Sunday, 1 February 2015

Battery Saver Mode on Android Explained

| Sunday, February 01, 2015 | | | |

The latest version of Android i.e v5.0 Lollipop is full of new features and bugs. While Google is fixing the buggy part we thought of explaining the features to the masses. Lollipop is full of tiny little updates all over with a few new features that really stand out. After covering the priority notifications feature a few days back we thought of explaining the power saver mode on Android Lollipop.

One of the major issue with Android phones is the mediocre battery life. While a lot of people complain about it, the only fix that really worked was buying a phone with a bigger battery. This solution didn’t work for everyone though, phones with bigger batteries were heavy, bulky and had uninspiring design. Some of them had average specifications, keeping people away from buying such phones. The ones that did really everything well — like the Samsung Note series — had a hefty price tag. One of the methods to save the battery on the Android Phone is to tweak the software on it. On Android Lollipop they have done it with the implementation of Project Volta, which will only show improvement once app developers start implementing it.. But something that works very well even now is the inbuilt Power Saver mode in Lollipop.

The main purpose of the Power Saver mode is to save the battery when it is really required. The mode is automated and can activate from 2 points — When the battery reaches 15% and when it reaches 5%. Users can choose the from these two based on their preference. Along with  the automated setting, the mode can also be activated manually at any given point of time by going to Settings>Battery> Clicking Icon on the Top Right corner and switching it on. This should be done when you are away from a charger for a really long time to save the battery from draining out.

How Does Power Saver Work?

You might be curious as to how a minor software tweak can help the battery last longer. The answer lies in the way the mode works, when it is activated it switches off one or more cores of the processor, switches off animations and reduces background data. While this does affect the overall performance of the device, it manages to save the battery in the process. The data connection is still active for you to use but apps cannot access the internet unless you are using it. This reduces the data transfer between the apps and the internet, reducing the load on the already starving processor.

Does it really work?

My first doubt was if it would work as promised, so I switched it on with around noon with 94% battery still left on my Nexus 5. The system notifies that the power saver mode is on and changes the colour of the Status Bar and the Lower System buttons to Orange. There was a noticeable lag in the performance of the device, it took longer to open apps and games. Networking apps like WhatsApp and Facebook stopped showing notifications; in fact they only refreshed when the app was launched.

The main reason for the power saver mode is to get you through your day when you cannot charge your phone, which it manages to do well. We have seen Sony use something similar to extend the battery life on their smart phones where it completely disconnects the data 15 minutes after the screen switches off. I switched it on my Nexus 5 with the battery at 94% and the phone was at 77% after 7 hours of use. Generally my phone would have dropped down to 30-40% but it seems Power Saver was doing the job rather well. With the mode being a part of Android Lollipop we can expect it on upcoming smartphones soon. But if you ask if it works when its required the most the answer is a big YES!
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