SXSW Prep: Making Your Samsung Galaxy Nexus Battery Last All Day

I sent this tweet earlier today:

BattTweet

A few people wrote back and asked what I was up to. This post is for you.

I have a Samsung Galaxy Nexus Android phone. It’s an amazing phone. But it uses batteries like your laptop, so you need to be prepared. As such, I have 4 (yes, FOUR) batteries and two chargers. One battery came with the phone, two are standard batteries that came with the external chargers, and one of the batteries is the “extended life” battery (note to self, buy another one of those). Generally I keep one in the phone, one at home, and two at the office, and a charger both places. I’ve always got a battery in the charger, and I always have a fresh battery. It’s possible I could just walk around SXSW with three spare batteries and make it through. But to be honest, if I used the phone all day long even that probably wouldn’t be enough. Crazy but true.

So here’s what I’m doing to conserve battery life while out and about using this phone which is basically a battery-sucking tablet all day every day at SXSW. Please share your secrets in the comments.

  1. Taking all four batteries and both chargers, so I can charge two at once overnight. If I remember in the middle of the night I’ll cycle one of the batteries, too, so I wake up with 4 fully-charged batteries every day.
  2. I put the phone into 3G mode instead of LTE. Settings -> More -> Mobile Networks -> Network Mode -> CDMA.
  3. I turned off vibrate for rings. Settings -> Sound -> Vibrate -> Never.
  4. I turned off vibrate on touch. Settings -> Sound -> Vibrate on touch -> Uncheck.
  5. I turned off Settings -> Language and input -> Swiftkey X -> Advanced -> Audio and haptic feedback -> Haptic feedback -> Uncheck. (If you’re not using Swiftkey X yet, do. It’s an amazing keyboard replacement for Android.)
  6. I turned off Accounts & sync. If I want to know if I have new mail, I open my mail app and hit refresh. Settings -> Accounts & sync -> Off.
  7. Turn off Wifi (unless you’re using it.) Settings -> Wifi -> Off.
  8. Turn off Bluetooth (unless you’re using it.) Settings -> Bluetooth -> Off.
  9. Turn off any apps you don’t care about that show up at the top of the “Battery” list. Settings -> Battery. For me GroupMe was at the top so I uninstalled it. Maps is at the top, but I will likely use Maps a lot so I’ll live with that. I can always kill Maps and GPS if it turns out I’m not using it much.
  10. When I’m in places where I won’t hear the phone (loud, in my pocket, etc), I will turn off the ringer.

With all of this I should get good long battery life out of my phone but still be able to use it for what I need it for all day and night. I’ll let you know how many battery changes I go through on average. ;-)

See you in Austin.

ian

ps – for a list of where I’ll be all week, see this post at Topspin’s site.

Comments

  1. CraigF wrote:

    Swiftkey X is currently part of the Google Play rebrand offers:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.touchtype.swiftkey

    I’ve bought it, but don’t use it since I’m more comfortable with Swype:
    http://www.swype.com/

    For others with Android phones wishing to save battery, it may be worth looking at underclocking via SetCPU:
    http://www.setcpu.com/

    It will underclock (hence, lower battery usage) when your screen is off etc, depends on kernel support on your phone, and you may need to root – which can obviously clash with media purchasing on your device. YMMV.

    I find that switching data to 2g is even better for battery, and switching to 3g when needed. Or disabling data altogether. There was an app that did this called Juicedefender:
    http://www.juicedefender.com/
    - but I found it very frustrating personally.

    And obviously, the easiest thing you can do is just have more batteries!

  2. Andrew Violette wrote:

    Tasker is a pretty cool tool for Android that you can use to manage contextual situations: such as “when low battery, use 2g networks and dim screen” and “if headphones plugged in, open spotify”. I recommend it although it costs 5 dollars or something like that.

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