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What drains your phone battery? Research identifies which phone elements consume the most energy

Experts at Leeds Beckett have identified what drains your mobile phone battery, and set out a series of guidelines for developers to use phone applications that are more battery-efficient.

The research, which was led by the School of Computer, Creative Technologies and Engineering, looked at a number of applications and what impact they had on phone battery consumption.

Professor Colin Pattinson, Dean of the School, and Dr Ah-Lian Kor, Senior Lecturer, completed the research alongside student Vlad Cristea from PERCCOM – a masters programme for computing and sustainable development - who is currently a Windows Phone developer.

Professor Pattinson said: “The purpose of this research paper is to identify which element of mobile phones consumes most of the energy.

“Each operating system has different specifics and developments, from Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Jolla.

“We looked at Windows Phone as, according to research, its popularity will increase greatly in the next few years and due to the significance battery consumption to mobile phone users.

“It is also important to consider this as ICT produces two per cent of the total energy consumption in the world.”

Professor Colin Pattinson

Colin Pattinson

The research found using lighter colours in apps uses more battery power than using darker colours.

It also confirmed that using static images, i.e. pictures, uses less battery power than animated ones, i.e. gifs.

Storing images locally within your phone also requires less energy to access them than accessing images on a cloud storage platform.

Dr Ah-Lian Kor, Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing, Creative Technologies and Engineering, said: “This research is important because it will help promote environmental awareness amongst mobile phone users.

“So far, we have uncovered 14 guiding rules that could help reduce battery consumption of mobile phones.

“In the future, we hope to look to extend the number of battery consumption reduction guiding rules and also investigate the battery consumption for all apps in Google app store.”

The 14 rules include: 

  • Use darker colors in Windows Phone applications
  • Use PNG format instead of XAML format for displaying images
  • Use “CreateOption” attribute for all the pictures
  • Use static objects instead of animated ones as much as possible
  • Use decoder to size when the dimension of the image control is known
  • Use asynchronous loading for pictures
  • Use Visibility property for hiding an object instead of Opacity property
  • Choose a determinate progress bar if the context allows this
  • Use “Resource” value when developing mobile applications
  • Use multi-threads in a mobile application
  • Use iterative functions instead of recursive ones
  • User images stored locally
  • Use JPG format if the picture are stored in clouds
  • Process data locally


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