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How to Fix Bad Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL Battery Life



If you’re experiencing Google Pixel 3 battery drain or your phone isn’t lasting as long as expected below we’ll explain several tips to fix bad Pixel 3 battery life. This applies to the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL and the Android 10 update. While these phones have tons of awesome features, they’re not perfect.

These phones have bigger battery cells than previous models and wireless charging, but that’s still not enough for some. Keep in mind that everyone uses their phone differently, so your mileage may vary.

Even with all the battery-saver options and dark themes in Android 10, some users are still dealing with Pixel 3 XL battery drain or battery life problems. Don’t worry though, we’ll help you by going over settings to change, steps to take, and options to consider that will make your phone last as long as possible.

Each category below we will explain what’s going on, what to expect, and what settings you can change to improve the situation and battery life. We’ll start with the easiest “quick fix” then dive deeper into more solutions. Plus, make sure you’re on the latest monthly software update from Google.

Reboot Your Pixel 3 to Fix Battery Drain

First things first, almost any big (or small) problem can easily be fixed by rebooting your phone. There are many things that can cause your battery to drain faster than expected. The easiest and fastest way to fix that is to long-press the power button and restart the phone. In fact, I do this once a week on mine.

Read: 10 Cool New Features in Android 10

Whether you want to give your phone a fresh start for the day or notice the battery draining too fast, give it a quick reboot. Additionally, if the phone is frozen or acting up you can manually reboot the Pixel. Try that first, then continue on for more info.

Disable the Always-On Display

Another option is to disable the always-on display. Personally, I enjoy this feature and considering most people turn on their phone over 140 times a day just to check the time or date, this can actually save battery. However, try disabling it for better results.

  • Open Settings and go to Display > Advanced > and scroll down to Ambient Display
  • From here, swipe the toggle to Turn Off the Always-On Display

Now the screen will go 100% dark and completely turn off when you’re done using it. Out of the box, when you turn off the screen you still see a clock, the date, notifications, and battery/charge info on the screen. This is the always-on display, giving you helpful information at a glance. Try it on or off.

Find Apps Eating Up Your Battery

The next step and potentially the most useful one is to find misbehaving apps or what’s eating your battery. Basically, rule out a rogue app that’s causing problems. You’ll want to find these before it’s too late and before your battery is dead. If you want to fix your bad Pixel 3 XL battery life, keep an eye on how much juice apps use.

Read: Best Wireless Chargers for the Pixel 3

If you use an app a lot, it’s going to drain your battery. At the same time, some situations occur where an app uses more than it should, and that’s what we want to avoid. These can be apps you download yourself or something that came pre-installed. On Android 10 your Pixel 3 will send you a notification if an app is using an abnormal amount of battery, so watch out for those alerts and take action if you get one.

Head to Settings > Battery > and tap the battery icon. This shows you a full breakdown of apps and their battery consumption. You should see the Android System, Screen (Display), or Pixel Launcher near the top of your usage chart. If some random app or process is using the most battery, that’s a problem. Click the app and select “Force Stop” or uninstall it to prevent further issues.

Pixel 3 Screen Brightness & Sleep Time

Did you know most people check their phone over 140 times a day? And usually, it’s just out of habit or to see the time and notifications. Using Google’s Always-On display cuts down on those 140 power-ups, so we recommend keeping that on.

However, screen brightness and the sleep timer are two things worth keeping an eye on. For one, don’t use Ambient Brightness and don’t use your phone at 100% brightness, that’s just unnecessary. Additionally, changing the “Sleep Timer” will make a huge difference. Giving you an extra 1-2 hours daily.

Most people just set the phone down when they’re done using it, and the screen stays on for a few minutes wasting battery. You check a notification and then set your phone down — 140 times a day. That’s at least one minute with the biggest battery drain, the screen, being on for absolutely no reason. Tap the power button to sleep the screen every time you use the phone, or turn down the sleep timer.

Head to Settings > Display > Sleep > and set this to 30 seconds or one minute. That way when the phone isn’t in use, it dims and will go to sleep after that amount of time. So next time you set your phone down when you’re done using it, the screen isn’t just on for no reason. Don’t forget to use the dark mode option for any and all apps on Android 10, as that will improve battery life too.

