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How to improve your HTC One M9's battery life

Despite boasting a slightly higher-capacity battery than its predecessor, the HTC One M9 hasn't brought about a huge jump in battery life compared to the M8. There's still a lot of power-hungry hardware to run, and as such the M9 is good for about a day of use most of the time. Like most phones, more intensive use might have you reaching for your charging cable before the end of the day.

So how can you get more out of your M9's fixed battery, and solve any battery drain issues you might be experiencing? We've got a few tips for you after the break.

READ: How to improve your HTC One M9's battery life

Check for battery-hungry apps, and tweak settings

Apps

If your M9's battery is depleting faster than you'd expect, the first thing to do is check for misbehaving apps that might be using power in the background. HTC includes a pretty comprehensive "battery usage" monitor that lets you see which applications are using valuable battery life even when the phone's screen is off.

It's pretty easy to track down a rogue app using power in the background.

Go to Settings > Power > Battery usage, and swipe between the three tabs. The "screen off" tab is a pretty good indication of what's using power in the background, so if an app has gone rogue then it should show up here. You can also drill down and see more detailed usage data, like active time when the screen is on, and the amount of time the app has held the phone awake. An unusually high keep-awake time might suggest a problematic app, particularly if it's keeping your phone awake and using power for hours at a time.

The main menu under Settings > Power also has some options that are worth checking. The "Sleep mode" toggle, which cuts off background data during long periods of inactivity, can be useful if you're prone to forgetting to charge your device. And up to you'll also find toggles and options for the two power-saving modes, letting you control when they kick in and which features are used.

Run your screen in auto-brightness mode

Brightness slider

Your phone's display is one of its most power-hungry components, so it's important to control its brightness in order to not waste power. The easiest way to do this is to enable auto-brightness, which adapts the screen level to match the ambient light level.

Go to Settings > Display & gestures > Brightness level, and make sure Automatic brightness is checked. The brightness slider under that checkbox lets you adjust brightness up and down, even with auto-brightness enabled. Since the M9's auto-brightness mode is darker than most phones, you might want to crank this up to the highest level.

You'll also find a brightness shortcut in the quick settings panel — swipe down from the top of the screen, then down again. Tapping the icon toggles between high, medium, low and automatic brightness levels.

Consider using Power Saver Mode

Power Saver Mode

This option isn't as obvious as you might think, nor are its effects on your phone's performance as extreme as they might seem.

Like many Android phones, the HTC One M9 comes with a power saver mode designed to save energy by running the processor more slowly and disabling certain features. To see the various options for power saver mode, go to Settings > Power > Power Saver.

Most of the options here are pretty self-explanatory — reducing the screen brightness, killing vibration feedback and disabling background data will obviously help to conserve power in a pinch.

Even with only four of its eight cores firing, the M9 is a speedy phone.

But the top option is the most interesting for longterm power saving. Reducing the CPU speed, while leaving the other options disabled, is a great way to boost your overall usage time with minimal impact on performance outside of really demanding tasks. On the M9, power saver mode appears to disable the phone's four high-power (Cortex-A57) CPU cores, leaving the more energy-efficient, low-power Cortex-A53 cores running the show. And even with only four of its eight cores firing, the M9 is a speedy phone.

Invest in a Quick Charger

This won't do you any good if you're out and about, but the HTC One M9's Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 support is a great way to translate just a few minutes on the charger into a tangible boost in the time before the phone conks out. In our experience, a flagging M9 can be restored to the halfway mark in around half an hour using a quick charger.

However HTC doesn't include a QuickCharge 2.0-capable charger in the box, so you'll need to pick one up yourself to take advantage of faster charging on your M9.

ShopAndroid.com has a range of Qualcomm QuickCharge 2.0 chargers that work with the HTC One M9 and other compatible handsets.

Pick up an external battery for longer days

If you're going to be away from a power outlet for a long period of time, an external battery is the best way refill your M9 on the go. There are countless models available in different shapes and sizes, and varying capacities. Some even offer multiple ports so you can charge more than one device at a time.

Run on fumes by switching to Extreme Power Saver Mode

Extreme Power Saver

Heading into the red with no opportunity to charge? Fear not — the HTC One M9 has an Extreme Power Saver mode that cuts back on the phone's advanced capabilities and gives you basic phone functionality with the trade-off of vastly improved battery life.

In Extreme Power Saver Mode you'll get the stock phone, messages, mail and calendar, clock and calculator apps, and nothing else. So you're limited in what you can do, but you should easily be able to turn that last few percentage points of battery power into a few hours of use.

You can find Extreme Power Saver Mode in the quick settings panel (Look for "Ext Saver") or in the Settings app under "Power."

Check "High performance mode" is disabled

If you've tinkered around with the M9's hidden developer settings menu, you might've noticed the "High performance mode" checkbox designed to eke more performance out of the phone's processor, at the expense of battery life. Obviously, keeping the CPU running at full speed all the time is going to use lots of power, so it's best to leave this turned off.

If you haven't played around with developer settings, or don't see this menu option on your phone, you probably don't need to worry about it.

