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Posted on November 14th, 2013 by Darien Graham-Smith

Samsung Galaxy S4: how to double your battery life

DSC_1191I love my Samsung Galaxy S4, but I don’t love its battery life. Samsung advertises “up to eight hours” of active use, but when I’m sitting on the tube playing a game, and my phone is constantly searching for a mobile signal that isn’t there, I swear that battery meter ticks down by 1% a minute. Having paid for a premium smartphone, I hate feeling like I have to carefully ration my use of it.

I can’t blame Samsung. You won’t do much better with a Nexus 5 or an HTC One. There seems to be an industry-wide consensus that slimness is king. Your phone might run out of juice by sundown, but while it’s spending the evening conked out in your pocket, at least it won’t ruin the line of your trousers.

High-capacity batteries aren’t manufactured or endorsed by Samsung

In fact, the S4 wins out over those rivals, because the battery compartment is easily accessible. This allows you to carry around a spare for emergencies – or, you can swap your everyday battery for a high-capacity replacement.

The idea comes with a few caveats. High-capacity batteries aren’t manufactured or endorsed by Samsung, so if you buy a cheap one and it blows up, your warranty probably won’t cover it.

And it’s not as if the wafer-thin chassis of a Galaxy S4 offers much room for a fatter battery. The beefiest drop-in replacement I’ve seen is rated at 3,300mAh. That’s certainly an improvement over the stock 2,600mAh battery, but – in my view – not quite enough of one to fully alleviate that lingering anxiety over running low.

Making room for a larger battery

Happily, there’s an alternative approach. US-based battery specialist Anker offers a high-capacity power pack that comes with an enlarged replacement back for the S4, enabling it to accommodate a massive 5,200mAh battery. (There’s a version for the S3 too.) I bought mine on Amazon for the bargain price of £18.

When I say an enlarged back, I mean enlarged. Snapping on the replacement cover more than doubles the thickness of the handset from 8mm to 16.5mm. Since the S4 is a big phone to begin with, you’re left with something that towers over Apple’s puny iPhone 5s:


I’ve found the extra bulk less bothersome than you might think, however. The extra depth seems to make the S4 sit more comfortably in the hand, and it’s not so chunky as to be laughable. A few friends have commented on my phone’s unusual thickness, but when I’ve explained that it’s to house an extended battery, most have considered it a jolly good idea.

And there’s no denying that it works. In the week since taking delivery of my 5,200mAh battery, I’ve been using my phone at least as heavily as usual, and I haven’t once come close to exhausting the battery. Even if I forget to charge the thing overnight, it’s no problem. At the time of writing, I’ve been using the phone for more than 30 hours on battery power and it’s still showing a 51% charge. (Update: The battery finally gave out after around 63½ hours away from the mains, having effectively given me three full days of use.)


The only disappointment is the replacement back itself. In shiny black plastic – or white, or blue – it looks and feels cheaper than the original polycarbonate cover. It also replaces the Samsung logo with the word “ANKER” in bold capital letters, which makes me glad I’m no longer at school surrounded by Tipp-Ex-wielding wags.

The worst part is, much of it’s hollow. I had imagined that the extended battery would fill the casing, but nope – there’s nothing but air behind the top and bottom of the back. As a result, when I grip the phone tightly it flexes inward, sometimes making a creaking noise that certainly doesn’t sound like a flagship smartphone.


Still, when the supersized battery inside lets me forget all the caveats and qualifiers that usually attach to the idea of “all-day usage”, I’m willing to put up with a lot. For sure, I’ll take a phone that flexes any day, over one that gives up the ghost on the bus ride home.

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40 Responses to “ Samsung Galaxy S4: how to double your battery life ”

  1. Andrew Jones Says:
    November 14th, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Next project, 3D-print a nice metal case back? There could be money in that if you get it right :D

  2. David Hewitt Says:
    November 14th, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Had a similar 450mAh on my S2 for well over a year now, fantastic, won’t leave home without it..!

  3. Kevin Partner Says:
    November 14th, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I got one for my HTC Magic back in 2010+ Made it just about usable.

