How to Get Better Samsung Galaxy S3 Battery Life

The Samsung Galaxy S3 suffers from the same problem most Android smart phones face: poor battery life. In our reviews, we’ve seen shorter than “all day” battery life. The most likely culprits include the large 5.3″ display, a LTE data connection and other wireless features like NFC, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Users can extend the Samsung Galaxy S3 battery life with some settings tweaks, helpful apps and the right extended battery which some consider an essential Galaxy S3 accessory.

Before we get into the tweaks, check out the phone’s battery life screen in Settings. Tap on Battery and the screen shows how long the phone’s been running. It also shows the percentage of the battery left. Finally, it gives each app’s battery consumption percentage.

gs3 battery life settings

Using this information can help in seeing how well the tweaks and apps help.

Turn Off LTE Until It’s Needed

LTE Hack screen

American carriers disabled the option for turning off the LTE radio in the Settings app. A work around means doing some simple hacks which the user can find online. Here’s one for the AT&T version of the Galaxy S3 at XDA Developer’s Forum. The Verizon version hack from Droid Life seems to work as well.

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Turn Off Features Until Needed

notifications area buttons

Fortunately, the wireless carriers didn’t handcuff users by limiting access to the ON/OFF settings of other radios. Access these setting buttons by swiping down from the top of the screen (see above). Turn off Wi-fi, Bluetooth, GPS and more. Tap the Power Saving button, which limits the CPU power consumption, Screen power consumption, screen background and haptic feedback. The screen background uses power for motion screen and haptic feedback makes the phone vibrate when the user taps buttons. Turn the features on the same way.

A couple of features that might suck battery life include NFC and S-Beam, and they can be turned off from Settings. Open the Settings app and tap More settings. Be sure to turn off NFC and S Beam from the File/data transfer section.

Tweak Screen Display Settings

Go to Settings and Display. PIck a Home screen image that doesn’t use a lot of color. All black will save the most. Definitely don’t use a motion background: that steals the most battery power.

Second, turn off the LED indicator lights. They can be helpful, but when desperate turn them off.

Under Brightness, set the automatic brightness to let the phone change to a brighter display when needed. Or turn it off and slide it all the way down to save battery life.

Pick the Screen timeout and use the lowest time possible. We recommend 1 minute, or 30 seconds, to save the most power. 15 seconds gets annoying, though, since the screen turns off too fast.

Limit Location Services

Only allow apps that need location services to use the phone’s GPS. This usually gets set in the apps themselves.

Widgets and Apps

First, limit the number of widgets on the Android home screen. This helps keep the battery consumption down. However, a few useful widgets can also add to battery conservation.

Go Power Master

The Go Power Master app and widget helps the user manage power. The free app offers a number of modes that users can quickly access. Set up a personalized mode to include in the group. Put the widget on the Home screen to change quickly between the modes depending on needs. It also includes a setting to put a battery left percentage in the phone’s status area at the top. See the indicator in the upper left of the screen shot above.

GreenPower Premium

Another app called GreenPower Premium ($2.90) will work with all the Samsung Galaxy S3 user settings related to power and turn them on and off depending on various situations or times. It changes settings based on the time of day, locations, and whether the person using the phone made a call and when the call ends. The premium version adds more features that let users save more battery life. It can add about 20% or more to a user’s battery in a day’s usage.

Extended Battery

To keep the Samsung Galaxy S3 thin the company put an underpowered battery in it. Samsung will soon offer an extended battery. Other companies do offer them now. In our tests most of them as much as doubled the phone’s battery life.

mugen battery with nfc

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We tested a few batteries and recommend the Mugen Extended Battery for those who want long battery life and still need NFC. The Hyperion battery works best when the user doesn’t need NFC and wants to save some money; it only costs $20 while the Mugen battery costs almost $90.

Comments

  1. Jack says

    Wait what?

    The Galaxy S3 is one of the few Android phones that actually has superb battery life. The Note and the razr maxx are the only other phones that have better battery life.

    The iPhone has had worse battery life than the Galaxy since the 4th gen.

    • walt says

      remember, some people run more apps including podcasts and widgets, etc. bottom line, it’s what you do with your phone and your settings. my S3 battery drained from 100% down to 26% in 20 minutes and i was only texting. mind you i did have a motion screen saver and my brightness was at 50%. i ifxed all that. i was shocked. i’m going to extended life battery.

  2. Auto says

    Correction, your article says the S3 has a 5.3″ display. It is actually 4.8. The galaxy note, first generation has a 5.3″ display.

  3. Jeff K says

    Even with a 2100 mAh battery some S3 users have been complaining about battery life and this article was helpful for identifying many ways to save battery especially not having wifi/bluetooth/GPS on if not needed. These suck down battery very fast. Also putting the backlight on 50% instead of a full bright screen saves battery if screen is on alot doing things. I’ve tweaked my S3 using many of the ideas above as well as other things to have excellent all day battery life and when Jellybean 4.1.2 came out it actually made my battery BETTER. After a full day of moderate to heavy use I usually end up with around 50% left at 5 pm from 100% at 7 am.

  4. Amy says

    If I’m not using any online apps, I keep my phone on 2G. It’s easy to go back and forth as I need it and my phone doesn’t drain throughout the day. The Ultimate Juice Defender is well worth the money.

