Google Pixel Intelligence

3 smart settings for better Google Pixel battery life

Let Google's software intelligence supercharge your stamina and keep your Pixel running longer.

Google Pixel Battery Life
michaljamro/Google/JR Raphael

Google Pixel Intelligence

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If there's one feeling all of us phone-carrying cuttlefish can relate to, it's the sense of anxiety when that dreaded low-battery warning shows up on our screens.

Both Android itself and Google's Pixel phones, specifically, have gotten much better at managing battery life over the years. But some of the Pixel's most intelligent systems for safeguarding your stamina are options in your phone's software — and that means it's up to you to find 'em.

Google's Pixel software is absolutely overflowing with those sorts of out-of-sight treasures, so to continue our ongoing Pixel settings explorations, I want to spelunk our way into some of your device's most advanced options for stretching your battery life to the max.

Make your way through 'em — then make your way over to my free Pixel Academy e-course, if you haven't already, for seven full days of advanced Pixel sorcery.

The power's already in your hands. All that's left is to learn to make the most of it.

Google Pixel battery life booster No. 1: Smarter charging

First up in our Pixel battery life adventure is a way to make your Google-made phone especially optimized and efficient with its charging — which will help make your battery last longer and perform better from a bigger-picture perspective.

It's not something that'll lead to any sort of instant satisfaction, but it will set you up for stronger stamina over the months and years that you own your Pixel phone.

The setting is called Adaptive Charging, and the way it works is simple:

  • Whenever you've got your phone plugged in during the overnight hours — between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m., specifically, in whatever time zone you're in — your Pixel will intelligently slow down its charging so that it spreads out over that entire period of time.
  • The feature requires you to set an alarm in the Pixel Clock app for anywhere between 3 a.m. and 10 a.m. to operate.
  • It uses that alarm time as a finish line and then times out its charging so that it'll finish right before you wake up.

All you've gotta do is enable the option, and then it'll automatically work whenever you're in that overnight charging situation.

With a Pixel 4 or later:

  • Head into your Pixel system settings (by swiping down twice from the top of the screen and then tapping the gear-shaped icon in the lower-right corner of the panel that comes up).
  • Tap "Battery" followed by "Adaptive preferences."
  • Flip the toggle next to "Adaptive Charging" into the on position.
  • Flip the bird to any Pixel-oblivious iPeople in the vicinity.*

* Optional but highly recommended

And that's it: Anytime you're charging overnight with an alarm set for the morning, your Pixel will rise to the occasion and optimize its charging pattern.

Pretty easy, right?

Google Pixel battery life booster No. 2: Smarter power-spreading

Now that we've got charging covered, it's time to turn our attention to your Pixel's actual power-using habits — and there, too, Google's software has some splendid smarts that are just waiting to be embraced.

A Pixel-specific setting called Adaptive Battery will keep tabs on which apps you tend to use the most during the day. It'll then adjust your system's power allocation so that anything you use less often has a smaller amount of stamina-sucking resources at its disposal.

It actually learns how you use your phone, in other words, and then customizes the standard Android power management approach to make it as optimal as possible for your specific habits.

Once more, your Pixel will handle all the heavy lifting. Your only task is to make sure the option's activated:

  • Head back into your Pixel system settings, and once more, select "Battery."
  • Tap "Adaptive Preferences."
  • This time, look for the line labeled "Adaptive Battery" and see if the switch next to it is already active.
  • If it isn't — well, toggle that thing, gersh dern it!
Google Pixel Battery Life: Adaptive Battery JR

And we've got one more advanced Pixel battery setting to set our sights on yet...

Google Pixel battery life booster No. 3: Smarter saving

Our last Pixel battery life tip may be the most important of all — 'cause no matter how many proactive precautions you take, the day will inevitably come when your purty Pixel phone starts to putter as its metaphorical tank nears the empty mark.

If you prepare yourself now, though, that won't have to be a moment of panic. And your Pixel can intelligently adjust its behavior as the battery gets low to avoid a full-fledged shutdown.

The secret resides in a spectacular feature called Battery Saver. It's usually on in some form by default, but with older Pixels in particular, it often isn't set up in the most optimal way right out of the box.

So do this:

  • Slither your way back into your Pixel settings.
  • Press your suspiciously moist finger onto "Battery" and then "Battery Saver."
  • Tap "Set a schedule" and then select the "Based on your routine" option.
Google Pixel Battery Life: Battery Saver routine JR

Now, following the same pattern as our past two tips, your Pixel phone will rely on its Goog-given intelligence to actually learn your typical usage patterns over time and use that as a guide to predict when your battery's likely to run low based on the way you use your phone.

When it senses your stamina's in jeopardy, it'll automatically activate the Pixel Battery Saver system — which limits background activity and location services, falls back to 4G instead of 5G data, and disables a bunch of non-essential systems (including the Pixel's always-on display along with Assistant launch phrase detection and higher-level display refresh rates) to save on power.

That change alone can help you eke extra hours out of your Pixel's battery, no matter how low it may be — and if you really want to stretch your stamina, with a Pixel 3 or later, there's one more setting change worth making:

  • In that same "Battery Saver" Pixel settings menu, tap the line labeled "Extreme Battery Saver."
  • Tap "When to use" and then select "Ask every time."

That'll cause your Pixel to ask if you want to activate the Extreme Battery Saver every single time the standard Battery Saver kicks in. The Pixel's Extreme Battery Saver mode is even more restrictive, which means most apps get paused and are unable to send notifications and your Pixel's entire processing is slowed down so it requires less power.

It makes for a less pleasant Pixel-using experience, so it isn't something you'd want active all the time (unless you're a total maniac) — but in a situation where your priority's mostly just keeping your phone's basic functions available through the end of the day, it can be a real lifesaver.

And one more bonus tip in this area: While you're on your Pixel's "Battery Saver" settings screen, look for the line labeled "Turn off when charged" and be sure to flip the toggle next to it into the on position. That'll cause your phone's Battery Saver mode to turn back off on its own as soon as your device is charged back up to 90% or higher — just one more bit of helpful intelligence to make your life a little easier.

So there ya have it: a trio of Pixel battery life boosters to keep your phone going strong. Set 'em, forget 'em, and then be sure to mosey on over to my free Pixel Academy e-course to uncover even more advanced magic for your favorite Googley gadget.

Happy exploring!

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