  4. r1sh12 Says:
    November 14th, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Just root the phone, uninstall all the bloatware. change the cpu governor and reset the batter stats. You could even install a Rom which has better battery use.
    I have done that, I don’t play games on my phone but I use gps twice a day, send whatsapp and text messages every minute and receive emails via 3g when not on WiFi. I get at least 30 hours

  5. wyson Says:
    November 14th, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Or you could get a small portable battery charger. Anker do a 3000mA one that’s the size of a lipstick. Probably more useful if you know you will stop somewhere for a couple of hours or have a bag to put the phone and portable charger in.

  6. Paul Ockenden Says:
    November 14th, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Anker. It’s a strange name, isn’t it…

  7. Tim Says:
    November 15th, 2013 at 12:32 am

    I followed the same path as wyson, but with a bigger battery from Maplin. It is a cheaper solution, which allows you to fit a case to your phone. An added advantage is that it will also work with your subsequent phones.

  8. Michael Says:
    November 15th, 2013 at 2:19 am

    I got a 2nd battery & external charger for $40 and whenever I need a quick charge I just switch batteries. I can easily carry the battery and charger in my pocket.

  9. Ed Says:
    November 15th, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Samsung did release an extended battery/cover for the Galaxy Nexus and I bought it. It basically squared off the lip that was present at the bottom of the phone, similar the Galaxy S2. Was the best £20 I spent owning that phone

  10. Ben Says:
    November 15th, 2013 at 9:33 am

    I recently got an LG G2, great phone, and the 3,000mAh battery means that despite using it for an hour and a half commute each way listening to music/autio books, playing games/emails/texts/calls. Including a good chunk that is underground and searching for signal, plus using it throughout the rest of the day i still normally end the day with about 40% battery, have been really impressed with it. being a little careful I could easily drag it out for a couple of days.

  11. DaveyK Says:
    November 15th, 2013 at 10:32 am

    It’s also very advisable on Samsung phones to check the battery graph as this will tell you what is sapping the life. After upgrading the OS on my Galaxy SIII, battery life was terrible and the culprit turned out to be the Samsung Push service. Disabling that more than doubled the battery life and my SIII (with moderate usage) usually goes 48 hours between charges.

  12. David Says:
    November 15th, 2013 at 11:12 am

    I’ve got one of the Anker batteries for my S3 in March 2013 and it was great to start with, but recently the phone seems to run down much faster than it used to do. I don’t know if the battery has worn out or if there is something draining the battery. It does look as if it might be the Exchange Services draining it

  13. bob Says:
    November 15th, 2013 at 11:31 am

    i hear UNT and ICKHEAD also make good alternatives

  14. Michael Dear Says:
    November 15th, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I use a QI tag in my S4 for charging, would I be right in thinking that your extended battery would stop that has it wouldn’t then fit.
    I carry around a Ye!! battery pack to charge my S4, and it will fully charge an ipad at the same time as well if necessary

  15. sorin Says:
    November 15th, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Ascent solar enerplex solar battery…ill Be getting that when it comes out this month. For 90 bucks. Google it

  16. nick Says:
    November 16th, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I get 20+ hours ;) on slim beam rom and kt 4.3

  17. whitedragon33 Says:
    November 16th, 2013 at 1:54 am

    Rooted debloated 4.3, kt kernel,
    Wakelock Detector + Greenify nab me 4 days standby.

  18. David Says:
    November 16th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    The high battery usage turned out to be a result of using Samsung’s Activesync client. I swopped that for Touchdown and everything is back to normal with the Anker battery pack.

  19. Joe Says:
    November 18th, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    - How to double your battery life?
    - Buy a bigger battery.

    Well, that was worth reading. Thank you, captain obvious!

  20. Jay R Says:
    November 21st, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Zero lemon battery is the biggest I have seen. On 1 charge it lasts me about 5 days moderate use. on standby would probably last up to 2 weeks. Without the bloatware it would last a lot longer.

  21. sakif saim Says:
    November 22nd, 2013 at 9:42 am

    from my point of view using less app and less Brightness will be best way to get high battery life ;)

  22. Cliff Davis Says:
    November 22nd, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    I would buy one if you could still get a case that protects the screen but it looks unlikely.

  23. Myke Says:
    November 25th, 2013 at 7:45 am

    The 4400mAhr Anker battery in my S3 is still going strong (44% left) after 3 and a half days total usage. In real world terms it’s been a week since I last charged this phone compared to between 3 and 4 days with the standard Samsung battery. Would definitely reccomend the brand.

