How to solve battery life problem of Moto X after KitKat (Android 4.4) update

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moto x battery life after KitKat updateAndroid  4.4 (KitKat) update for Moto X is really a sweet treat  for all Moto X owners. Most of us are enjoying the new and improved features in our Moto X after the KitKat update.

However, some users reported  battery drain problems (i.e., shorter battery life) after the Android 4.4 update. They noticed the battery percentage drops faster than that before the update.  For example, after 8 hours normal usage,  your Moto X now reports  less than 15% juice left.  But you remeber before the KitKat update, you used to get about 30% left when reaching home. It seems your Moto X drains battery faster after the Android 4.4 update.

The most likely cause of the battery life issue in Moto X: battery calibration

Why does the battery life of Moto X become shorter after the KitKat update? Is something  wrong with the Android 4.4? or is something  wrong with the Moto X battery?

The answer is:  there is nothing wrong with the Android 4.4 (KitKat) or Moto X.  Most of the time,  it is just battery calibration issue. Of course, it occasionally  may be caused by some crappy apps.

So if you are facing this battery life issue  or you feel the Moto X drains battery faster now, you may just follow the following 4 steps top solve the battery life issues for your Moto X.

5-step solution for battery life problem in Moto X

  • Step 1:  Use your Moto X as normal

  • Step 2:  When battery percentage is lower than 5%, watch videos, surf the web, and do whatever that drains battery faster

  • Step 3:  Continue to use  your Moto X until it shuts down itself (no more juice)

  • Step 4: Charge your Moto X for 3-4 hours without powering it on.

  • Step 5: Power on your Moto X, and use it as normal.

Why need I drain the battery completely?

It sounds stupid that your Moto X has to “guess”, not  measure, the juice left. But this is the reality for all smartphones today.

Moto X gives you the percentage of battery juice left based on the discharge curve. However, to correctly use (define) the discharge curve, Moto X needs to know at least two battery states: full and empty.

The full state (100%) is easy to get because when  the full capacity is reached (when charging), the circuit in the battery will stop the charging to protect the battery from being over-charged.  Almost all batteries in today’s smartphones have this circuit already.

But your Moto X has no way to know the empty state unless you drain it completely.  Moto X has to guess based on previous usage. It is a trial-and-error process.

The problems may comes after the major update because Moto X has to re-start a new trial-and-error process. This is the reason why the technician in the service centre always asks you to wait a few days to see whether the battery life changes after the major update.

But sometimes, you can facilitate the trial-and-error process for your Moto X by providing the empty state (by drain the battery completely). This is needed only when you notice considerable battery life reduction in your Moto X.

Will draining battery completely hurt my Moto X?

A lot of smartphone users are scared  of draining the battery completely. They feel this may hurt or damage the smartphone.

For most Android phones, at least for Moto X, this is seldom an issue.  Moto X is shut down automatically when battery reach the “near-empty” state, which is not based on percentage readings. This is different from removing battery when the phone is working.  Actually, for  a lot of smartphones with removable battery, you may have to manually remove the battery when the phone hangs (not responsive to any buttons). Seldom you may hear warranty claims related to battery removal.

If you still sceptical about the possible damages  to your Moto X , you can drain the battery to 0% and continue to use 5-15 mins. Then put it on the charger. This will also help the battery calibration in Moto X.

Will draining battery completely hurt the battery in Moto X?

Another concern some Moto X owners may have is whether draining battery completely will hurt or damage the battery in Moto X.  As Moto X has a non-removable battery, you have to ask Motorola’s authorized service centre to replace the battery when you need replace the battery.  This may take considerable time, and is usually not cheap.

The quick answer to this concern is: no.

Actually, draining your battery to 1o% is not different from draining it to 0%. Normally, draining the battery to less than 20% (some vendors use 15%) is considered as one deep discharging cycle. After 30o-500 deep discharging cycles, your battery will lose considerable (about 15-30% for good-quality batteries) capacity (this is that battery life  that you have). This explains most smartphones ask you to charge them when battery is lower than 15% or 20%.

