Your Android phone is your everyday companion, so you notice when it’s not holding a charge as long as it used to. You’re starting to wonder if there’s a problem with the battery. That means it’s time to do a little sleuthing.
To become a battery detective, you’ll need to know where to look for clues and what apps can help you out as you investigate your smartphone. RELATED: Apps to get the most from your Android device.
It used to be easy to replace a cellphone battery, but newer phones make this difficult. If your battery is a lost cause, you’ll need to check your warranty status and look into repair or replacement options. But first, here’s how to find out if your battery has gone bad.
Notice the symptoms of a failing battery
Battery performance can deteriorate as a phone ages. The initial signs of battery issues may start off as subtle hints before becoming too much to overlook. It’s time to check your battery if you experience some or all of these symptoms:
It doesn’t last: It used to be you could charge your phone overnight, use it all day long, and still have some juice left at bedtime. But now you’re looking for an outlet in the afternoon and carrying a portable battery backup to get through the day.
Battery charge drops rapidly: You unplug your phone, confident in a full charge, only to see it drop quickly even though you’re not doing anything unusual.
It doesn’t fully charge: You leave your phone plugged in for hours, but it never gets back up to a full charge. Something is definitely up.
There are physical symptoms: You notice your phone is off-the-charts hot when charging, or you may even notice a physical bulge on the phone. Unplug it right away if this happens.
Check for problem apps
Before you take the step of replacing a battery, head into Settings and tap on Battery. Give the usage details a quick glance and check which apps are using the most battery.
What you’re looking for is any unusual draining attributed to an app. If you notice a particular app is sucking up all your battery, especially if it’s an app you don’t use much, then you might try removing that app and seeing if your battery problems improve.
Check your battery health
Now it’s time to do a more thorough check-up on your battery. There are several apps in the Google Play Store designed to monitor battery health. AccuBattery is a good one to start with. Once you install the app and go through the initial setup, you’ll need to use your phone as usual while it monitors your battery.
Take some time to read through AccuBattery’s introduction. It has some suggestions for ways to approach battery charging, but what we’re really here for is the diagnostics. The longer you use the app, the more data it collects and the more accurate the battery information will be.
Once you’ve used the phone for at least a few days with the app installed, open AccuBattery and check the Health section. This will give you an idea of what sort of shape your battery is in compared to when it was new. If you’re seeing a poor battery health rating, then it’s probably time to look into replacing your battery or resigning yourself to carrying a portable battery backup when you know you’ll be away from an outlet.
Fixing a bad battery
If your phone is still under warranty, then contact customer service about a battery replacement. If not, you can check with a local repair shop about the price of a replacement. Just be sure to read up on the shop’s reviews and find out if the work comes with a guarantee or warranty for the new battery.
If you’re handy with electronics and don’t mind the potential risks of a DIY repair (bricking your phone, loss of waterproofing), you can check into the availability of a replacement battery kit. Amazon is a good place to start. Check the seller’s reviews and the reviews for the battery itself.
Also, check if iFixit has a repair guide available for your particular phone. It will tell you how difficult the job is and walk you through the process step by step.
One more thing to keep in mind: with so many solid and affordable Android phones on the market, you’ll need to decide if repair is a better option than replacement. If you choose to get a new phone, then be sure to check out our Komando guide on how to recycle your old one.