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November 10, 2016

A Coupla Android Phone Tips

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

I’ve done a lot of traveling recently, and two issues that consistently bug me on my Android phone have finally, successfully, and happily been resolved.

The two issues are:

  • Rapid battery drain while traveling
  • Slow Internet connection

The issues are somewhat related, based on my understanding of how the phone works. The solutions are similar.

You Drive Around All Morning and the Battery Charge is Near Death

I experience this problem whenever I do a lot of driving. In fact, one morning I drove across Los Angeles and when I arrived at my destination, the phone’s battery charge was down to 60 percent.

Normally, when I stay in one spot, my phone’s charge is in the 80 to 90 percent range. The battery is pretty strong. But when I’m out and about, the battery drains rapidly.

My suspicion was that the phone is constantly updating its location. As I drive around, or loiter in an unfamiliar place, the phone is checking GPS. More importantly, it’s also hunting for Wi-Fi signals. Because Wi-Fi is all over, the phone constantly checks in with these networks. Some of the networks are common, such as AT&T or Starbucks, which means if I’m near that location, the phone is going to connect automatically — even if it’s only for a second.

The process of using GPS and Wi-Fi sucks down battery life. That was my theory.

To test the theory, I disabled GPS and Wi-Fi. I kept the Mobile Data active. And if I needed to use the Maps app, I turned on GPS again. Still, my experiment worked: With GPS and Wi-Fi disabled, my phone retained its battery life.

Solution: When you’re traveling by car or in an unknown location, disable GPS and Wi-Fi. Shortcuts are found on the Quick Access drawer. Just tap off the items. Keep the mobile data (cellular) network active so you can get phone calls and retain Internet access. (Some “experts” recommend placing the phone into Airplane Mode, but that’s not really necessary to save battery life.)

You Just Can’t Get Anything To Access the Internet

It took me a while to solve this bothersome problem: I’m out in a store or at the Library and I try to use the Internet. It’s just dog-slow. The Wi-Fi and Mobile data status icons show that I have a signal, but I might as well be using a dialup modem.

Solution: Disable the Wi-Fi radio. Once disabled, Internet access rapidly returned.

What I guess is going on is that Wi-Fi is trying to connect to a network and it’s waiting for me to enter a password or tap Accept. Because Android devices prioritize the Wi-Fi connection, that verification works like a cork in a bottle; Internet access is stifled. When you disable Wi-Fi, however, the mobile data connection takes over.

With both of these tricks, remember to re-enable Wi-Fi when you’re back at a home, work, or other constant location.

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