How to obtain good stamina on an Android phone

Summary

  1. This thread is general in nature, but based on my Xperia neo Pro.
  2. Xperia phones DO have good stamina if set up and used correctly
    I can get 4½ days of stamina WITH 3G+WiFi+Virus Scanner ON
  3. Set Brightness to 100%, and use widget “Brightness On/Off“,
    Use On in direct sunlight only.
  4. Set Screen time out to 30 sec.
  5. Use the app AdBlocker to block specific apps from data connection.
  6. Use the app WapDroid to only allow WiFi at specific geographical ‘points’. (By Cell-ID NOT gps)
  7. Have the phone at optimal position.
    Place on the desk not in the pocket while working.
  8. Exit apps if possible when you are finished.
  9. “Ads within Android apps found to consume 75% of the app’s power.”
  10. Avoid task-killers on the bloatware.
    (The repeated killing and resurrection eats a lot of battery)
  11. Avoid ‘clever’ battery-apps in the background doing more harm than good.
  12. Note that the percentages in Battery Use are based on estimates.
  13. Consider if you need background data traffic or not.
  14. The “Android System”-drainage bug!
  15. Finally I have a few tests , if the above did not do the trick.

screenshot_2012-03-21_0127

General

On general battery info and hints see this

Details

This thread is general in nature, but based on my specific model.

Mine is an Xperia neo Pro (produced “11W46”, I got it primo Jan 2012) with the original standard BA700 1500mAh battery.

With normal use, I can easily get two days of stamina.

With very limited use, I can get over 4½ day of stamina WITH 3G AND WiFi AND Virus Scanner ON, (they are all often unfairly blamed for bad stamina).

This proves that the Xperia phones DO have good stamina, with a standard battery, if placed at a position with good network coverage!!

Here are the results from the build in app “Battery Use” (click to enlarge)

(see this thread on the build in app “Battery Use)

screenshot_2012-03-21_0127_x

A few notes on the screen dumps:

Note that this is with very limited usage, but including active 3G and WiFi. and mail-check every half hour.

The battery went from about 94% to 1% remaining capacity in 108 hours.

(Unfortunately I did not even charge it fully first, that could have given a few extra hours).

In the period I only had a few minutes calls, perhaps a score of sms and a dozen of mails, so the phone was almost not used. And display was on for an hour only.

Apart from a 3Km walk (where the curve goes relatively steeply from green to yellow), the phone was left on my desk during the whole period (or in my hand at the desk), at a position with generally pretty good 3G coverage (about ½Km from the 3G-mast)

Note that WiFi has been on for over 22h, but only used CPU for 2s, and thus ‘only’ used 12% of battery capacity.

So! How is this obtained?

Display is the number one culprit!

info The display is by far the number one worst power consumer, depending on the brightness level.

(It can be adjusted under Settings, Display, Brightness)

  1. When display is left off I get around 100h (see above)
  2. When display 100% and dimmed by widget about 17h
  3. When display 100% only about 7h

(The 17h and 7h are extrapolated numbers from output of “Battery test” in service menu, see below, Note that this would be worse if I was using an app like a game)

I expect these number to be quite a bit worse on models like e.g. “Xperia S”, with much larger both resolution and area!!

So it really matters!!! I can only very strongly recommend the second!!!!

So PLEASE: Set your screen brightness to 100%, and add the widget “Brightness On/Off” to your main screen, and dim it whenever you are not in direct sunlight.

I guess I have mine dimmed far over 90% of the time! I really only need the full brightness outdoors in direct sunlight, the full brightness is actually too much in dark conditions anyhow!

You would get similar good stamina by sliding down the “Brightness”, but using the Widget approach you would get both: Good stamina and sunlight legibility. (though not simultaneously – no miracles involved)

info Set your screen time-out reasonably. If you set it too low it is a pest, but I recommend not setting it above 30s.

It is not only the display that are turned off, other things ‘go to sleep’ as well.

The only ‘special’ things I have installed are:

info AdBlocker : https://market.android.com/details?id=net.xdevelop.adblocker

Here I have removed internet access from a LOT of apps, including all the bloat like Faecesbook!!!

