From dimming the screen brightness to turning on airplane mode to carrying a portable charger, keeping a smartphone battery alive for as long as possible between charges is a challenge we’ve had for as long as smartphones have been around. With the many upgrades we’ve seen from smartphones over the years, battery life of a day (or a little more) has remained the norm.
Google has applied some smart algorithm-based stuff to the problem in the form of the Adaptive Battery feature, which was introduced back in Android 9 in 2018 and is still being tweaked and refined today. The news is back recently as a very vital feature if you want your Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro to last longer.
So what exactly is an adaptive battery feature? Is it something you should always keep running? And how much better could battery life be with this enabled? Here we are going to explain everything you need to know about this major Android feature.
What is an adaptive battery?
Adaptive Battery attempts to reduce the strain on your smartphone battery by identifying which apps are most important to you than others. Less-used apps that don’t really need to be constantly running in the background are ejected from the device’s memory when they’re done, while apps you handle frequently are kept in memory for faster and easier access.
In the words of Google, that means apps only use precious battery capacity when they really need to. A complex neural network is working behind the scenes, trying to figure out which apps you might need in the next few hours, and apps you probably won’t want to open until at least later in the day (if not later in the week or month).
On a more technical level, it uses DeepMind technology to put applications into categories, which then determine the amount of system resources they are allowed to use. The apps you use will rarely still work as normal, but you may notice that they are a little slower the first time you go back to them, because Android has to reload all the different app elements into memory. Notifications from these apps may also be delayed.
The amount of time you’ll get between charges depends on the phone you’re using and what you’re doing with it. When the feature was originally launched, Google executives were talking about a 5 percent reduction in CPU load; Recently, users informed Significant improvement in battery life once the adaptive battery has had a chance to work its magic.
How Adaptive Battery works will also depend on what your phone is currently in: if your phone is plugged in and charging, for example, the restrictions on what apps can do will be less severe. Charging is another thing Google also applies from its machine learning know-how, although this doesn’t affect battery life directly.
How to use the adaptive battery
On Android 9 and above, Adaptive Battery should be turned on by default. To check, open Settings and then choose battery And Adaptive Preferences. In Android 12, you will see a file adaptive battery Toggle the switch along with the newly added adaptive charging feature, if your phone supports it — for now, the charging feature is Pixel-exclusive.
That’s it for the adaptive battery settings: you can turn them on or off. There are no configuration options and no modifications to be made, because everything is handled automatically by Android and its built-in algorithms. You can go back to battery Menu and choose Battery usage Find out which apps are the most demanding in terms of battery usage, and Battery saver The feature adds more restrictions on background activity across all your apps.
It’s worth noting that Adaptive Battery may take some time to learn how to use your apps on a new device. It will likely take a week or two after upgrading your phone or performing a factory reset for the benefits of the feature to become truly noticeable. In other words, don’t rush to turn off “adaptive battery” on a new phone if you don’t think it has any effect.
Android gives you the option to exclude certain apps from the adaptive battery process if you want to be absolutely sure that they are always available and running in memory (some apps will actually require this kind of special treatment when they are installed). From Settings, choose appsthen choose an app from the list: On the Single App screen, select battery to choose how much the adaptive battery can have on it.
As with a lot of Android features, the battery options you see may vary depending on your phone manufacturer. In the latest version of Samsung One UI, for example, you can find the Adaptive Battery feature by going to Settings and selecting Battery and device careThen batteryThen More battery settings.
This article has been updated since it was first published.