  5. bill a says

    While I love the s3, I believe samsung and the carriers should all be sued for false advertising. 250 hrs of standby and 8 talk time are ludicrous assertions.

    • Lynne says

      I agree. In fact, this was the reason why I bought S3–the 250hrs of standby and 8hrs of talktime. It appears that even if you put it inside your drawer, battery is consumed even in 2hours. Plus charging takes days!!!

      • Amy MacIntosh Hopewell says

        I bought the Seidio 3500 mAh battery with the protective case. It’s an expensive battery but I really need a protective case and, unfortunately the OtterBox does not fit the large battery. The Seidio Active case DOES NOT FIT the less expensive batteries. This battery lasts a very long time. When my phone is not in use, I keep it on 2G and I use Juice Defender, one of the best if not the best battery saving app. My phone will easily last two days with moderate use. The battery issue is easily solved with Android phones because you have access to larger batteries if needed.. Unfortunately, the 5 hours I got with the iPhone left me tethered to a battery charger and schlepping a portable charger with a “mobile phone” defeats the entire purpose of having a mobile phone.

      • Amninder says

        Well mate on my s3 it goes from 100% to 96% in 10 hour standby….
        So I believe if I did leave my s3 on standby it could get up to atleast 200 howrs of STANDBY …
        But when I play Real Racing 3 the battery drains like 15% in 7 or 8 minutes….

        • jimmy johns says

          I just put my phone on the charger before bed and its always full when I wake up in the morning.

  6. Amy MacIntosh says

    I bought the Seidio 3500 mAh battery and my battery life has increased exponentially. I think that Mugen makes the best battery and there are less expensive batteries but the Seidio is the only battery where you can buy a protective case. It’s not as good as the OtterBox. The exoskeleton protects corners and middle of phone but the silicone collects hair and debris. I put it into the pocket of my coat and had to pick hair and dust out between silicon and phone. The OtterBox has a bigger exoskeleton and does not collect junk between phone and silicon. Seidio is really the only protective case available for extended batteries and the less expensive batteries don’t fit the Seidio protective case well or at all. I made the mistake of getting a Zagg “military” grade screen guard. It scratched immediately and I baby my phones. They refuse to send another until they’ve received the damaged shield. If you get a Zagg and have to replace it (and you will) mail it back as signature required. This has happened to 3 other people I know and we’ve all given up on their “guaranteed replacement” Worse yet, so as not to be without a screen guard, I ordered an “extreme guard” by phone. It too, scratched. They’ve now charged me $35 and I have no screen guard now. OtterBox sent me one of theirs, without cost because I’d had the OtterBox case. Their screen guard is much better anyway but I’ve donated $35 to Zagg and 7 weeks later, they have “not received” the original screen guard. Be forewarned and forearmed.

  7. Tim Garcia says

    Hello! What power saver application do you prefer to use? I have a Samsung Galaxy s3. Can you please give me a comparison and a Good choice with your help. Thank you.

    • shanne says

      same here also i want to know what app. will be used to extend my battery life I been using my s3 for almost 2months and it bothering me cause after work I need to charge it everyday..

  8. Erin_D says

    Thanks so much for this article! I hardly do anything on my phone and it wouldn’t even go a whole day without running out of battery. I followed a lot of these suggestions and downloaded Juice Defender.

  9. lcannin says

    Great article, I followed all the tips and even downloaded Go Power Master to help me. It says that I’m running on at the most officient that I possibly can……only thing is actually charging up my phone is still taking ages! I was on 1% at 8am today, its now nearly 3 hours later and I’m only on 3%……that’s 1% charge per hour! Any tips greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • manoj says

      1st n foremost chk if ur using the original s3 charger which is 1amp..u might be using other replacements which are0.7amp, they r useless. Secondly the problem I had wasnt a faulty Charger but a faulty cable. Since my charger was in 2parts the adapter n the the cable I just used a cable of a blackberry with the adapter of my s3 n havent had a problem since..

  10. Erick says

    Thanks for this. Really helped me suck out some extra life out of my battery. I always found myself, even though just moderate use, it would be running 20% by the end of the day. If I ever went anywhere and forgot my charger I’d be screwed after a day.

  11. hadenoughuc says

    bottom line is if they want to be the best on the the market the samsung .should improve there battery life.

  12. Deb says

    Just have 5 extra batteries and that solves all your problems. At least we are able to change the battery, not like the IPhone…. Just saying.

  13. Corey says

    With heavy use on my s3 I can get about 8 hours outta mine and that’s with auto brightness and WiFi does the power saving mode helps a lot

  14. Said says

    well I have galaxy s3, I don’t know what happen to it from past few days I fully charge it and than the battery goes down even though I don’t use it that much. does anyone know what is the problem. plz?

  15. Megan says

    I’ve had a horrible problem with my s3 like a month after I got it. I might of kept it on the charger to long, and that is why I am having the battery issues I am having or something, but I can’t even make it a entire day without it dying on me. I’ve done all the tips, and even took it too the Sprint store, and they said my battery was fine.. (apparently not) but I don’t know what else to do. Ugh, any suggestions would be very helpful. Thank you! :)

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