If you’ve been experiencing issues on your Desire where the battery doesn’t seem to last as much as it should then you can use this guide to extend your battery life. People have reported their batteries holding charge for double the time they used to after following these steps.
Obviously if your battery is performing well already then doing this won’t have any real benefits!
- Turn your phone on and charge it for 8 hours or more
- Unplug the charger
- Turn your phone off and charge it for one hour
- Unplug the charger
- Turn on the phone and wait 2 minutes
- Turn your phone off and charge it for one hour
- Unplug, turn it on and use as normal. Your battery life should now be a lot better 🙂
You only need to do this once. If you keep experiencing issues with your battery you should contact HTC or your network provider for support.
Although this will calibrate your battery and cause it to hold charge better, your battery life will still be affected by the apps you use (needless to say really). Main battery hogging applications include Instant Messaging apps (MSN, AIM etc), GPS powered apps (CoPilot, Maps, Layar), video apps (RockPlayer, YouTube) and so on. Just remember that whenever you finish using these apps make sure you close them properly, using the quit menu if there’s one available. You can also visit my earlier tutorial on how to preserve your battery life here.
This tutorial is based on the original post by OneStepAhead on XDA.
DarkDvr over at XDA has written up an excellent post on how Li-Ion batteries (which is the kind of battery that the HTC Desire uses) work and how to use them properly. DarkDvr has kindly given me permission to publish his post on this site (thanks man!). So here’s all the information which should help you get the most of your battery!
So after noticing how much of a difference people get in their battery lives, I’ve decided to do some research and make a guide-line that will give us all we need to know about properly using our batteries. First part is a general information and usage techniques for LIBs, second part is taken from Google materials on Android-powered devices (G1, Magic, Droid, Nexus One, etc).
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery
BatteryUniversity – http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm
Google IO Conference 2009 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUemfrKe65c
Electropaedia – http://www.mpoweruk.com/life.htm
General Lithium-Ion Battery (LIB) Usage:
- Discharging your LIB fully (or less than 2.4 Volt per cell) is bad for the battery. Every time you do that, it can be said that small part of your battery (some cells) dies (they forever lose their charge). Do not store your batteries depleted, there’s a high chance they will die completely or will become very “weak”.
- You cannot restore bad LIBs by overloading/heating/praying. You gotta go buy a new one. They DO degrade overtime, some cells naturally lose the ability to gain/give electricity.
- Although it is said that LIBs do not have memory, it’s not entirely true. LIBs have gauges that monitor performance of cells, and if you do a lot of small charges, it won’t let those gauges to monitor a full battery potential, causing an invalid indication of charge level. A complete charge/discharge should be made when battery capacity seems reduced, that will calibrate gauges and they will provide your phone with correct charge level status. A full charge/discharge cycle should be done every 30 (or so) partial charges.
- LIBs have a shelf-life. Do not buy them to store them. Use them early, use them often, they will die whether you use them or not. Do not buy LIBs to use them in 6 months/year/etc, buy them right before actually using them.
- LIBs have short lives (in comparison to NiCa batteries, etc). You should expect to buy a new battery in 2-3 years after being manufactured. It is caused by internal oxidation and there’s nothing you can do to stop or prevent that.
- Worst LIB treatment is to keep it at 100% charge level at high temperature (think laptop/phone under direct sunlight, like car dashboard).
- Best LIB treatment, or LIBs “favorite” charge level – 40%. That’s also the usual charge level you buy them with.
- LIBs don’t like heat. For example, while always at 100%, typical LIB in a laptop, at temperatures of 25C (77F) will lose 20% (twenty percent!) of full capacity per year. That capacity loss is reduced to 6% (six percent) at 0C (32F), and increased to 35% loss at 40C (104F). So, keep them cool (LIBs like fridges), don’t let your devices sit in the sun or overheat at charge. Also, keep in mind that while in use, battery will be significantly hotter than phone/outside environment.
- LIBs like frequent partial charges/discharges more than they like full charges/discharges.
- Car “fast-chargers” overtime degrade your battery a little, as they give too much energy to the battery too fast (high voltage). Trickle-charge (USB) is best. They do provide an initial higher capacity charge (high-voltage), but do degrade the long-term battery capacity. General idea is that the slower the charge – the longer (long-term) battery will serve you.
- Although this part is somewhat controversial, they do recommend having a complete, full FIRST charge to be made. If time allows, a preferred time for the first charge is 12 hours. This may have more to do with the OS than the battery.
- Battery on a Android device, in average, will last about a full day with normal use (some videos, mail, calls). That’s what you should kind-of expect.
- Speaking in averages, “idling” 3G/EDGE connection (when phone is sleeping and no data is transferred through 3G), drains almost no energy. Just a little more than having 3G/EDGE radio off completely. So when no apps are using 3G, you don’t need to keep it off.
- Same goes to WiFi connection – although it’s on, if there is no data flowing through it, it uses almost no energy.
- At full throughput (100% data flow), EDGE is using significantly more energy than 3G. 3G is much more energy-efficient than EDGE.
- WiFi is using more energy than 3G (when both are at 100% use), but since it transfers files much faster and then goes to “sleep”, it’s actually recommended to use WiFi whenever possible. Since it’ll “sleep” more often than 3G, overall it will use much less battery than using 3G.