But most vendors do not tell you, the Lithium-ion  or Lithium polymer battery also loses capacity with time with or without deep discharging.  After 2 years without using it or without deep discharging, the battery loses about 20-40% of the (original) capacity. Deep discharging only slightly accelerates the process for most users.

Another misconception is draining battery completely may damage the battery.

This is actually baseless. For Lithium-ion  or Lithium polymer batteries, when you drain the battery completely, it is actually not “completely” drained.  Once the current or voltage reaches certain level, the  circuit inside will stop the power supply to protect the battery cells automatically.

What should you do if the 5-step solution does not work for you?

Battery life problems in Moto X after the Android 4.4 update may also be caused by some crappy apps.  A most common and most obvious symptom is a “warm”  Moto X.  If you feel  the Moto X is always warm even when you are not using it, then the battery life problem is very likely caused by some apps, not battery calibration.

If this happens, you may try to backup your data, and perform a factory reset.

If factory reset does not solve the issue, and your Moto X is still warm all the time (even when not in use), you may try to find out the culprit apps. You may follow this guide to identify the culprit app (it was written for Galaxy Note, but it works for Moto X as well).

Are you still have battery life issues with Moto X? or do you have any tips on battery life for Moto X? Share with other Moto X owners in the comment box below!

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Comments

  1. says

    so you mean after update to 4.4 the moto x cannot get through 24 hours with all setting on such as brightness high , sync on and gps or location setting are on ? and even this company made a good battery phone but still when it comes to phone usage this phone only can get through like 8 hours and battery result will show to user around 5-10% left ? that’s so sad. I did the calibrate just like you told me and leave it fully charged and still in charging mode for more than 30 minutes after it said 100% but funny thing I got my wifi on and leave it on my table in the morning and before I’m off to work I saw my phone battery is drop to 87% with wifi on. That’s ridiculous

    • simon says

      Actually, some Moto X owners reported longer battery life after the KitKat update.

      For your case, it is very likely due to the calibration. You can leave the Moto X on the charger overnight for a few times to see whether it helps.

    • simon says

      Technically, deep discharging just means your battery level is lower than 15% (vendor dependent, somewhere between 10-20%). It is better to fully drain until phone shut itself off, then connect to the charger.

  2. Ero says

    I’ve calibrated the battery twice and maybe pulled the phone out of my pocket twice today, WIFI off, BT off, and only had 22& remaining at 7 hours. Screen 31%, OS 19%, Google Services 8%, 7% Phone Idle. Phone is cold and I have no apps syncing so I’m lost on my poor battery life thus far :( Phone seems pretty sweet otherwise, but I’m missing the 2+ days of the Razr Maxx

  3. says

    If the battery always charges to full capacity, and doesn’t go into auto-shut-off until the battery is actually drained dry, then how does a calibrated reading give you any more battery life?

    Before the calibration, (First fully-charged day of use, Kit Kat update before charge, with Google Voice, Kindle, Pandora and a non-invasive flashlight app (Moto Torch LED) as the only non-preinstalled apps) my phone went into auto-shut-off after 12-15 hours, reporting about 5 hours of screen time. The screen was about 50% of consumed power, “Android OS” ate 30% or more. This doesn’t seem consistent with the 10 hour screen-time experienced by reviewers.

    Having drained and charged: I’m currently looking at 56% after 17 hours with 38 minutes of screen time. (The screen used 18%, Wifi 20%, Android OS 30%). This doesn’t seem to imply tripple-digit standby time.

    • simon says

      the system can “estimate” the capacity of battery base on some factory curves. Most of the time, this is quite reliable. Re-calibration is just to correct some errors, especially, the lower capacity point estimation. Some users can use the phone for more than 0.5 hours after 0% is reported. Re-calibration is useful for such scenarios.

      10-hour screen time probably is playing video with very low brightness (without mobile data). For web browsing (through WiFi), it can only lasts about 6-7 hours with less than 20% brightness. For most moto x users, they probably have to charge it daily.

