Possible Clue to Getting Long Battery Life with HTC Thunderbolt Android Phone

Poor Battery Life defined: Could not go through a normal workday without having to plug into AC!

I have had the new HTC Thunderbolt Phone from Verizon for several months now and have had to live with horrible battery life like everyone else until recently. I had read all the blogs and tried all of the tips including task killers (which can actually use more power than they save), cutting back on sync schedules and more. Nothing had really helped and I tried them all. Coming from the Palm and then Blackberry’s I was used to going several days on a single charge.

At one point the battery started draining down in about 3 to 4 hours even if the phone was not used. I assumed the battery was going bad and replaced it with one with slightly more capacity. This new battery did get me back to around 8 to 10 hours of usage for several weeks. Then recently, the same problem occurred again and it was back down to 3 to 4 hours! I had ordered the new extended battery and back plate but that had not yet arrived (on back order since every other Thunderbolt owner had already purchased one before me.)

Battery Life Now Doubled

But recently I made a small change that is now giving me nearly 24 hours of usage on the standard battery! What? I could not believe what I was seeing. While I do not yet have solid evidence that my changes were the source of the new life span, I am putting it out there so others can give it a try.

I had four POP email accounts and all were scheduled to POP about once per hour. I had already changed most of them to only check once every 4 to eight hours but this had little to no effect. However in desperation, I decided to give the original battery one more try and to change 3 of my email accounts to “manual” sync. I left the fourth one (most critical) to still syncing every hour. After replacing the battery and restarting the phone, I was suddenly getting nearly 24 hours of battery life per charge. While this may not sound like much, this was wonderful after never getting more than 8 to 10 hours before.

While cutting back 3 of the accounts to manual should not have made that much of a difference, it certainly did to mine. Seeing was believing. I also suspect that something had gone awry which was causing my poor battery life to drop down to the 3 to 4 hour span. It was as if it was hung in some loop or constant online connection as the battery would drop quickly even with the phone not in use. I suspect that swapping batteries forced a cold boot of the phone which resolved the issue causing my battery life to go back normal levels. So if your battery life seems to suddenly get worse, try a cold boot to see if that helps.

So if you are having battery life issues with your HTC Thunderbolt (and who isn’t?), then consider trying the following suggestions and post your results back here as a comment:

  • Set any email accounts to a manual sync. You may hate this but at least try it for a few days. During this time, click the menu Refresh option on any account (or all accounts) to sync. Your first reaction will be to add more time between checks but that did NOT help on my phone…I had to set them to manual. You can always bring them back to a scheduled sync later. Might not hurt to reduce or turn off any other syncing accounts if possible too. (Of my 4 email accounts, I did leave one checking every hour but still my battery life still tripled).

  • From the home screen >> Settings >> Power…  Uncheck the Enable Power Saver option. I have no idea at this point if this affected the extended battery life but it was the only other settings change I made. I guess it is possible that this feature uses more power than it saves.

  • IMPORTANT:  Turn off the phone, pop off the back, remove the battery and put back in after a few seconds. This is a must I think in order to have the phone cold boot to really take advantage of the new settings. Just changing the settings alone did not not help my phone.

  • So at this point, I do not know if setting 3 of the 4 email accounts to manual sync …OR… turning off the Enable Power Saver feature was what  made the difference and I may never know. Regardless the difference was significant so I suggest you do both to see if this helps your battery life at all and then go from there. Don’t forget the cold boot after making these changes.

The new extended battery arrived a few days ago and provide nearly double the capacity of the original one. I installed it and charged overnight. Since then I have gone over 22 hours with AC power, made several calls, checked email many times, multiple texts and more and my battery is still showing 90% full! I cannot believe it. And I still have one email account that is syncing every hour. Makes no sense but hope this helps someone else. At this rate, I can use the 4G LTE fast speed, surf, watch videos, talk and more and not worry about needing an AC socket before getting home in the evening. The Thunderbolt phone is a great phone and the poor battery life was my primary frustration. Now life if just a little bit better.

Update: 6/1/2011 – With the extended battery and normal usage my battery has now lasted 34 hours and still has 3 ticks left on the meter. I have gone nearly 3 days on a single charge!

Comments

  1. I did something similar, in that I have turned the mobile network (4G) off and rebooted the phone. Without turning the 4G back on (not needed for the time being) I’ve just gotten 24 hours on the stock battery and it’s barely at 50%. Not sure how long it will last with 4G on or why it’s suddenly lasting so long now…

    I’ve had 4G turned off before and STILL only got 3-4 hours out of the battery.

    • Kevin – that would definitely help if you are not in a 4G area. I am in a 4G and I now keep my 4G on without any apparent degradation of battery life. Did you happen to disable the battery saver feature? If not, turn that off, then remove the battery once more to see if your battery life is even better. I know it makes no sense but that on of the few items I disabled that seemed to really make a huge difference on my battery life.

  2. Any update to this? are you still getting good life or has it dropped back down to crap again?

    my phone is pretty erratic as to how long it lasts. My usage is pretty consistent and usually only involves email and texting. Most days it lasts about 6 hours. bad days it gets super hot while in my pocket and only lasts 2 hours.. and on rare days it will last about 24h. It doesn’t matter if i’m in a good 4g area (work) or in a bad one (home). I can leave 4g off entirely and still get crap battery life.

    I have one exchange account(push) and one gmail account(maybe pop?) I don’t see any settings in the Gmail app(or in the OS sync settings) for how often gmail will update, so i can’t change it.

    • Bill – Still getting excellent battery life but I am still using the extended battery so it could be difficult to compare with a standard battery. Just before moving to the extended battery, I did experience several days of about 35 hour between charges. The additional time was dramatic over what I had been experiencing.

      The only changes were that I set 3 of my 4 email accounts to manual (all simple POP3 accounts) and I disabled the Power Saver feature in the Power section off of Main Settings. What seems to a must is a hard reboot by powering down the phone and also removing the battery for a minute before powering back up.

      On two occasions, my battery life suddenly became really short to the point where the battery would go from fully charged to less than half in about 4 hours without being used at all. Again, this change was quite dramatic. The instance fix to this was removing the battery (simple reboot did not have any affect).

      With the extended battery, I don’t even think about short battery life anymore. I use the phone all day long checking email, texting, surfing, FB, GPS and making several long calls. I always have at least half-battery by bed time and my days typically start around 5:30 am. I can easily go two days but typically recharge nightly. My guess is that with a regular battery, I could go a full day but would need to charge nightly which is fine for me. The best part is that I can use the phone and GPS all I need and simply do not worry about battery life. Even my iPhone friends are jealous. Of course while the extended battery does make the phone a tiny bit larger and heavier, at least we have the option of using it.

      Have you tried turning off the Power Saver and then removing the battery? Try that first if you have not already. Next, just reset one of the accounts to manual checking. You can still check manually as often as you need. Post your results back here if you would be so kind to.

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