HTC One M9 owners, how are you finding the device's longevity? Any battery life tips of your own to share? Shout out in the comments!

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

46 Comments
  • Not sure I want a phone that I have to tweak and slow down just to get good battery life. I would think there are much better options out there that work well out of the box.
  • Every phone so far in 2015 needs to be tweaked to death to get decent battery life and that includes the S6 and M9. The only phone the past couple years that doesn't need tweaking to be a beast is the Sony Z series.
  • And the iPhone (not hating, just stating a fact). You don't have to do anything to get good standby on the iPhone. It's one of the only things I wish Android could match. I had to do way too much work on my GS6 to get it to a point where it was only losing 2%/hr at idle. It seems like every other app you install goes rogue and drains your battery.
  • There isn't anything running in the background like Android to affect standby. It would be more impressive if it did.
  • I agree with you. But is it really necessary for all of that stuff to run in the background? Google Play services, for example, wakes your device constantly for seemingly no reason. Disabling it's ability to wake the phone seems to have no adverse affect yet it has a huge impact on battery life. I just think there's a lot Google could do to make Android more efficient while idle.
  • Google is definitely at fault here. Open source is a blessing and a curse. I have an M7 and it is very efficient and the standby time on the M7, M8 and M9 are very good. Not all Android and Android skins are created equally though so everyones experience may vary. Whereas Apple everyone's experience is the same which has it's pluses and it minuses. Samsung Touchwiz skin historically needs the most tinkering for battery performance. Nexus has improved since 5.1. Project Volta and ART run time still have not been optimized by Google which is bad. It's been several months since launch and the 64 bit 2015 phones have all kinds of battery and performance issues. They will be worked out by the fall but that will be a year since Lollipop launched which is unacceptable.
  • My GS5 was able to get up to 2 days and 5 hours of 'standard use' by myself, and with the S6 I have comparable life (still testing), you must have way too much garbage running on your phone because I don't have any issues getting through a whole day and passing into another without charging. Iphones on the other hand barely have enough to get by half the day unless you never touch the thing, including the newer massive 6Plus.
  • Go on the S6 forum on AC on let me know if your experience is shared by most. Threads are littered with poor battery life. I think your experience is an outlier.
  • Not sure what you are referring to. The battery life thread has almost all positive comments about the GS 6 battery. Could you provide a link to the AC thread where everyone is complaining about the GS 6 battery life?
  • You are kidding me right?!? Ok. How about these threads. http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s6/515913-why-my-battery... and this.. http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s6/516557-cell-stand-tim... and this... http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s6/513541-samsung-galaxy... and this... http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s6/513807-massive-batter... and this... http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s6/515619-samsung-galaxy... and this... http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s6/511296-i-m-getting-te... and this... http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s6/514319-battery-so-bad... and this... http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s6/513795-turn-off-lte-b... and in here... http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s6/514985-anyone-returni... I could keep going..but you get the point...
  • You missed the one all about actual battery usage. Probably just an oversight. http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s6/514377-battery-life-n...
  • You are not very good at math are you? I gave you 9 examples and you come back with one and you think that proves your point that you are an anomaly. You asked me to list the threads where people are complaining about battery life. It wasn't an oversight at all. There are a lot of people not happy with the battery life of the S6. It isn't just on the AC. Now get over it already,
  • Perhaps on the 6 plus but on the 6 battery life is terrible.
  • 76 hours with light use, 20 to 30 hours with average use. And in the normal power save mode, you won't even notice any performance difference unless you are doing hardcore gaming. Take it to the extreme mode, and you get 3 hours for every 1% of battery. Yes, iOS is pretty darn good at standby time (I own five iPhones), but let's not forget that the M8 and M9 are both faster than the iPhone 6. The situation is not that bad, and I can't stay awake long enough to see a low battery alert. Posted via the Android Central App
  • you dont have to, just choose galaxy note3 or 4.
    yesterday I went to work around 7am spent there 12hours during that time I have been reading books and browsing all together around 3 hours on screen. Today is almost 11 am, I didnt charged my phone last night and still have 56% battery left enough for another day.
    I have disabled some services, eg: GPS , dont needed every day, I dont have facebook and gmail synch is off.
    Very important: youtube service drains battery like crazy. Log off from your account and you will see difference.
  • For what ever reason i do not have power saving mode on my Verizon M9? Hmmmm
  • Neither do I. recently bought an HTC One m9 and its horrific when it comes to battery
  • Because Verizon sucks and loves to remove features for no reason.
  • Is it possible to get a quick-charge external battery? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes. That's are one or two listed in the article about battery packs for the S6. I have a PowerAdd 10,000mA cell with a 2 amp socket, but it's not an official Quick Charge... It just charges quicker than a 1 amp charger, lol. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes! Aukey makes one. 10,000 mAh and it's awesome!! Search Amazon...it's only $40 official Qualcomm 2.0
  • Buy a Note 4....Problem solved Posted via the AT&T Note 4
