How To: Charge your Android phone faster

Few things are more annoying than preparing to leave the house only to discover that your phone has 10% or less power left. We may not be always in a hurry but even so, there are ways to speed up charging for your Android phone and help it get more juice faster.

Here are some of our favorite tricks that can make Android phones (some apply to all phones) charge faster.

Turn it off

As painful as this may sound, if you’re really in a hurry and have only 10 or less minutes left to give your phone time to charge, the no. 1 thing you can do is to simply turn off your phone. The phone needs power just to stay on (besides other functions like searching for WiFi, running background processes, lighting up the screen and so on) , so if it’s not, the battery has nothing else to do but charge itself.

It’s totally worth doing if you can live without your phone for 10 minutes. Of course, you might be waiting for an important call, and in this case turning it off is not an option, but we do have some other tips more suitable for such a situation.

Leave it alone

It’s pretty obvious that making phone calls, browsing through apps and settings, playing games and pretty much anything else that keeps the screen turned on will drain battery and make it charge more slowly. If you can’t turn off your phone, for whatever reason, the least you could do is stop using it.

Switch off battery draining settings and apps or turn on Airplane mode

Airplane mode

Many people enable Airplane mode, to speed up charging because it’s the quickest way to disable cellular, WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS functions. Just like turning your phone off, Airplane mode will make you unreachable, which sometimes you cannot afford to be.

Notification bar

Alternatively you can manually disable WiFi, Bluetooth and cellular data, so you’ll still be able to make and receive phone calls and SMS messages, but at the same time, your phone will charge a bit faster, at a minor cost. It’s also a good idea to close all running apps, and temporarily disable automated backups and app updates.

Use power saving mode

Android Lollipop - Battery Saver

Some manufacturers add their own battery saving features but even without those there’s at least Lollipop’s stock option. When Battery Saver is turned on, it will restrict background data and lower your device’s performance – it’s definitely a useful feature when you’re in a hurry and need to give your phone some juice quickly, or when you know you won’t have access to a charger for a good while and need to make the battery last longer. The performance decrease will probably be noticeable only for those GPU or CPU intensive apps and games, but it’s usually within the acceptable range.

As a side note, let’s not forget about the brilliant Doze feature in the upcoming Android M that will automatically shut down some services and lower CPU usage when you’re not using your device – Google says this can even double battery life!

Always use a wall plug point, skip the USB port

Android phone charging

Using your laptop USB port to charge your phone is excusable only if you don’t have a charger at the moment or you’re not in a hurry. Otherwise, you should always use a dedicated charger and here’s why.

USB 1.0 and 2.0 ports can charge up to 0.5A, the typical USB 3.0 port can go up to 0.9A and newer port standards like USB 3.1 and USB Type-C can charge up to 1.5A and 3A, respectively. While the latter options are pretty good, they’re still rare and most devices are equipped with USB 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0 ports.

You can connect smartphones and tablets to your computer via a USB cable and they’ll charge. But they won’t charge as fast as they would if you plugged them into a proper, dedicated charger. In the USB 1.0 and 2.0 specifications, a standard USB port is capable of delivering up to 0.5A. USB 3.0 increases this to 0.9A on typical ports, while a dedicated charging port can offer up to 1.5A. USB 3.1, which is intertwined with (but not the same as) the new USB Type-C standard, supports up to 3A.

The maximum amperage (the maximum theoretical charging rate of the device) of a wall charger is somewhere between 0.5A and 2.1A (you can find that information written on the charger) so unless your laptop or PC boasts a USB 3.1 or USB Type-C port, you’re better off with the wall charger.

Get a better charger and USB cable

It’s true you can use other chargers than the one your phone shipped with, but they’re not all the same. Most chargers have an amperage rating between 0.5A – 1A, but many new smartphones can charge faster through more powerful chargers >1A.

Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 1.0 and 2.0 are new technologies implemented in many smartphones that can dramatically speed up charging. Qualcomm tested the Quick Charge 2.0 standard for a device with a 3300 mAh battery and it went from 0% to 60% charge in half an hour, compared to a device without Quick Charge that gained only 12% during the same amount of time. See Qualcomm’s list of Quick Charge devices here – there are quite a few, including the Nexus 6, HTC One M8 and M9, LG G 4, Moto X Pure and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 among others.

However, you’ll also need a fast charger to take advantage of your phone’s Quick Charge function and many phones don’t ship with one, so you may have to buy it separately. Other devices might have some other kind of fast charging capabilities, but even if they don’t nothing is going to catch fire if you use a fast charger – your phone might charge just like before, but these are safe to use, as long as you buy from a respectable brand.

For the most part, it’s best to stick with the USB cable that came with your phone. Cheap cables can slow charging noticeably, despite your best efforts to use a fast charger. The issue with USB cables is quite complex, but from the research I did, I was able to conclude they can damage over time and be the culprit for your phone charging too slowly and that it’s usually better to use shorter cables (less than 1 meter).  Here’s an impressively detailed article I found on charging and USB cables, which offers an interesting read.

Remove covers and cases

Phone cover

Li-Ion smartphone batteries work best in cool environments. It may not bring a significant difference on its own, but making sure your phone is in a cool environment and stripped of its case or cover (which can buildup heat) can speed up the charging a bit and add up to your other efforts.

This can be especially true during summer when indoor temperatures can often go over 86 degrees Fahrenheit/30 degrees Celsius. If your house is already cool no need to worry, just remove your phone’s case or cover and you’re good to go.

Are you using any of our tips for faster charging on your Android device? Which ones seem to work better for your phone?

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