Moto G battery life problem

Problem

This week, I found that the battery life of my Moto G (2nd Gen) was suddenly deteriorating. It used to last 1-2 days before. Now it was running out of juice in a mere 8 hours!

Checking which apps were consuming battery did not help, since the apps shown there and their percentage consumption all looked normal. It was just that the battery was draining too fast.

Solution

Turns out that if you suddenly face a diminished battery life, then it is a software problem. This can be caused by one of these:

  • You updated Android to a new version.
  • Some Google apps updated through Play Store.
  • You disabled some Google apps.

I had indeed disabled some Google apps which I felt unnecessary. These core apps might be necessary for optimum Android performance.

One of the solutions to this problem is to clear the cache of all apps. This did not work for me. The other suggestion is to do a factory reset. This is a huge hassle, but it worked and battery life is back to normal now.

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Classic Calculator app for Android

20150406_classiccalc

The unique selling point of the Classic Calculator app for Android is that it provides the actual UI of several famous and classic calculators. It shows an actual photo of the classic calculator model as the UI. This seems a bit tacky, but is quite functional once you start using it.

The Andromeda skin in this app is exactly the first scientific calculator I ever used. It was a clone of an older Casio calculator built and sold by Ajanta in India. Money was tight and I had bought this instead of the Casio calculators which everyone else had since it was almost half priced. The buttons were small and shaky, but it got the job done for several years. After I lost it, I bought a more contemporary Casio scientific calculator, which appears in this app as the Pegasus skin. I was quite delighted to discover both of the calculators I used in this app.

Note that the app is very heavy, it takes a while to load up. It shows ads, in fact your first click after loading the app will display an ad. So, I can only recommend this app for only those people who really miss a particular calculator which is available in this app as a skin.

Tried with: Classic Calculator 1.1.95, Android 5.0.2 (Lollipop) and Moto G 2nd Gen (XT1098)

PowerCalc app for Android

20150406_powercalc

Scientific Calculator (previously known as PowerCalc) is an excellent scientific calculator app for Android. It retains the simplicity and familiarity of RealCalc‘s UI while having lots more calculation buttons. The equation editor can handle brackets nicely, the display is multi-line showing both the equation and its result and there is even history. If you use a scientific calculator every day, then I recommend this over the simpler RealCalc.

Tried with: PowerCalc 1.6.2, Android 5.0.2 (Lollipop) and Moto G 2nd Gen (XT1068)

RealCalc Scientific Calculator app for Android

20150406_realcalc

RealCalc Scientific Calculator is my favorite scientific calculator app for Android. The UI is beautiful and mimics most of the classic scientific calculators. The app is light and loads up quickly. There are a few settings that can be adjusted. This is a free app, but there is a Pro version with more customizations which is a paid app. However, the app is not naggy about the upgrade and does not show any ads either.

Tried with: RealCalc Scientific Calculator 2.0.3, Android 5.0.2 (Lollipop) and Moto G 2nd Gen (XT1068)

Player FM app for Android

20150320_playerfm

I listen to a few podcasts regularly using a RSS feed reader. Recently, I decided to try the Player FM podcast app on Android to make this more convenient. I must say that it has turned out to be a great little app for podcasts.

  • Discovering my podcasts worked directly, I did not have to bother with any URL or RSS feed. Search for podcast name and add it to Subscriptions.

  • Latest episodes of any subscription are directly downloaded and added to a Downloads playlist by the app.

  • The app can be configured to download only over wifi, if you want that.

  • There might be times when you want to listen to a particular episode from a podcast you do not want to subscribe to. Player FM can handle that too. This can be added to your Downloads playlist too.

  • The playlist will maintain the last 10 episodes from each Subscription. Episodes which you play close to the end or to the end are automatically marked as played.

  • The app can also be configured to be offline all the time. You can make it download only when you want it to.

Tried with: Player FM 2.5.4.3, Android 5.0.2 and Moto G 2nd Gen (XT1068)

MediaHouse UPnP/DLNA Browser

MediaHouse UPnP/DLNA Browser is a UPnP/DLNA server and client for Android. It can both serve the content on your Android device to your home network or receive media streams from a UPnP/DLNA server on your home network.

I found the UI to be straightforward and convenient compared to the complicated UI of other such apps. Videos can be played through an external player. Thankfully, music files in a folder can be queued up to play in ordered or shuffled mode. Just long-press the folder to get the menu where you can do this.

The free version has a small restriction though: the number of music files that can be added to playlist is limited.

Tried with: MediaHouse UPnP/DLNA Browser 1.5.0, Android 5.0.2 and Nexus 7 (2013)

UPnPlay

UPnPlay is an UPnP/DLNA client that can be installed on Android devices from here. This app is primarily designed to play the music from your UPnP/DLNA media server. It has a simple music player UI with album art, playlist and the common operations (next track, shuffle and repeat). It can also be used to play video files, by using an external renderer.

The main advantage of UPnPlay is that it is free, has no ads and no restrictions. There are other free media clients that have far better UI and features, but they all come restricted (like playlist size or the number of items that can be played) until a Pro or paid version is used.

I primarily use UPnPlay to play music. The UI is rudimentary and clunky. But, do spend a few minutes pushing the buttons and you will fully understand the interface. It is actually quite intuitive once you learn it.

The only missing feature was that I cannot add all the files recursively under a root folder to the playlist. I created a workaround for this by creating M3U playlists for those directories and placed them in my root music directory. UPnP/DLNA supports such playlists and the files in it can be added in UPnPlay to its playlist in one touch.

Tried with: UPnPlay 0.0.93, Android 5.0.2 and Moto G2 (XT1068)

How to sync Gmail contacts to Android

Sync contacts in Android
Sync contacts in Android

You might find that the People app in Android does not sync the contacts you added in Gmail as soon as you do it. This might be because you turned off automatic sync for your Google account in Android.

In your Android device, go to Settings -> Accounts -> Google. You can turn on automatic sync here, if you want. Else, tap on the Google login name and then tap on the Contacts option to just sync only that. Your Gmail contacts and the People contacts in Android should get synced now.

Tried with: Android 4.4.4 and Moto G

How to insert Emoji by typing words in Android

Insert Emoji using words in Android
Insert Emoji using words in Android

Android has support to input Emoji by typing the words that describe that emotion. But, by default this feature seems to be not installed and is hard to find.

To install and use it:

  • Go to Settings > Language and input.

  • You must be able to see Google Keyboard here. Press the Settings icon to the right of it.

  • Go to Text correction > Add-on dictionaries > Emoji for English words. Press it and an Install button appears. Press it to install this dictionary.

  • Once installed, Emoji that is relevant to the words you are typing appear in the Suggestion bar above the keyboard. Click the Emoji to insert it.

Tried with: Android 4.4.4 and Moto G

How to insert Emoji in Android

Emoji keyboard in Android
Emoji keyboard in Android

Inserting emoji, the Japanese emoticons, is easy in apps like Whatsapp. It has a special icon for Emoji to the left of the message box which can be used to insert these emoticons. The stock Android keyboard does have Emoji support, but it is hidden away and is not displayed most of the times.

Emoji can be inserted in any app while typing any text using the default Android keyboard. Just press and hold the Enter or Send key. A smiley face appears. Without releasing your finger press, move to the smiley face and release your finger. You get the emoji keyboard now, where you can choose whatever emoticon you want to insert.

Tried with: Android 4.4.4 and Moto G