Here's how Android Marshmallow more than doubles your phone's battery life

androidpit nexus5 problems 7
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Android Lollipop was said to significantly increase battery life. This was observable on some devices, but in many cases, battery life was even worse than on KitKat following the update. With Android Marshmallow, Google seeks to improve battery life further with its new Doze feature. I’ve been monitoring the Nexus 5's battery life since it was upgraded to Android 6.0 earlier this week to see whether it really makes a big difference to standby time.

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Hello Marshmallow. / © ANDROIDPIT

What is Doze?

Doze is a power-saving feature primarily concerned with reducing processing and network activities while a device is not in use. It works in conjunction with another Marshmallow feature known as App Standby to limit the synchronization of apps in the background.

Theoretically, Android Marshmallow should be more capable of identifying when the device is in use, and needs to refresh or update data in order to benefit the user, and when it's not.

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This is the principle of how Doze will work during the night. © Google

Does Doze work?

The Nexus 5 strikes me as a good litmus test for the success of Doze because of its much-maligned battery life. This particular Nexus 5 is the one we got our hands on two years ago, so it's safe to say it's received some heavy use in its time. 

At the start of this test, I charged the device to full capacity. I had the screen on for about 20 minutes, but left the phone in standby for most of the rest of the test. The Wi-Fi remained on, and the device was not in airplane mode. The point is to monitor how successful the phone now is at holding the charge in the background. And, well, it’s good.

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We started at full charge, and this was the battery situation after 14 hours. / © ANDROIDPIT

After about 14 hours, the Nexus 5 battery had dropped by around six percent. 

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On the afternoon of the second day, the battery was at 89 percent. / © ANDROIDPIT

In the next 4.5 hours, I used the screen for a further 10 minutes, and the battery life fell by a further five percent. So the display being on for around 10 minutes uses almost as much power as the phone being in standby for 14 hours. Not bad. 

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Gmail and Google Play Services arrive in the battery usage table. / © ANDROIDPIT

By 6 PM on the second day, the battery life was hovering at around 84 percent. The usual suspects, such as Gmail and Google Play Services, crept into the list of apps that had been using the battery.

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On the morning of the third day, the battery life lies at 78 percent. / © ANDROIDPIT

On the following morning, 15 hours later, the device was at 78 percent battery. This tells us that the Nexus 5 uses about 6 percent of its battery life during 14 hours in standby. In these circumstances, the Nexus 5 on Marshmallow could last for more than a week on standby, without problem.

This is quite remarkable for a device that is two years old. The battery level could drop by about 15 percent in the same time on Lollipop. 

We will put the Nexus 5 through some battery benchmarks to update our review in the light of its upgrade to Marshmallow, but it's already clear that Doze improves its standby time. We'll also be testing how other devices fare with Marshmallow installed once updates begin rolling out.

Have you updated to Marshmallow yet? How has the battery life of your device been affected? Let us know in the comments.

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  • David Sigsworth Feb 18, 2016 Link to comment

    I uprgaded my lg g4 to marshmallow, and was horrified at the way the battery was sucked dry! I thought it was early days, so I waited about a week, then gave up and went back to Lollipop. Articles that advise you to turn that off or dont do that etc really annoy me! It's a smart phone for gods sake! I want to be able to run everything all day without worrying about my battery dying!

    • Alexander Nikonov Apr 13, 2016 Link to comment

      David, i'm absolutely agree with you. Instead of giving advises how to tune a smartphone, they propose us to turn it into old "push-button" phone :-D

    • Martin Angelov May 23, 2016 Link to comment

      Can you tell me how did you go back to Lollipop?I'm with s6 edge and I face the same problem with the battery consumption

  • Popa Florin Dec 4, 2015 Link to comment

    În my lg g4 is running like shit...and battery life is terrible ,especially on mobile data, I try to figure out what's happening and with gsam battery monitor I discover that a process called "system logd" eat my battery . in mobile data connection is on top , in background eat the most. Where is doze or how is called the new scum from Google... I believe is a misbehaving app but in safe mode my battery drain the same way on mobile data. After this cache cleaning,factory reset my phone...nothing helps. Hate the marshmallow , every time I make an update is like this. Earlier I had an HTC m8 and I have KitKat on board. Everything perfect. Come lollipop and ruins all. This time the same. My conclusion ... Don't make updates if you want your device work like in the first days. Maybe you think I am a little too angry but to come from 20h battery life to 12 is a big difference. Thank you Google,marshmallow,lg !!!

