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Thread: Tips to Help Improve Battery Life on ThunderBolt

  1. Master Droid
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    #1

    Tips to Help Improve Battery Life on ThunderBolt

    If you easily get a full day's use with stock settings, then ignore this. But the ThunderBolt is a powerful 1GHz smartphone made by HTC with a fairly small stock battery, large 4.3" screen, LTE capability, and Sense UI, so battery life may be a concern to you. There is no magic app or single technique that will make your battery last all day with heavy use, but if you utilize some of the following tips you WILL notice a significant increase in your battery life. Everyone's use is different, so 6-9 hours on one charge may be enough for some while others need 12-15 hours. Some of these may not be necessary, appropriate, or desirable for all users, so just pick which ones work for your purposes and preferences. You might prefer to keep using some of the particular features mentioned, as the benefit for you might outweigh the minimal savings in battery life. The point of this is to show people how to disable or limit features they don't need, not force them to shut down everything the phone was built to do. Feel free to add your own suggestions as well or ask any questions about the techniques.

    1. Settings: (use an app or widget that helps you quickly toggle them, eg. built-in widgets, or from market such as Elixir, Quick Settings, or MySettings)
    a. Screen –go to settings/display, turn down Brightness (20-30%), set Timeout to 30 secs, manually turn off by quickly pushing top button when not using anymore (instead of waiting). I have personally found that I like setting timeout at 1 min better, and manually turning off the screen with the top button every time I am done using it before I put it down or away in my pocket, that way it doesn't waste itself timing out or shut off on me when I don't want it to yet.
    b. GPS – always turn off when not using, and plug into car charger (or car dock if you have one) during extended use
    c. Bluetooth – always turn off when not using
    d. 4G – always turn off when not using, only use when you need the speed, (the TB will get a toggle either in an update or in app form at some point, in the meantime there are several methods to accomplish this)
    e. Mobile hotspot – always turn off when not using, plug into charger when in use if you can
    f. WiFi – turn off when not near a WiFi signal for an extended period of time, but always use when available (faster than 3G, uses less battery), go to settings/wireless & networks/WiFi settings, press menu button and tap Advanced then WiFi Sleep policy and selectNever, this sounds counter-intuitive, but it actually uses less power because when WiFi sleeps 3G or 4G wakes up to sync, get email, and retrieve other data (WiFi connection disables 3G/4G). Also uncheck Best WiFi Performance if its checked.
    2. Background/wallpaper - use a static image instead of a live wallpaper (but these are cool, so use one if you really want to, they only drain for the short amount of time you are looking at the launcher screens). Many say the live wallpaper drain is minimal, but I noticed a significant amount while using a live one so I went to static. Have any of you tried both and noticed much of a difference yet?
    3. Window animations – go to settings/sound & display/animation and selectno animations
    4. Keyboard vibration – turn off vibration function (haptic feedback) for when you hit a key (helps with speed too), go to settings/language & keyboard/touch input/text input and uncheck vibrate when typing, you can disable haptic feedback in other areas of the system by going to settings/sound, and uncheck vibrate feedback
    5. Notification lights – unless you really want/need to know when something happens on your phone when you are not looking, go to settings/display/notification flash and uncheck all the boxes
    6. Vibration – unless you really want this function, go to settings/sound, and uncheck vibrate
    7. Monitor battery use - go to menu/settings/about phone/battery use, this will show you what is eating the most battery, uninstall troublesome unneeded app, use Running services widget by going to shortcut/settings (helps identify processes running in the background and foreground), if you want more detail check out SystemPanel in the app market, if you want to be alerted to "rogue" apps check out Watchdog Task Manager in the app market
    8. Disablealways-on mobile data– go to settings/wireless & networks/mobile networks, uncheck Enable always-on mobile data,you will still receive emails, texts, and phone calls, as well as internet usage, but it may cause connectivity problems in some third party apps (use manual refresh feature when opening apps to update online data)
    9. WiFi and 4G network notifications – go to settings/wireless & networks and uncheck Network notification box (so phone will not constantly scan to look for open networks to tell you about)
