Better Android Battery Life Without Root

I've been really frustrated with the battery life on my Moto X Style recently, but I'm wary of rooting due to my dependence on Google services (and sense of security!).

My Moto X Style's battery life has tanked over the past year I've had it. When I first received the phone it could last 2 full days of moderate use, however nowadays it sometimes only lasts up to 6 hours with about 2 hours Screen-On-Time (SOT). This is on the Android 6 (Marshmallow) stock build.

I initially thought my battery's physical condition had worsened, as my phone usage patterns hadn't significantly changed over the year. I installed an app called AccuBattery which estimates battery quality by measuring how much the phone charges up, and over several charging cycles provides battery health as a percentage of the original capacity. AccuBattery estimated my phone's battery health to be 90%, which is a significant drop below the original capacity, but is not enough for the phone to die after only 6 hours!

With the knowledge that my phone's battery was physically healthy, I next turned my attention to the software running on my phone. I really like Google's location history data, Maps suggestions, and photo location details, so I really didn't want to sacrifice things like Location (GPS), Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth (I use an Android Wear watch daily). I have also used these things since originally getting the phone, so I ruled these out as factors.

I took to the XDA forums for my phone, an Android enthusiast site. The majority of people there use custom ROMs (or at least rooted, giving them much more control over the phone). Some get great battery life with 2+ days, others barely last a day, but there were many suggestions on how to increase battery life.

Many of the suggestions rely on having a rooted phone, such as using Amplify. Amplify is an app that reduces the number of wakelocks happening on your phone (a wakelock is an app waking your phone up to do some action, such as check for new emails). However, I didn't want to root my phone yet, so these options were ruled out.

One suggestion that did stick out to me was Greenify. Greenify is an app that force-stops backround apps to prevent them from using excess battery in the background. Greenify is mostly recommended for rooted phones as root access gives Greenify much better control on shutting down apps and forcing apps into 'doze' mode faster (where they use less battery). However, Greenify does still work without root using the more primitive force-stop method.

The user must specify which apps they don't want running in the background. I selected everything I don't explicitly want background notifications for, so I didn't select things like Wunderlist, Inbox, Signal, and Messenger, but did select everything else. The first day after doing this, my battery still had 54% at 2am - which is something I haven't seen in a long time! A much welcome improvement.

I haven't had any issues so far with having Greenify running, I'm still getting notifications from all the apps I effectively whitelisted, and my battery life is much more satisfying! I was thinking of buying a new phone with a larger battery, but I think I can at least put that off another couple months now.

Let me know if Greenify worked for you, or if you have any other non-root battery life improvements that don't sacrifice functionality (such as turning GPS off!).

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