      If you still have battery drain issue after re-calibration, you may try to install CPUSpy (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bvalosek.cpuspy) and BetterBatteryStats (http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1179809) to find out the real causes.

      • says

        I must have plugged in the phone and forgotten about it when I mentioned 5 hours of screen time before.

        Here’s what I saw the other day:
        The moto x went into auto-shut-down at 12hrs.
        Screen 51% of power consumption; on for 2hrs 41mins. (Either on auto brightness or <25%)
        Android OS 12%
        WiFi 10%
        Chrome 7%

        I didn't have wake lock data for that day, but on 16-hour days with 1-2 hours screen activity, my checks have shown PowerManagerService.Wakelocks at 1 – 1.5 hours and Deep Sleep for about 12 hours.

        Is this as good as it gets for everybody else?

        • simon says

          This looks not so good.

          The kernel wakelock “PowerManagerService” is just the summation of partial wakelock. So, check the major contributors of the partial wakelock to find out the real culprits.

          You may check the second and third ones under kernel wakelock. Sometimes, you can try to restart the phone to see whether the duration of such kernel wakelocks become shorter.

          • says

            My understanding is that partial wakelocks are hidden from non-rooted phones as of 4.4.
            The other wakelocks I tend to be pretty small compared to PowerManagerService. I’ll start paying attention to the little ones. Currently, at 7 hours since full charge: PowerManagerService has 1 hour 17 mins.
            bam_dmux_wake lock is at 13 mins,
            wlan is at about 12 mins,
            radio-interface took 5.5 mins
            and everything else is 2 mins or less.

          • simon says

            yes, to read the partial wakelocks in KitKat, root is needed. But for Moto X, I do NOT recommend you to root it.

            Usually you check the Awake time–screen on time (you need also minus the music playing time), to get an rough estimation.

            For yoru case, you can try to reboot your phone, then check again the bbs reading after a few hours or normal usuage.

  4. Peter Horacek says

    Thank you for this! I love my moto x but was ready to trade it in for a droid max. Your 5 step process worked. Battery life back to normal. 89% after 3+ hours of normal use.

  5. whoreallycares says

    I miss my old iphone 4 it was awesome in terms of battery life – currently i have a 2nd moto x since the battery on the 1st was reaching 110f and it would drain in 3 hours, this phone (2nd moto x) battery lasts for 5 hours with minimal use. The suggession above doesnt work

  6. says

    Also, there is a big where wifi is always scanning with the screen off. This is fine usually, but drains the moto x. Open your wifi, go to menu and advanced settings and turn the wifi active to only when plugged in. Solved my 4.4 battery problems.

  7. jestin says

    I had battery drain problems on my Moto X after KitKat update also.
    After I went back to factory version of my ‘Google play services’ app its back to jelly bean battery life.

    Try it guys it will help for sure

  8. Tarik says

    Thanks very much. I have a MotoG that went from having excellent battery life to less than 24hrs with minimal usage after the latest upgrade to KitKat. The majority of battery usage was caused by “Android system” and “Android OS”. I re-calibrated based on your instructions and I’m now at 29% remaining after 3days 6hrs 6mims of use! It’s better than it was before the upgrade.

  9. says

    Hi I have bought Moto G in last week and it was shipped with KitKat upgrade, but I noticed that battery is draining very fast. I didn’t even activate 3G and stopped all the google app to sync with internet but still can see a drop of 1% every 4 minutes in normal browsing along with running the apps like whatsapp. Company claims the battery life to be more than 24 hrs and there are people who even reviewed an and confirmed the same after a heavy usage.

    Are these tips applicable to Moto G as well? I have drained the battery completely and now will see if it helps…

    • Tarik says

      It worked perfectly with my Moto G. I’m getting well over 3 days out of my battery with casual usage after calibrating it.

      • says

        Okay, seems it didn’t work in my case. Infact after discharging it completely and charging it again to full(as mentioned above), I noticed the drainage even faster now. in standby mode(no bluetooth,app sync stopped,no 3G activated,completely no usage) the battery level was dropped from 100 to 90%. and in normal usage it is not giving more than 10-11 hrs backup.

