Why my phone battery is draining without use?

Why my phone battery is draining without use

Updated: September 17, 2023

While it might seem perplexing that a phone battery can drain significantly without active usage, a variety of factors can contribute to this phenomenon.

Why does my phone run out of battery when not in use?

Firstly, there are numerous processes occurring in the background that consume considerable amounts of energy. Communications with cell towers, email synchronization, automatic app updates, data backups, and GPS tracking are just a few examples of these operations, most of which are default settings and continue running unless manually disabled. Secondly, the quality and strength of the cell signal can heavily impact battery life. Poor signal forces the phone to work harder to maintain a connection, thus expending more energy.

Moreover, many features and applications keep running automatically, draining battery life quietly. For instance, social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram often operate in the background, sending notifications and updating content. Apps tracking physical activity and sleep patterns also function continually by monitoring sensor data. Even when the phone seems idle during a ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode, these applications persistently work and consume power.

Another critical factor contributing to battery depletion with limited use is the state of the battery itself. As a lithium-ion battery gets older, it inevitably begins to lose its efficiency and capacity to hold a charge. The frequent charge and discharge cycles make them lose their power storage potential over time.

Furthermore, a device’s settings can have a significant impact on battery life. High screen brightness, live wallpapers, dynamic backgrounds, and extended screen timeout durations all contribute to rapid power consumption. Push notifications also play their part. Every buzz or beep for an email notification or a news update consumes power as the device has to light up the screen, make a sound, or vibrate each time.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, when kept switched on without being connected to a device or network, are notorious battery drainers. They are continually seeking new networks or devices, which requires a significant amount of battery life. Even the weather plays a role. Lithium-ion batteries get inefficient in cold conditions, affecting the device’s standby time indirectly.

How can I find out what is draining my phone battery?

If you’re finding that your phone’s battery is draining faster than expected, it might be due to some apps or settings that are using a large chunk of your battery life. Most modern smartphones, including Android and iOS devices, have built-in settings that allow you to see exactly what’s consuming your battery. In an iPhone, you can find this by going to Settings, then Battery. Here, the Battery Usage section will display a list of apps and how much battery they’ve used in the last 24 hours or last 7 days.

Battery settings menu in Android 12.
Battery settings menu in Android 12.

For Android devices, go to Settings, then Battery or Power Usage. Similar to iOS, you’ll see a list of apps and their battery consumption. Pay specific attention to apps running in the background as they can silently drain your battery. If an app is using a disproportionate amount of power, consider uninstalling it or limiting its background activity. Additionally, check settings like screen brightness, Wi-Fi, and GPS, as these can also rapidly drain your battery.

List of things that use up the phone’s charge in idle mode

  1. Background Apps: Apps running in the background can consume power as they may continue to perform tasks like syncing data, fetching updates, or tracking your location.
  2. Push Email: If your email is set to push notifications, your phone will constantly check for new messages, which can be a drain on the battery.
  3. Location Services: Apps and system services that use GPS or location data can drain the battery even when you’re not actively using location-based apps.
  4. Wi-Fi and Cellular Data: Keeping your phone connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data even when you’re not using it for internet-related tasks can consume power.
  5. Bluetooth: If Bluetooth is enabled, your phone may be constantly searching for nearby devices to connect to, which can drain the battery.
  6. Notification Polling: Apps that frequently poll for updates, such as social media apps, can use battery power even when you’re not using them.
  7. Widgets: Widgets on your home screen that constantly update, such as weather or news widgets, can drain battery as they regularly fetch data.
  8. Background Processes: System processes and services may run in the background, consuming power for various tasks like maintenance and updates.
  9. Sensors: Sensors like the accelerometer, gyroscope, and ambient light sensor can consume power when monitoring your phone’s environment.
  10. Live Wallpapers: Animated or interactive wallpapers can use additional battery as they are running in the background.
  11. Vibration: Frequent notifications with vibration can consume more power than regular notifications.
  12. Poor Signal Strength: If your phone has a weak cellular signal, it may use more power to maintain a connection.
  13. Battery-Draining Apps: Some apps are notorious for consuming excessive battery power due to poor optimization or excessive usage of resources.
  14. Connected external devices. Peripherals connected via an OTG cable or USB hub use the phone’s battery to power them. Therefore, a connected USB drive, memory card, computer mouse, joystick or keyboard will consume power even when not in use.
  15. Hardware malfunction. A malfunction inside the phone can cause power leaks. The most common failure is caused by a faulty power controller. The power controller distributes power to all modules in the phone. In case of malfunction, there are leaks and high power consumption by the controller itself. In this case, only replacing the chip will help.

