How to Fix Bad Nexus Android 5.1.1 Battery Life

Google’s Android 5.1.1 update is finally pushing out in force to the Nexus 9, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 bringing bug fixes for Lollipop problems. And while we haven’t seen widespread complaints just yet, the Android 5.1.1 update will almost certainly bring battery life problems to select Nexus users. With that in mind, we take a look at how you can go about fixing bad Nexus Android 5.1.1 battery life.

In March, Google rolled out the red carpet for a new Nexus Lollipop update. That update was Android 5.1 Lollipop, an updated version of its Lollipop operating system and one that delivered a massive list of improvements to owners of Nexus smartphones and tablets. It was an update that many Nexus users had been waiting for.

Problem was, Android 5.1 brought some nasty problems of its own. Almost immediately after its release, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and some Nexus 6 users started detailing their issues on Google’s Nexus Help forums. Problems ranged from random reboots to bad battery life.

Nexus 7 2013 Android 5.1.1 Review Early - 2

To combat these problems, Google’s released an update dubbed Android 5.1.1 that’s expected to tackle many of the lingering Lollipop problems affecting Nexus users. The Android 5.1.1 roll out has been extremely slow, limited to four devices, which means that we don’t have a ton of feedback just yet.

While the feedback we have seen has been good, we’ve also heard the usual complaints about battery drain. This isn’t surprising given that we always hear about battery life issues after major Android upgrades.

While Android 5.1.1 Lollipop could be to blame for these issues, battery life problems are often caused by rogue applications and bad habits. With that in mind, we want to try and fix bad Android 5.1.1 battery life for you.

How to Fix Bad Android 5.1.1 Battery Life

This guide delivers help to get better battery life on Nexus smartphones and tablets including the Nexus 7 and Nexus 9. These fixes should work if you’re on Android 5.1, Android 5.0.2, Android 5.0.1, or if you’re still on Android 5.0 Lollipop. We’ve geared this towards Android 5.1.1 Lollipop users but we know that plenty of people remain on the older version of Google’s new OS.

Find Apps Eating Up Your Battery

The first recommendation that we always make to Nexus users suffering from bad battery life is to check out third-party applications. If you want to fix your bad Nexus battery life, you’re going to want to keep an eye on applications for potential problems.

Obviously, if you use an application a ton (especially a graphical or data intense app), it’s going to drain your battery. However, there are instances where apps will drain way more that they’re supposed to and you’ll really need to keep an eye out for that right now and in the future.

Google’s makes it extremely easy to track your applications. You can track your data in the Battery section of Settings. Lollipop will breakdown the services sucking up the battery and that will allow users to nail down potential culprits. Sometimes they’re easy to spot, other times they aren’t.


Once you have a handle on what’s using your battery, it’s time to move on. First, we recommend reinstalling applications that appear to be having a negative impact on battery life. If they continue to hamper your battery life, you might want to keep them uninstalled or find an alternative.

If you’re certain that it’s an app but you can’t figure out which one it is, you can also boot your Nexus device into Safe Mode. Safe Mode will disable third-party applications which will allow you to narrow your search. Here’s how you boot the boot the Nexus into Safe Mode:

  1. Ensure your device’s screen is on, then press & hold the Power button.
  2. Touch & hold the Power off option in the dialog box.
  3. Touch OK in the following dialog to start safe mode.

If you’ve isolated your apps and you still can’t find the problem, try killing off notifications and location services associated with that application. Processes running in the background without your knowledge can kill battery life so again, you’ll need to keep an eye on what your applications are doing.

Restart Your Nexus & Do It Regularly

If you’ve got your apps covered, it’s time to restart your Nexus and do it regularly. This will clear your cache and it could have a positive effect on your battery life.

Furthermore, you should not let your device shut off on its own more than a few times a month. Keep it charged, restart it on occasion, and you could see positive results.

Disable Any Unnecessary Services

If apps aren’t the issue, and a simple restart doesn’t work, it’s time to start working on some of your habits. In our experience, disabling features when you aren’t using them has a positive impact on battery life.

We recommend shutting off Wi-Fi connectivity when you don’t need it, Bluetooth connectivity when you don’t need it, NFC when you don’t need it, GPS when you don’t need it, and cellular data when you don’t need it. You can turn those off from the Nexus’ quick settings menu or you can turn them off from the regular Settings.


One thing that we’ve noticed is that poor cellular coverage has a tendency to suck up a phone or tablet’s battery life. When your Nexus needs to search hard for a signal, it runs the battery down faster. That’s something to keep in mind when you’re in spotty areas. You might need to turn on Airplane Mode when there isn’t a strong cellular signal in the area.

Start Managing Your Screen

If you take a look at what’s eating your battery, you’ll often notice that the display is near the top. Displays can eat through battery life, especially if you leave them unattended.


Believe it or not, switching to a black or darker wallpaper can help deliver better battery life thanks to the way the AMOLED displays consume power. There are tons of black wallpapers available online and you’ll want to give one a shot if you’re experiencing terrible battery life after Android 5.1.1. At the very least, stop using Live Wallpapers because they can eat battery life up.

We also recommend monitoring your screen brightness. Auto Brightness has gotten better of the years but we always recommend switching to manual so that you can adjust the brightness yourself as needed.

Try Using Another Launcher

You might also want to try using another launcher. There are tons of different launches to choose from though the Nova Launcher is probably our top choice. Give it a shot. There’s a good chance that you’ll notice some improvements.

Clear Your Cache Partition

Now we’re going to tell you about some more intense ways to solve battery life problems.

One thing that you could try is clearing the cache partition. This has had a positive effect for many Nexus users in the past and it’s worth a shot if your battery life troubles refuse to go away. The process is a little difficult but if you follow these instructions, you should be set:

  • Press and hold Power and Volume Down buttons simultaneously until you see something other than Google on the screen.
  • You should see a large arrow at the top of the screen.
  • Tap Volume Down repeatedly until you see Recovery in the arrow.  Then tap the Power button
  • You should see an android on his back, chest open with a red triangle and exclamation mark.
  • While holding Power button tap Volume Up once then release Power.
  • You should now see a list of items at top of screen.
  • Tap Volume Down until the item to erase or wipe the cache partition is highlighted.  Then tap Power button to initiate.
  • Status messages will appear at the bottom of the screen.  Be patient because it can take 10-15 minutes to complete.  When done restart the Nexus.

Downgrade to Android 5.1 or Below

If that doesn’t work, you could try downgrading to Android 4.4 KitKat or another version of Lollipop. We recently put together some instructions on how to do this and it could help you if Android 5.1.1 battery life isn’t on par with what you were getting before.

Factory Reset Your Nexus

The last stop is a factory reset. This will wipe everything from your phone or tablet so it should only be used in dire circumstances after a backup of precious files has been made.


Google’s put together an extensive guide to factory resetting Nexus smartphones and tablets and we suggest heading over there to absorb the information before making your move. It’s time consuming and there’s no guarantee that it will fix whatever is killing your battery.