Google released the update to Android Nougat quite some time ago, and now most Nexus devices are running Android 7.1.1 Nougat. It’s one of the best versions of Android yet, but it isn’t all good news. Some owners are experiencing bad Nexus Android Nougat battery life. Or at least a drop when many expected improvements.
With that in mind here we’ll be explaining what could be causing it, and how to improve Android 7.0 Nougat battery life for the Nexus 5x, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Pixel C and more. Including Android 7.1.1 Nougat and the Google Pixel. There are a lot of things that could cause battery drain, so we’ll go through a few different potential fixes.
On August 22nd Android Nougat was officially released. During the holiday months of December 2016 they rolled out maintenance updates to Android 7.1.1 too. Sadly, the update isn’t perfect and we’re hearing some are experiencing minor problems, bugs or suffering from poor battery life. Here is some helpful advice.
Abnormal battery drain is a common problem, especially after big software updates of this size. Often the first few days or week of an update users report problems. That’s typical because the update and changes are settling in, or you’re using the device more than before. Meaning, give it a few days before decided if battery life is “bad” or not. This is more present now that we have monthly security updates.
Android Nougat has a new “Doze” feature which should make battery life better, but some reports claim the opposite. In fact, heading over to Reddit or even the official Google forum bug tracker, you’ll see lots of complaints about a wide array of problems. Most notably Nexus Android 7.0 battery life issues.
For now Android 7.0 battery life problems are somewhat isolated, and I’m not experiencing any, but as the update hits more and more devices like the Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P, we expect the list of problems to grow. Here’s our initial Android 7.0 problems & fixes, and we’ll add more once they appear.
How to Fix Nexus Android Nougat Battery Life Problems
We’re here to try and help solve some of the bad Nexus Android 7.0 battery life problems users are experiencing, but may need to wait on Google to release a quick 7.0.1 bug fix. The developer previews ran pretty great, but had battery problems too, so Google should be well aware of this and working on a solution.
Find Battery Draining Apps
The first thing users should do if they notice extreme battery drops is check for rogue apps using more battery life than they should. This could be a malfunctioning app that may not be ready to run right with Nougat, an app keeping the system awake, or other things.
Typically heading to settings > battery > and looking at the list of apps draining battery you’ll get a good idea of what’s going on. Android System or the Screen (Display) are usually at the top of the list, but we’ve been seeing a problem where “Android OS” is taking the most, followed by Android System. One should be there, the other should not. Android System is typically one of the higher drains, but not the OS aspect. The Google issue tracker has several reports of this problem dating back to the 3rd developer preview of Android N.
While Google services or Android System often take up battery to perform important tasks in the operating system, “Android OS” shouldn’t be at the top of the list. Some users reported the OS taking more battery while the phone was off, than the screen does while the device is turned on. The screen should be the biggest drain, not the operating system.
Google’s working hard on a fix, but we have some potential solutions as well. Oddly enough, one is to turn off Bluetooth if you don’t need it. Android Wear, Android Auto and other devices require Bluetooth, but many users have noticed substantially better battery life with Bluetooth turned off.
Check the list of apps in the battery settings to see if anything else is causing drain. Apps like Facebook and Snapchat can often be the problem as well, so keep that in mind. Selecting an app and hitting “Force Stop” can kill the process and improve battery, but don’t kill anything unless you know what it does. Reinstalling an app is also another good idea. Widgets can be a big battery drain also, so consider checking on those apps.
Lastly, try booting into Safe Mode. Safe Mode will disable third-party applications and that will allow you to narrow your search to find any potential problems. Those with the battery running out around 30% have another issue completely that we’re hearing Google is investigating. So hold tight.
Check Account Sync
Similar to apps draining your battery as mentioned above, apps being synced and backed up could be the culprit too. Multiple users on Reddit noticed that on the Nexus 6P the device wasn’t syncing right, causing huge drains in battery life. Imagine your phone trying to sync to the cloud and save all of your contacts, photos, Google drive documents or Google music over and over again. That will surely effect battery life.
The user recommends heading into Settings > Accounts > and looking for any that have the sync icon or a (!) next to them, suggesting sync had failed. To make matters worse, manually refreshing accounts to sync didn’t fix the problem. One owner went into each Google account sync option and did it manually. For Google Drive, fit, photos, music, keep, and even 3rd party apps like Skype, and re-synced each one. Multiple users have noticed substantially improved Nexus battery life after doing this.
To take this further, Skype sync was causing the problem for a few users, so be sure to check any and all apps and accounts to make sure sync is working. Then, continue on for the rest of our tips.