- Some bad apps or widgets can use android’s “WakeLock“, keeping CPU at 100%, screen always-on, or both. I myself have encountered such widget (I won’t mention the name, it’s in the market) that used a WakeLock to keep CPU spun-up at 100% all the time. That makes a huge impact on battery life. My advice – use a CPU profiling app to monitor the CPU – make sure that CPU slows down by itself when it’s not used. So, beware of such widgets/apps.
- Android (at least on Nexus One) slows down CPU when not in use by itself, as a built-in feature.
Thanks again to DarkDvr for his original post on XDA-Developers
Before I get into this I want to make one thing clear: it’s not bad to have a task killer installed for the purpose of checking what’s running or to close unnecessary apps, but if you have it make sure the task killer itself isn’t running in the background.
Ok, so a lot of people with their new Desire have been recommended to install a task killer. Here’s a few reasons why you don’t need one:
- The way Android OS works is that when an app is in the background then it’s as if the app is frozen and not really running. The exception being apps that need to run in the background such as feed readers, Twitter clients and so on. Having apps in the background that aren’t doing anything is therefore not a problem. The ones that are (Peep, Stocks and so on) you can just change their update frequency to something higher so they’re not running as often.
- The memory management of Android makes sure you always have sufficient free memory. If the available memory falls below a certain threshold your phone will automatically close older applications. Even though this wasn’t too efficient on the Hero, it’s far better on the Desire which has more initial memory to work with.
- Task Killers themselves use up system resources constantly and in turn use battery life, not to mention that it’s trying to access ALL the other processes. Many users have reported an increase in battery life when they don’t have a Task Killer running
- Some task killers will make Sense laggy. Lagginess is a common complaint from Task Killer users. It keeps trying to access the Sense process and causes it to lag.
- Certain apps restart anyway. HTC Apps like Stocks, Peep and Footprint will restart themselves whenever they’re closed. This restart process might cause your phone to lag for a second, use up extra battery during the initialisation process, and so obviously closing such apps has done more bad than good.
- The Desire actually has enough memory and processing power to handle many applications being open. If it’s not broke then don’t fix it, right?
If you insist on having one installed then make sure it’s not always running. When you select apps to close, make sure the task killer itself is included.
One of the main complaints about Desire users is the battery finishing quickly. From smartphone experience, I’d say ideal battery life on any smartphone (which obviously the Desire is) is about a day. That’s to say if you need to charge your battery every night then it’s pretty standard. This isn’t your standard phone which might play a few MP3s, receive a few calls and possibly view a couple of low-quality webpages on a small browser. No, the Desire is a powerhouse full of emails, full web browsing, media playing, wireless connections, navigation, high quality video playback, gaming and a whole lot more!
If your battery is getting drained a lot quicker than that, then here’s a good few tips on how to make it last to the end of the day:
- Remove your Task Killer. Seriously, the Desire doesn’t NEED one and I’ll be writing up another post about them after this to explain in detail why. If you do want to use one, make sure it isn’t always running in the background.
- Turn of Mobile Data when not in use. The phone uses a lot of internet functions, whether it’s checking email, syncing contacts, GTalk or checking for tweets. To be able to do it all properly it needs an active Internet connection. When there’s no mobile internet coverage it will REGULARLY check to see if there’s coverage available. If you know you’re in a location without mobile internet, do your battery a favour and turn the Mobile Data off to prevent those checks, then enable it again when you’re leaving.
To do this go on Settings > Wireless & Networks > Mobile networks > Use only 2G networks
- Disable GPS – if you’re not using it then there’s no need to keep it on is there?
- Screen brightness – this one’s a tricky one. With the AMOLED screen you do need it turned up quite bright to view outdoors. But if you’re indoors then a lower brightness shouldn’t a be a problem. I normally keep my phone set to Auto-brightness – to enable go on Settings > Sound & Display > Brightness > Automatic brightness. Even with auto-brightness enabled I can get to the end of the day with 30-40% battery remaining.
- Remove unnecessary widgets. Whilst they look very nice, widgets can use up a lot of battery. Try removing some that you can live without.
- Use Wireless for browsing – yup, if you’re planning on using the Internet for an extended period of time whether it’s normal browsing, or watching BeebPlayer or YouTube, it’s actually preferred if you have a wireless connection rather than using mobile internet. The bonus is you get a much better browsing/viewing experience too!
Use a widget to easily toggle settings. Even though I’ve listed the entry in Settings to change those settings, a lot can easily be handled using widgets or apps. I normally use MySettings which you can open using the notification bar, and it allows quick toggles of: Mobile Data On/Off, Silent/Loud, WiFi On/Off, GPS On/Off, Bluetooth On/Off, AutoSync On/Off, Auto Rotate On/Off, Screen Timeout, Brightness Level, Unlock Pattern
You can monitor which activities are actually using up your battery. Have a look under Settings > About phone > Battery Use to see what’s being taking the toll on the battery. It’s normally Display, Standby and Voice Calls for me.
The main ones are Mobile Networks and GPS, but all the above tweaks will improve your battery life!
It’d be great to hear other peoples tips too, and hopefully I can extend this list. If you want to contribute either leave a comment or email hello [at] myhtcdesire [dot] com. Thanks!