The new Samsung Galaxy S6 (and Edge) are two of the best (Android) phones on the market currently, with octa core Exynos processors, 2k Super AMOLED displays with 577 dpi, and premium body design featuring glass and aluminum. However the last two points also brings associated disadvantages, the built in battery cannot be swapped out when empty, plus the fact that it is only 2550 mAh, make the battery life quite low compared to other premium smartphones.
However, there are measures that can alleviate the situation to some degree. From my experimenting and scouring the internet the following tips may be useful for improving the battery life of the Galaxy S6 (and Edge).
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Step 1: Useful Apps (Optional)
Go to Google Play Store and download these apps if you don't have them.
This will give you useful information regarding your battery usage, including battery temperature, voltage, and current. The voltage is in volts, and current is in mA. If the battery is charging the current will be positive, and if not, it will be negative.
GSAM will give you a detailed breakdown of the apps and functions that are using the battery. It will also plot various parameters including the battery usage and temperature as a function of time.
This app tells you the hardware specs of your phone, including the number and type of cores, their current clock speed, and other useful parameters.
What we are interested in is the battery and thermal sensor reports. In terms of battery parameters, this app is similar to GSAM, however it has the added feature of reporting the CPU temperature, which should generally be higher than the battery temperature.
Note: CPU-Z reports a lot of sensor readings (probably all the sensors on the phone), it's a very useful app to have.
You don't have to install this one as it is bundled by Samsung. It gives you battery usage statistics similar to GSAM, but not the temperature readings.
Step 2: Temperature Readings
From the above two apps, record your phone's battery temperatures during idling, light usage, heavy usage, and charging. High temperatures generally results from high current, and in turn leads to inefficiencies in the battery, which causes a downward spiral of draining the battery.
Temperature during idling should be no more than 6C higher than ambient temperature. By idling I mean when the phone is resting on the table (which is at room temperature), with all apps closed, and screen off, for at least 5 minutes prior to your measurement.
Temperature during light usage may rise to 12C higher than ambient. This is when you are browsing the web, youtubing, playing less demanding games, or just general usage of the phone.
Heavy usage and charging (especially the adaptive fast charging) the temperature can go up to 20C above ambient. As long as there is no overheating warnings, the temperature is acceptable.
If your battery temperatures are higher than those limits, it is probably adversely affecting your battery life. Set your phone down on a cool surface and let it cool. This could be caused by running a lot of background apps, which leads us to the next section.
Step 3: Disabling Un-used Apps
Depending on your carrier (or the lack of), you may have various bloatwares preinstalled on your phone. Google also pre-installs some Android apps which are not always useful.
Settings -> Applications -> Application manager
and disable any or all of the following apps
ANT Radio Service and ANT+Plugins Services. AFAIK these two are used for a particular type of NFC (similar to bluetooth) which is not very common.
Briefing. This is the left most pane on your home screen. I personally don't use it.
Google Play Books
Google Play Games
Google Play Movies
Google Play Music
Google Play Newsstand
OneDrive (This is a Microsoft app)
S Voice (Apparent this one hogs a lot of battery)
You can disable more or less than what I have listed.
Step 4: General Tips and Tricks
Close background apps. When exiting an app, do not use the Home button as that will leave them running in the background. Exit by tapping the capacitive menu button and actually closing the app.
Set the screen brightness to about 25% (you will get used to it). The Super AMOLED display actually turns off each pixel that is black, so you can save some power by using a darker wallpaper. Ideally you would use a completely black wallpaper, but that would be quite ugly.
Disable "Network notification" and "Always allow scanning" in WIFI settings, Advanced. On the same page, set "Keep WIFI on during sleep" to "Only when plugged in".
Activate Airplane Mode when you have extremely bad cellular connection, as the phone will try very hard to communicate with the cell tower and thus draining the battery.
Disable WIFI and Bluetooth from the top swipe down menu when you are not using them.
Disable VoLTE. For some carriers there is a Voice over LTE (VoLTE) option, apparently this causes massive battery drain. So disable it if you have it.
Disable Location in Settings, and Google Location History in Google Settings. However beware that by disabling these two location services it will be much harder to find your phone should you lose it. A compromise is to select Locating method as GPS only (instead of the more power hungry WIFI and Cellular network).
Disable notifications that you don't need.
Disable Motion Gestures that you don't use.
Activate Power Saving Mode or Ultra Power Saving Mode if you really want the phone to last a few more hours.
Restart your phone from time to time.
Update the OS to Android 5.1.1 when available.
Note that Facebook and Messenger apps use a lot of battery.
Step 5: Additional Rituals to Consider
I am not sure if the following are going to help with your battery life, actually I am not even sure what the first one do. But they are simple enough to perform and are harmless.
Low Battery Dump
Go to Phone app, and type in *#9900#, and scroll down to "Low battery Dump". Tap it, and after complete, restart your phone.
Wipe Cache Partition
Cache files are created and used by the OS to speed up things, but sometimes they can get pretty big, or get corrupted, which in terms leads to performance decrease (and maybe battery usage increase). So I would do a cache wipe after OS upgrade or after installing a lot of apps.
Power off phone, then simultaneously press these 3 buttons:
- Power button
- Volume Down
- Home button
When you feel the phone vibrates and see the blue android icon, release the Power button.
Then you will be at a menu selection. Select Wipe Cache with the Volume Up/Down buttons, and pressed Power button to execute. After this is complete, select Restart, and your phone will boot up.
Step 6: Conclusion
If you have followed the above steps, you should see a big improvement to your battery life performance. Before I generally had a battery life of about 18 hours, and as you can see now it almost doubled.
Let me know if I missed anything or if you have any other suggestions. The Samsung Galaxy S6 is a great phone, and if we can improve its battery life, it'll no doubt be one of the best right now.