These are the ones I have selected (not including all of the stuff I have downloaded)

screenshot_2012-03-31_AdBlocker

Please try the free trial first! Some have reported below that they can not get AdBlocker to do its job. I guess it might be related to what the author writes on the app: “But because it uses some unpublic APIs, it may not work for a few models.

info WapDroid : https://market.android.com/details?id=com.piusvelte.wapdroidpro

This effectively handles WiFi based on your Cell-mast. This is useful if you do not use AdHoc network, but only connect to pre-accepted networks. (Like home, work, friends ….).

Apart from the above, I highly recommend:

info Place the phone at a position with good network coverage. If your provider only provides 2G or only 3G, be sure to set the network selection accordingly here

Settings > Wireless & Network > Mobile networks > Network Mode

And even if your provider provides both 2G and 3G, selecting “WCDMA Preferred” could be ‘expensive’ in battery, if you are at a location with poor 3G coverage. Selecting “GSM only” (=2G) could help here – at the cost of data speed of course.

info I firmly believe that WiFi and Network in themselves are not that bad power wasters when idle IF (and only if!) they have good connections. But the need to search/scan for alternative connection points are very costly. I notice this when I travel for just a few hours by car or train. It substantially increases the amount of power used per hour! And (of course) if something are using your data connection in the background it uses battery.

info Note that the 3G signal is easier to obstruct than 2G. When obstructed, the phone needs to crank up the sending power. So better signal (and thus better stamina) can be achieved by placing the phone strategically, at a spot with good reception.

You can use Settings, About, Status to check the signal strength.

Similar issues goes for WiFi and the Access Point you are connecting to.

Do not keep the phone in your pocket while you’re sitting at say a desk for many hours, this is usually pure waste of battery.

info When you are finished with a program it is a good habit the ‘exit’, this gives the app a chance to clean up. It is better to “Back” your way out, than just to lock the screen or to press Menu and start and a new one.

info Also note the interesting observations for any brands of Android-phones on the heavy costs of having free apps with spam referred here:

http://www.gsmarena.com/ads-news-3993.php from Source

Ads within Android apps found to consume 75% of the app’s power

With one of the conclusions:

running just one app could drain your battery in around 90 minutes

And again, remember this is an Android/ads issue, not a specific Xperia issue.

info If you use Task-killers, be sure to only use them on well behaved apps that stay down when killed!! The bloatware are ill-behaved, and will not stay down, so it will waste a lot of power in cycles of the bloat reloading, and the task killer trying to get rid of the junk.

If you are on ICS you should instead try to disable apps you are not using from loading on boot. (I haven’t got ICS yet, so the details have to wait)

If you can not live with all the bloat you should root the phone and uninstall the bloat properly. Please note that rooting may void your warranty!

info Note that Battery use displays a GUESS of the capacity that is left in the battery, this might be far of what is physically available.

LiIonGuessing

Please read on battery basics here: https://eskerahn.dk/wordpress/?p=250 for an explanation of the sketch.

And especially note a recalibration trick by Johan-SonyXperiaSupport in this thread: http://talk.sonymobile.com/message/153731#153864

Try this, when the phone reaches 50% in battery level turn it off and remove the battery for a few minutes. Then insert it again and charge the phone while turned off for about 5 hours.

Now start the phone and check if you still experience this drain.

info I incorrectly suspected that one or more of the 14 to me superfluous space-wasting(87Mb) bloat-updates also wasted battery.

Removing these (no rooting required) did not change stamina, only saved space!

http://talk.sonymobile.com/thread/37277

info Also note the setting

Setting , Accounts & Sync , Background data traffic

Depending on what apps you have installed, it may help turning this to “Off“.

(I have the setting set to “On“, though)

info The “Android System” drainage bug.

After having seen this bug described by others, I had the odd ‘luck’ to finally see it my self:

Screenshot_2012-07-17-Android_System_Drainage_Bug

I do not know what triggered it, but I did find a cure!

I first tried disabling all that I could think of, including uninstalling any new apps that I got, and to turn the phone off and on. All to no avail.

I finally turned the phone off, and simply removed the battery for a 1-2 minuttes and reinserted it. And the problem disappeared!!! 😀

(Note that not all models have a user-replacable battery info)

Note that the “Keep awake” time is practically identical to the total time, so this is obviously the base of the problem. Why it is kept awake even after the offending app has been removed and the phone booted is a clear OS-bug. The bug is seen across brands.