Manage WiFi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth & GPS

Again, every little bit helps when we use our phones for 8-10 hours a day, or more. So, turn off WiFi or Bluetooth when they aren’t in use. At home, using WiFi improves battery life, but when you aren’t connected the Pixel will endlessly look for a WiFi network, try to connect, and slowly drain the battery.

Additionally, Bluetooth does the same, although it uses “Low Energy” technology so it’s not much of a concern. What is a huge concern, however, is the GPS chip inside the Pixel 3. Whether that’s Google Maps or Facebook Messenger trying to find your location. Disable or limit what apps use GPS to improve battery life. Depending on the situation this can give you 30-40 minutes, or 2-3 hours of extra usage.

In settings, tap the magnifying glass and type location. Next, enter location settings and change the mode to battery saver. Your GPS isn’t as accurate, but you’ll notice an increase in battery life. The Pixel still uses WiFi and your cell service for location information.

Use a Black Wallpaper

Did you know that using a black wallpaper will give you better battery life on the Pixel 3? Both of Google’s phone have OLED screens and that means pixels don’t need to turn on individually — or as high — to display a black image. As a result, a black image saves battery life.

After you’ve downloaded a beautiful wallpaper long-press a blank area of the screen and go into Wallpapers to apply it. Once you use a black or dark wallpaper the phone will match that darker image in settings and other elements of the software. As a result, you’ll have less white throughout the system draining the battery. This same concept is why night mode and dark themes are so popular lately.

Turn Off Features You Don’t Need

A lot of what makes the Pixel 3 great has to do with features always running and ready to help you. The Google Assistant, squeeze detection, voice-detection for “Ok, Google” commands, or even the Now Playing music recognition on the lockscreen. These are great, but they consume battery.

Scroll through Settings and turn off things you’ll never use. Like the squeezable sides of the phone, or Now Playing. If you don’t listen to a lot of music or use the Ok, Google hotword for voice commands, turn them all off.

Use Adaptive Battery Mode

In Android 9 Pie Google added a new feature known as Adaptive Battery mode, and with the update to Android 10, they made it even better. This intelligent software actually learns from you and your device, then starts to limit apps that drain too much battery (or apps you never use) and over time will increase battery life.

Keep in mind that this is usually on by default, so just make sure you don’t turn it off. Some apps will send delayed notifications as the software essentially puts them to sleep. If you rarely use that app, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Battery Saver Mode

Another option is the battery saver mode. And while Google doesn’t offer the type of customization other manufacturers do, it works great on its own. Head to Settings > Battery > and turn on Battery Saver mode when you’re low on power. This limits most of the advanced features to extend the life of your device.

Google has other options like turning off the Ambient Display or using adaptive brightness to consume less power. Plus, you can set a schedule or limits for when battery saver mode does or doesn’t come on. If you just need a phone for communication and don’t need all the smart controls, turn on battery saver mode and the Pixel can last for days.

Other Quick Battery Tips & Tricks

At the end of the day, battery life always comes down to how you use your phone. Everyone uses their phone differently. Try downloading the app BetteryBatteryStats, or even Greenify. These apps improve battery life by detecting problems or helping you control app power and data usage.

Read: Common Pixel 3 Problems & How to Fix Them Yourself

Our last quick tip is to use Airplane mode. When you don’t need the “smart” aspects of your phone, or even need to make phone calls, turn on Airplane mode. This setting turns off all data, radios, services and more and most phones can last 4-5 days with it enabled. I use it whenever I travel or go on vacation and just need my phone for photos.

Another tip is to simply get a portable battery and take it anywhere with you. Here are our favorite and fastest portable battery packs that are also small and easy to carry.

What’s Next, Android 11 & More

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will be two years old soon, which means some users might be starting to notice battery degradation. A battery will lose a little juice over time, but these tips should help you get a little more from your phone.

Then, sometime in the near future, Google will officially release Android 11 following the Android R beta which likely starts in March. Last year they ditched the dessert-themed names, so instead of Android 8 Oreo or something fun, it’ll simply be called Android 11.

While you’re here, check out this list of the best Pixel 3 cases and maybe get a screen protector too.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Miles Long

    01/07/2019 at 1:46 pm

    You said/
    “In settings, tap the magnifying glass and type location. Next, enter location settings and change the mode to battery saver. Your GPS isn’t as accurate, but you’ll notice an increase in battery’
    This mode has been removed since the very first Android pie test builds.
    And had never returned.
    Update your battery 101 list

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