Android Quick Tip: Two Ways to Save Battery Life With WiFi


Anyone who has ever owned a smartphone has (at some time) complained about not having a big enough battery. The more our devices can do, the more power they want to drink, and the the bigger the battery we need to supply all that web-surfing, video-watching, music-listening goodness that we’ve come to expect from our phones.

This Android Quick Tip is actually two-tips in one which go hand-in-hand with one another to save you that much-needed battery juice.

First and foremost, this tip centers around mobile data. If that doesn’t concern you, this tip isn’t for you. If you, like me, spend more time using your phone as an internet access device than you do to make and take phone calls, this tip is perfect for you!

If you don’t use wireless data often, but do use WiFi at least occasionally, this tip may still be of value.

Wireless data comes in many flavors. Some are provided by your carrier (4G, HSPA+, 3G, EDGE, GPRS, etc.), and some are provided by yourself or others (WiFi). With me so far?

WiFi uses less power than any of your carrier’s data options, primarily because of proximity to the wireless access point. Said another way, using WiFi rather than your carrier’s data will save you battery life.

That’s the first half of this tip.

The down-side to WiFi is that you’re not always going to be under a WiFi bubble, and for the times that you’re not, your phone is constantly looking to see if it’s come into WiFi range since the last time it checked (which is quite frequently). That, as you’d expect, uses power — and brings us to the second half of this tip!

Y5 – Battery Saver is an app for Android which basically turns your WiFi off in locations where you have never been connected to WiFi before, saving you the power that would have been spent looking for a WiFi access point. Once you get back in an area where you’ve been under a WiFi umbrella in the past, the application will turn WiFi back on.

This means you can have your WiFi on when you’ll be using it, but off when you won’t (or, rather, where you never have before). Automatically. Doing this pairs the two power-saving methods, and typically yields better battery life all around.

Adding a new WiFi location is easy, too. All you have to do is manually turn your WiFi on and connect when you’re in a location that you want to use your WiFi, and the app remembers it, so WiFi can be automatically turned back on on when you return to that location.

Y5 – Battery Saver is available free in the Android Market. WiFi, on the other hand, came with your phone.

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.