Android update battery problems: How to fix poor battery life following Android 5.0 Lollipop update
Users are reporting battery life issues running the latest Android update. Here’s how to get around the problems
Should I install Android Lollipop?
Well, so much for Lollipop improving battery life.
Before we begin we should point out that not everyone running Android Lollipop is dealing with battery drain – some are really quite happy with the new OS, particularly those with devices that run Lollipop out of the box. (Some are also dealing with Wi-Fi problems but, honestly, there are a lot of happy Lollipop users out there.)
You should also know that every new operating system comes with a few bugs that are gradually ironed out through updates as they become apparent. There is nothing inherently ‘wrong’ with Android Lollipop.
If an Android Lollipop update is available for your device then it’s up to you whether you should install it. No-one is holding a gun to your head. If you go ahead there are many perks, as you’ll learn from our Android Lollipop review, but you should be aware that there may also be a few bugs at first.
Samsung Galaxy S5
I came across a Samsung Galaxy S5 running Android 5.0 Lollipop with such poor battery performance that it was down to 95 percent within minutes of unplugging it from the mains. The owner was carrying a powerbank with him at all times, and still he would run out of power by early evening. He also complained that his S5 was running so hot in his pocket.
If your battery performance is this bad it’s quite possible that there is something wrong with it. But the phone was functioning fine until he downloaded the latest Android update, and he is far from alone in reporting battery life issues following the installation of Android 5.0 Lollipop.
On checking in the Battery settings what had been using his battery I found Android OS was greedier than anything else, including the display.
It’s not an issue specific to the Samsung Galaxy S5, however, so we expect to hear from more users running into battery life problems as Lollipop continues its rollout.
Android 5.0.1 Lollipop update
Many Nexus 5 owners who upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop at launch were also plagued with battery life issues, although we’ve seen fewer reports of problems with those phones running the later Android 5.0.1 update which is in essence a collection of bug fixes. Google has also said the problem is fixed in the latest builds. If you haven’t received an OTA update to 5.0.1 the file is available from Google.
Unfortunately, this update won’t yet be available to owners of Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG or other smartphones, which in the UK are delivered OTA by the network operator, slowing down the process. It could be two months before Samsung releases Android 5.0.1 for the Galaxy S5, for example. Even then, we can’t guarantee it will solve battery life problems. However, you should double-check you are running the latest version of Android now.
So what can you do in the meantime?
How to fix poor battery life
The first thing you should check is what is actually consuming the battery. Open your Settings menu and look for a Battery or Power option; within this you should find Battery usage. Here you’ll see battery consumption broken down into the various apps and services running on your phone.
If there is a particular app that is consuming a lot of power – which can be the case with older third-party apps that haven’t been optimised for newer OSes – kill it. If things don’t improve following its uninstallation then you can always reinstall it.
Thanks to the tips below this article we know that many users are reporting excessive battery drain being caused by frequent Wi-Fi scanning. It’s worth turning off your Wi-Fi when you aren’t using it to see if this extends your battery life at all.
Going back to that Galaxy S5 I spoke of earlier, those who have called tech support have been told a factory reset may solve their problem. And in (some) cases it has improved things, but I sympathise with those for whom a factory reset is the last thing they want to do, losing all their personal settings and customisation options in the process. Be sure to back up anything on your phone before you take this step, if you choose to do so.
That didn’t work. What can I do to improve battery life?
If all that fails then your only option to solve the problem is to wait for a bug fix to roll out to your phone. But that doesn’t help you out in the meantime if your phone is all but unusable. Here are some tips to extend your smartphone’s battery life.
• Remember to restart your phone every so often. Sounds simple, but it could just be the fix you’re looking for.
• Turn down the screen brightness and adjust the screen timeout. You’ll find both options in the Settings menu.
• Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not in use. Look for toggles in the notification bar or find these options in the Settings menu.
• Close apps running in the background. You don’t need to install a Task Manager or other app to achieve this, just tap the square button at the bottom of the display to bring up an ‘Overview’ or recent apps list. Running apps are shown as cards, and you can simply swipe them off the screen to close them.
• Turn off haptics. Your phone’s ability to vibrate to warn you of a new call or notification is useful, but it has to use enough power to make your whole phone shake.
• Take advantage of power-saving modes. Some phones even have Ultra Power Saving modes that, in the case of the Samsung Galaxy S5, can make 10 percent of the battery’s capacity last 24 hours by turning off inessential features and screen colours.
• Carry a spare battery or, better yet, a power bank. Your spare battery offers a single charge for that specific handset, while you can buy a power bank that costs less and offers more charges – to any phone.
How to charge your phone faster:
First off, it’s important to understand how the tech works, since not all chargers are created equal.
You’ve probably noticed that your phone or tablet will charge much slower when it’s connected to a PC or laptop’s USB port than when it is to a mains power adaptor. And you may have noticed your phone will charge faster when connected to the charger that came with your tablet. That’s because different chargers have different power outputs.
While a PC’s USB port is specified at 2.5W for USB 1.0 and 2.0 and 4.5W for USB 3.0 (so always use a USB 3.0 port in preference to USB 1.0 or 2.0 when available), a phone charger might be rated at 5W and a tablet charger 10W, for example.
We calculate the wattage by multiplying the current (the number of amps) and the voltage. So, if your charger is specified at 5V, 1A, it can supply 5W. If it is specified at 5V, 2A it can supply 10W.
Can I use a phone charger with a tablet; can I use a tablet charger with a phone?
You can use any USB charger with any phone or tablet, with the only caveat that if there isn’t sufficient power available you may find your device won’t charge – this is often the case with iPads, which will not charge from a PC’s standard USB port.
Note that your device will draw only the power it requires. If you plug a 10W charger into a phone that accepts only 5W, it will still draw just 5W and won’t charge any faster than it would with a lower-specified charger.
However, many phones and most tablets will accept a higher input. Check the spec of your phone and your charger now to see whether you could be benefitting from faster charging.
What else can I do?
Several tips are often bandied around that claim to allow for faster charging. One of those is to remove its case. The idea is that by avoiding excessive heat build-up you will prolong the life of your device’s battery, allowing it to operate at maximum performance for longer.
Another potentially useful tip, if you can bear to go offline for an hour or two, is to put your phone or tablet either into Flight mode or switch it off during charging. This may charge your device quicker because it isn’t busy doing any other tasks that would otherwise place a drain on the battery.