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How to calibrate the battery on your Android phone or tablet

Battery issues are one of the biggest concerns for smartphone users, which is why we have so many helpful tips on how to resolve battery drain issues. If you notice that your battery performance and life has decreased, it may be time to calibrate your battery.

How do I know if my battery is the problem?

First, you need to identify why your battery performance has decreased: is it the calibration of the Android system or the battery itself? We’ll move on to calibration in the sections below, but you should check if your battery itself is damaged first.

If your phone has a removable battery cover, turn off your phone, remove the cover, and inspect the battery. Check for bulges or leaks. In the image below, you will see what a normal pile looks like next to a swollen pile. If your phone is no longer flat on the table, this could also be a sign of a swollen battery.

Do I have to calibrate the battery?

If you’re happy that the battery itself isn’t the issue, you can skip the steps below. If you think your battery might be the problem (even after trying to recalibrate it), we recommend that you take it to a repair shop for expert advice. If it turns out that you need to replace the battery, use an original or reliable battery. Skimping on a bad cheap battery leads to more headaches in the long run.

Keep in mind that there are a lot of other things that can cause the battery to malfunction. If your phone isn’t charging, there might be an issue with the port, so check out our guide on what to do when a phone isn’t charging.

If you’ve just updated your phone’s firmware, battery drain is a common complaint. So you can delete the cache partition from your device. Fortunately, we have a lot of guides on how to clear cache on different devices.

What is battery calibration?

The Android operating system has a feature called Battery Statistics, which tracks the capacity of the battery, whether it is full or empty. The problem is that it sometimes gets corrupted and starts showing data that is not real, which, for example, causes the phone to shut down before it reaches 0%. Calibrating your Android battery simply means getting the Android OS to correct this information so that it again reflects your actual battery levels.

It’s important to understand that you can’t actually calibrate the battery itself – it is, after all, a cell that stores power and discharges. However, lithium-ion batteries include a printed circuit board (PCB), which acts as a protection switch to prevent them from exploding or deep discharging.

Smartphone battery myths

Lithium-ion batteries don’t have a memory, so there’s not much you can do to get them to work as they should. The problem is how the Android system reads and displays the current battery capacity, not the battery itself.

The same goes for the myth that deleting the batterystats.bin file will magically recalibrate your battery. This file (on most devices anyway) simply stores data about the battery usage when it’s not charging. It is also reset whenever a battery is more than 80% charged and then disconnected from the charger.

The batterystats.bin file contains the most beautiful information you see in the Battery section of your phone – it’s the Android system that tracks your battery usage, by charge cycle. When we talk about battery calibration, it’s the percentage that goes off the rails, and that’s what we need to fix.

How to calibrate Android device battery without root access

The old “full charge and discharge” approach is one of the easiest ways to “recalibrate” your Android battery. We have warned you in the past about low voltage problems in lithium batteries and the negative impacts of fully discharging a battery on its life. The same is true here. But, if your phone battery is causing you real problems, it is worth taking the risk.

Method 1

  • Fully discharge your phone until it turns off.
  • Turn it on again and let it turn off.
  • Plug your phone into a charger and, without turning it on, let it charge until the on-screen or LED indicator says 100 percent.
  • Unplug your charger.
  • Switch on your phone. The battery indicator is likely not to say 100 percent, so reconnect the charger (leave your phone on) and keep charging until it says 100 percent on the screen as well.
  • Unplug your phone and restart it. If not, reconnect the charger until it shows 100% on the display.
  • Repeat this cycle until it says 100 percent (or as close as you think it is) when you start it without it being plugged in.
  • Now let your battery fully discharge to 0% and let your phone turn off again.
  • Fully charge the battery once more without interruption and you should have reset the Android system battery percentage.

Remember that performing this process regularly is not recommended. Even when your battery is depleted your phone will not even turn on, your battery is still sufficiently charged to prevent damage to the system. But you don’t want to push the tiger with a stick. Perform this process once every three months at most. If it is needed more often, you have more problems at hand.

In short: completely discharging a battery is bad for it. Trying to overcharge a battery is also bad. The good news is that the batteries shut off automatically when they reach their safe limit, and there is always some reserve even if your phone won’t start. Again: only do this when really necessary as it negatively impacts battery life.

How to calibrate an Android device battery with root access

Even though I’m not convinced that erasing the batterystats.bin file has a significant effect on how the Android system reports the remaining battery charge, there are those who swear by this method.

So, in the interests of fairness, we’ve included the process for you here (it’s true that different manufacturers use the batterystats.bin file for different things).

This is basically the same process as above, but with the added step of using a root compatible app to make it more reliable. Readers have rightly pointed out in the comments that new versions of this app ask for a disturbing list of many device permissions. If this worries you, we recommend that you try the non-root method above first, and only resort to a third-party application if the first method is unnecessary.

Method 2

  • Fully discharge your phone until it turns off.
  • Turn it on and let it turn off again.
  • Plug your phone into a charger and, without turning it on, let it charge until the on-screen or LED indicator says 100 percent.
  • Unplug your charger.
  • Switch on your phone. The battery indicator is likely not to say 100 percent, so reconnect the charger (leave your phone on) and keep charging until it says 100 percent on the display.
  • Unplug your phone and restart it. If not, reconnect the charger until it shows 100% on the display.
  • You want to repeat this cycle until it says 100 percent (or as close as you thought it would) when you start it without it being plugged in.
  • Now install the Battery Calibration app, and before launching it make sure your battery is 100% again, then reboot.

Battery Calibration
Battery Calibration

  • Immediately launch the app and recalibrate your battery.
  • Once you’ve calibrated your battery, fully discharge it down to 0% and let your phone turn off again.
  • Fully charge the battery once more without interruption while it is off, and the battery percentage of the Android system will be reset.

That’s all. Have you tried any of these methods? Do you know of any other way to troubleshoot battery issues? Let us know in the comments.