If you think about it, we’ve pretty much hit something of a ceiling with smartphones—at least in a way. Most of the hardware today has long since crossed the sanitary minimum required for a decent user experience, and previously exclusive tech is now available to the masses. So we have all the eye candy we want with the displays of our smartphones, we have all the processing muscle needed to keep things running smooth, and we have cameras good enough to capture most any moment without too much trouble. But there’s one piece of tech that’s been lagging behind the rest, and for as long as we can remember: battery.
Creating energy and storing it is a tough thing to do. You ought to know—just refer to your last month’s electricity and gas bills, and consider the wood required to keep your swanky fireplace burning. Improvements are, of course, made as we go along. The batteries in the smartphones of today are better than the ones five years ago. And in five years, they’ll probably be even better. The various components inside your smartphone are also becoming more energy-efficient. And yet, we want more.
Indeed, if there’s one component that seems incredibly resilient to the law of diminishing returns from the point of view of users, it’s got to be battery. The more of it we have, the better, and we sure want more. Loads more! And there are ways to get a better performance out of the juicer inside the phone your pocket, especially if it’s a Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge.
We’ve compiled below a number of tricks and tips to improve battery life on Samsung’s latest, and they range from rather obvious all the way to complex and time consuming. Nobody expects you to go for all of them. Instead, try and tailor these to your needs and preferences in order to get the best out of your battery without sacrificing functionality that you care about. After all, if you do end up with better battery life, but only at the expense of essential features, then what’s the point?
Tips and tricks to improve battery life on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge
Tips and tricks to improve battery life on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge
1. Tweak automatic brightness slider
For years now, Samsung devices have allowed users to offset brightness even when under automatic mode. This feature is very handy, as you still have your phone adapting to your surroundings, but also have a say in just how conservative (or liberal) it is with brightness. And as you should know, the display is among the most power-hungry components inside your smartphone.
A simple, but efficient fix. A good start!
2. Work the radios!
Mobile data is another essential, yet expensive luxury with smartphones. But we need it, pretty much all the time, so it makes no sense to turn it off—unless it’s an emergency. But there’s a workaround—albeit not exactly elegant—that will let you keep your data connection, but also save you battery. All you have to do is get in the habit of optimizing your usage of networks.
It’s pretty simple. By default, your phone will be hooked up to a 3G or LTE network, both of which allow you to draw on plenty of data. That’s cool. But if you’re not expecting to need all that, and are just, say, in need of normal e-mail sync and some Facebook Messenger/Viber here and there, you can safely move down to a 2G GSM network, which will cap your maximum download/upload speeds, but still leave more than enough for these services to work. All you need is a tiny widget on your homescreen to do it quickly, so search for something along the lines of “2G/3G/LTE switch” and get the widget you like best. Most of them occupy just one app icon’s worth of space on your homescreen.
3. Smart stay
Smart stay is a nifty Samsung feature that allows your Galaxy S7 and S7 edge to detect when you’re looking at your display. If you are, the screen will never timeout and go to sleep as long as you’re looking at it. This is handy if you like to read books or long articles on your phone, and often get timeouts because you’re not ready to scroll yet. But Smart stay comes at a price.
To allow for this feature, the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge use the front-facing camera to track your face and determine when it’s safe to turn off the screen, and when it should be keeping it on. As you can imagine, this background activity costs you precious battery, and so if you don’t need it, then make sure you turn it off.
4. Screen timeout
Speaking of screen timeout, it makes sense that we mention this rather obvious piece of advice: don’t set too long a timeout for the display. This won’t save you battery all the time, as you’re usually in the habit of powering down your phone when you’re done with your session, but it’s also true that we’re imperfect creatures, and tend to let stuff slip. So if you have your S7 or S7 edge set to, say, 5 minutes, it’s probably best you move down to like 30 seconds or so. That’s long enough not to impact your user experience, while at the same time removing the possibility of having your phone’s display turned on for long periods of time when not in use.
5. Always On Display
Always On Display on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge is touted by Samsung as a selling point. But in our experience, it’s not really something you should be keeping on unless you’re absolutely sure you need it. Sure, it does give you the time, but given how rarely you’re probably checking for that, it’s kind of safe to assume that the estimated 1% battery/hour will add up to more than if you just light up the screen for a second every now and then.
As for notifications—the one thing that could have made Always On Display actually useful—support is limited to just core Samsung apps. So yeah, you won’t be able to see that “Congratulations, you have a new Tinder match!” message anyway.
6. Turn off the LED indicator
The LED indicator lamp is located on the top left of your Galaxy S7 and S7 edge and is mostly used by the phones to alert you to unread notifications. Turning off this lamp can obviously save you battery, especially if you’re bombarded with notifications on a daily basis.
