Tips to Improve Battery Life on Android 4.4 KitKat Phone

With an aim to make your smartphones even more smarter, each new release of the Android OS brings along a host of new features. But all this comes at a cost … your phone’s battery life. While there is no denying the fact that there has to be a trade off between the battery life and the smartness the phone offers, there are certain steps that you can take to improve battery life on your Android phone.

In Android 4.4 KitKat, you can easily activate Google Now by saying “Ok Google.” While this has made it easier to search things, it also means that your phone is constantly in listening mode, waiting for you to say those two words. Needless to say, that’s a big battery drain.

To turn that feature off, Go to “Google app -> Settings -> Voice -> “Ok Google” hotword detection -> OFF”.

kitkat-hotword

If you are not a great fan of Google Now, it is best that you turn off the complete service from “Google app -> Settings -> Google Now -> OFF”. Select the “Also turn off Location History” box and tap the “Turn Off” option.

kitkat-google-now

Android KitKat also brought along the ability to select Location mode, a method through which your phone determines its location. Go to “Settings -> Location -> Mode”, and you’ll see that there are three modes: High accuracy, which uses GPS, WI-Fi, and mobile networks to determine location; Battery saving, which uses Wi-Fi and mobile networks to determine location; and Device only, which only uses GPS to figure out where you are.

kitkat-location-mode

By default, the High accuracy mode is selected, but as the name suggests, Battery saving mode is the least power hungry. Although it’s least accurate too, but that shouldn’t be a problem unless you are doing something that requires your phone’s accurate location.

Also introduced in Android 4.4 is the Android Run Time, an application runtime environment that replaces Dalvik process virtual machine originally used by the Google’s mobile OS. In layman’s terms, ART is a new way of executing apps on top of the Android operating system. To understand why ART is battery friendly, you’d have to first understand how it functions. Don’t worry, I’ll try to explain that in brief without doing much tech speak.

Dalvik is based on JIT (just in time) compilation, which means that it compiles an app’s source code each time the app executes. On the other hand, ART is based on Ahead Of Time (AOT) process that does the required conversion when the app is first installed, offering you not only more speed but also a better battery life.

What’s really interesting is how you turn it on. Go to “Settings -> About phone,” and repeatedly tap “Build number” until it says “you are a developer.” This will turn on the Developer Mode. Now, come back to the previous menu, and you’ll see “Developer options” just above the “About phone” option.

kitkat-developer-options

Once inside the “Developer options” menu, tap the “Select runtime” and select “Use ART.”

kitkat-ART

Your phone will reboot and the whole conversion process will take ten to twenty minutes.

Note that there are certain limitations of the Android Run Time. For example, it uses more storage and is not compatible with every app out there. If you want to use the ART option but are concerned about app compatibility, you can take a look at the list of compatible apps.

While not exclusive to Android KitKat, there are a couple of more useful tricks that you can use to boost your phone’s battery life. The first is the auto-sync feature that assumes you’d like to sync everything including Calendar, Contacts, Keep, Photos, and more. As you can see, Google syncs a lot of stuff which in turn seriously affects your phone’s battery.

To disable auto sync, head to “Settings -> Google -> [tap your account]” , and disable the services you don’t want Google to sync.

kitkat-auto-sync

Did you know that your phone scans for Wi-Fi connections even if you’ve turned off the Wi-Fi option? Yes, that’s true, and the reason is that it helps apps, games, and Google Play pinpoint your phone’s location. This, again, negatively impacts your phone’s battery. To disable this feature, head to “Settings -> Wi-Fi -> Advanced”, and turn off the “Scanning always available” feature.

kitkat-wifi

Aside from the aforementioned tips/tricks to improve your phone’s battery life, you can also follow these generic steps:

  • Opt for normal wallpapers instead of live wallpapers
  • Disable apps and widgets that you don’t use
  • Go for a battery saver app like DU Battery Saver and Battery Doctor.

What other ways do you use to save battery life on your Android phone?