Tech Tip #7: What is killing your phone's battery?

Battery dying on your phoneOur smartphones are our lifeline these days and most of us don’t step out without our phones.  But this lifeline is highly dependent on the cell phone’s battery, which never seems to last long enough.   The battery life has just not kept up with the increased power of our cell phones.  But, we also unknowingly contribute towards the draining of our phone battery.  How?  By, using and running apps that are power guzzlers!  This technology tip discusses how to find out which apps are eating up your phone’s battery.   Once these guzzlers are identified, then, you can choose to continue using them or remove them. 

Sometimes, we install apps and forget about them completely. We do not use them actively.  However these seemingly innocuous apps can end up as major energy hogs, using up resources like the battery or memory in the background.  It is always important to clean up your phone and remove the apps that you don’t use any more.

How to find out what are the problem apps on your phone?

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On Androids:

On Android phones, go to the 'Settings’ and click on ‘Applications’ (Figure 1.) .  This page will show you the entire list of applications that you have installed on your phone.  Click on Application Manager (Figure 2.).  It will show you an entire list of apps installed on your phone. You can click on any application and it will show you the following attributes of the application (Figure 3.).

  1. How much space is the application taking on your phone?
  2. How much data bandwidth has the application used on your phone over time?
  3. What type of permissions does this application have on your phone?
  4. Do you allow notifications?  You can turn this off if you don’t want to be notified each time by the app.
  5. How much battery is this application consuming?

Android Settings path to ApplicationsAndroid Applications Manager in SettingsApplication Info Android











 Figure 1.                                             Figure 2.                                          Figure 3.

On iPhones:

On iPhones, you can monitor the phone for battery drain and check for the apps that are consuming the most battery.   

How do you check whether your iPhone has a battery drain?  

Open Battery option on your Settings page on your phone to check for battery life on your phone as well as the amount of time left in Standby and how long has it been since the last charge (Figure 4.)

Next, put the phone on sleep mode by pressing the power button lightly once. After about 5 minutes in sleep mode, turn it back on and unlock the phone.

Check the settings again. If the standby time has increased by 5 minutes and the usage time has increased by less than a minute, the device is not draining its battery due to apps or other issues.

Figure 4.

iPhone Battery usage and standby options

How to fix the battery drain issues on iPhones and Androids?

1.  Disable your location on your settings when you don’t need it. Your location details are valuable to Google, Facebook and several other apps as part of their data analytics for marketing purposes.  Unless you are using an app that cannot function without your location, e.g., GPS, you don’t need to turn on location.

In general, your phone provider is tracking your phone at all times and disabling location will prevent them from doing so. 

On Androids, go to Settings, scroll down to find 'Location' (Figure 5.) . Turn the Location Off as shown in Figure 6.

On iPhones, go to Settings to Privacy and Click on Location (Figure 7.) . Turn off the Location Services.



  Figure 5.                                               Figure 6.                                            Figure 7.

Android Settings to LocationTurn Off Location on your AndroidPrivacy Settings on your iPhone






2. Disabling the  ‘Background App refresh’ helps save battery. ‘Background App refresh' is a feature through which the apps are updated in the background periodically with new information they get from their servers. Especially, social apps like Facebook news feed and other social media updates are consuming your data bandwidth and battery power.

You have to decide if it is important for you to have your social media updates right on your phone. For example, for a social media consultant this might be absolutely necessary as a part of their jobs.

You can also save precious data bandwidth if you don’t really need to have the constant updates from your social media feed.

On iOS, you can selectively disable background app refresh for each app by clicking on 'Background App Refresh' in Settings (Figure 9.) .  Each app has its own setting that you can turn off for 'Background App Refresh' (Figure 10.).

Figure 9.                                                Figure 10.

iPhone Background App Refresh settingEach app can control Background App Refresh setting








On Android, you can 'restrict background data' to reduce battery usage. This is analogous to 'Background App Refresh' on iPhones.  Go to 'Data Usage' from Settings (Figure 11.). Click on the three dots on the top right on the 'Data Usage' page. It will give you the option to 'Restrict Background Data' (Figure 12.) . Once you click on 'restrict background data', you have to provide permission to turn it off (Figure 13.) .

Android Data Usage from Settings Android Restrict Background DataRestrict Background data on your Android






Figure 11.                                                    Figure 12.                                   Figure 13.


3. Disable notifications from apps that are not important to you on the run.  Push notifications are the alerts that appear in the top bar of your phone. These are alerts from your email, Facebook and other apps. Your battery will live longer if you can do without these push notifications.

Figure 14. below illustrates how to disable notifications on the Android.

On iOS, you can access the 'Notification' setting from Settings (Figure 15.) . From there, you can turn it off individually for each app as in Figure 16.

Application Info to NotificationsNotifications settings on iPhoneTurn off notifications for individual apps






 Figure 15.                                                 Figure 16.





   Figure 14.

4. On Androids and iPhones, there is a battery saver mode that consumes lesser power and battery. On iPhones, it is called the 'Low Power Mode' that can be accessed from Settings->Battery (Figure 17.).  On Androids, there are a couple of 'Power saving modes' shown below in Figure 18. that will save battery life. In addition, there is an emergency mode that completely shuts off all services except for emergency calls (Figure 19.).

Figure 17.                                              Figure 18.                                            Figure 19.

iPhone Low Power ModeAndroid Battery saving ModesAndroid Emergency Mode













In this article, we have given you answered the following questions:

What is eating up my phone’s battery?

How to detect and monitor my phone’s battery usage?

What are the techniques to save/improve the battery on my phone?

About the Author:  Nirupama Mallavarupu is the Founder and CEO of MobileArq, a boutique software company based in Summit, NJ. MobileArq provides schools, synagogues and churches with a fundraising and communication platform and a mobile app for parents/members that gives them their school or organization at their fingertips.  Learn more at

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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