    10. Background data – if you are not using Google life-management services, go to settings/accounts & sync and uncheck Background data box (so that apps cannot sync, send, and receive data whenever it wants to, even if not currently using them). Add a homescreen shortcut to quickly toggle this (allows you to update/sync only when you want/need to).
    11. Auto-sync – uncheck Auto-sync in settings/accounts & sync, or at least limit what apps are set to sync, it is better to manually sync/update/refresh in the app when you open it (set to update at launch), set update/notification frequency (polling schedule), if you do not want to turn off auto sync, just change widget or app update/notification frequency (refresh interval) in settings/accounts & sync to 30 mins or 1-2 hours, or better yet set it to update at launch, useful for Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, news, weather, Google apps, and stocks, be sure to manually sync/back up your contacts every once in a while in case you lose your phone or break it
    12. Email – change sync option in settings, set email check frequency to 30 mins or 1 hour, or as items arrive, or better yet set it to never and manually refresh when you want to check/read your email
    13. Camera app(s) – make sure they are not running in the background when not in use, exit/close when done
    14. Video chat app(s) – make sure they are not running in the background when not in use, exit/close when done
    15. Streaming app(s) – make sure they are not running in the background when not in use, exit/close when done, try to limit use or plug into a charger during use if you can
    16. Google Talk – press Menu then tap All apps/talk/menu/settings and uncheck automatically sign in, make sure you exit the application by going to menu/more and selecting sign out when you are done (exiting the app by pressing home or back keys will not sign you out), if you want to receive IMs just open the application again
    17. Adobe Flash Player – open browser, hit menu key, go to settings/enable plug-ins and set it toOn demand(this way the browser only loads flash content when instructed to do so)
    18. Update apps – hit menu key and to go My Apps to check for updates, even if you have selectedupdate automaticallybecause some apps require you to manually install updates (apps often get updated to use less power)
    19. Location settings (updated) – go to settings/location settings. It is ok to have all of these checked, because it is the apps that use the GPS and consume power, not having these settings selected. GPS is only active when apps using it are in use.
    20. Task killer – do not use them, uninstall if you currently have one, can harm phone and consume battery, just use back arrow key to exit apps instead of home key, simply monitor rogue apps instead and uninstall/replace. These are especially bad on pre-installed apps and services (many things rely on each other), so never "auto-kill" or "kill all." If you must use one, only use it on apps that you have installed that are misbehaving, otherwise let Android do it on its own.
    21. Anti-virus – do not use them, uninstall if you currently have one, only download and use periodically or when you suspect a problem, do not download suspicious apps (check reviews and rating in market first)
    22. Ad blocker – do not use them, uninstall if you currently have one
    23. Battery meter accuracy – go to data/system and deletebatterystats.binafter you have charged your phone to 100%
    24. Tasker – can be used to automate settings (eg. based on time of day or app launched)
    25. Juice Defender + Ultimate Juice – can be used to automate settings (eg. based on time of day or location)
    26. Screebl - keeps backlight on while holding phone in "use" (vertical) position and turns it off when laying flat
    27.
    Rebooting - reboot phone every few days
    28. Delete unnecessary apps – determine which apps you do not need or use anymore and uninstall them, determine which apps you keep are causing the most battery drain and see if a comparable replacement from the market will do better
    29. Widgets – turn off animations, do not use too many of them (choose them wisely), and delete unnecessary ones, they pull data in the background. At least make the interval/frequency of sync/updates longer for the ones you have. It may be better just to open some apps themselves instead of using the widget. Disable auto-updates on HTC Weather widget or at least set it to every few hours, manually update by tapping update icon on bottom of widget. Note that widgets that display battery, CPU, and memory utilization consume some power because they are polling the system for information.
    30. No service – turn off phone or go into Airplane mode when you are in an area that does not have cell service
    31. Chargers – have them handy at home, at work, and in car, and plug in when available. Try to get a 1A charger (same as included wall charger), many cheap aftermarket car chargers are only 500mAh and will not be enough to handle the GPS. VZW's car charger is 750mAh.
    32. Rooting – (there are a lot more techniques that can be used with a rooted phone, such as removing bloatware and underclocking when then screen is off, but I will save that for a later thread)
    33. If all else fails, buy an extended battery or have a spare handy just in case