If you still have a bad stamina, a few tests:

info Putting the phone in Airplane mode overnight should give an interesting result.

In this mode the usage when idle should be close to zero (it is less than 0.15%bc per hour on my neo Pro in Airplane mode)

screenshot_2012-05-01_0929_x

This test could help in diagnosing what is going on.

IF you get a large drain then ‘something’ is running in the background wasting battery.

IF you get a very small drain, then we know that any drain you see goes through the radios, even if the “Battery use” does not indicate that….

Note that the extrapolated stamina of a fully charged battery depleted completely in Airplane mode from the screendump is 708h or a MONTH!

info You could also try booting the phone in “Safe mode” (making a smartphone dumb) as this only enables the basics and not your apps.

This can be used to check if it is the phone or the apps that has an issue.

To enter “Safe mode” turn the phone off, wait a few secs, and turn on, when the logo appears press and hold ‘Menu’ button, when the booting is done it should display “Safe mode” at the bottom left.

You can also combine this test with the Airplane mode test above, that should leave almost nothing running, it it still drains too fast it is most likely a hardware issue, and the best guess is with the battery.

To exit “Safe mode”, turn the phone off, wait a few secs, and turn on.

info The abbilty of a battery to store power diminishes as it ages. The number on the label (e.g. 1500mAh for neo Pro) is what the battery could deliver under ideal conditions when it is new.

In the Service menu (dial *#*#7378423#*#*), try “Service tests“, and “Battery Health Test“. It displays what capacity the phone THINKS the battery has left, in µAh (well they write “uAh”, that’s a bug) 1Ah=1000mAh=1000000µAh.

If this number is much less than the nominal (label) value on the battery, this means that the phone THINKS the battery is worn out. (whether it is or not!).

(This does not tell the amount of energy currently in the battery, it is what the phone thinks the battery would still be able hold charged to 100%bc)

See also this thread:http://talk.sonymobile.com/thread/36739

info In the Service menu (dial *#*#7378423#*#*), try “Service tests“, and “Battery test” (not “Battery Health Test”). It will start by charging the phone to 100%bc, and thus requires a charger (preferably the original one). Once charged it awaits that you pull the plug (no clear message on the screen, but the clock stops, and line seven “Status” goes from “Charging” to “Full”). It then discharges the phone to 70%bc, and depending on your selected brightness level this could take many hours (It took 2h and 5h on mine depending on whether the brightness was undimmed or not) and finally changes the background to green or red (But still with status “Discharging”).

During the Charging phase it is put in Airplane mode, during the discharge it might(!?!) change back to normal mode but should be left untouched never the less. (click to enlarge as usual)

screenshot_BatteryTest

Simple extrapolations yields 7h and 17h, as used early in the post.

Note that my battery is labelled as “REDUCED CAPACITY” though still in “GOOD” health. So a fresh battery could have given even better results than what I have above…

info If you still see a too huge drain on the battery, then try to remove the microSDHC-card overnight, to see if this is where power goes.

I expect that power spent on the microSDHC-card would go ‘under the radar’ of “Battery Use” or similar!

This could either be something accessing the card, or a card with a high idle consumption. You may try (to borrow) another card.

(Some cards use 100mA while active, so this could drain the battery substantially within a few hours if they are constantly active)

info Similar goes for SIM-cards, especially if you got an old one. Then you might want to buy a new from your carrier. You could try to swap your card with a friend with a new card overnight (same carrier), and see if this makes a substantial difference.

info It could be worth doing a Repair of the phone (with PCC or SUS), but please remember to take a backup first, as data might be lost.

What’s next?

My next ‘project’ is to see if I can figure out what ‘goes wrong’, for people that have their phone draining substantially when it’s supposed to be idle (say while the user are sleeping). Apart from the known logical bug that might be fixed by the hint by Johan above.

Notes:

The terms “Backup” or “Life” are often also used for the Stamina. These are somewhat confusing terms in the context, and I recommend to avoid them.

Getting a long “Battery life” is a question of getting the battery to last long before you need to replace it. For old non-rechargeable batteries this was the same as Stamina.

And “Battery Backup” is also used for an external backup battery.

Input:
Please add any additional advises, suspicion and/or corrections below, so I can adjust this post accordingly, and hopefully we can all get a better stamina.