  • Right? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes I take my phone off the charger at 5 am and when I go to bed around 11 pm I usually have around 40% of battery life with moderate to heavy usage. I dont use battery saver mode. Lollipop has been a blessing for my phone. Eagerly waiting for the release of 5.1 but I will probably have the Note 5 by then :) Posted via the AT&T Note 4
  • FWIW, Verizon Wireless forced HTC to disable Powersave Mode on the M9 (even though it's available inside the ROM and it's available on other carriers' versions). Not sure what the logic was, but remember, these are the folks who said "limited data is good!" yesterday. Eventually when S-OFF and unlocking are available custom ROMs will defeat this, and maybe Verizon will even get it's head out of its butt. Yeah, maybe not.
  • I feel like my battery life is solid on my m9. My adverage day from 8 am to midnight with mixed usage I tend to have a 1/4 left when I hit the bed. I also have 2-3 Bluetooth devices connected at all times (MI Band, moto 360, and LG tones.) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hopefully LG shows how it's done with battery life. Reports on the M9 and S6 s battery life make me very hesitant to go with either for my upgrade this year. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Excellent article, Alex. Thank you!
  • I've been running Snapdragon BatteryGuru on my M7, M8, and now my M9 and have been pleased with the results. Anybody else using this? I never see it in any of these types of roundups. https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2F...
  • The Snapdragon Battery Guru app is NOT compatible with Lollipop as described in the app's definition and is restricted from use on Snapdragon devices with Lollipop. The reason: Google integrated similar programming in Lollipop to effectively handle battery management. They would essentially conflict probably resulting in unnecessary battery drain as well as other issues similar to simultaneously using two anti-virus programs. Alex's recommendations in this article are very useful and should be seriously taken into consideration and utilized especially with HTC's powerful (Octa-core Snapdragon) M9.
  • That's odd. I see that now that you mention it. I wonder why it downloaded to my M9 then.
  • With my huawei mate 7, I have never worried about battery life. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Battery lasts long enough to get me through a 12 hour shift. If I play games, I keep extra chargers on me and a battery pack for use in the car, if needed. Still at 47% after working today and charging once today during lunch. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Don't understand why a Quick Charge 2.0 car charger wouldn't be a better 'in car' alternative.
  • "How to ..."
    Return your M9 and buy M8 :) via AC App on VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • No issues with battery life here. Bought my m9 factory unlocked. Maybe certain carrier bloatware could be the issue for some people? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I believe that the bad battery life on both the M8 and the M9 is mostly Google´s fault. Since I upgraded my M8 to Lollipop my battery life as gone down the drain. I used to get to bed with 30% battery and now need to charge it before the day ends if I want it to last until bed time. Standby mode is consuming lots of battery (processes are "Kernel" and "Android System"). Did a factory reset but it did nothing to improve the issue.
    Are you guys experience the same? I really hope Google fixes this, the M8 was a great performer regarding battery life and now it´s just a average smartphone.
  • Hey, Badelhas, did you wipe your cache partition to clean out any remaining Kit Kat debris? It only takes a couple minutes. The M8 and M9 don't slow down like other phones, but taking out the trash should help with the battery life. For the last couple days, there is literally nothing going on in the background when my phone is idle. Battery manager shows "Cell standby" as the only thing using any power.
  • I get pretty good battery life on my m9 Posted via the Android Central App
  • I just got the M9 and yesterday the phone died by 6 pm (off the charger approximately 12 hours with minimal use) and today after 14 hours of minimal use it is at 14%. Do I have a dud?
  • You must have great will power... any time I get a new phone, I'm on it like crazy for the first few days! It's too early to tell if you have a dud, but I know from personal experience that Lollipop takes a few days to settle down and learn your usage. My battery life was very good, then it went bad for a couple days under Lollipop. But now; it's better than before. Right now I've been unplugged for a while with normal use, but no gaming yet this charge. My battery is at 72% after 21 hours.
  • By the way, good article Alex. I've done benchmark testing in the high performance mode of the developer options, and there's no significant gain except in single core benchmark scores. In normal mode, the CPU will be cranked up to 100% meet demand anyway. People needlessly shy away from using the power saving mode, but the only time I turn it off is when I'm in head-to-head gaming competitions, or showing HD videos from the phone directly though an HDMI adapter to a 50 inch screen. The M9 is so fast that you won't miss out on anything... kind of like tuning down a Lamborghini from 690 Hp to 500: you will have no problem keeping up with traffic either way ;)
  • Does anyone know how to turn off the annoying and totally unnecessary constant notification from Power Saver? It was easily done on the M7 but not on M9? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Any luck with this so far? Preferably without root, thanks.
  • dude, your article is great but i would like to share some more tips on how to improve HTC One M9 battery life to help users. Below are some tips :-
    1) Reduce the brightness of your device.
    2) reduce the screen timeout of your device.
    3)turn off wifi, bluetooth and 4g
    4) gps and other locations service
    5) install battery guru
    For detailed describtion on each of these topics you can refer to :- 5 Ways To Improve Battery Life In HTC One M9
  • Much better results for me after turning off Google Now "Ok Google" except on the Google Now Screen and switching to Smart Push for email. Also the optimize battery setting helps as well. Posted via the Android Central App