    Update1 - I came across another technique, it sounds a little strange but it apparently came from HTC regarding the EVO...some users appeared to have experienced gains from it:
    34. "Calibrate" battery - (1) Turn device ON, charge it for 8 hours (or until LED turns green), (2) unplug and turn it OFF, plug it back in and charge for 1 hour (or until LED turns green), (3) unplug and turn it ON, wait 2 minutes, turn it OFF, plug it back in, and charge for 1 hour (or until LED turns green), (4) unplug it, turn it ON, and use normally. Repeat once a month or so.
    Update2 - I found a few more things to suggest
    35. Blockbuster app - open app, download update from market, then go to menu/settings and tap "disable movie updates." The app is set to automatically periodically scan for updates by default, and requires the new update to turn this off.
    36. Friendstream - delete the widget from your home screen, open app and go to menu/settings and select update when opened. This way it isn't constantly refreshing, but rather only does so when you want to look at it by opening the app.
    37. Signal strength - whether 3G, 4G, or WiFi, if whatever you are trying to connect to has a low signal strength the TB's battery will be draining trying to connect. Keep an eye on your connections, and try to be aware of when you are in poor signal areas and toggle off or switch connections if you can. Also keep in mind where your "fringe" areas are (ie. bounces between 3G/LTE/1X)
    38. Apps - not all 3rd party apps are optimized for the TB, be sure to read reviews/ratings in the market to see what problems other users have had with them. Monitor your apps to see if any of them are hogging system resources (eg. CPU, RAM) and draining your battery, and delete or replace them accordingly. And remember to set the sync/update/notification frequency at longer intervals in settings within the apps that connect to the internet frequently.
    39. Power saver - go to settings/power, and check enable power saver, the go to power saver settings and tweak (basically does a lot of the things we've talked about here for you automatically when you get low on battery, in case some things are left on or on higher settings than needed)

    Last edited by guitarchris123; 03-30-2011 at 04:58 PM.
    "These are the Droids you're looking for..."
  2. Master Droid
    rushmore's Avatar
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    #2
    You know, these are handy tips, but two things come to mind

    1. Why did VZW not have a 3G4G manual toggle in settings? Nuts, unless VZW are forcing 4G plans on folks (or planned to, prioir to the network delays)

    2. All of that trouble is a key reason why a lot of folks just get iPhones instead. Sure it is constrained, but to most folks, Android is too much effort compared to the ball & chain known as the iPhone.

    If I were not a geek, I would agree with the iPhone crowd.
  3. Senior Droid
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    #3
    Thanks chris. So it definitely will not have a 4g/3g toggle? Or its speculation that it won't come with one? I'm sure the dev community will make one if not but that seems kinda shady not to put a native one on there.
  4. Master Droid
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by rushmore View Post
    You know, these are handy tips, but two things come to mind

    1. Why did VZW not have a 3G4G manual toggle in settings? Nuts, unless VZW are forcing 4G plans on folks (or planned to, prioir to the network delays)

    2. All of that trouble is a key reason why a lot of folks just get iPhones instead. Sure it is constrained, but to most folks, Android is too much effort compared to the ball & chain known as the iPhone.

    If I were not a geek, I would agree with the iPhone crowd.
    We do not really know if there is a dedicated manual toggle in settings that will come with the phone yet since it is not released yet. I would imagine that the production models will have an LTE toggle built-in or as a downloaded app. I would also expect that you can set 2G only in settings instead of 3G or 4G, but again I am not sure because it is not released yet.

