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Increase Your Android 4.4 KitKat Battery Life With These Quick Tricks

November 7, 2013 - Written By Samantha P. Hawthorne

As technology progresses and Android features increase, battery life on our devices seem to decrease. The lures of instant mobile gratification may seem too good to pass up at first, but at the end of the day, and for some of us half way through it, the only thing gained is a dead battery. With each new update, new methods have been employed to help save on battery life, giving us at least a couple extra hours to make it through our day. Android’s latest 4.4 update, KitKat is however packed with battery draining features that may make our lives simpler, but also make leaving the house without a battery charger a little more difficult. These KitKat specific battery saving techniques, as discovered by CNET should help your device keep going and going, much like the energizer bunny.

Use the Battery Gauge

Instead of installing a third party application for monitoring your battery usage, make use of Android’s built in battery gauge. It gives detailed information on what aspects of your phone are using the most battery, and shows how long your phone has been running. Usage details are also available by clicking on each individual battery drainer. The easiest way to access battery information is by clicking the battery icon from the quick launch menu.

In some cases of battery drain, your phone may not be sleeping properly, and an application could be causing a wakelock. A wakelock happens when your phone is not entering deep sleep properly. There are many applications in the market to help pinpoint the problem, one of the most popular being BetterBatteryStats. At the moment however, wakelock detecting applications do not work with KitKat due to a change in the way battery stats are accessed. The makers of BBB and other apps like it are working on a solution.

Battery Saving GPS Mode

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With so many apps joining the location sharing bandwagon, disabling GPS when its not used for navigation has always been a good practice. With Android’s new battery saving mode however, there is no need to disable it. Depending on your preference, you can choose between three different GPS modes: High accuracy, which provides the most accurate tracking using GPS, Wi-Fi and mobile networks to estimate your location; Battery saving, which uses only Wi-Fi and data to track your location so your battery has time to rest; and Device only, which uses the least amount of power by only using the GPS to track your location.

To enable battery saving mode go to Settings > Location > Mode > and choose one of the three options.

Disable Google Now’s Auto-voice Detection

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Much like Google Glass, KitKat can now detect your voice automatically so that one simple phrase will activate Google Now. Saying “OK, Google” while on the home screen will initiate Google Search and Voice Actions allowing true hand free control of your device. Although for some that may seem like a necessity, for others it is a waste of power.

It can be disabled through Google Now Settings > Voice > Hotword Detection.

Don’t Forget NFC

Although a very useful feature, near field communication has not quite lived up to the hype. Many people, including myself, forget it even exists. Meanwhile it floats around in the background draining your battery. Even if you do use NFC, there is no need to keep it enabled 24/7. In order to save battery, you should enable it only when the time is right.

To disable NFC navigate to Settings > Wireless & Networks – More > NFC. Disabling NFC will also disable Android Beam.

Don’t Sync What You Don’t Need To

Sync has always, and will always cause a huge battery drain, especially if you have multiple Google accounts. If you do not manually disable the Google services you don’t use, Android will automatically choose to sync them all. Google Photo Sync is especially detrimental to your battery life, especially is you are in the habit of taking hundreds of selfies per day.

To pick and choose what sync options work best for you go to Settings > Accounts – Google > your email account > and deselect the options you wish to disable. If you only want to disable Google Photos Sync you can visit the gallery app and disable it through the settings menu.

Other Quick Tricks

  • If you are not located within a Wi-Fi hotspot, disable Wi-Fi.
  • Disable features such as LTE and Bluetooth that you do not use.
  • Tell third party apps, such as Dropbox, to sync only while on Wi-Fi.
  • If you do not use an app, lose it. It could be causing you unneeded battery woes.
  • Forget the widgets and stick with in-app updates.
  • Do you really need live wallpaper? Disable it!
  • Turn off haptic feedback.