How to identify apps that are draining your Android’s battery


Does it seem like your Android device runs out of battery a lot sooner than it should? Before you run out and replace your battery, you might want to take a look at which apps, if any, consume most of your battery resources. Chances are there are a few apps that are responsible for this, and that your battery is fine.

Android actually keeps an internal measure of battery consumption for each running app. This post will show you how you can find this information out quickly and easily.

All you need to do is go to the Android system settings and select ‘battery’ (see screenshot bottom right). Note, however, that you might want to do this after an entire days’ worth of battery usage, or at least a few hours, such that the information you get is a meaningful sample.

Next, you will get a display similar to the bottom left screenshot, showing a ranking of apps based on their battery consumption.

System settings - batteryList of apps by battery consumption

A case study: In the screenshot above/right, the two top apps (Listen up and Chess by Post Free) consume a whopping 40% of battery resources combined over the 11 hours worth of data being displayed. What was surprising to me was that I virtually never used the first app (Listen Up). I had actually forgotten about this app, which automatically downloads podcasts and was consuming both battery and bandwidth.

The second app (‘Chess by Post’) was not very surprising to me. I am obsessed with it and play and check it constantly for moves by online opponents.

What to do about battery draining apps:

  • Check and modify the settings: for ‘Listen Up’, for example, there is an option in the settings for that app to only download only when charging. Problem solved. Some apps that make frequent online requests can usually be set to check less often, etc.
  • Do without: while you can’t do much about the Android OS apps, you can do without some of the other apps on the list. I did without the ‘New Year Snowflake Live Wallpaper’, for example (which was consuming 4%, not too much but not insignificant compared to a static wallpaper). I decided to keep and live with the ‘Chess by Post’ app, because the reason it was taking up so much battery resources was simply due to frequent usage.
  • Find another app: that does the same thing. Use for a while and see if it consumes less battery resources.

I hope this was helpful. Please share any thoughts about this in the comments section below.

  • In my case, the biggest battery consumer is the screen taking up nearly 50% of battery at any given time. The only solution here is to turn down brightness to a minimum.

    • fiddler

      In my international Galaxy S3, the biggest contributors to battery consumption are Android System, Cell standby, and Device idle. Screen brightness is set to lowest and I hardly have any app that runs all the time (plus, I kill non-system apps immediately after each use). OS is at 4.1.1, but rooted. Absolutely baffled by high battery consumption.
      Wondering if third-party ROMs are the way out… but not very sure of what’s what.

      Samer, any plans to post review/comparisons for popular third-party ROMs? Or, at least, how to evaluate them?

      • One of the best apps I’ve purchased is ROM Toolbox. Aside from having all the features you might find in Titanium Backup, Root Explorer and a couple of other “must haves”, it also has CPU profiles that have greatly extended my battery’s life. For example, I set up a profile to set my governor to Powersave when the screen is off. This throttles the CPU at its minimum speed. I then have it switch to OnDemand when the screen’s on so it’s perky when used. I went from about 5-6 hours of battery life to 9-10 with that and other simple changes.

  • Any app you have set to keep either refreshing or downloading from the internet is going to eat your battery. Not sure why this comes as a surprise to anyone. This is why the first thing I do with things like Twitter, Facebook and G+ is to disable notifications and refreshing.

  • Uncle Vinny

    If I would move more frequently, you wouldn’t have to check ChessByPost in vain so often! I’ll try not to be such a slacker.

  • Jiri

    Give a try to OS Monitor app. It displays actual CPU usage in status bar. Checking the CPU usage details sorted by CPU usage percentage allows to identify processes that drain your battery. You can either try to reinstall that app, change sync period (like in case of e-mail app) or uninstall. It helped me a lot in past.