    If you don't want to do this stuff and battery life is a huge deal for you, maybe you are better off with an iPhone. If you can utilize just a few of these really simple techniques you will be fine, and get the benefit of an Android device and its potential for functionality and customization.
    "These are the Droids you're looking for..."
  5. Master Droid
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    #5
    This thread presupposes that there is a battery problem based on speculation. That speculation may prove to be true and if so many people will refer to this thread for guidance. I'd like to discuss a few points in it, hopefully we can all benefit from some adjustments after we talk them through. Hopefully, we'll never need to refer to this thread, even in a 4g area.

    1b. I haven't found an app yet that leaves the GPS radio on when not needed. When one does, the one star ratings pummel it into oblivion. The GPS is only consuming power when its icon is blinking or solid in the notification bar.

    1d. Isn't this best left to the phone? It is able to detect when 4g is available, but it must have some criteria for signal strength that is acceptable to use. If you're 5 miles from a 4g upgraded tower and 0.2 miles from a 3g tower that has not been upgraded yet, some threshold of power required to maintain the 4g connection should fail over to the close 3g tower. We won't know for sure on this one until the TB is released and we have real information.

    2. For how short a time wallpaper is displayed, is this significant enough to recommend foregoing a distinctive feature? I'd really rather not spread an expectation that you have to shut off basic features like this, even if there is a battery issue with the TB. I'm assuming we all understand that the wallpaper animation goes idle when the screen is off and when another app is being used.

    5. An LED? Seems like feature benefit exceeds power used even if the TB has a battery issue.

    7. Idle processes consume no power. Idle services may, and should be tweaked by the owning application to meet the user's needs. Devs will typically set default times for their services to wake up and do things that are designed to create an ideal user experience. If an app's service is taking up too much juice and you can't configure it down to something acceptable, find something else.

    8, 10, 11. Always on data is why we buy smartphones. If people need to manually update data providers to save battery, this phone is going to fail. We fill our screens with data-driven widgets because we can and because we prefer that to the icon only implementation of Springboard. The prospect of 7 dumb home screens sounds like an iPhone. The comments here about setting intervals slower when you can are the best part of these items.

    9. I thought we already had wifi off in 1g? Do we know for sure that there will be notifications for 4g? There isn't one for 1xRTT versus EV-DO, other than the icon change.

    Most of the rest sounds great, maybe 27 and 28 need an if really necessary disclaimer, but I didn't want my post to sound too negative. OP, I'm not trying to spar with you, I'm on your side, you've made a nice post and it makes me comment. If you don't like or agree with what I said, no biggie.
  6. Master Droid
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    Given the battery size, 4G, 4.3" LCD and 1GHZ cpu... How can there NOT be battery issues? No need for quadratic equations here, since we are already dealing with an absolute
  7. Master Droid
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    #7
    No, we're not. Where are JohnBoy's complaints? Who has a phone on Verizon's 4g network and can prove claims that it will consume more power? Second gen Snapdragon uses 30% less power, so we compare this to what as a baseline to confirm that 1ghz is a problem?

    Yes, there's no calculus involved, but can we at least have the benefit of the phone's existence before we send in the cavalry? What we're doing right now is whipping speculation into talking points, something I see at plus and minus three sigma on the political landscape. I'd like to continue to relate to people's opinions on a forum I rely on for information. I can't if we're going to start winging it then producing reality TV from that.
  8. Master Droid
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Sleeve View Post
    This thread presupposes that there is a battery problem based on speculation. That speculation may prove to be true and if so many people will refer to this thread for guidance. I'd like to discuss a few points in it, hopefully we can all benefit from some adjustments after we talk them through. Hopefully, we'll never need to refer to this thread, even in a 4g area.

    1b. I haven't found an app yet that leaves the GPS radio on when not needed. When one does, the one star ratings pummel it into oblivion. The GPS is only consuming power when its icon is blinking or solid in the notification bar.

