Android 12 Brings Welcome Tweaks To Adaptive Battery Charging Feature For Pixel Phones

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Google introduced Adaptive Charging in Android 11 for Pixel smartphones with the December Pixel Feature Drop, but it had several limitations and restrictions. For starters, Adaptive Charging was introduced to help preserve your battery health by preventing the phone from quickly reaching and staying at 100 percent charge.

To enable Adaptive Charging, your phone must be placed on a charger after 9 pm, and an alarm must be set between the hours of 5 am and 10 am. In theory, Android 11 uses artificial intelligence to slowly charge your battery so that it would reach 100 percent just before your alarm goes off in the morning. However, in practice, many Pixel owners found that their battery was charging to 100 percent 4 to 5 hours before their alarm was set to blare, which defeated the purpose of Adaptive Charging.

That behavior is changing with Android 12, which is welcome news for users that use Adaptive Charging. With Android 12 Beta 4, which was introduced to testers last week, Pixel phones will now fast charge to 80 percent and camp out at that charge state.

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New Adaptive Charging behavior in Android 12 (courtesy skyecolin22/Reddit)

"Then, it charges for about 90 minutes at 6% per hour (so approximately until it reaches 90%)," explains Redditor skyecolin22. "[It] then charges for around 30 minutes at around 25% per hour until it's fully charged, finishing about 90 minutes before your alarm."

This behavior in Android 12 is vastly superior to the implementation in Android 11, but additional tweaks could still be made. For example, while reaching 100 percent charge 90 minutes before an alarm is a big step up from 4 to 5 hours, Google could tighten up that gap a little more to further preserve battery health. And the stipulations that Pixel phones must be placed on a charger after 9 pm with specific alarm windows are also a bit restrictive.

Apple iPhones have a similar feature called Optimized Battery Charging, and it doesn't add any stipulations to function. Instead, it simply learns users' behavior using AI, keeping the battery charged at 80 percent overnight and only hitting 100 percent right before it "thinks" that the users will pick up the phone to start their day. In practice, Apple's Optimized Battery Charging works quite well without the "training wheels," and we're confident that Google will get there as well with Android 12.

Android 12 is currently in the "Platform Stability" phase of its development. There's one more scheduled beta/RC build before the final release bows this fall for consumers.