also has several pre-sets. Tap the button to cycle through them.
- In my example (step #17 above) – Display was the primary source of my battery usage. If yours is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or GPS – now you know how to toggle them off when they’re not in use, and back on when you need them. Things like Phone idle, Cell standby, Android System (and/or Android OS) are always going to use battery power.
If you’re a Twitter addict and update constantly, you’ll probably find that your Twitter app is one of the bigger battery-drainers. That’s normal – if you use an app a lot, it will use your battery.
If you notice that one of your home screen widgets is using a lot of your battery power, and it’s not one that you ever use (or very rarely use) – delete it from your home screen. If you find a home screen widget that you do use frequently is taking up a lot of your battery, you’ll want to take a look at that widgets settings. See if you can decrease the refresh frequency or another method to save on some battery power.
Learning which apps and services are using your battery the most – and having an easy way to quickly enable/disable them – is the best way to extend the life of your Android battery.
Related and helpful reading: The Complete Guide to Maximizing Your Android Phone’s Battery Life.