    1d. Isn't this best left to the phone? It is able to detect when 4g is available, but it must have some criteria for signal strength that is acceptable to use. If you're 5 miles from a 4g upgraded tower and 0.2 miles from a 3g tower that has not been upgraded yet, some threshold of power required to maintain the 4g connection should fail over to the close 3g tower. We won't know for sure on this one until the TB is released and we have real information.

    2. For how short a time wallpaper is displayed, is this significant enough to recommend foregoing a distinctive feature? I'd really rather not spread an expectation that you have to shut off basic features like this, even if there is a battery issue with the TB. I'm assuming we all understand that the wallpaper animation goes idle when the screen is off and when another app is being used.

    5. An LED? Seems like feature benefit exceeds power used even if the TB has a battery issue.

    7. Idle processes consume no power. Idle services may, and should be tweaked by the owning application to meet the user's needs. Devs will typically set default times for their services to wake up and do things that are designed to create an ideal user experience. If an app's service is taking up too much juice and you can't configure it down to something acceptable, find something else.

    8, 10, 11. Always on data is why we buy smartphones. If people need to manually update data providers to save battery, this phone is going to fail. We fill our screens with data-driven widgets because we can and because we prefer that to the icon only implementation of Springboard. The prospect of 7 dumb home screens sounds like an iPhone. The comments here about setting intervals slower when you can are the best part of these items.

    9. I thought we already had wifi off in 1g? Do we know for sure that there will be notifications for 4g? There isn't one for 1xRTT versus EV-DO, other than the icon change.

    Most of the rest sounds great, maybe 27 and 28 need an if really necessary disclaimer, but I didn't want my post to sound too negative. OP, I'm not trying to spar with you, I'm on your side, you've made a nice post and it makes me comment. If you don't like or agree with what I said, no biggie.
    Thank you for your thoughtful and helpful comments. I presupposed that battery life will be an issue not because of speculation, but because of history, the fact that its a smartphone, Sense is resource intensive, large screen size, and HTC is notorious for poor battery life (eg. Inc and EVO). This has nothing to do with rumors, but rather what is painfully obvious.

    4G/LTE will be a huge battery drainer. Shut if off when you don't need the data speeds instead of letting the phone make the choice. Constantly searching for signals also drains battery, so having control when I need it is preferable to me.

    Live wallpapers will not cause a significant drain, I only mentioned it because every little bit helps if you are really concerned with maximizing battery life in every way possible. Yes it is a distinctive feature of new Android phones, and they are really cool so feel free to choose to use them and utilize other techniques instead like I mentioned at the beginning.

    Again with the LED lights, the benefit of using them may outweigh the minimal savings in battery, so feel free to forgo that technique if you choose.

    If you need to be constantly updating all the time, that is your choice and one of the benefits of such a smartphone, but it does drain battery. Most people don't need to, so I suggested using the setting where apps are updated upon launch (only when you want to use them) or change to a longer interval.

    And to clarify, most of these things are to be used on an "if really necessary" basis, and only some of them really are necessary (screen brightness and timeout being crucial examples).
    Last edited by guitarchris123; 03-14-2011 at 09:25 AM.
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  9. Junior Droid
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by metzor View Post
    Thanks chris. So it definitely will not have a 4g/3g toggle?
    BMX says that although some of the demo units did, and some did not, that the retail version will.

    Personally, I've already handled it [THIS WAY]. Same as I do with all my smartphones. Bought two!

    -Frank
    Last edited by FrankXS; 03-14-2011 at 09:12 AM.
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  10. Droid
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    25. Juice Defender + Ultimate Juice – can be used to automate settings (eg. based on time of day or location)
    I've wondering about these programs (Locale, etc) that change settings based on LOCATION. While I absolutely love the idea of these apps, do they actually save battery life?

    Don't they have to use the GPS to periodically check location? That would seem to me to be a battery killer. I know that the #1 thing that tends to kill battery life after screen illumination are the background data synchs. I would assume background GPS synchs would also be a bad drain.
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