Improve Your Phone's Battery Life
Admit it: You’re addicted to your Samsung Galaxy S4. Maybe it’s the big and beautiful 5-inch AMOLED screen. Or the nifty Eraser mode for the 13-megapixel camera. Or is it the gesture controls? With all of these features and more at your disposal, it’s all too easy to drain your Galaxy S4’s battery life. In our testing on multiple networks, the S4 lasted anywhere from 5 hours and 15 minutes (AT&T) to 6 hours and 45 minutes (T-Mobile). Given that the average smartphone lasts about 6 hours on a charge, that kind of endurance isn’t bad, but you can do better. Here are 10 tips to make your GS4 last longer. — Joe Osborne
Use Samsung’s Power Saving Mode
With the Galaxy S4, Samsung introduced a suite of power-saving features that users can toggle with a single tap. With Power Saving Mode activated, the phone limits the maximum performance of its CPU so as to draw less juice, uses a lower power setting for its screen and disables haptic feedback.
What’s even better is that that you can toggle each of these features within the tool as you please. That way, when you activate Power Saving Mode, you’ll know exactly which limits you’re placing on your device. Tap Power Saving in the Quick Settings menu when you slide down from the top of the screen. And press and hold this button to tweak the power saving mode settings.
Turn Off Unnecessary Connections
From LTE to NFC, the GS4 comes with just about every connection imaginable. While each will come into play through the phone’s bevy of features, you’ll rarely need each type of connectivity raring to go at all times. So, we recommend disabling NFC, Bluetooth, location features, DLNA and even mobile data (i.e. LTE) when you’re not using them.
You can shut off most of the above features in the Quick Settings menu by swiping down from the top of the screen and tapping a button. All of these options are also accessible through the Connections tab in the Settings menu.
Optimize the Display
We love the rich colors offered by the S4's large 5-inch display, but it can be a power hog. Take control by going to the Display section under the My Device tab. We’d start with enabling automatic brightness, which makes your screen only as bright as it needs to by responding to ambient light. (You can also toggle Auto brightness by swiping down from the top of the screen.)
Also, consider setting your screen mode to standard to keep your screen’s color, contrast and other levels the same at all times. Finally, you should find a darker wallpaper and lock screen image. Generally speaking, AMOLED displays use less power to brighten dark pixels than brightly-colored ones.
Disable Motion and Gesture Controls
You might have fun impressing your friends by answering your phone or switching music tracks with a wave of your hand. But your GS4 is wasting energy just waiting for you to pretend you’re a wizard. To turn off these features, tap on the Motions and Gestures menu under the My Device tab within Settings.
If you want to turn off just Air Gestures, you can do that from within the Quick Settings menu by swiping down from the top of the screen and then tapping the Air Gesture icon.
Close Idle Apps and Processes
If you think you’ve closed an app by holding the Home button and swiping at it, think again. Many apps run separate processes that can zap your battery. To make sure that your GS4 is only running what is absolutely necessary, be sure to open the Task Manager by holding the Home button and then tapping the pie chart icon. From here, you can quickly and safely kill a number of applications with the “End all” button.
If you want extra peace of mind, tap the Clear Memory button under the RAM tab to safely kill all processes that can be closed with a single tap. Not enough for you? Go to the Application Manager under the More tab within Settings. From here, you can individually close the processes that the above methods didn't touch. But beware: Do not kill a process unless you know exactly what it does; otherwise, you could end up seriously impacting your device’s functionality.
Disable Smart Screen Features
To power features like Smart Stay (for keeping the screen on) and Smart Pause (for pausing videos when you're not looking), the GS4 uses sensors to detect your eyes. Take the load off of your phone by disabling Smart Screen. Go to the Input and Control section within the My Device tab of the Settings menu. Then press Smart Screen. From there, you can individually turn each Smart Screen feature off to save some power.
If you swipe down from the top of the screen and then press the grid icon in the top right corner, you can disable Smart stay and Smart scroll by tapping the respective icons.
Disable Syncing and Automatic Updates
When you're running low on juice, you can squeeze more endurance out of your S4 by turning off automatic account syncing. Doing this will tell your phone not to update email, Facebook and other data in the background. Just swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the Sync button in the Quick Settings menu if it’s green.
To disable automatic app updates, enter Google Play and press the Settings button. Then press the Auto-Update Apps button and choose the “Do not auto-update apps” option.
Turn Off Haptic Feedback
Haptic feedback, or the vibrations that occur whenever you touch the GS4 in certain situations (like typing), can draw precious power by activating a tiny motor inside your phone. You can disable this feature through one of two ways: through the Power Saving Mode tool, or through the Sound section underneath the My Device tab within the Settings app.
Disable Air View Features
Air View lets GS4 owners preview content just by hovering their finger above the screen. For example, you can see what photos are in a folder by expanding it or you can preview the contents of a message in the Email app. However, Air View can drain your battery because the phone needs to calculate whether you're trying to touch the screen or hover, and even then the feature can be erratic.
To disable Air View, swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the Air View button in the Quick Settings options that appear. Or you can head to the Input and Control section of the My Device tab within the Settings menu.
Invest in an Extended Battery
We’ve got you this far without asking you to spend a cent, but if these tips don’t grant you the endurance you seek, then perhaps it’s time to pony up. Thanks its removable back plate, the GS4 allows users to replace its 2,600 mAh battery.
We highly recommend is the Mugen Power HLI-I9500XL. With its 5,500 mAh of capacity, this replacement battery more than doubles the lasting power of your GS4 without wrapping it up in an ugly case.