Battery rapidly draining on Android after ICS update – Fixed! Finally!

If you’ve visited this site before you’ll know I’ve had a bit of a long running saga with sorting out the battery life on my Samsung Galaxy S2 after upgrading it to ICS. Well I have some good news.

The last response I received from Samsung was to do a complete factory reset as “sometimes old settings remain after an upgrade”. Obviously I completely disregarded this as it sounded rubbish, especially after they had initially told me there was a known issue with the battery (and then sent me an identical battery). Anyway, I will give you the steps to do what I did in full and hopefully it will help you get a usable phone back;

  • If you are using a Samsung phone, plug it into your PC and use the Klies software to do a full backup of everything. Bear in mind that your apps may be listed on Google Play but it won’t restore them after a reset so have a look at some other apps that will do that for you (there are a few knocking about).
  • After your backup head to your settings folder on your phone and select “Accounts and sync”. If you have a Samsung account listed here then select it and delete it by clicking on it and pressing remove account in the bottom right. It will still exist, but you have to remove it from your phone before starting the backup (don’t ask me why, it just throws an error if you don’t delete it first).
  • From the main settings folder, select “Back up and reset” and then choose “Factory data reset”. This will start the process of restoring your phone.

After it has done its magic and you’ve got everything set up again, you will hopefully find your battery life improved dramatically, as per the screenshots below. If this works for you please feel free to leave a comment below, would be great to hear if this is working for people.

Improved Batterylife

Improved BatterylifeImproved Batterylife

49 thoughts on “Battery rapidly draining on Android after ICS update – Fixed! Finally!

  1. Steve,

    Have you heard from anyone else if this worked? My wife and I both got the ICS update on our Galaxy S2 phones about ten days ago and neither of us can go longer than 12 hours without charging. I was hoping for a little confirmation before doing what you suggest–though I definitely will if that’s what it’ll take. Thanks!

    1. Not yet, I added the note for people to comment to get some feedback. Based on search terms and users visiting the site I am hoping it is working for most as generally people only stop to leave negative comments 🙂 I can’t promise 100% it will work but my S2 was running anywhere from 4-6 hours before the reset, a screenshot right now of my battery looks like this; Current Battery Improvement Thats 12 hours with over half the battery life left and its nearly the end of the day!

  2. I too have this problem, though strangely it didn’t happen until a week after the update. I used to charge the phone (Galaxy Note) on alternate days, but now have to charge it after 12 hours.
    I don’t want to do what you suggest as it seems a bit drastic, but may have to.
    I believe your theory is right, I note that the phone feels quite warm at random times during the day.

    1. Yep, that’s pretty much how I felt about the whole thing. I don’t really understand how settings somewhere have that great an impact on the battery life but it has worked wonders. I put it off for ages just because I can’t be bothered re-building my desktops and getting my calender widgets setup how I like them! 🙂 The other possibility I guess is that after the upgrade there were multiple instances of the same service running, but different versions. As the reset effectively re-images the device that would clear any of the old ones away.

  3. Thanks for the information. I’ve had nothing but trouble since I upgraded to ICS. Unstable and poor battery life.
    This morning the phone went from full charge to 1% within 4 hours. Very troubling and annoying. I have done a full reset and will let you know how it goes over the next week.

  4. I had no problems after i upgraded to ISC(I did factory reset immediately after installation). My battery problems started after i downloaded & installed all my old apps. The phone also slowed down a lot. I think some of these apps are not optimised for ISC. I have uninstalled most of these and the battery life has improved dramatically.

  5. Thanks a lot for your posts. The factory reset worked for me. My phone had been losing battery life and feeling warm even when asleep (mainly when away from a WiFi source). I couldn’t make it through a regular day without plugging in. After the factory reset, my phone is much better behaved and lasts all day.

  6. Having the exact same issue with my S2 after the ICS update – will backup and try the reset when i get home. Thanks for your help.

    ps – how do you get your phone to take screenshots?

    1. No problem 🙂 To take a screenshot hold the power button and the home button (the one on the front at the bottom) together at the same time, hold it for a few seconds and let go and you will get a camera ca-chick noise and it will take a screenshot.

  7. I did a factory reset when I upgraded to ICS. What a pain. Would doing it again now really help? I also did the backup through Kies, and it took FOREVER, and still didn’t restore everything, so it would be quite a leap of faith to try that again… Advice?

    1. If you’ve already done a reset then it probably isn’t likely to help. In my case it was the last thing I tried and it returned my phone to lasting a full day instead of dying at lunch. Might be worth giving support a shout

    2. The factory reset seemed to work for me, but at the same time I set any services like Evernote or Google Play to update only when connected to wifi. If you haven’t done that, it might be worth a shot.

