Revitalising a Google Nexus 5 – solving battery drain problems

nexus-5-gekkoI’ve owned a Google Nexus 5 phone for just shy of 2 years now (wow, I didn’t realise it had been that long!) and I can honestly say it’s the best phone I’ve ever had – the screen is a good size (5″) but not too big, it’s got plenty of storage (32GB) and is very responsive. I had the Nexus 4 16GB prior to this, and that was a very good phone too, but the Nexus 5 is better in all departments.

However, over the last 3 or 4 months I noticed that the battery was draining more quickly as the day goes on, to the point that I was having to charge it in the afternoon if it was to last me all the way home from work. Not good.

Checking the battery usage stats didn’t reveal any obvious rogue apps draining the battery so I put the situation down to the fact that the battery must have been deteriorating, so I bought a replacement battery and fitted it (using an iFixit guide) in the hope that it would restore the previous battery life. Unfortunately replacing the battery didn’t seem to make much difference at all.

I’d more or less resigned myself to the fact that I’d need to upgrade to a later phone (possibly the Nexus 5X) when I wondered if it would be worth trying one last thing – a factory reset. It was a bit of a long shot but I figured that there might be something nasty left over from the several successive Android updates that had been applied and by performing a full factory reset it might clear out some rubbish.

After backing up apps and data, including using the excellent SMS Backup & Restore app to backup text messages to both Dropbox and Google Drive I carried out a factory reset. This took a fair bit longer than expected (around 45 minutes) but once completed I rebooted the phone and proceeded through the initial setup again. I then restored the main apps I actually use – taking the opportunity to get rid of all those I hardly ever open – along with my text messages.

Nexus 5 Rejuvinated!

After charging the phone overnight I was eager to see what, if any, difference it had made… and to my delight I found that battery drain throughout the following day was nowhere near what it was prior to the factory reset. Whereas I would previously have been looking at only 30% battery capacity in late afternoon, I was surprised to see a significantly improved 80% left. Repeating the same test the following day saw very similar results, so it is looking very promising so far.

So, if you too are experiencing very poor battery life on your Nexus 5 running the latest versions of Android, I would seriously recommend considering performing a factory reset.

Update – 23/12/15

It’s been a few days since performing the factory reset and I’m very happy to report that battery performance continues to be amazing! A couple of friends of mine who were also experiencing very similar battery drain problems have also carried out the same factory reset and they too report results consistent with mine. So get doing a factory reset on your Nexus 5 if you are experiencing battery drain problems!