Screen timeout   Screen brightness

If you're new to Android (or smartphones in general) you're probably a little flummoxed by having to charge your phone more often than you would like.  It's a never-ending battle with technology -- we demand more from our devices, and it takes more battery power to deliver it.  While we don't see much point in disabling half the features of your Android powered phone to stretch the time between charges, so small tweaks that are easy to set up can be helpful.  Of course, plugging it in when it needs charged is still the best way to handle it, but here's a tip that get you a little more life from a charge.

The biggest usage of the battery on your phone comes from the screen backlight.  While newer tech like Super AMOLED Plus and Pentile Matrix display can offer a slightly better rate of power consumption, it's still going to take quite a bit of juice to run that big bright screen -- especially if you have it cranked way up.  Most Android phones will have an auto-brightness setting that uses a light sensor to adjust the backlight, often manual settings can do a little better.  And while you're there, check to see just how long the screen stays lit after you're done using your phone.

While on your homescreen, tap the Menu button, then Settings.  In the list you see, scroll down and tap the Display option.  There's two important settings here -- Brightness and Screen timeout.  Tap the Brightness entry, and try unchecking Automatic brightness and adjusting the slider down until your phone's display is still readable, and it will no longer get too bright and waste battery power.  Of course, there will be times that you'll need to adjust this, and a quick search of the Market will find you several widgets to control this setting or you can drop a shortcut to the Display options on your homescreen for easy access.

While you're looking at your Display settings, check the Screen timeout option as well.  This controls how long it takes the screen to power down when it's not being used, and dropping things down under a minute can make a big difference.  On devices with giant 4.3 inch (and larger) screens, these tips can help more than you would think.  And they won't stop you from getting messages and mail while your phone is in your pocket.

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Android 101: Manage your battery life by setting your screen timeout and brightness

13 Comments

and don't use task killers!

Nice 101 Jerry

The "Power Control widget" is a must for me. I have my brightness turned all the way off and have the power control widget on one of my home screens. when I am about to go outdoors I will turn the brightness up using the widget. Saves a lot of time not having to go through the settings page. And is something you can do if you are already in the sun and have a hard time seeing the screen.

Power Control I believe is an Android widget and come with all phones (I know moto and HTC for a fact)

That's exactly what I do too. I keep the brightness slider all the way down & only if I am trying to view it in direct sunlight do I need to turn on "Automatic" brightness.

I have no problem going well over 24 hours on a single charge with my Droid X & average usage.

Any one have an issue with the brightness control changing to 100% without cause or reason? Just seems like at any time I can check and the brightness control can be back at 100% even with the Auto adjustment turned off on my Evo 4g and at times its at 25% where I left it.

I've seen that twice, on other phones.

Early leaks of an OTA for the G2X did this when you used the camera. Every time.

The game Hex Defense cranks your screen brightness way up, and sometimes it doesn't go back down.

Maybe it's an app you have that adjusts the brightness and it isn't going back where it belongs when you close it?

I'll keep that in mind, but it seems to happen even when I'm on the main screens or in the lock screen. More often than not, it occurs after I've had it on the charger all night. BTW, it occurred when I first got the phone that had Froyo installed... then the GB OTA upgrade (both) and then even after I rooted the phone and applied a fresh ROM. I have a widget that I hit now, that I just click to double check it... mark the screen brightness to 25% and done. And its fine for awhile.

That's why I LOVE CM7 which allows you to press and hold and slide across the status bar to adjust brightness depending on the lighting conditions. Helps big time from going inside to outside.

I have a Thunderbolt, so don't get me started with battery life.
Thing that kills me is when I had my Touch Pro2, I'd go 2-3 days between charging with everything turned on. On my Thunderbolt, I have to turn the brightness down and turn off GPS and Bluetooth to get 10-12 hours. I know, I know 4G is a hog, but I'm on Long Island and I get constant 4G service and a great signal.
I gotta blame Android in general on this one.

I also have the thunderbolt which has one of the worst batteries ever.. I have the auto brightness off, screen time out at 30 seconds, I also have the screen brightness widget that I can click & brighten the screen when needed.. But every now & then when I go to the screen that has the brightness widget its shows at full brightness but only for a second then it goes to where I had it set.. Its strange.. When I check what uses all the battery its usually the screen at like 60% & everything else 2-5%.. But with the extended battery I can get close to 24 hours now even with a lot of use.

AC guys, we are half easy thru September & still not one person had received the ota gingerbread update..Htc said by the end of the month, have you heard anything else?

Also I emailed htc to complain about the nonstop rebooting & texts going to the wrong person & asked when the update is coming & they did say yes by the end of the month & that it will start in phases, I emailed then back again & really emphasized that these problems are brutal at times & even sort of threatened then with going to the crappy iphone, all she kept saying is by the end of thwc month.. Then apologized for no more infom. Hopefullyg they are not lying

It's great that my Droid X has a brightness setting, but it really doesn't noticeably change it - I would like the brightness to actually change when I turn it down all the way. On the droid it was awesome because it actually went darker (both auto and manual) but I haven't noticed either a visible or battery-life difference when I change it. :-P

I got a Droid X2 a few weeks ago, I set the brightness down but left the screen timeout at 1 minute. After seeing this I decided to poke around and see if changing things helps. I have my brightness turned all the way down to 11% (put a toggle widget on the screen to turn it up when I go outside in the sun), and set my screen timeout to 30 seconds.

I'm happy to report that my battery has lasted WAY longer then it did previously. I went through the day and normally after lunch I'm down to 50% or less; today I was still at 80%.

This is my 4th Android phone, but these reminders are nice!