It’s frustrating when your phone’s battery life takes a sudden nosedive. One day your phone might be holding a charge just fine, and the next the battery percentage is plummeting at record speed. What gives?
There are a few possible culprits that could cause your phone’s battery to drain faster than usual. By identifying the issue and making some adjustments, you can get your battery life back on track.
Checking for app issues
Apps are one of the most common reasons for rapid battery drain. An app running in the background can use up a lot of juice even while you’re not actively using it. Here are some app-related issues that might be draining your battery:
- Buggy app updates – If an app starts acting glitchy after an update, it could be stuck in a loop that’s hogging processing power and battery.
- New battery-draining apps – Any new apps you’ve downloaded recently may not be optimized well and could be draining the battery.
- Apps with permissions issues – Apps that suddenly ask for new permissions may be up to no good. Using features like location in the background can drain the battery.
- Apps you don’t need – Get rid of any unused apps. Even inactive apps use a small amount of resources and memory.
Go through your apps and check for any obvious battery drainers. Uninstall or disable apps you don’t really need. If the problem started after updating an app, see if reverting to an older version helps.
Using app optimizer tools
Your phone may have built-in battery and app optimization tools. For example, Android has Battery Optimization that limits background activity for apps you don’t use often. iOS has Background App Refresh that you can disable for some apps.
Third-party apps like Greenify can also hibernate apps you’re not actively using to reduce battery drain. Be cautious with optimizers though, as they can sometimes cause apps to malfunction if set too aggressively.
Checking for system and software issues
Battery life issues are sometimes not caused by apps, but by the operating system and software. Things to look out for include:
- Operating system updates – Buggy OS updates are a common source of battery drain. See if the issues started after updating your phone’s OS.
- Carrier settings updates – Updates to carrier settings (like network towers and frequencies) can occasionally affect battery life too.
- Stuck updates – Very rarely, a software update may get stuck during installation and keep trying to reinstall, draining the battery.
- Indexing after updates – After significant updates, your phone may be working hard in the background indexing content which temporarily reduces battery life.
- Sync issues – Problems with accounts syncing in the background could result in constant updates and battery drain.
If you think an OS or software update may be the culprit, check forums and subreddits to see if others are reporting similar battery issues. You can try rebooting your phone, force closing apps, wiping the cache partition if on Android, or even reverting to an older OS version if necessary.
Disabling background processes
Your phone is constantly running processes in the background for things like syncing data, checking for notifications, gathering location data etc. If there are issues with certain processes they can end up draining the battery.
Go through your phone’s settings and disable any background processes you don’t really need. For example on Android you can restrict background data, location access, WiFi scanning and other battery-draining settings. On iOS you can disable Background App Refresh and limit Location Services.
Hardware and battery issues
Besides software, hardware and battery issues can also rapidly deplete your phone’s charge. Some possibilities include:
- Aging battery – Batteries deteriorate over time after hundreds of charge cycles. Older batteries have reduced capacities and drain faster.
- Overheating – Heat shortens battery life. Apps that make the phone too hot while in use or charging can drain the battery.
- Battery calibration – The phone’s battery meter needs to be recalibrated occasionally when it starts showing the wrong percentage.
- Bad cable and charger – Using damaged or incompatible chargers and cables could lead to faster battery drain.
- Extreme temperatures – Leaving your phone exposed to very high or low temperatures reduces battery life over time.
- Hardware defects – Faulty battery, loose power chip connections etc. can directly cause battery issues in some cases.
If your battery is old, replacing it with a new one may help fix persistent issues with draining. Avoid exposing your phone to temperature extremes and be careful using third-party chargers. Check for any swollen or damaged batteries which need professional replacement.
Calibrating the battery
To calibrate the battery:
- Fully charge your phone to 100%
- Use the phone normally until it shuts off due to low battery
- Leave the phone off and charging overnight until full again
This process recalibrates the battery percentage and can resolve inaccurate readings. Apps that claim to calibrate your battery may not always work as described.
Other factors that affect battery life
Aside from obvious issues and defects, your daily phone usage habits also impact battery life. Here are some factors that contribute to battery drain:
- Screen brightness – Keeping brightness high uses a lot more battery. Auto-brightness saves power.
- Turning off radios – Disable WiFi, cellular data, Bluetooth when not in use.
- Closing apps – Apps running in the background, even when idle, consume battery.
- Widget refresh – Data-updating widgets impact battery life.
- Location services – Only enable location access when required by apps.
- Push notifications – Reduce the frequency of fetch intervals in settings.
- Extreme temperatures – Keep your phone away from very cold or hot areas.
- Old chargers and cables – Use original or Mfi-certified third party alternatives.
- Charging habits – Avoid full 0-100% charge cycles daily for better battery health.
Optimizing these usage habits prevents battery strain and prolongs your phone’s power capacity. Use battery saver modes and dark themes to further improve battery life.
When to consider replacing your battery
If your battery life continues deteriorating rapidly even after troubleshooting, it may be time for a replacement. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Battery lasts less than 50% of original capacity
- Phone turns off abruptly even at 30-40% charge
- Persistent overheating issues
- Odd swelling or bending of the battery
- Performance drops significantly when battery below half
Aging lithium-ion batteries naturally lose capacity over 2-3 years. If your phone battery degrades to about 60-70% of its original capacity, replacing the battery can dramatically improve battery life.
Should I replace the battery myself?
Many newer phone batteries are built to be irreplaceable by consumers. Attempting to open up your phone and swap the battery has risks like damage to cables, water resistance etc.
It’s generally best to have phone batteries replaced by a repair technician for your specific phone model. Prices range $30-$70 for official OEM batteries from Apple, Samsung etc.
Some repair shops also offer cheaper third-party replacements, but check reviews carefully as battery quality can vary.
Tips to improve your phone’s battery life
Here are some general battery saving tips you can try to extend your phone’s usage on a charge:
- Lower screen brightness and use auto-brightness
- Disable Bluetooth, WiFi, location services when not in use
- Restrict background data and activity for apps
- Disable unnecessary app notifications
- Use Battery Saver mode and dark mode themes
- Avoid extreme temperature exposure
- Don’t let your phone fully discharge each cycle
- Use original OEM cables and chargers when possible
- Disable widgets that update frequently
- Close background apps you’re not using
Practicing these battery efficiency habits will help your phone last longer day-to-day. But occasionally, hardware issues arise and your battery may simply need replacement.
When phone batteries start draining much faster than normal, there is usually an underlying issue. Identifying and troubleshooting the problem, whether it’s a software glitch, old battery, or usage habits, can help restore normal battery life. If damage or old age is causing rapid battery drain, replacement may be the ultimate solution.