Treated myself to a Nexus 5 which I am really enjoying. However one thing that I did have issues with initially was the battery life though. With 4G and some of the default settings on the phone, I managed to empty my fully charged phone within 8 hours.

Having done lots of research, changed a number of default options and installed a power widget so I can easily toggle things, my battery in the next day after 8 hours was at 82% still, so I now get a couple of days out of my phone.

Changes:

  • Installed this Power Toggles app, which gives me a toggle bar like the one in CyanogenMod which I use two quickly toggle the following:
    • Data Sync – If you don’t need push notifications for a while, this saves a lot of battery but you won’t get emails or WhatsApp messages.
    • Data Network Toggle – Allows me to quickly get to the options page to turn 4G off or on as needed.
    • Brightness – Allows me to toggle brightness to it’s very minimum and auto. When inside, I leave it at minimum. As I am often indoors, this saves me the most power as Androids auto brightness is often too bright.
  • Disable Google Now. It often requests your location and then downloads cards, which while relevant and useful are not so much if your battery runs out before the day is over.
  • Disable “OK, Google” hotword detection. It constantly monitors for “OK, Google” which must drain battery power. While the feature is cool to show off… I am not going to say “OK, Google” and then my search term on a busy train for all to hear. Same reason you never hear anyone use Siri in public.
  • Disable Background WiFi. The phone scans WiFi even when turned off to get your location. If you go to WiFi settings and find the … In the corner and select advanced options, one will be for “Scanning always available”.
  • Bluetooth and NFC – These were of by default. You can use the Power Toggles app perhaps to manage this. I never use NFC and always use Bluetooth for my Pebble Watch so didn’t need toggle options.
  • Disable vibrate on touch. Having the phone vibrate a tiny bit when you key in things just wastes power unless you like that feedback while typing.
  • Set Location option to Battery Saving mode. Seems to be a new feature in Android so you can use location features (so my tube app knows what station I am near) without using to much battery.
  • Disable location features in an Apps you don’t need it in. (One of my budget apps for example).
  • Don’t install Facebook, Twitter or anything else that might try doing excessive background data or location requests. I don’t trust Facebook with my battery. Using the web browser works if I need to check something and not having it as accessible stops me wasting time too.
  • Restrict background data on any apps in Settings > Data Usage that you don’t need to keep up to date. This won’t stop apps doing other things in the background to waste data, but it will stop them using data. It’s a start.
  • Not had to use it myself, but Greenify can restrict apps from running in the background entirely. Useful for things like Facebook, but there is no native way to do this yet.
  • Small one, but the native News and Weather app is set by default to regularly pull updates. You can change this in its options so only update when you request it.
  • Google account settings are set to sync everything by default, including things useful like Gmail and Contacts, but also things less useful you could turn off like Google Play Books or possibly some of the photo options if you don’t use them. I have not turned anything off myself as I use most features but it’s another thing to look at.

Hopefully this helps other Android users. If anyone knows of other tips, let me know.