To maximize your phone’s battery life, it’s a good practice to review and manage these factors, either by adjusting settings or using features like Battery Saver mode (if available). You can also use battery monitoring tools in your phone’s settings to identify which apps and processes are consuming the most power.

It is important to note one of the most common problems of fast battery drainage is an active process app. This is a random app that continues to run after the phone goes into standby mode. One or more processes are actively draining the battery, which can drain the battery within 24 hours. And in some cases, the app may not appear in the list of power consumers. Even after several full battery charges, the problem persists.

From personal experience, the easiest and most effective solution to the “app with active process” problem is to reboot the system. Since it is rare to find an active app or an active process that does not allow the phone to go into standby mode. And it is important not to use a quick system reboot. It is better to switch off the phone power and then switch on the phone.

How do I stop my battery from draining when not in use?

To stop your battery from draining when not in use, several effective measures can be introduced.

Firstly, disabling Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS when not needed can significantly save battery as these services continually search for connections, using a considerable amount of energy. Another approach is to close any unnecessary apps running in the background, as they consume battery power even when not actively in use. If done manually, it can be quite tiresome to close each app; hence applications exist that can automatically close these background apps.

A great trick is to turn on power-saving mode; most devices come with this feature. It minimizes the power consumption by reducing screen brightness, limiting the device’s performance, decreasing background data usage, and disabling unnecessary vibrations or sounds. Analytics and reporting services, such as those for crash reports or usage data, might continuously run in the background, using up battery life. Hence, you may want to consider disabling them. Moreover, enable automatic brightness adjustment, which modifies the screen’s brightness according to your surroundings, thus saving more energy than manual adjustment.

Another thing to pay attention to is the health of the battery itself. Overcharging or using an incompatible charger can result in battery damage and reduce its lifespan. Hence, it’s crucial to charge your device appropriately and avoid overcharging. Updates to your device’s operating system, or apps, also often include improved energy-saving features, so keeping your device updated is also essential. By following these tips, you can effectively reduce the battery drain of your device when not in use, thereby enhancing its longevity.

If you notice that the battery of your phone is swollen or deformed, then you need to replace the battery immediately. It is also important to take care of your personal safety. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you contact the manufacturer of the product or the retailer who sold the device to dispose of the defective battery. Until the defective battery is disposed of, it is recommended that the battery be stored in a separate location and in a closed bucket.

Worn out factory battery and new non-original replacement battery.
Worn out factory battery and new non-original replacement battery.


In conclusion, numerous factors can cause a phone battery to drain even without active usage. Background processes, the quality of cell signals, power-hungry apps, the health and age of the battery, device settings, notifications, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and even the weather can contribute to this issue. Therefore, taking the time to understand these factors and appropriately configuring device settings can significantly extend battery life, even when the phone is not in active use.


Does battery drain if not used?

Yes, batteries do drain even when they are not being used. This process is known as self-discharge, which refers to the rate at which a battery loses its charge when not in use. The rate of self-discharge depends on the type of the battery, its age, and the storage temperature. For instance, a lithium-ion battery self discharges at the rate of about 1-2% per month, while a nickel-metal-hydride battery self discharges at a higher rate of about 20% per month. Therefore, it is recommended to store batteries in a cool and dry place to minimize self-discharge.

Why my phone battery is draining fast without use?

The accelerated drainage of my phone battery, even without apparent use, can be attributed to numerous factors. Predominantly, background apps continuously running or updating can significantly consume the battery life. Location services, notifications, or automatic syncing happening frequently might also be causing this. Sometimes, my Wi-Fi or data connection could be left on unknowingly, leading to a quicker battery drain. Moreover, certain phone models get affected by outdated software, eventually impacting the battery. Not to forget, a degraded battery itself might be a reason, particularly if the phone is quite old. All these factors can cause a rapid battery drain without explicit usage.

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About the author

Alex Gustman

My name is Alexander.
I am the author of articles, reviews and videos on the YouTube channel of Androidncomp.com. I have been testing various electronic devices, mobile games and Android applications since 2012.

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