        Today I had no option but to raise a request with Flipkart to return it. Hoping to get a new set with no such issues.

        • simon says

          If it is hardware defect, you should return it or visit local service centre.

          Sometimes it can be due to some apps. You can find out the app that drains battery.

          • says

            It was found to be the issue with battery. I have got the replacement and now the new Moto G is giving the backup of more than a day in a mod usage.. :)

          • simon says

            thanks for the update.

            Yes, battery drain issue can be due to the faulty hardware (battery) sometimes, although it is not common nowadays.

  10. todd says

    Until recently, battery life has been pretty good on my Moto G. I’ve grown accustomed to experiencing 48 hrs with minimal usage ( a few texts, 20 mins calls, 1 or 2 hrs screentime) with 30% left before needing a recharge. However, this week, i’m losing 2% within 1 hour after taking phone off charger and no use whatsoever. Furthermore, i’m down to 92% within 4 hrs. this is after a 2 minute call, 1 or 2 texts and no web browsing or syncs, etc. I only use Aviate Launcher. The funny thing is, once the battery level hits around 90 or 92% after a full charge things level off. i followed your calibration suggestions about a month ago but perhaps i should try again? it just seems like the battery is being misread by the OS as my daily usage patterns haven’t changed.

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    • simon says

      Did you check the battery usage graph and found out which app drains most battery except screen and Android system?

    • says

      One reason I noticed which causes the fast drainage is if you are using 2G net connection and it is selected over 3G. My Moto G drains little faster when it runs on 2G than on 3G or Wi-Fi

  11. KN says

    i have a moto x and have couple of questions

    1. while charging, my phone gets almost stuck for some time at 77% and moves slowly to 79% and then directly shows as fully charged. is it normal? does it happen the same way to everyone.
    2. im getting nearly 3hrs to 3hrs 20mins of screen on time by the time it reaches 1%. is it good, normal?
    3. im little scared of discharging the battery completely and used for almost 45mins when the battery was 1% and it doesnt seem to shut off or come down to 0%. then i shutdown manually and charged for 3hrs. will this take care of the issue?

    • says

      There is definitely a problem with battery calibration, The above instructions mentioned will help you calibrate the battery. Also, after few charging cycles you will notice battery’s charging and discharging rate is back to normal.

      • Sumit says

        Hi Sajal and SImon,
        My Moto X is lasting around 5-6 hours. I have recently bought the phone and was checking it out, so the screen time was almost 5 hours in one recharge cycle. My usage was playing games for 2-3 hours, 3G on, Surfing / streaming videos for half hour, Auto sync on, screen brightness in auto mode, and call duration of 20 minutes. The battery drained in 5-6 hours for similar usage since last 4-5 recharge cycles.
        Is this battery life ok as per my use or would you suggest me for replacement from Flipkart?

      • KN says

        Thank You Sajal and Simon! I took the risk and did drain my battery by runnnig benchmarks and opening all application and finally phone turned off automatically and charged for almost five hours. Now after using it for 6 and half hours with 2hrs 10 minutes screen on, i still have 60% juice left. :) :) wating to see whether i still have the battery level jumps while charging.

        i just bought my phone last week and was so worried about the poor battery performance. Thank you so much guys :)

    • simon says

      1. It is not normal. This may happen for aged batteries, for example, more than 2 years old. But your Moto X is surely less than 1-year old.
      2. It depends on other usages (e.g., network, CPU, signal strength…). Normally, most people get more than 4 hours screen time. Again, it depends on many factors. 3-hour screen time is in the very low end for Moto X.
      3. If you can use (actively use, not sleep) Moto X for more than 45 mins after 1%, it usually means the battery level calibration may be not accurate. Complete discharge is not good for battery, but sometimes, it is essential to get accurate calibration.

      When Moto X indicates that it is fully charged, leaving the phone on the charge for a few hours may help the re-calibration as well. After you fully discharge the battery, you can leave the phone on the charger overnight.

      Anyway, if you suspect possible hardware quality issue, you can contact Motorola to check the battery in a professional way.

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