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Managing Your Galaxy Tab 3 Battery Life Effectively

The Galaxy Tab 3 includes a number of tools for saving battery power and also for tracking your battery usage. Eric Butow, author of My Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, shows you how to change battery information, set power saving mode settings, and see what features are using the most battery power.
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When you’re working on your Galaxy Tab 3 and you’re not close to a power outlet, such as when you’re traveling on an airplane, you probably want to get as much out of your battery as you possibly can. The Tab 3 includes the ability to see what services and apps are using a percentage of your battery life, how much total battery life remains in your current charge, and how you can save power to get the most out of your battery.

On the home screen, the Notification bar shows you the amount of battery life you have remaining in the Battery icon to the left of the time, as shown in Figure 1. If the Tab 3 is plugged in or connected to your computer, then a red X appears in the battery icon.

Figure 1 The Battery icon appears to the left of the current time in the Notification bar

The Battery icon shows the percentage of your battery life remaining as a green color that fills the icon. When the icon is completely green, that means the battery life is at or near 100%, which is a completely full charge. As you use battery life, the amount of green that fills the icon drops from the top, and the amount of green that fills the icon represents how much battery life is left. For example, if the amount of green is filled up halfway from the bottom, that means the battery is about 50% charged.

View Battery Life Percentage

If you want to see the exact battery percentage in the Notification bar, tap the Settings icon in the Home screen. In the Settings screen, tap Display in the settings list on the left side of the screen. In the Display settings list on the right side of the screen, scroll down until you see Show Battery Percentage, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 The Show Battery Percentage checkbox appears in the More Settings section

Show the battery percentage in the Notification bar by tapping the Show Battery Percentage checkbox. As you see in Figure 2, the checkbox is checked and the battery charge percentage appears to the left of the battery icon within the Notification bar. The percentage number drops automatically as the Tab 3 expends battery life.

View and Change App and Service Settings

If you want to see what apps and services are using battery life and make changes to those apps and/or services, you can quickly view a list by tapping the Settings icon in the Home screen and then tapping Battery in the settings list. After you tap Battery, you see the list of apps and services that are using the battery, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3 The app or service that’s using the most battery power appears at the top of the list

The list is ordered with the app or service that’s using the most battery power at the top (in Figure 3, that’s the Device Idle service using 49 percent of battery power) and ends with the app or service that’s using the least battery power at the bottom. Percentages are rounded up to the nearest whole number so the total percentage may be a little more than 100 percent.

Above the list, you see the current battery charge percentage (100% means the battery is fully charged) and amount of time the battery has been used. You can refresh the list by tapping Refresh at the right side of the blue menu bar that appears at the top of the screen.

If you want to get more information about an app or service in the list, tap on the app or service name. For example, if you tap Google Services in the list shown in Figure 3, then you see the Use Details screen for Google Services shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 The apps that use Google Services appear in the Included Packages section

The amount of battery power the app or service is using appears at the top of the screen. If several different apps are using the service, then you can see the list of apps and processes that use the service in the Included Packages section at the bottom of the screen. In the case of Google Services, six apps and processes use Google Services to operate.

If you can stop the app and/or report usage information to the app developer, then the Force Stop and Report buttons are active. The Use Details section appears below the buttons so you can see the processes the app or service uses. For example, in the Use Details screen shown in Figure 4, you can return to the Battery screen by pressing the Back button. Then you can tap Screen to view the Use Details screen and see how long the screen has been on within the Use Details section shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5 The Use Details section tells you how long the screen has been on

If you can change the power use for the app or service, you’ll see a description of what you can change and a button that opens a new screen so you can make changes. For example, in Figure 5, you see the Display button so you can change screen settings.

Changing Screen Settings

After you tap the Display button in the Use Details screen, you can make changes to the following screen settings shown in Figure 6:

  • Brightness: Change the brightness level of the screen. The lower the brightness, the less battery life the Tab 3 uses to power the screen.
  • Screen timeout: Change the amount of time the screen is on before the screen turns off automatically. The default is 10 minutes, but you can change the amount from 15 seconds to 30 minutes. The quicker the screen turns off, the more battery power you save.
  • Smart screen: By default, the screen stays on as long as you are looking at it, which is a feature Samsung calls Smart Stay. You can turn Smart Stay off and have the screen time out automatically by tapping the Smart Stay checkbox in the Smart Screen settings list.

Figure 6 The Brightness, Screen Timeout, and Smart Screen options in the Display settings list

You’ll learn more about changing display settings in the upcoming article “Changing Your Galaxy Tab 3 Display Settings.”

Set Power Saving Mode

By default, the Tab 3 has its two power-saving modes active so you can maximize battery time by limiting the maximum performance of the CPU and using a low power level for the screen. You can access power saving mode settings by tapping Power Saving (or Power Saving Mode) in the settings list on the left side of the screen.

By default, the power save mode settings are on, and both settings are disabled. You can change these settings by moving the slider button at the right side of the blue menu bar at the top of the screen (see Figure 7).

Figure 7 Move the slider button to the On position to change power saving mode settings

After you move the slider button to On, the two power saving mode settings are enabled and will remain so every time you open the Power Saving Mode screen until you turn the slider off. You can turn off each power saving mode setting by tapping the checkbox to the right of the setting name. After you tap the checkbox, the checkbox is clear so that means you can maximize the performance of your CPU and/or screen power.

Be aware that maximizing performance will reduce battery life more quickly. Therefore, it’s best to maximize CPU and/or screen performance when the Tab 3 is plugged in so you don’t have to worry about power consumption at all.

If you want to get some information about how to save power quickly, tap the Learn About Power Saving Mode option within the Power Saving Tips section shown in Figure 7. The Learn About screen appears as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8 Get quick tips about how to save power on your Tab 3

Scroll down the screen to read tips for saving power in six different areas:

  • Screen
  • Brightness
  • Bluetooth
  • Auto-Sync
  • GPS settings
  • Live wallpapers

Return to the Power Saving Mode screen by pressing the Back button.

Final Thoughts

That’s all you need to know about viewing information about and saving power on your Tab 3. Now you can use what you’ve learned in this article to better manage your power and get the most out of one Tab 3 battery charge.

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