  8. So, I’m back, one day later. Big changes. I did further research, learned that if you have ever messed with your phone (ie. rooted) you run the chance of bricking it with a factory reset…so, at your own risk. So that was out for me. I disabled a couple useless apps like the 3 social hubs in settings – apps – all. The I got juice defender ultimate (the regular one is free, ultimate 4.99) – because I don’t do half measures, and at a time of day where I’d be putting in my second battery, I’m running at around 85%. I have to say that is a guess-timate because when I go to battery settings it says 65%, but the visual green battery shows almost full…weird… but, it’s all good now!

  9. I found your site while trying to troubleshoot my own phone’s problems. I did the factory reset yesterday. Unfortunately it has not helped. I’m at my wit’s end about this. I charged the phone to 100% last night and it was dead before morning. This is beyond irritating!

    1. Sorry to hear it hasn’t helped. Someone else posted a comment about using a tool to cut down on battery use by rogue apps and removing un-optimized pre 2.4 apps, maybe that will help?

      1. It’s a lot better now. It’s still not as good as it was before ICS, but markedly improved. I charged the phone to full last night before going to bed, and it’s at 82% right now. Previously it was dying overnight, going from 100 to 0% in less than nine hours.

        It’s weird; it seems to have resolved by itself after the passing of time. I’ve seen other owners say the same thing, and it makes no sense to me. I did a bunch of stuff and nothing seemed to help. Finally I just left the phone alone for a while and it got better.

        Here’s everything I did: Two factory resets, wiped the cache partition, and told it to turn off Wi-Fi while the phone was asleep UNLESS it’s plugged in. That last step alone markedly improved my battery life. It felt like the phone wasn’t ever going to sleep before I did that.

        Last note: I tried using the free version of Juice Defender but it wasn’t helpful in my case. I might not have given it enough time to work, though. I was really aggravated by this issue and very impatient.

        1. Oh I just noticed I didn’t reply to this. Great to hear that something worked! Even if it was just leaving it alone 😛 Honestly I’ve had no end of issues now with this update, the latest being that if I associate with a wireless AP, switch off the wifi after a while and then try to switch it on later to reconnect then the wifi just hangs. It is lost in the perpetual action of “Switching on”. Only way to fix it? Switch off and switch on the phone, even a restart doesn’t seem to completely work all the time! I won’t be changing from Android, but I think I’ll stick to the official Google phones + images in future 🙂

  10. Did the factory reset and the phone is totally different. Much, much better. Battery lasts longer and a lot less random crashes.

    A couple of strange things, main one being that my pop3 email doesn’t work anymore. The phone can’t connect to the server which has never been a problem before. Hope to solve, otherwise, all pretty good. Still think I was better off on 2.3.4 though.

    1. Awesome! I’ve had issues with exchange email actually, it keeps saying “Unable to connect to server” and then will randomly connect, download and then stop working again for weeks.
      I’m a bit split, I love the new look and features but its far less stable with at least a crash a week and every fortnight or so it will just freeze and need the battery removing to restart.

  11. I stumbled across this site while researching for a fix. I was wondering if the method you used works for all carriers? I have AT&T SGH-i777. Thanks!

    1. No idea sorry! If you do give anything a try and it works or fails then please pop back and post another comment to let everyone know 🙂 I would presume it would work just as well as the issues involved are related to the core OS.

  12. I upgraded from the buggy 4.0.3 to the less buggy 4.0.4 but still have the battery problem. At random times suddenly everything freezes and I have to re-start. When ghe phone then powers up it comes up with a message saying… Battery criyically low…. wtf… My battery was around 60% and suddenly only 5%????…. whats going on?… I use a Galaxy S2

  13. I’m convinced there’s more than one reason we see very short battery life. I have a Mugen 3200Mha battery. When I first got it it was fantastic (had it about 2 months). In the last 2 weeks something changed, the phone wouldn’t last a day. (No changes to settings and no addtional software other that the normal app updates). As 3rd party batteries are a hit or miss, I ordered a Seido 3200Mha battery, same problem). I installed JuiceDefender and set it to “balanced”. Within 2.5 hours I could tell a hugh difference. The phone would use about 9% per hour with no calls and no WIFI. After JuiceDefender, one 12 minute call and 3.2 idle hours the phone only used 5% of the 3200Mha battery. I’m happy with that.

