Android may soon tell you when to replace your phone’s battery

Mishal Rahman / Android Authority

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  • As you use your phone, its battery naturally loses some of its capacity over time.
  • Android is ready to provide you with an estimate of the remaining battery capacity.
  • Android’s new battery health settings can also tell you whether your device’s battery has been replaced.

Android phones have been receiving software updates longer than ever before, with devices like the Google Pixel 8 series receiving seven years of updates. In addition, device makers are expanding repair options and parts availability, and some are even offering self-repair programs so you can fix your device yourself. If you plan to use the same phone as long as it’s officially supported, you’ll likely need to replace its battery at some point.

This is because batteries degrade over time, reducing the maximum charging capacity and thus the runtime of your phone on a single charge. It’s hard to know when you need to replace your phone’s battery, because there’s no easy way to actually measure the remaining capacity. There are apps that can provide a rough estimate, but they need to collect data over days or even weeks to arrive at a fairly accurate measurement. Even then, these applications may reach a completely inaccurate result.

The Android operating system already collects many battery-related stats in the background right from the first boot, so it’s better suited to providing this kind of estimate than a third-party app that only starts collecting data as soon as it’s installed months or years after the device is first set up. The best source of this information is the battery itself, provided you can share this information with the operating system. Fortunately, this is exactly what Google worked on last year. Android 14 laid the initial foundation for the operating system to track battery health information, but Android 15 can already put this information in front of users.

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With the December 2023 release of the Pixel Features Drop, Google has introduced a new page titled “Battery Information” under Settings > About Phone. This page, as shown below, displays the date of manufacture and the battery cycle number of the device. Under the hood, Settings pulls this information through new APIs introduced in Android 14.

Android 14 QPR1 battery information

Mishal Rahman / Android Authority

However, the manufacturing date and cycle count are not the only battery-related stats that Android 14 exposes to apps through the new APIs. Other battery health details such as first use date, charging policy, charging status and health status are also available. Health status is particularly interesting because it is an estimate of the battery’s current full charge capacity, expressed as a percentage compared to the battery’s rated capacity. For example, if the Pixel 8’s battery health is measured at 90%, this means it has an estimated 4,118 mAh of full charge capacity remaining (compared to the estimated 4,575 mAh).

The Settings app doesn’t currently show battery health status, but that’s set to change in the future, as the latest version of the Settings Services app (an extension of the Settings app on Pixel and other devices) is found in Android 14 QPR2 Beta 2 has a new page titled “Battery Health “Prepared to show health status. This new page isn’t live yet, so we had to manually activate it for it to appear under Settings > Battery, thanks to a tip from a Google News Telegram group editor, Nail Sadikov. Right now, the page doesn’t show actual health status but warns that “batteries deteriorate over time and last fewer hours between charges.”

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Battery health settings for Android 14 QPR2 Beta 2

Mishal Rahman / Android Authority

The strings in the APK file say that this page will show you “the estimated percentage of charge the battery can currently hold compared to what it was when it was new” (i.e. the health status) before and after the battery is “recalibrated.” We don’t have the exact details on what “recalibration” entails, but given that one thread notes that “the process may take a few weeks,” we’re guessing the system is simply collecting data over a longer period to provide more information. Accurate estimate of battery capacity. Meanwhile, the initial battery condition values ​​“are based on laboratory results” and therefore “may differ from the actual battery condition.”

Although there aren’t any screenshots of the Battery Status page that appears, well, any actual screenshots Battery health Data, we found these codes that correspond to low battery capacity, recalibrated, and no battery capacity detected. We also learned that the Settings app itself will show “tips” to the user when the battery capacity is degraded or undetectable, so the user doesn’t have to manually check the Battery Status page.

Battery health graphics

Mishal Rahman / Android Authority

Finally, we learned that Google is working on revealing more battery-related information to the operating system, such as part status and serial number. The part status has three values: Unsupported (the device cannot distinguish between the original battery and a replaced battery), Original (the device has the original battery it was manufactured with), or Replaced (the device has a replaced battery). The serial number is a string of 6 or more alphanumeric characters that uniquely identifies the battery.

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We don’t know if Google plans to use this new information for anything, and we’re hesitant to speculate that it will, since at this point, it hasn’t yet So commit this code to AOSP. At the very least, we know Android will supports Read the battery part status and serial number, provided that the battery displays this information to the operating system, and the vendor implements new copy From the health of the robot HAL.

Healthy HAL is the software responsible for bridging the gap between the OS APIs that read the battery/charging information (i.e. everything we talked about before) with the software that controls the battery/charging chips. Health HAL 2.0 needs to be implemented to support all of Android 14’s new battery health APIs like health status, which is why very few devices support this at the moment. Hopefully, once Android 15 rolls out next year, Google’s Pixel devices will be able to display battery health-related information like charge status but won’t use part status or serial number to discourage self-repair as Apple currently does.

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