Moto X In Review: 7 Battery Life Tips And Tricks For The Motorola Flagship

on January 16 2014 4:27 PM
Moto X Battery Life Review Issues Problems Tips and Tricks
The Moto X is a popular smartphone, and likely will be even more so when it is released throughout the world. But how can you make the battery last longer? Thomas Halleck / International Business Times

The Moto X is the first smartphone to offer always-listening voice control, or as Motorola calls it “Touchless Control.” It works along with the rest of the phone’s sensors without causing serious battery problems because of the Moto X’s innovative chipset.

Since its release stateside in August, many Moto X owners enjoyed excellent battery life. However, some may want to try to push the device to last another 12-18 hours, and others have reported battery life issues -- especially following the Moto X’s update to Android 4.4 KitKat.

Protip: If you fall into the latter camp, there is a simple trick that might fix up your issue. It is likely that your Moto X’s battery is fine, but having trouble correctly identifying how much battery life is left.

Simply run the battery down to about five to eight percent and let it die. You can speed this up by streaming a YouTube video. Then, when the Moto X has died, let it charge for a few hours before turning it back on. This will fix the issue if the Moto X is having trouble accurately reporting its remaining battery life.

1.) Identify The Problem

If your Moto X battery is truly having trouble lasting as long as you think it should, then the first thing to do is find out what is creating the problem. Go into Settings > About Phone > Battery Use to see what apps or services are causing an issue.

An Android device like the Moto X, or any smartphone for that matter, often uses the most battery power on its display. This is true even of the Moto X’s AMOLED screen, which is more energy efficient than LCD.

2.) Keep Your Screen's Brightness As Low As Possible

While a brighter Moto X really shows off those colorful default wallpapers, keeping the display dialed down is going to maximize battery power. If you really prefer things looking bright and shiny, I can’t blame you – but I would at least recommend setting the Moto X screen brightness to “Auto” so it dims in darker settings.

If you truly want to maximize the Moto X’s battery life, leave the screen brightness to somewhere around 10 percent, as this is bright enough for mostly any setting. You can more easily access controls like screen brightness using a simple app like Notification Toggle, available for Android on Google Play.

I did not like the icon that always showed up in my status bar, but then I realized that the icon can be changed to report remaining battery life, battery temperature, or day of the month.

3.) Reduce The Time Before Moto X Goes To Sleep

You can do this by navigating to Settings > Display > Sleep. Like brightness, many users have a personal preference before how long their screen goes to sleep. You do not want to set it annoyingly low, but having the Moto X go to sleep as quickly as possible will maximize its battery life.

Also, make sure to press the power button when done using the Moto X. This is a good habit on just about any smartphone, instead of putting the phone down or in your pocket with the screen on and waiting for it to go to sleep automatically.

4.) Keep GPS Location Settings And Bluetooth Off When Not In Use

This is one of the basics of owning any smartphone: if you are not using Bluetooth to connect to your car or other device, keep it turned off. It is an unnecessary drain on the Moto X’s battery.

GPS location services are even worse. Keep them turned off when not in use if you want your Moto X battery to last all day, and in many cases, well into Day 2.

5.) Turn Off Wi-Fi AND Wi-Fi Scanning

To disable Wi-Fi scanning, navigate to Settings > Wi-Fi > Menu (three dots, lower right-hand corner) > Scanning always available and uncheck the box.

Google included the feature in Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, and it allows apps to estimate your location with GPS turned off. However, even with the Moto X’s dedicated co-processors, the feature drains battery, and can be a privacy issue for many users.

6.) Keep Power Saver Turned On

Go into Settings > Battery > Power Saver and make sure that the Motorola exclusive feature is turned on. It restricts background data use when your battery life is waning.

Some manufacturers include a power saver mode that reduces a processor’s frequency, which slows them down a bit. Motorola chose not to include such a feature on the Moto X, since the system-on-a-chip already does a decent job of managing performance against the remaining battery life.

7.) Enable Android Runtime (ART)

A new runtime for Android devices (ART) will eventually replace the older Dalvik runtime completely. ART changes the way all apps are run, allowing them to open more quickly, and use less power to do so.

Enabling ART on the Moto X is a great way to extend battery life. Unfortunately, ART also causes apps to take up 10 – 20 percent more storage space, and it will not be compatible with WhatsApp until your Moto X is upgraded to Android 4.4.2 (KitKat). Please note that the International Business Times is not liable for problems due to enabling ART, and Google has said that the runtime is not yet ready for everyone, so proceed at your own risk. I have, however, used ART on several different Android devices, including the Moto X and Nexus 5, with no issues.

To turn ART on for the Moto X, or any Android device running 4.4 or higher, navigate the phone to:

Settings > About Phone > Tap "Build Number" 7 times

Then back out and go into the new option, > Developer Options, and select ART instead of Dalvik. Wait about an hour while your apps are optimized for the Android Runtime, and enjoy extended battery life.

Follow Thomas Halleck on Twitter @tommylikey or Google Plus +ThomasHalleck for more Moto X battery tips, coming soon.

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