More tips for boosting Android battery life

Article copyright 2010 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

[Note: This is part two of an Android Power series on how to improve Android battery life. Click back to page 1 to begin.]

Android Battery Life Tip #6: Kill Your Task Killer

The idea of a task killer is plenty appealing. After all, seeing the list of processes open at any minute on an Android phone can certainly be overwhelming.

Here's the secret, though: Those random tasks running in the background don't hurt you. Constantly killing them, however, can force the OS to restart them -- and that will affect your system's performance in a negative way.

As Android Software Engineer Dianne Hackborn explains it

The fact that you can see an application's process "running" does not mean the application is running or doing anything. It may simply be there because Android needed it at some point, and has decided that it would be best to keep it around in case it needs it again. Likewise, you may leave an application for a little bit and return to it from where you left off, and during that time Android may have needed to get rid of the process for other things.

Using a task killer for occasional case-by-case adjustments is OK, but setting one to automatically end tasks will do more harm than good. If Android 2.2 or higher is on your phone, the effect can be even more detrimental to your system's performance.

Android Battery Life Tip #7: Locate Your Location Settings

Android Battery Tips

Android has two methods of keeping tabs on your location: wireless networks and GPS satellites. The latter gives you added accuracy, but it also puts a greater strain on your phone's battery.

If you're actively using Google Maps Navigation, you might want the street-level accuracy the GPS satellite location provides. Otherwise, turning it off will save you a good bit of battery power.

On the flip side, you can leave GPS location on and switch the wireless network option off. It may result in slower processing of location-oriented tasks, but it'll lessen the burden on your battery. (Wireless network location also allows Google to collect anonymous location data, even when no applications are running -- so disabling it will end that resource-utilizing practice as well.)

Head into the "Location & security" section of your phone's main settings to make the change.

Android Battery Life Tip #8: Dim Your Display

Big, bright screens are nice to look at -- but they come with a big price when it comes to battery life. To shift to a dimmer way of life,

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click into the "Display" section of your phone's settings and tap the "Brightness" option. Try selecting the "Automatic brightness" first; it'll allow your phone to adjust its display level based on the lighting conditions wherever you are.

If the automated fluctuation drives you crazy, just adjust the level manually once; the lower you can comfortably set it, the more battery life you'll save.

Android Battery Life Tip #9: Take a Time-Out

While you're in your phone's "Display" menu, tap into the setting for "Screen timeout." That section controls how long your phone waits after inactivity to turn the display off. Given that the display is often the biggest consumer of a device's battery power, dropping this value down can make an immediate and noticeable difference.

Android Battery Life Tip #10: Get a Helping Hand

Nine times out of 10, the steps you've just read will give a healthy boost to your Android battery life. If you're still not satisfied with your phone's performance, though, you can try this final tip to fully optimize your system's power consumption.

JuiceDefender Barcode

The solution comes in the form of an app called JuiceDefender, available for free in the Android Market (see barcode at right). JuiceDefender lets you configure a slew of parameters to govern your phone's power usage. You could set Android to automatically switch off data services during the night, for example, or to only enable synchronization when your screen is actually on. The app's optional UltimateJuice add-on, available for about 5 bucks in the Market, packs even more functionality into the program.

Remember: Android battery life doesn't have to be unmanageable. Like with any, shall we say, stamina-related struggle, a little bit of work can go a long way.

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JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Facebook, on Twitter, or at eSarcasm, his geek-humor getaway.

Article copyright 2010 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

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