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How to Fix Bad Nexus Android 5.1 Battery Life



Google’s brand new Nexus Android 5.1 Lollipop update is here and it’s rolling out to select devices with feature enhancements and bug fixes for Lollipop problems. It also, according to Nexus users, brings some problems of its own including bad battery life. With that in mind, we want to take a look at how you can go about fixing bad Nexus Android 5.1 battery life.

Last week, on the same day that Apple announced its iOS 8.2 release, Google confirmed a software release of its own. That update is Android 5.1 Lollipop, an updated version of its Lollipop operating system and one that delivers a massive list of improvements to owners of Nexus smartphones and tablets. It is the update that many Nexus users have been waiting for.


Android 5.1 brings some changes to the operating system’s features but it also brings a wide range of fixes for lingering Lollipop problems. Lollipop problems have affected Nexus users since November and Google’s tried to tackle them with three Android Lollipop bug fixers including Android 5.1. We’ve gotten some positive feedback from early Android 5.1 users though we’ve also started to hear about Android 5.1 problems.

Nexus 5, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and some Nexus 6 users are detailing their issues on Google’s Nexus Help forums and one of the loudest complaints is about bad Android 5.1 battery life. Battery life issues are among the most common smartphone problems and they typically emerge immediately after a big update like Android 5.1 Lollipop. The problems are isolated but we expect complaints to grow louder as more people download the new software.

While Android 5.1 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 battery life for you.

How to Fix Bad Android 5.1 Battery Life

This guide delivers help to get better battery life on Nexus smartphones and tablets including the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6. These fixes should work if you’re on Android 5.0.2, Android 5.0.1 or if you’re on Android 5.1 Lollipop. We’ve geared this towards Android 5.1 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 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 app a lot, 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 need to keep an eye out for that.

Fortunately, Google’s makes it 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 the Nexus 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 you’ll need to keep an eye on what your applications are doing.

Restart Your Nexus (Do It Regularly)

This might sound stupid but it’s not. Restart your Nexus and do it regularly. This will clear your cache and it could have a positive effect on your battery life. We do not recommend letting your device shut off on its own more than a few times a month so you’ll want to make sure that you avoid that. Keep it charged, restart it on occasion, and you could see positive results.

Disable Unnecessary Services

If apps aren’t the issue, 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. It could help you with your Nexus Android 5.1 battery life woes.

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, old fashioned settings menu. It’s your call.


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 may 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. At the very least, stop using Live Wallpapers because they can eat up a charge.


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 if you’re alright with ditching the stock launcher for something new.

Clear Your Cache Partition

If none of that works, then it’s time for some drastic measures. 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 – it can take 10-15 minutes to complete.  When done restart the Nexus.

Downgrade to Android 5.0.2 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 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.



  1. the captain

    03/21/2015 at 2:36 pm

    The Nexus 5 doesn’t have an AMOLED display, so choosing a dark/black background will have no effect on increasing the battery life on this device. The only recommendation is to set the display brightness to the lowest visible setting given the lighting in a particular setting.

  2. Beth

    04/01/2015 at 4:33 pm

    Which volume button do you use the up or down or both?

  3. Aviram

    04/13/2015 at 11:03 pm

    this header is misguiding

  4. Jacob Byers

    06/06/2015 at 9:30 am

    I agree that this does not really help. I have never had so many problems with a phone. With the update my battery is horrible and I loose reception randomly while immobile when moments before I had full bars.

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