The best Android apps for boosting battery life

These smart Android power management apps can help you add hours to your smartphone's day

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Android battery savers: Battery Indicator

Darshan Computing's Battery Indicator (version 4.0.4) doesn't have actual power management functions, but it's a good first app for those curious about their phone's battery usage. The program itself has no perceptible effect on battery levels, so you can leave it running without worrying about draining anything.

The free version (the best place to start) places a text icon in the status bar that tells you the exact percentage of battery power available. Pull down the status panel and tap the entry for Battery Indicator, and it will pop up a panel that tells you how long you've either been charging or running on battery power. Tap the View Battery Use option, and you'll be taken to Android's own battery usage menu, which will show you which applications and system functions are eating most of your battery power. (It turned out that the display and the network standby were two of the biggest culprits in my case, so my first step was to turn down the brightness of the screen.)

Battery Indicator Pro ($1.99) includes additional informational features, like the ability to log the battery's activity to a file, set alarms for battery levels, and customize the look. If you don't need the logging, the free version does just fine, and it's been the most convenient way for me to add an at-a-glance power level to the status bar and get a good grasp on where the battery juice goes most of the time. But as the name suggests, Battery Indicator is for information only; if you want to do actual power tweaking you'll need to get something else.

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Green Power's status page provides an at-a-glance view of how the app is managing your phone's network usage.

Android battery savers: Green Power

Green Power (version 4.9) mainly does one thing, but does it so well and so flexibly that the benefits reaped are considerable. This app governs how the phone accesses the network, toggling cellular and Wi-Fi network connections on or off based on demand or need. Once set up, it runs unobtrusively in the background with no CPU demand. A green leaf icon in the status panel shows you at a glance if Green Power is at work.

I use Wi-Fi heavily, thanks to the generous number of free access points in my neighborhood, but keeping Wi-Fi on continuously kills my handset's battery power in short order. I don't always remember to toggle Wi-Fi manually, though, so this is where Green Power steps in. You can set timeout values for how long Wi-Fi remains on when the screen goes dark. You can set a keep-alive value for Wi-Fi based on background traffic -- handy if you're streaming video or music. You can even set timeouts for failed attempts to find a network, to prevent the system from wasting battery by attempting to re-connect to a network that might not be there. All this -- and tons more -- is available in the free version.

Green Power Premium ($1.99) adds the ability to specify a "night mode," which applies a different set of rules based on time of day. This includes, for example, whether to toggle the network on when the screen is activated, or to just fall back into airplane mode. The Pro version also lets you manage Bluetooth networking with much the same flexibility as Wi-Fi.

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