Android Bytes

…everything is a bytearray after all

4 Busted Myths about battery life

Android regularly receives bad rep for its horrible battery life. With their heavy internal components and large self-illuminating displays, no Android smartphone that I know of lasts more than a day with power users. Apple’s iPhone 4 pulls through more than just a day, but Android? Not so much.

Google Founder Larry Page has himself said, “if your Android phone’s battery doesn’t make it through the day, there’s something wrong”.

By that logic, there’s something wrong with most Android phones. HTC Incredible, Droid X, Xperia X10, Epic 4G… you name it, they just won’t last a day if you use their “smart” features!

I own a HTC Desire which has battery issues too. I did my research and found that many of the tricks that supposedly increase battery life are actually bullshit. Battery issues, coupled with certain posts on certain websites that tell you tricks on how to increase battery life has created many misconceptions in the minds of Android users.

1. The Automatic Brightness Myth

The Myth: Setting your display such that it automatically changes its brightness saves battery life.

How Does Automatic Brightness Work? All of the latest Android smartphones have light sensors installed. So it detects the intensity of light and then adjusts the display brightness accordingly.

How Does It Affect Battery Life?

Without Automatic Brightness

Whenever there is a change in ambient brightness like, say, when you finally get out of your dark little room and go out for walk, your Android phone’s light sensor detects sunlight and does nothing with that information. Your display brightness remains the same.

With Automatic Brightness

Whenever there is a change in ambient brightness like, say, when you finally get out of your dark little room and go out for walk, your Android phone’s ambient light sensor takes in that information and sends it to the CPU so that it may process it and then order the display to become brighter or darker.

What You Should Do To Increase Battery Life: Place the stock “Power Control” widget on your homescreen. Tap on the sun symbol to change brightness whenever you need it. However, if you’re the outdoorsy type, it will be convenient to use automatic brightness.

Status: Busted.

2. The Unbelievable HTC Battery Boost Myth

The Myth: High Tech Computers (or HTC) recently replied to an XDA forum member inquiring about the bad battery life of his HTC EVO 4G with an thoroughly outlandish procedure.

To also help with Battery Life you can do these steps exactly:

  1. Turn your device ON and Charge the device for 8 hours or more
  2. Unplug the device and Turn the phone OFF and charge for 1 hour
  3. Unplug the device Turn ON wait 2 minutes and Turn OFF and charge for another hour.

Your battery life should almost double, we have tested this on our devices and other agents have seen a major difference as well

Does it Work? As stupid and outlandish as it sounds, it actually works. Look through the thread on XDA Forums and see for yourself. Many users have verified that the procedure increased their phone’s battery life.

Status: Highly plausible. Essentially confirmed.

3. The Live Wallpapers Myth

The Myth: Using live wallpapers on your Android phone significantly decreases battery life.

What are Live Wallpapers? Live wallpapers are basically just wallpapers which feature some kind of animation/movement in them and they can look absolutely stunning.

Do They Decrease Battery Life? Yes. Live wallpapers use your phone’s CPU and GPU to render itself. So obviously, it will decrease your battery life.

But how much, exactly? Less than 2% in most case. Live wallpapers do drain battery time but the effect is so insignificant that there is no need for you to fret about whether to have one or not.

However, there are some live wallpapers that give the battery a more significant beating than others. You can check how much battery your live wallpaper uses by going to Settings > About > Battery > Battery Use. If you see that it takes less than 5%, it’s absolutely ok.

What You Should Do: Enjoy your live wallpapers and bask in the glory of knowing that iOS will never get this feature.

Status: Busted.

4. The Use-Task-Killers-To-Kill-Useless-Apps Myth

The Myth: Killing apps you aren’t actively using with a task manager improves battery life.

There are two very distinct views on this matter. One school of thought believes that killing unnecessary tasks increases battery life. The other school believes that it does nothing.

Who do you believe, then?

What Are Task Killers? Task killers are little programs that kill the apps you don’t need. Once you open a task killer, you are shown the list of actively running apps that you can then kill them at your whim. Kinda like Task Manager (Windows) but for Android.

The idea of task killers stems from the belief that, like embedded operating systems (read: Windows), you need to free up RAM by killing programs yourself.

If you have too many programs running on Windows, chances are, your PC will slow down to a crawl until to close programs you aren’t using. Android handles this differently…

Why Does Android Not Need Task Killers?

  • Android automatically kills a task when more memory is needed.
  • Android automatically kills a task when it’s done doing what it needs to do.
  • Android automatically kills a task when you haven’t returned to it in a long time.
  • Most services (while possibly running in the background) use very little memory when not actively doing something.
  • Killing certain processes can have undesirable side effects. Not receiving text messages, alarms not going off, and force closes just to name a few.
  • Most applications will exit themselves if you get out of it by hitting “back” until it closes rather than hitting the “home” button. But even with hitting home, Android will eventually kill it once it’s been in the background for a while.

What You Should Do: Let Android handle tasks itself. Don’t set programs like Advanced Task Killer to auto-kill apps. Use ATK only when you need to kill an app that is misbehaving.

Status: BUSTED!

OK, Android owners: What do you think? Do you know any other busted, or nearly confirmed myths? What do you use to boost your battery life? And, has anyone tried the HTC steps for doubling battery life? If so, how’d that work out for you?

If you found this interesting, please don't forget to like/share it. Like the page too, in order to receive all the updates in Facebook.

You might also like:

    >>Battery E.T.A. – estimates your battery's life
    >>Safe mode for Android based devices
    >>Car Compass – never forget where you’ve parked your car
    >>QtADB – an android manager based on Qt

Subscribe to email feed

  • RSS
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Youtube

Difference Between A

The post title is referring to the difference between Android ...

HTC Sense 3.5 is com

coolexe, a very appreciated developer from xda-developers has managed to ...

Asphalt 6: Adrenalin

If you own a Samsung Galaxy S II or a ...

Ice Cream Sandwich S

At Google I/O this year, the newest version of Android ...

Android Hacker's Key

Here’s a full 5-row keyboard including arrow and Esc/Ctrl keys, ...

Difference Between A

The post title is referring to the difference between Android ...

HTC Sense 3.5 is com

coolexe, a very appreciated developer from xda-developers has managed to ...

Free some space on p

Data2Ext is an excellent hack to have your “internal memory” ...

Install InsertCoin R

InsertCoin ROM is one of the best custom ROMs for ...

Flashing a custom HB

Installing a custom ROM may become a little bit frustrating ...