You don’t need a task killer because Android can normally manage processes better on its own. However, this all falls apart if there’s a buggy app hogging your resources and running when it shouldn’t be. But how do you identify these misbehaving apps?
Carat, an app developed by a team of researches at AMP Lab at UC Berkeley, is an Android app that collects samples from many devices and suggests actions you can take to improve your phone’s battery life. Carat uses machine learning to analyze the data it collects and identify battery hogs.
Getting Started With Carat
Carat isn’t a quick-fix app. It’s very easy to use, but it will take some time to do its work. To generate personalized recommendations, you’ll need to use Carat for about a week before it will start generating reports specific to your phone. However, Carat doesn’t run in the background, so it won’t drain your battery life.
To get started, first install the free Carat app from Google Play. In the first week, you’ll want to open Carat at least once per day (when you have a network connection) so it can collect samples of your phone’s data and upload it to its servers, where it can be analyzed. Carat does not run in the background, so it depends on you opening it so it can collect this data.
Don’t expect any suggestions for the first week. If you’re lucky, you may not see any suggestions even after the first week — that’s a sign your phone is in good shape and you’re not using any known battery-hogging apps.
Device, Bugs, and Hogs
The Device screen shows you information about your smartphone’s battery life. You’ll see a J-Score, which lets you compare your device’s actual battery life to the battery life of other devices running Carat. For example, a J-Score of 89 in the screenshot below indicates that our phone has better battery life in-use than 89% of the other phones Carat knows about.
Carat also measures your phone’s Active Battery Life, which is approximately “the amount of time your battery would last if you started from a full charge and discharged the battery at a rate that was the average of what Carat observed on your device during active use.”
Carat divides problem apps into Bugs and Hogs. Bugs are apps that use a lot of energy on a small percentage of devices — a sign that they’re potentially buggy. Restarting them may improve your battery life.
Hogs are apps that seem to cause additional battery drain on a large number of devices. A hog app is likely programmed badly, and having it running at all will decrease your battery life. You should kill these apps.
Of course, you can also improve things by uninstalling a Bug or Hog app and replacing it with a better-behaved alternative if you use the app.
More Battery Life Improvements
In the future, you should open Carat every few days or so to upload new samples from your device and see if it has any additional suggestions for you.
However, Carat is focused on identifying buggy apps, not features that drain your battery life. It won’t advise you to turn your screen brightness down to squeeze out more battery life. It also won’t identify wakelocks and inform you that you can improve battery life by turning off automatic syncing in apps such as Gmail. If you’re looking for recommendations like this one, check out our guide to identifying and eliminating wakelocks and our tips for improving your Android phone’s battery life in general.
Thanks to sdaigherty on the forum for suggesting this app!
Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.
- Published 05/11/13