    • Rafael Barron Jul 15, 2017 Link to comment

      I had to downgrade my S4 to KitKat and now my phone can survive the whole day. Before the downgrade, I had about 6 hours on Lolipop or Marshmallow. Enslaved to the battery pack.

  • Lacey Dec 3, 2015 Link to comment

    I think I have a glitch. My battery drains like crazy and gets hot as well now. Plugged up all night it couldn't get a full charge. In my battery information, it says Android System used 25% of my battery. I would really like this fixed.

  • David N Nov 26, 2015 Link to comment

    I had a similar issue when i first upgraded to marshmallow, battery life declined by 4 hours. I was really annoyed as it would last almost a full day and now it was dying on the way home from work. I upgraded as soon as the update was available, however it took over a month of sub par battery performance for the system to adjust. Now it lasts almost 2 days on a charge and you dont notice a decline in performance when you wake up the system. Im not a guy who looks at their phone every 20min, I look at it a few times a day with data and wifi. So if you upgraded late maybe just give it some time.

  • Arne-nl Nov 20, 2015 Link to comment

    Same here, upgraded some time ago to Marshmallow and battery life is much, much worse. Wifi is on top, with easily 5x as much power use as all others combined, even if I switch off Wifi. It is so bad, that if I hook it up to USB, it hardly manages to keep the battery % stable. Charging is out of the question.

    What a headache, I want my device to work for me, not the other way around.Now I have to waste time hanging around on forums to try and find a fix for Google bugs.

  • Felix Oct 29, 2015 Link to comment

    6% loss in 14 hours. That is about the same as what I got on my N5. Even better, if you can afford to turn off the wifi (I got an app to do that automatically), only 2% loss in 14 hours on mine. In fact, many times after 2-3 hours standby during the day, my battery % display even went up a bit. Android 6 is amazing!

  • Blanca Perez Oct 29, 2015 Link to comment

    I'm sorry if I'm having a hard time buying into this. I have a Nexus 5 and got marshmallow a couple of weeks ago. The battery life has not improved. Last night I put it on the charger. At 7AM it was at 100% and I removed it. By 2:30PM, being on standby the whole time, it was down to 83%. That's about the same as on Lollipop 5.1.1, maybe faster. The battery life still sucks, especially for a phone that has an unchangeable battery. To those ho say I must have a drain, if I do, it's nothing I didn't have before, so that explanation falls in the category of "nice try".

    • Avalon Apr 24, 2016 Link to comment

      Yeah, Marshmallow totally killed battery and performance on my N5. While using Google Maps to search for places it started to lag like a 5 year old phone. Something sucked battery like no tomorrow, I barely got a 1.5h of screen-on time.
      Wouldn't be surprised if they did it on purpose to make you buy the 5x (like the Apple's planned obsolescence, iOS7 on iPhone 4). I went back to 5.1.1 and it's perfect. No lag, battery life is in line with it's capacity. I can even leave my phone at night with Wi-Fi on without charger and it stays pretty much fully charged.

  • Dawson Snache Oct 28, 2015 Link to comment

    My nexus 5's battery life was demolished by the memory leak bug so marshmallow could not make it better

    In response I purchased the true successor the 5x

  • GrimJimCrowley Oct 28, 2015 Link to comment

    I hope it helps my Galaxy S6. That thing drains like crazy just sitting there.

  • Chris Mill Oct 28, 2015 Link to comment

    It is taking a lot longer to charge than before. I'm not experience a consistent longer battery life. Sometimes it is much shorter sometimes it slightly longer. Far from any big gains though.

  • Srenik gadiya Oct 28, 2015 Link to comment

    After update marshmallow, my battery drains very soon.
    In every 1 minute 3-4% of battery drains.i have to charge my phone in every 2 hrs .

    please help me out to fix this bug.

    • Tad Zaleski Oct 28, 2015 Link to comment

      Go back to kit kat its way better on battery

      • Ann South Mar 30, 2016 Link to comment

        How can you go back? I updated and it completely jacked my phone up, battery life, etc..I want my old phone back!

    • Antonio Dec 2, 2015 Link to comment

      Disable Wi-Fi scanning to improve localisation. It's in the localisation settings. I solved that way.

    • Azfar Masood Feb 28, 2016 Link to comment

      i had the same issue figured out the solution after 2 months. very simple solution.
      Factory reset your device but the key thing to remember here is that. , after factory reset do not restore anything from the backup. just start using it as a new device.

  • Garry Move Oct 28, 2015 Link to comment

    I fully charged my Nexus 5, then disconnected the charger and left my phone alone for 8 hours. It dropped to 68%. So, 32% drain for the night and I'm on Android 6.0. I'd hardly call that a success.

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