Here’s where it gets interesting, however. The LED lamp by itself will only save you a sliver of battery power, so you might be wondering why we’re even mentioning it. It’s more complicated than this, however. After years of using devices with this features, we’ve come to the realization that turning off the LED light saves you battery not just because it doesn’t have to be lit every time a notification comes in, but because without it, you won’t be reaching for your phone as often to catch up on another unimportant blip. In result, you’re waking up your smartphone far less often, the benefit being better battery performance and productivity in the workplace. It also saves you from looking like an addict in front of friends and family.
7. Keep screen turned off in the dark
This one ought to be enabled by default on your S7 or S7 edge, but you might want to make sure just in case. Keep screen turned off is a feature on Samsung devices allowing them to recognize when they’re inside a pocket or a bag, and shouldn’t be turning on in the event of an accidental button press. Not only will this save you from butt-dialing people, but also help your battery life.
8. Make use of Game Tuner/Game Launcher
Game Launcher is a new app on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge that some of you will be aware of already, but it’s actually just part of Samsung’s gaming proposition. Game Tuner is a Samsung app, available off the Play Store, that allows you to tweak stuff like game (and app!) resolution, texture quality, and color format. Along with Game Launcher, you can set games and apps to a lower resolution and force lower frame rates, in order to reduce the strain on your processor and, therefore, battery.
Download Game Tuner by Samsung
9. Rid yourself of those silly gestures
While Samsung has done away with quite a few ‘gestures’ as the years have passed, the S7 and S7 edge still offer a number of them. We find most of these silly, though we won’t dictate what works for you. If you find some of them useful, then keep them. But if not, just turn them off—you’ve got enough processes running in the background anyway.
10. Go dark!
Due to the way Samsung’s Super AMOLED displays are designed, the color white requires the most out of the screen in terms of power draw. Unlike conventional LCD’s, however, AMOLEDs deliver blacks by simply turning off the light behind those given pixels. This saves power, and is a good reason for you to avoid white themes and wallpapers, and instead look for darker designs.
It really is as simple as that!
11. Get apps in line by setting proper location guidelines
It feels like every app today wants access to your location. And in most cases, that’s warranted—you give your location and get functionality in exchange. But pinpointing your location can be expensive in terms of power, and in most cases you don’t need apps to know your exact location anyway.
That’s you may want to go for a more power-conscious mode, which simply uses the GPS on board your device to determine your general location. By default, you’re probably letting apps use your Wi-Fi, mobile network, and GPS to do this, resulting in very precise triangulation, but higher battery drain that you can do without. Best of all, you’re not missing on anything!
12. If you’re using Viber…
If you’re a Viber user, there’s a feature of the app you need to be aware of, especially given how intensive on the battery it is. In short, by default, Viber will disregard your phone’s Wi-Fi sleep policy, meaning it will keep you online even when you think you’re otherwise disconnected. This can result in a hefty bill at the end of the day, and you might want to get rid of it.
13. Facebook and Facebook Messenger absolutely need to go
Here’s the thing with Facebook and the Facebook Messenger apps: they’re nosy. So nosy, in fact, that in their glut to gather data, they’re consuming an absolutely absurd amount of battery life. So much so that our team has started migrating to other services/ways to get Facebook functionality, but without the weight.
If you don’t fancy using a third-party app to do this, the simplest way is to create a Homescreen shortcut to the mobile version of Facebook. It looks exactly like an app icon, and the mobile site is excellent anyway. Added benefit: you can use Messenger through it, and that’s a huge plus.
14. Your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are always on, even when they’re not
Funny thing about Android and the Galaxy S7/S7 edge: even if your Bluetooth or Wi-Fi are off, they’re not. This is because of a service intended to improve the accuracy of location services and apps, and is enabled on your phone by default. So even when these two are off, apps can still make use of them. Sneaky, huh?
Turn these off by going to Settings Privacy and safety Location Improve accuracy.
15. Nearby device scanning
If you thought turning Improve accuracy will get your Galaxy S7 and S7 edge to lay off your Bluetooth radio, you were wrong. There’s another inconspicuous setting on your phone, also enabled by default, called Nearby device scanning. It lets your phone automatically scan for nearby devices at all times, in order to make the connection process easier when you actually want to hook up to something. Needless to say, you can do away with this needless luxury.
Go to Settings More connection settings Nearby device scanning.
16. App power saving
Another feature you’ll find on your Galaxy S7 and S7 edge is App power saving. The feature is rather simple: by default, it’ll put apps that you haven’t used in the last 3 days into a deeper state of sleep, saving you power. This is especially handy if you have a lot of apps. But the process is automatic and imperfect, so you may want to get involved.
Go to Settings Battery App power saving (tap on DETAIL). From there, you can set which apps are saving power, and after how many days of inactivity. Keep in mind that this likely kill notifications functionality for these apps.
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