How to stop an app draining the battery on Android phone

Stop power-hungry Android apps drawing excessive power

If your phone battery cannot last a day, it is rarely the phone or Android. Most often it is an app draining the battery. Here is how to find it and stop it. Make your phone last all day.

Phone keep on getting better and better year by year, except in one important area and that is battery life. When the smartphone was introduced, it brought a lot of great new features, but battery life tumbled.

Some people find that they cannot get through a single day on a battery charge, epsecially if the phone is a year or two old. As the phone ages, the battery weakens, exacerbating the problem. Battery life just gets worse every year.

There are things you can do to help the battery last longer and one of the most important is to identify those apps that are draining the battery the most and to stop them. Literally stopping them from running is a great help when you need your phone’s battery to last all day.

If you have to use an app, there isn’t much you can do about it sucking the life out of the battery, but stopping it running when you are not using it can have a big improvement in battery life.

In this guide I will show how to find out which apps are using the most battery power and then to prevent them from using the battery when they are not actually being used. Google has some battery tips, but here’s the best way to prolong battery life.

Restart the phone and apps

If the phone is experiencing abnormally high battery drain, the first thing to do is to close all apps and restart the phone. It is like a refresh and it closes apps, restarts and clears memory. It solves some types of problems. It will not cure everything, but it is so quick and easy, you should try it first.

Press the task switcher button if you have one or swipe up from the bottom of the screen. All the apps running or suspended in the background are shown and swiping them away closes them. When all the apps are gone, hold down the power button until a menu appears on the screen with a restart button. Press it.

If an app simply uses too much battery because of a bug or bad design, restarting will not help. However, there are other steps you can take to reduce the battery drain caused by an app.

I am using a Samsung Galaxy phone running Android 11 and One UI 3.1 for the screenshots. Phones from other manufacturers with different versions of Android may look different, but given the information here, hopefully you can work out how to do this on your own phone.

1 Settings and battery info

Android phone settings

Open the Settings app on the phone and swipe up until until you get to Battery and device care and Apps. Both are useful for restricting apps and reducing battery drain. I look at Apps right at the end, let’s continue here by pressing Battery and device care.

2 Optimize storage and memory

Battery information screen on an Android phone

The device care screen appears and from here you can optimize the memory and storage and perform other cleanup tasks. Press Battery to open the battery section.

3 View battery usage information

Battery information in Settings on an Android phone

This screen shows the battery level over time and it is easy to see if there is a problem because the chart will be steep. This phone is showing pretty good battery life, but let’s pretend there is a problem and the battery drain is excessive.

One thing you can do is to put the phone into a lower power mode using the Power saving mode switch. This affects all apps and very slightly slows down the phone, but it enables the phone to last longer on the battery.

What we want to do is to stop one specific app from draining the battery and we will look at Background usage limits shortly, but for now, tap the chart to continue drilling down into battery information.

4 See apps draining the battery

Apps draining the battery on an Android phone

Tapping the chart switches to this view and there is a list of apps ordered by the amount of power they have consumed while the phone has been running on the battery.

The figures in the screenshot are low and this phone does not have a problem, but let’s pretend that it does. Look at the apps and choose one of the top ones. I’ll tap Chrome, but you tap whatever app is using the most battery on your phone.

5 Limit battery usage

Battery settings screen on an Android phone

This screen shows more information about how this app has been drawing power from the battery. My phone is OK, but does your screen show excessive power usage? There may be a button down at the bottom of the screen to limit battery usage. It may not be there for everything, but it is there for a lot of apps. Press it.

6 Limit background usage: Sleep apps

Battery settings on an Android phone

Put an app to sleep and it runs in the background a lot less than usual. Running less often means it draws power less often, so the battery lasts longer on a charge. This only affects the selected app and others will run normally.

Don’t put email, messaging and similar apps to sleep or they may not report new emails or messages when they arrive.

7 Sleeping apps use less power

Battery settings on an Android phone

Apps that are sleeping consume less battery power and it is possible to set the system to automatically put unused apps to sleep when they have been idle for some time. Skip back to step 3 and you will see an option called Background usage limits. Press it, it is in Settings > Battery and device care > Battery. Turn on the switch at the top to automatically put unused apps to sleep.

Normal apps can wake and run a lot. Sleeping apps occasionally wake and run, they just don’t wake and run as much as normal, which reduces the power usage. The phone can go further and deep sleep apps, which means they never run in the background. This prevents them from doing any tasks, but it also prevents them from using any battery.

Deep sleeping apps use even less power than sleeping apps. Press the option on this screen.

8 Save battery with deep sleeping apps

Battery settings on an Android phone

On this screen, press the plus button and select all the apps that do not need to update in the background. Don’t choose email or you might never get any new email notifications. Select apps that don’t need to update and they will use no power. The apps you choose are up to you.

Deep sleeping apps are like apps that are not running. If you run one, it is a fresh start. Apps run normally, but if you switch to another app and then switch back, it may not remember what you were doing and continue where you left off.

9 Block background apps in Settings

App information in Settings on an Android phone

In the first screenshot I highlighted Apps. Go to Settings > Apps > Any App and there are a couple of things you can do to reduce the amount of load it puts on the battery. Turn off the switch Allow background activity, which is the same as we saw earlier.

Down at the bottom is Force stop, which stops the app running. If it is not running, it is not drawing power. Stopped apps do not always stay stopped and various triggers can set them running again, but it can still help.

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