Disable Unused Services
If your apps are functioning properly try disabling unnecessary services on your Nexus phone or tablet. Disabling connections and other services when you aren’t using them could save you some battery life. We mentioned bluetooth above, and will say it again. Actually, we’re seeing a lot of complaints about Bluetooth problems, and some of those could be causing battery drain. Turn if off if you don’t need it.
We highly recommend shutting off Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS, and cellular data when you don’t need them turned on. You can turn those off from the Nexus’ quick settings menu or you can turn them off from regular Settings menu. It seems with each update a small group complain about Bluetooth issues. Another idea is to change location settings to “Battery Saver Mode” which uses WiFi and networks instead of GPS. As GPS drains battery with ease.
If you’re in a poor service area, try flipping on Airplane Mode. Airplane Mode will kill all of your device’s settings but it could prevent drain. When you have no service the phone will constantly look for one, so turn on Airplane mode and save juice for later.
Restart Your Nexus
Occasionally apps will just start draining the battery, or even Android System and OS, when it shouldn’t. If I’ve removed my Nexus (or any Android) from the charger and it seems to be draining faster than expected, I do a quick reboot, which usually fixes the problem.
Hold down the power button and turn it off, then back on, or hit reboot on select devices. This starts the entire system fresh, and can solve a lot of little bugs including bad Nexus battery life. It sounds silly, but I reboot my phone once every 2-3 days, for the best experience.
This is one everyone should know, and isn’t really a tip, but I constantly see users with a phone set around 90-100% brightness, or set to auto. Honestly, this isn’t needed and can really kill battery life. I keep all of my devices around 35-40% brightness, which is still plenty.
Head into Settings > Display > and uncheck auto, then put the slider to a more manageable and realistic brightness setting. It may take a few hours to get used to the lower screen level, but your battery will thank you for it.
Clear The Cache Partition
If none of those work, you can take some more drastic steps towards fixing your bad Nexus Android Nougat battery life. One of those steps is clearing the cache partition.
Clearing the cache has worked wonders in the past to fix poor Nexus battery life in general, and some stated it helped with the battery drain on the Nexus support forum. Here’s how to clear your cache partition:
- Press and hold Power and Volume Down buttons simultaneously until you see something other than Google on the screen.
- You should see a large arrow at the top of the screen.
- Tap Volume Down repeatedly until you see Recovery in the arrow. Then tap the Power button.
- You should see an android on his back, chest open with a red triangle and exclamation mark.
- While holding Power button tap Volume Up once then release the Power button.
- You should now see a list of items at top of screen and will be in “Recovery mode”.
- Tap Volume Down until you reach the option to clear cache partition. Tap the Power button to select, confirm by hitting yes, and let it finish.
- Progress messages will appear at the bottom of the screen. This should take less than a minute, but could take upwards of 10 minutes in some cases.
- Restart your Nexus
This has shown to fix multiple small problems after a software update. From battery life to WiFi and Bluetooth issues, GPS glitches, and multiple other small things. We’d recommend doing this after any big update, so your Nexus can start with a clean slate.
Factory Reset Your Device
This is a last resort, but like clearing the Cache it’s also a great idea to truly start with a clean slate and wipe out any unwanted leftover files. Doing a factory data reset will erase everything, so backup any important files first, and be prepared to set aside an hour or so to set up your phone back to how it was.
Most should know how to do a reset, if not, Google has put together an extensive guide that outlines the proper way to factor reset Nexus smartphones and tablets. Take a look at that information, backup your device, and get started.
Downgrade to Marshmallow
If you absolutely need better battery life and can’t fix it with any of these suggestions, and can’t wait for Google to release an update to Android 7.1.2 Nougat, some owners can always revert back to Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.
This guide explains how to manually install Android Nougat, but the same instructions (and factory images link) will allow users to download any version of Android 6.0 and install it within 10-15 minute. Use that to downgrade back to Marshmallow if you don’t need Nougat, and want better Nexus battery life.
I wouldn’t recommend it, but to each their own.
If none of this seems to work, try tracking down another fix. Google’s Nexus Help Forums are a great place to start. There are tons of helpful users on XDA-Developers not to mention custom 3rd party versions of Android you can install that may have better results.
We’d also recommend getting a Portable Battery Pack that can recharge your device anywhere and everywhere, which isn’t ideal, but a great accessory to have anyways. We’ll be on the lookout for more complaints, details, possible fixes, and report back once we know more or hear of incoming updates. Are you experiencing bad Nexus Android Nougat battery life? Let us know in the comments below.