Does Bluetooth drain the battery of your phone?
Bluetooth drain your battery? Of course all wireless technology needs power, but how much has never been determined.
Despite improvements in Bluetooth technology, there are still a lot of people who believe that their phone will last longer if Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC and many other technologies are turned off when not in use. it.
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In fact, these habits are very difficult to break. A lot of us turn off Wi-Fi when we’re out of the house or turn off Bluetooth when we’re no longer listening to music. But is that really necessary in modern “smart” technology? If Bluetooth is turned on without using it, how much battery is consumed? How about streaming music over Bluetooth? Will it consume more battery when using wired speakers or headphones? To find the most relevant answer, the Android Authority news site ran a number of tests on multiple phones.
How to test
To find out exactly how Bluetooth usage affects battery life, Android Authority has chosen 5 different 2020 smartphones, including Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus, Huawei P40 Pro, ZTE Axon 11, Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro and Realme X3 Superzoom. This tech website leaves them for use in two common cases and tracks the results with their internal testing software.
The first is the daily battery drain situation with the aim of finding out the answer to whether turning off Bluetooth really saves battery power. To do this, the Android Authority ran 2 tests. One test when turning off Bluetooth and another test is to turn on Bluetooth but not working (ie not connecting to anything) and compare the results. These tests have 3 cycles. The first cycle includes “trials”: 90 minutes of web surfing, 90 minutes of idle and 90 minutes of web surfing again. Then, to the second cycle, the phone will not be used for 16 hours. This cycle helps us to take a look at the amount of energy consumed during rest. The third cycle will repeat the tasks in the first cycle.
For the second test, they simulate a specific use case with higher Bluetooth needs and will determine the effect of Bluetooth on battery life when actively used. To simulate this, Android Authority has been tracking video playback for 4 hours straight – something you would do on a long flight. In this test, Android Authority turned off Bluetooth, then turned on Bluetooth but didn’t connect and finally watched video and audio stream over Bluetooth, using the basic SBC audio codec.
They lock the screen brightness at 200 nits to make sure the tests are run equally. Cellular data, NFC or everything else was disabled on each device for both tests, except that Wi-Fi was turned on in the first case to be able to surf the web.
Android Authority also takes average results to get a better view of Bluetooth battery consumption. All the charts in the article are based on average in tests performed on the 5 aforementioned devices.
So turning off Bluetooth really saves battery?
The answer is negligible.
During the 26 hours of “normal” testing, Android Authority concluded, turning on Bluetooth consumes only 1.8% compared to turning off Bluetooth. On average, the devices consumed 49.4% of the battery on the Bluetooth off test, while with Bluetooth enabled it was only 51.2%. Thus, we can conclude that, during a full battery cycle, Bluetooth usually consumes less than 4% of battery life. So turning it off will only add about 10-15 minutes of usage time for a device with at least 5 hours of screen on. This is completely unworthy.
There is a slight difference between the test devices. Huawei P40 Pro and Poco F2 Pro have the biggest difference between Bluetooth on and off, 3% difference. Meanwhile, Samsung Galaxy S20 and Realme Superzoom recorded slightly less power consumption with Bluetooth enabled.
The chart below will give you a more specific look:
It’s worth noting here that the battery consumption during 16 hours of idle is essentially the same. Of course, there will be errors. This difference falls to about 0.2%, regardless of whether Bluetooth is turned on or off. Meanwhile, on average, the devices had a fairly consistent 1% difference in battery consumption during the 4 hour 30 minute cycle of use. Obviously, this is too small, leaving us unable to see a difference in battery life.
This shows that, modern smartphones will have a mechanism to temporarily turn off Bluetooth when not in use. They only wake up and scan connected devices while your smartphone is in use. So, you really don’t have to worry about turning off Bluetooth when not in use.
How much battery does Bluetooth use?
As such, we are sure Bluetooth doesn’t really affect the battery in case it’s still turned on and not in use. So what about when using Bluetooth on the phone? 4 hours video playback test from Android Authority shows that the battery consumption level is not too much on all 5 devices.
Comparing between turning Bluetooth on and off but not connecting, the average battery consumption is only 1.6% for 4 hours. That number is still very small, but they show, it consumes more energy than the previous test. It’s also possible, because these devices are used continuously for a long day, so Bluetooth has less time to sleep.
Thus, with a fully charged battery cycle, the power consumption of watching videos with Bluetooth enabled but not connected has increased, on average, to about 6.6%. This number is still small but does not mean nothing. However, this case of continuous video playback is very rare in practice.
Interestingly, there are quite a few differences between these smartphones. Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is a smartphone with similar results both when turning on and off Bluetooth. Meanwhile, the Realme X3 Superzoom was hit the hardest, with 4% more battery drain over 4 hours of operation.
The reason for this discrepancy may be due to optimization of the smartphone’s hardware and software. The Exynos chip on the Galaxy S20 Plus and the Kirin on the Huawei P40 Pro uses a different transceiver than the Snapdragon SoCs found on other phones. Similarly, different Android software versions may have different wake-up algorithms and scan times for Bluetooth-connected devices. No device is on the same level in terms of battery consumption, but the result is that the difference between Bluetooth enabled and disabling is completely negligible.
Will using a Bluetooth headset drain your battery?
This is why the Android Authority does the second test. After all, that’s why most people use Bluetooth.
The results show that broadcasting the sound via Bluetooth consumes the same energy as playing the sound through the speakers or headphones and Bluetooth is turned off. On average, the devices recorded a 0.22% increase in energy consumption when playing audio over Bleutooth. Neither the Galaxy S20 Plus nor the Poco F2 Pro noticed a noticeable difference in battery consumption during its 4-hour listening time.
The reason for this is because the Bluetooth audio encoding algorithms run quite well on the digital signal processors (DSPs) found in modern smartphones that consume very little power. At the same time, the amplifiers will turn off when playing audio via Bluetooth. This is to balance the energy consumed from the Bluetooth wireless chip. The louder you hear, the greater this energy consumption will be.
What comes after testing
Android Authority testing is only moderately accurate, not taking into account every possible Bluetooth use. Even so, it does show us how Bluetooth affects battery life from a broad perspective. There is still a small difference in battery consumption between situations when not using the smartphone and when the screen is turned on, but we are talking about a few minutes difference between on and off.
It is important that Bluetooth doesn’t seem to affect battery life when inactive. Therefore, it will not drain your battery for long periods of inactivity or accidentally leave it overnight.
Most users won’t see any significant battery drain if they forget to turn off Bluetooth. Turning it off is still a good idea to avoid connecting to unwanted devices, and even if you’re too concerned about security, but if it’s just for battery reasons, think again because it really doesn’t. How much does it cost ..
In short, Bluetooth doesn’t drain the smartphone’s battery too much. You really don’t need to worry about that.