Find and Fix Battery Drain on Android Phone

My cheap Android phone, an Alcatel OneTouch Flash Plus (AOFP), has been a great phone for me except for one annoying problem. The battery lasts a long time when actually in use, but then out of the blue it would suddenly start draining even when the phone is supposed to be idle.

This mysterious battery drain is really irritating. I would often charge the phone until full then leave it alone for a few hours. When I wake the phone I see that the battery level has dropped dramatically. The phone is also very hot to the touch. Heat is not good if you want your phone’s components to last for a long time.

What’s weird is that heavy usage like watching a video uses less charge than the mysterious drain that happens when the phone is supposed to be sleeping.

The Mysterious Alarm Manager

A bit of researching online tells me that the Android Alarm Manager is the one responsible for keeping the phone awake. This Android component is used by a lot of apps to do various functions when the phone is not awake.

The problem is when you go to Settings -> Battery you see that Alarm Manager is indeed the biggest battery drain but it doesn’t specify exactly which app is the cause.

An app that gives a more in-depth battery statistics is, unsurprisingly called, BetterBatteryStats. It is highly recommended on a lot of Android forums so I gave it a try.

I waited til the battery drain occurred again then I took a look at BetterBatteryStat’s Partial Wakelock list. I was disappointed when it still did not specify the offending app and simply lists AlarmManager as the biggest battery hog.

Finally, to find the cause follow these steps:

  • Download the Android Platform Tools on your PC.
  • Unzip the file to your root directory. Example: C:\
  • You will have a folder that looks like: C:\platform-tools\
  • Connect your phone to your PC through a USB cable.
  • On your PC, open the Command Prompt.
  • Type cd C:\platform-tools\ then Enter
  • Type adb shell dumpsys alarm > Alarm.txt then Enter
  • Look at the newly created Alarm.txt on your platform-tools folder.
  • Search for “Top Alarms”.
My Android Alarm Dump

I see one line that indicates an alarm function running for 5 hours while the others run in a matter of seconds. In my case I saw that the cause of the drain is an app called com.lewa.PIM. This is my phone’s default Contacts/SMS/Dialer app aka the Personal Information Manager.

Fixing the Battery Drain

Now that I found the app that’s causing the issue, I can uninstall it. Since the culprit is a very integral part of the phone, I would have to find a replacement first. I chose Contacts+ from Google Play Store. This app contains the Contacts, SMS, Dialer functions in one package. After I got it installed and set it as the Default SMS app I can now remove com.lewa.PIM.

Since what I plan to remove is a stock app, I can’t remove it the way I uninstall other normal apps. I used another app called Uninstaller Pro. With this app I could also first create a backup installer of what I’m about to remove so I can reinstall it in case something went wrong.

So far so good. My phone’s battery charge doesn’t mysteriously drain anymore.

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