Android OS battery drain – And how to solve it

Bought a new Android smartphone recently. After playing around with it I was absolutely not amused. Not at all. The battery life time was terrible. Only last one day. If at all. My last smartphone had a 2600mah battery. New one is equipped with a 3000mah battery. Should run 5 days with decent usage or even longer as both run the same Android 5.0.1 version and I got 4 days of usage with the old one. I noticed that even when the phone was not used at all the battery drain was like a slightly slower discharge:

Screenshot_2015-09-26-13-33-32

Biggest culprit was „Android OS“. What the heck!? I started my research and found out that I’m not alone with this shit. Android 5.x is full of battery drain issues. The Google bug tracker has plenty of them, here is just one of the most similar ones for the reference:

https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=93639

Many advises I’ve read are like: „Make a factory reset“, „Wipe your cache“, „Disable GPS“, „Root your phone“, „Install Greenify“. All I can say is that most of them were not really noticeable. I can tell you what helped me the most and my battery stats are enhanced big time as you can see:

Screenshot_2015-10-02-17-23-08

I get now 5-6 days with normal (for me) usage. This includes Bluetooth always on, GPS when running, mobile data enabled whenever required, mail sync, Twitter, SMS, calling, Internet and some specific apps like my own smart home app. No chat or messenger though. What helped the most was to calm down the wake ups through „Google Play Services“ and „Google App“. What I did was this:

  1. Disable „Google Play Services“, „Google Now“, „Google Contact Sync“ and „Google Calendar Sync“.
  2. Reboot device
  3. Enable „Google Play Services“
  4. Reboot device
  5. Open Play Store
  6. Fill out account information
  7. Update apps incl. „Google Play Services“
  8. Make sure Google synchronize your stuff at least one time before you potentially stop the sync of your data!
  9. Enable „Google Contact Sync“ and „Google Calendar Sync“

I tend to disable the option to sync all my data to Google and have restrict options in terms of what to disclose. As far as I understand the issue the „Google Play Service“ runs in circles if the sync can not be processed at least once. As the service also tries to access your location the continuous wake up calls are very expensive. Should be an easy fix but unfortunately the issue is only marked as low priority.

If you are aware how to completely get rid of the „Android OS“ in the battery stats please share your knowledge – as there is still room for improvement 🙂

Update: After some more testing another big optimization in terms of battery duration is to get rid of „Google App“. Using „Google Play Services“ 7.5.71 decreases the battery about 3-5% in 12 hours in standby mode. Latest version 8.1.x on the other hand drains 12-18% in the same time if Google App is installed:

battery_drain_results

Update 2: There was a bug in the Android version I’m using that enables the enhanced Wi-Fi option „Scanning always available“ after reboot and other circumstances. Disabled the option and activated Google App (again) and under normal condition I get now great standby times and the drain is gone. Worth to mention that the “Show cards” function under „Search and Now“ was disabled though.

Android offline speech recognition

Released today the OXAndroidDemo app on GitHub. As this app uses Android speech recognition features, it’s worth to mention that with Android >= 4.3 the speech recognition no longer requires the Google online service. Simple install the language files.

Goto „Settings“ → „My device“ → „Language & input“

Make sure to select „Google“ and click the gear. Next step is to select „Offline Speech Recognition“ and download your favorite languages.

Enjoy the faster and more anonymous speech recognition.

Smart home and voice recognition

When I was younger I really liked the computer of the Enterprise in Star Trek TNG. Always on, always listening. „He“ understands all languages, accents and background sound is easily filtered out. Even with red alert in the background and explosions all around. Oh, and I still like it. Today I have my own „smart home“ and can control stuff with my voice with an application written for Android. Easy as eating cake, right. Have done this in a few ours in my spare time. But wait. There is something missing. It’s not always on. I can’t just run around and say „Computer, locate [PUT ANY NAME HERE]“ or „Computer, it’s to hot. Please reduce temperature by 2°“. You ask why?

Current issues:

– Maturity of voice recognition (I’m talking Linux here, more concrete Raspberry Pi!) and the overall approach (I don’t want to send every word to a Google service!)
– The environment itself. On the Enterprise you could say something in the endmost edge of any floor. This does currently not work for me at all 🙂
– Security. Don’t want to allow any stranger to control stuff just by saying something at the front door

My goal is to solve the issues as far as I can and build something which is not only cool but also useful. I’ll keep posting my results and approaches here.