  24. Alvin Says:
    November 29th, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Lightning fast performance, brilliant UI (runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, so far ahead of IoS 5 it’s embarrassing), amazing camera and gallery for viewing pix/video, and I’ve managed to get a 64GB micro SD to work in it so memory is huge.

  25. Leanne Says:
    December 1st, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Another solution is the Mophie Juice Pack! It’s a case for your phone that has a battery on the bottom and it lasts for hours and hours. I get approximately 3 days with it. The only downside is that it extends the length of your phone by a half an inch because the battery is on the bottom. The great part is that you still charge your phone the same way and it charges both batteries at the same time. You can also turn the extra battery on or off! It’s a really great alternative to extending the life of your battery.

  26. Henry 3 Dogg Says:
    December 12th, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    “Samsung Galaxy S4: how to double your battery life”

    Easy. Switch to an iPhone 5S

  27. Chris Says:
    January 1st, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    @ Henry 3 Dogg. “Easy. Switch to an iPhone 5S”
    Ah yes and have Apple dictate what you can and can’t do with YOUR own phone; hence the new tamper resistance screws and secret files and folders in the iOS.
    Pay more for an iPhone than a laptop but Apple decide what you are allowed to run on it. Sorry, I would rather have to swap my flat battery out on a Samsung which is something your CAN’T do on an iPhone.

  28. Alex Says:
    January 1st, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Well u dont really need an bigger battery I use du battery after the phone said my baytery is broken and I need to replace it and I still have the same battery

  29. Goddess1 Says:
    January 2nd, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    I just turn off apps i don’t use that helps gain some more battery life for the s4

  30. Andrew Cruze Says:
    January 4th, 2014 at 1:34 am

    I’m sorry but that’s horrible!
    These extended batteries were barely acceptable on the S2 but on the S4 they just ruin the look and feel of the phone.
    Personally I just fettle with the settings, disable all unnecessary apps from running in the back ground and have a wireless charger at home and in the car.
    My S4 happily makes it through the day sometimes without a top up.

  31. Rajat Says:
    January 5th, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I got a 2nd battery & external charger for $40 and whenever I need a quick charge I just switch batteries. I can easily carry the battery and charger in my pocket.

  32. Debja Says:
    February 4th, 2014 at 1:00 am

    I agree with RaJat, I try to keep chargers where I go and have ordered 2 spare batteries and their charger. I adore my Galaxy S4 Active, I also disabled many apps but why purchase a beautiful phone if we can’t use it as it was made to be?

  33. Larkins Dsouza Says:
    February 5th, 2014 at 1:36 am

    You could also disable Samsung Push Service to increase battery on Samsung Galaxy devices .

  34. Lucas Netto Says:
    February 6th, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I regret getting an S4. My battery crashed after 2 months of use with apparently no reason. After researching I found out that it is happening to 30% of Samsung S4 phones…. for me that is not the problem, the problem is ignoring the customer and not offering any warranty, which is my case. I will definitely sue Samsung as it is completely disrespectful and there is no customer service.

  35. Fahad Says:
    February 22nd, 2014 at 8:01 am

    My charger takes overnight to charge my s4 is there a prob with my charger or phone

  36. bubblee Says:
    March 4th, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I have s4 befor 8 month i brought aft 4 month i replace new battery again same problem???so problm in phone or battery

  37. Kirankumar Says:
    March 7th, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Got fed up of hearing add extra battery (Bulky) and turn of features ( then why S4, nokia 1100 was fine). What is need really is iOS like power Management. is there any way to implement that in Android? Does any one know?

  38. Tony Says:
    March 11th, 2014 at 2:05 am

    I’m not interested in extending the life of the battery. The series smartphones at this point the battery is weak. I like the S4 but I did not choose it because not suitable for work.

  39. Bas Says:
    March 30th, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    i would never do such a thing. You are basically ruining your phone. I would say after you don that you should change the name of the phone. I love my S4 it wastes battery but i no what to do. the easiest thing is just to delete all your tabs and lower down the brightness.

  40. David Peverley Says:
    August 30th, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Just to let u know I have the battery issue with the Galaxy S4,rung Samsung direct,will no be messed about by carrier who don’t seem to be interested. Told them my problem,gave the phone details. Samsung are sending me new battery but still made in China so may be going round in circles-Time will tell?


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