Why is my phone battery draining so fast?

It’s one thing to have an older phone - but when your phone’s battery begins to wear out, the consequences can be extremely frustrating. You will probably notice that the charge never lasts as long, or that it takes longer to fully charge than it once used to.

There might be external reasons for a slow charge - maybe your power cable needs replacing. But eventually, it may seem that if your phone isn’t actually on the charger, it dies right away. What’s going on? Why is your phone battery draining so fast?

We will talk a bit about why batteries wear out and what that means for your charge times and phone’s overall performance.

What’s in a phone battery?

Your cell phone is constantly getting better, faster, smaller (or larger!), thinner, and every other superlative a designer can think of. There is a downside though; while cell phone technology continues to improve, the battery your phone uses has been more or less the same for years, if not decades.

All those incremental new improvements mean that your phone battery can’t keep up, technology-wise, with the advancements in your phone itself. Cell phones use lithium-ion batteries, which all operate on the same principle; there’s a cathode, an anode, and something that separates them - keeping them from coming into direct contact while still allowing atoms to pass through.

While lithium-ion technology has improved, it has only gotten more efficient - there hasn’t been a big technological breakthrough.

Common problems with Cell Phone Batteries

Most battery problems stem from a gradual battery degradation. Batteries come with a shelf life. Most manufacturers estimate that the modern battery should last between 500-800 cycles, with one cycle being a complete charge from 0%-100%. Not that you should always let your battery run completely down before recharging; lithium-ion batteries do best when operated, and charged, between 20%-80% of their capacity.

Regardless, at some point the constant charging and draining cycles will start to take a toll on your phone battery, and it will begin to degrade. Once a battery starts to degrade, it becomes less efficient. Less efficiency means more resistance in the charge, which can lead to extreme cases where your phone shuts down because it needs more power than it has available.

Managing power usage

Prolonging your battery life doesn’t have to be complicated. In general, the apps that you would suspect take the most battery life, actually do. Game apps and video players are at the top of the list, while maps and navigation apps often run in the background, quietly draining your battery.

Prolonging your battery life is a combination of reducing the stress and drain on your battery without sacrificing performance.

Phone battery optimization guide

Here is a list of tips and tricks to get the most out of your cell phone battery, listed from easiest to the most technical.

1. Perform an app audit

You can read more about the importance of [an app audit to help speed up your phone, but the basic idea is to keep track of which apps you have installed and what permissions each one has. Tracking permissions should also help you see which apps are prime energy-suckers - apps that turn on location tracking or that run in the background.

2. Track your battery life in Settings

An app audit will tell you a lot about your apps and permissions. Take that information, and then visit the Battery menu, found under your phone’s Settings app. Depending on the exact model phone you have, you should find a list of apps that are currently using battery. It will tell you data used and the exact amount of power consumed.

3. Delete unnecessary apps

Armed with the information from your app audit and the battery settings, you should be able to start deleting apps that are unnecessary or that hoard too much data. Start with easy apps first, like any bloatware that came installed by default. Pay close attention to resource-heavy apps like your web browser.

4. Replace needed apps with more battery-friendly ones

You need certain apps like a web browser, but there might be a more energy-efficient one out there. Brave browser provides noticeable battery savings, consuming up to 40% less battery than competitors like Google Chrome. Installing Brave reduces the stress on your battery, using less energy and prolonging your battery life.

5. Try some advanced settings

If you have Developer Mode enabled on your phone, there are some more advanced options available. You can try one of these options to see if you can eke out some more battery life.

Limit the number of background processes

There is probably a standard number of background processes allowed by default, but you can reduce that number (or turn it off entirely). This will force your phone to do fewer things at once.

Turn off automatic updates

Automatic updates follow the same principle; they run in the background, adding to the burden on your battery. Turning off automatic updates adds a bit of work down the road - you will need to manually update your apps - but it can save battery (and data!) in the meantime.

6. Only charge your battery to 80%

The more charge in a battery, the more stress on it, and the last 20% of a charge puts the most stress on a battery. Machines that use larger batteries, like electric cars, get around this by recommending an 80% charge that still provides plenty of power. Only charging your cell phone to 80% can be a challenge, since the tendency is to leave your phone on the charger till it is done. But if you’re serious about eking every bit of energy out of your battery, don’t let your battery charge drop below 20%, and take it off the charger at 80%.

Switch to a battery-saving browser

Brave saves over one hour of battery life compared to Google Chrome. It also saves mobile data, protects your browsing history and personal information, and rewards you for viewing ads. Download it today, track your battery usage, and see how much you’ve saved!

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