Android Marshmallow Battery Drain

Information and facts about Android Marshmallow battery drain and battery optimization. 

Our mobile devices are becoming  faster and more efficient. A small smartphone can now do almost as much as an efficient desktop computer was capable of a few years ago.

Unfortunately, all smartphones have one serious problem which so far hasn’t been effectively solved. You are right. I am talking about battery life of our phones.

Better battery optimization, that is, its longer life is one of the biggest promises and hopes for users of Android Marshmallow. Even though Android 6.0 brings a bunch of new features (read more in my Sony Xperia Z5 gets Marshmallow), what I was counting most on was better battery optimization which in Android “M” takes the form of the two new features: Doze and App Standby. Let’s see what they really are and how they improve battery life,

What Doze Mode And App Standby Are

Before I show you some of the results of the tests of my battery and how it improved after switching to Android Marshmallow, I will tell you a few things about Doze and App Standby which are responsible for all that fuss about better battery life in Android “M”.

Before Android 6.0 phones had different kinds of battery saving modes usually developed by their manufacturers (e.g. in Sony you had the famous STAMINA mode). Many people also used special battery saving apps (e.g. I was a fan of Battery Doctor back in the day) which sometimes helped improve battery life a bit or at least monitor it more effectively.

These two new power-saving features only work when your phone is not in use (and isn’t charging). What it means is that if you heavily use your phone (like browsing the Internet for a couple of hours a day), you may not see or feel that much difference or improvement.

Doze

As the name suggests, Doze mode is a way of putting all or most of the running apps to sleep to conserve battery. Of course, this happens only when you leave your device unplugged and unused for some time (and its screen is turned off). After some time of inactivity, the phone will enter Doze mode and do the following:

  • It will restrict the access of apps to network (if you have Wi-Fi or mobile data turned on).
  • It will restrict or even prevent the apps from sending alarms or syncing.
  • It will restrict services which heavily use CPU.

After some time of inactivity your phone will start the maintenance window (which we can simply call a break in Doze) in which it will let apps wake up for a moment, access network and sync.

The longer you aren’t using the phone, the less often it will start the maintenance window and thus its standby time will be longer.

App Standby

Everyone’s taking only about Doze but they forget that it’s not only Doze that helps improve battery life in Android Marshmallow. The second new power-saving feature, App Standby, is also very interesting. It simply lets your phone determine that the user isn’t actively using a specific app. One of the following scenarios has to happen for the system to determine that the app is idle.

  • The app hasn’t been launched by the user.
  • The app doesn’t have any processes running in the background.
  • The app doesn’t send any notifications.

The apps are kept in Standby until the device is plugged in. If the device has been idle for a very long time, the system will release the apps from Standby around once a day to let them access network and sync.

If you want to learn more about the two new power-saving features, I suggest reading a thorough article on the subject on the website for Android developers.

How My Battery Improved

I have been using Android “M” for only a week and I really see a lot of improvement regarding its battery life.

After updating to Android 6.0 the most popular STAMINA mode disappeared from my Sony Xperia. I was very angry and sad when I saw that STAMINA (which I was using all the time) just disappeared.

It seems that Sony developers concluded that Google did a better job with battery saving so they removed STAMINA entirely. Fortunately, battery life improved quite a lot.

Of course, the biggest improvements can be seen in standby time (when the battery drains really slowly), not in the active use of my phone.  Below are the results of my tests. I performed my tests and measured battery drain in the most natural situations, i.e. normal every-day use of my phone.

  • The drain over night is really minimal. It’s almost a horizontal line. Take a look at the screenshot below. My batter lost only a few percent over night.
  • What consumes battery the most remains the same: the screen and Facebook Messenger. If you are using your phone heavily, battery will quickly drain (no doubt about that).
  • There is an additional feature called the battery saver but you should use it only in critical situations when your battery is really low.
  • You don’t have to enable Doze or App Standby mode. They will automatically start to optimize battery of your device once you upgrade to Android 6.0.
  • My Sony Xperia Z5 Compact now makes it up to 2 days of moderate use and 1 day of heavy use (lots of Internet browsing and using Facebook), which is a good result compared to how it was before Android 6.0.

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