f you’ve ever caught yourself scanning a room for outlets, or worrying about how long you can eke out a charge on your phone, then this collection of battery-saving Android apps is for you.
These apps are helpful even if you’ve got a built-in battery-saving feature to help you in a dire situation, and even if you have Android 6.0 Marshmallow software with Doze, Google’s built-in feature to pause resource-draining processes when you’re not actively using your handset.
While both are terrific, you can do even more to keep your phone going longer between charges.
Here are five of my favorite battery-boosting apps. While they share similar features, I especially highlight what sets them apart from the rest.
Greenify helps extend battery life by automating the hibernation process rather than stopping the app. The benefit to this over app-killer programs: your phone uses less battery waking up a sleeping app than it does to restart an app you had stopped, or killed.
With Greenify, users can hand pick which lower priority apps should take a nap. Heads up, though — you won’t want to hibernate apps such as the alarm clock or messaging apps if you plan to use them every day, like I do.
For those of you who are already enjoying the benefits of Android 6.0, Greenify goes a step further with experimental features that piggyback on top of the Doze functionality. For example, Aggressive Doze starts your phone hibernating within a few minutes after you stop using it, rather than many hours (like when you’re asleep). Shallow Hibernation (for power users) suspends background functions without actually stopping the tasks.
There is a pro version, but unless you’re well-versed in system operations, it’s best to stick with the free version.
Standout features: Set-and-forget approach to hibernating apps rather than forcibly stopping the process as app-killer software does.
This polished and intuitive app offers varying degrees of battery saving. A simple tap lets you toggle preset modes for general, super and extreme power savings. A heavy gamer, for instance, may want more aggressive savings with Extreme Mode. You can also create your own custom mode.
Go Battery Saver & Power Widget keeps an eye on your apps to determine which have the most impact on battery. By assigning a score to your battery, the app determines which features you may want to enable or disable to extend its life.
Tapping the optimize button, in essence, cleans up unnecessary, resource-sucking processes and can buy you back an extra hour or more. The app also gives you two home screen widgets that you can use as shortcuts, with the option to buy skins.
Standout features: Handy widgets, multiple user modes, modern and intuitive interface, excellent development support and history of updates.
Developed by well-known mobile security firm Avast, this battery app is highly accurate at predicting when users will need to plug in the phone for charging.
Although it may not offer as many unique features as others on this list, I appreciate its all-in-one hub for power-saving settings (some phone software spread these features out in settings submenus).
Avast provides a quick and easy way to manage options like Wi-Fi, display brightness, sync and vibration. These might not sound like battery hogs on their own, but each plays a small role in how much life you get from a single charge.
The four preset profiles (Home, Work, Night and Super-Saving Emergency Mode) can be tailored to your liking; switch between profiles manually or set up profiles that automatically turn on when you hop onto your home or work’s Wi-Fi network.
Standout features: Automatic profile switching based on Wi-Fi, handy all-in-one overview, accurate battery reading.
This good-looking app provides a streamlined appearance with just the right amount of settings and shortcuts.
It greets you with a number of preset profiles, say, for work and home. As with others, you can create your own custom mode.
The app also lets users dig in and see which apps are more battery hungry, or which can be suspended without impacting performance.
Although the free client provides enough features to satisfy most people, the paid version ($3, or about £2 and AU$4.25) promises up to 70 percent more battery savings through advanced features like auto-clearing unnecessary background apps and services, and updating device settings.
Standout features: Gorgeous aesthetics, additional user-defined modes, option to add premium features a la carte without paying, multiple home screen widgets, lock screen integration.
Formerly known as Battery Aid, this free app provides a few additional options to help squeeze out extra hours. Notably, it automatically turns off your phone’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and data connections when not in use, and for a set amount of time. Additionally, it can also be used to toggle the settings for synchronizing the phone to your accounts for email, photos, music, books and so on. If your phone isn’t continuously trying to sync your entire account, you won’t use up your battery stores as fast.
The free version of the app offers shortcuts to your standard phone options such as display brightness screen timeout and car dock settings. Sure, you could dig around in your handset’s settings to find them as well, but Green Battery keeps them in one place.
There are a couple of other features you can unlock for a few dollars ($4 USD, or about £2.80 and AU$5.70), including battery statistics. Going premium also removes ads and signs you up for future updates as well.
Separately, the developers have a Google+ account and a beta community it uses to test new features, too. If you’re the type who likes to get a sneak preview of upcoming options, be sure to sign up.
Standout features: Uses Google’s look and feel; an all-in-one place for common device settings; simple and straightforward.
Other tips and best practices
Chances are good that you can also extend battery life by manually adjusting a few settings on your device. Switching to airplane mode or turning off features like Bluetooth, NFC and GPS can squeeze a few minutes or more out of the battery.
Is your phone set to automatically adjust brightness? Are your social media apps constantly pinging for updates? You may surprised at how much control you have over the apps and services on your smartphone.
It’s not uncommon for an app developer to introduce a new feature or make an adjustment that impacts the battery. Along those lines, I always recommend updating apps to the latest versions. Sometimes these little bug fixes can pay off in big ways.