Why it matters to you
With Android O, you will be able to better understand how certain apps and processes are affecting your phone’s battery life.
Over the years, Google has introduced a range of features intended to limit battery consumption by apps in Android. One of the more major features released in the last several years was Doze, introduced in version 6.0 Marshmallow, which allowed the system to override background processes in apps that were draining power too frequently.
In spite of these enhancements, however, the battery settings menu has remained mostly unchanged, delivering the same basic information it always has. Fortunately, with Android O, Google is looking to change this.
Battery options have been overhauled in the upcoming version of Android, based on a preliminary look into the beta released this week. The result is more actionable data that should keep you better informed about how your device operates whether the screen is on or off.
In the past, the menu simply displayed percentages of battery consumption broken down by app, with some more detailed information like total running time if you dug into it — though Android previously did not differentiate between foreground and background usage.
With Android O, that is changing. Tapping on an app in the list will call up precisely how much time it has been operating in active use, versus in the background. And it is often background usage which takes a serious toll on our smartphones’ batteries — all those push notifications and discreet updates come at a price, and add up over time.
The new menu will even communicate battery usage by an app in milliamps, if you are so inclined. In addition to all these noteworthy little tips, the same tried-and-true functions still remain, like the ability to toggle battery optimization off for apps you simply cannot afford to miss an update from, or the option to shut down all background processes and notifications for those overactive types.
Longtime Android users will also note that the graph that shows your device’s battery status over time is still present if you check advanced usage. And many display related settings, like adaptive brightness and sleep intervals, are present in battery options as well for easy access.
For an in-depth look at all the new features debuting in Android O, check out our first take.