  14. did it work on Xperia SL ? ididnt know if my battery drain normal or no. but i think its only take a half day to fully drain, i usually play games like 15 – 40minutes, watch some short clips, and play the camera 😀 i use all i know how to reduce the battery use, but seems not working well

  15. upgrading to 4.0.4 fixed my phone. Noticed ICS updating all my apps and reinstalling preloaded ones… so far so good 10 % drain after 3 hours from 4 hours to 0% before

  16. my phone will only go like an hour after being fully charged to being at 50% or lower. if i reset my phone will i still have the ics update or what will happen there? i have the galaxy s2

    1. Sorry, only just seen this! Yes the update remains, it just resets all of the settings and defaults back to factory settings. You will need to reinstall all your apps, wallpapers, ring tones etc though

    2. Resetting to factory settings won’t remove the update, it will clear all settings, installed apps, customisation and put it back to the default settings for the current version of Android you have installed. From your description though it sounds like your phone has some more serious issues 🙂

  17. Hiya, done as you suggested and it hasn’t really helped much. what ican’t understand is i have a higher grade battery installed than the original one. This one is 2450 MaH so i would have assumed it would last longer. I dont use apps much and internet just when i need it. Most items like gps, net, bluetooth is switched off. Don’t know if you would have an answer. Thanks.

  18. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned here is that I believe the initial ‘hotness’ of the phone which ‘goes away’ after a period might be the Android Media background process. Initially after I found the phone was hot I knew that the CPU was being flogged and looked at the battery monitor (Settings>Battery) which gave a breakdown of which apps were using the CPU time. The Media process came out on top (above the usual battery drain: the screen). I manually terminated the process but it restarted at some point overnight or this morning. A work colleague mentioned that this happens perhaps to index the media files post ICS upgrade. He also mentioned that some times it might get stuck. My phone is still a little hotter than normal, but I’ve charged the battery and will keep an eye on it to see if the media process returns and whether the ‘hotness’ continues.

    1. hmm, its possible. I’ve experienced the hotness but I don’t have enough files for the media scanner to take more than a minute or so to scan my SD Card

      1. I actually removed my external SD card, deleted all my photos and thumbnails. And it is still a problem.

        I’ve also tried adding empty .nomedia files to all of the accessible directories with media files (mostly cache files from other apps).

        You can stop the media process (also known as Media Storage and its child process DRM Protected Content) by going Settings> Apps> All> and selecting the before-mentioned apps then hit the disable button.

      2. A few things to try:
        1 Allow Play Store to update apps only when connected to wifi.
        2 If you use secure Microsoft Exchange e-mail, don’t allow it to update automatically. I only update my Exchange e-mail manually.
        3 Any program that syncs to the cloud, like Evernote, should only update when connected to wifi.

        After limiting all the updating on my phone, the battery life has improved by several hours per day.

  19. yeah, it works..!
    Every Month I do that,
    get backup, reset the phone and dramatically battery becomes just like it was when you bought the phone.
    It’s the best way rather than downloading various apps to improve battery which of course doesn’t work.

  20. The method also reduces the hotness of the phone to some extent and now I can play HD games for a long time (about an hour or so)

  21. Haven’t read thru all the comments to see if this was already mentioned, but I’m having the battery problem with mine, as well as it randomly being off (not powering off, just suddenly BEING off). Anyway my searching has found that clearing the system cache before doing a factory reset can help. I’m about to try… 🙂

  22. I have done the factory reset on my GS2 after upgrading to ICS, however and for some weird reason, the only thing I cannot get to work is my gmail via POP or IMAP. Hotmail works fine, but not gmail over POP (its a work mail so no chance to use the gmail app). Has anyone seen something like this? All my config on the account are correct…but can’t seem to connect to the server. Thanks!

  23. The battery on my Samsung Galaxy S2 started draining like crazy after installing Jelly Bean. I tried all types of Battery Savers, but it didn’t help.
    Thanks to this post my battery life is back to normal (with the addition of a battery saver).
    Thanks SO much for posting this.

  24. I did the reset and I hope my battery will back to normal.I got a question: did you ever update your so after? should I ignore the updates Samsung is now suggesting me to do?thanks in advance

    1. The updates that were released after seemed to help improve the battery life… although my best investment was an extended battery!

      1. Today my battery, after 15 hours of standby (in which i made longggggg phones calls!) still got 32% life remaining!! SCORE!!i now am scared to do any update!! O.o especially the operating system ones (i wrote s.o. yesterday, sorry). I have 2 spare batteries and will try the extended one today.thank you again for sharing this post 🙂

      2. G’day 🙂 this morning my mobile is asking for the updates. what should i do?? how to avoid to update to ICS and still have some bugs fixed?any suggestions appreciated 🙂 Deb

  25. Hi. I stumbled across this post a week ago while searching for solutions to deal with a similar issue on Nokia N8. After reading all your comments I decided to try the same for my Nokia since there wasn’t much help from the Nokia discussion forum, and it worked wonders!! In fact, the forum recommended a re-installation of a replacement battery, which would cost me a lot. I am now going to try the same for my Galaxy Tab P1000, although I don’t have battery issues yet. Thank you all for your wonderful ideas.

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