Take control of apps and put them to sleep to increase battery life on your Android phone.

There are settings buried in Android that enable you to reduce power consumption to extend battery life on your phone. Let’s see how to make phone apps always sleep, always awake and more.

Battery life is one of the biggest issues people have with their phones and despite all the advances that have been made in mobile technology, the phone never seems to last as long as we would like.

There are various techniques that enable phones to last a bit longer on the battery and I have looked at battery savers in Do you need a battery saver for example.

Instead of installing a battery saver app, there are settings within Android on your phone that can reduce battery drain and these should be tried first. The following settings are from a Samsung Galaxy S6 running Android 7, but you will find some or all of the settings on your own phone if you are running a recent version of Android.

Save battery power

Open the Settings app and press Device Maintenance. Wait for it to finish scanning the system and then press Battery at the bottom.

On the Battery screen are three buttons for selecting the battery saving mode - Off, Mid and Max. Mid is a good choice because it balances battery savings with functions. In other words, it allows essential tasks, but limits non-essential functions to save power.

 Device Maintenance app on a Samsung Galaxy S6 phone Reduce battery drain on Android with power saving modes

Take a look at App power monitor at the bottom. There is a Save Power button and a list of apps below. Tap the button and all the listed apps are put into sleep mode. This suspends them and stops any activity, which reduces battery drain.

Check the list before tapping the Save Power button in case there are apps you specifically want to run in the background, such as email or instant messenger apps.

Unmonitored and sleeping apps

Scroll right down to the bottom of this screen and there are two sections, Unmonitored apps and Always sleeping apps. These enable you to select apps that always or never sleep.

 Unmonitored and sleeping apps settings in Android Sleeping apps settings on Android

Always sleeping apps

When you use one app and then switch to another, the first app remains in the background. It can run in the background in order to perform various tasks and when it does so, it uses some battery power.

By setting an app to always sleep, background activity for it is suspended and this means that it will not use any battery power. Press Always sleeping apps and press the Add apps button to add apps to the list.

The apps on the list will not run, so do not add any that you rely on, such as email, messaging, and similar ones because forcing them to sleep will stop notifications. A music or podcast app may stop playing if forced to sleep. Add apps that you do not need notifications from and do not need to run in the background.

If you switch to an app that has been put to sleep, it wakes up and starts working again, but it goes back to sleep when you switch away. It is useful for saving battery power.

Unmonitored apps

Unmonitored apps are apps that are never put to sleep and they can run when they want and as often as they want in the background. They consume battery power while running and this means they shorten the time the battery lasts.

You may need to add certain apps to this list, such as those that monitor activity. For example, if a step counter app (see 4 Android pedometer apps that count your steps), was forced to sleep, it might miss the steps you take and give wrong results. It needs to run constantly and so it could be added to the Unmonitored apps list.

Do not add apps to this list unless absolutely necessary because they can increase battery drain. Press Unmonitored apps and see if any are listed. Remove any that do not need to be there.