The December Feature Drop introduced a trio of smart features to better optimize Pixel usage. Adaptive Charging, which has your Pixel top up slowly overnight to preserve battery health, is the most significant, but there are key requirements to get it to work.
Adaptive Charging helps preserve battery health over time by dynamically controlling how quickly a Pixel device charges. Just plug in your phone in the evening, set an alarm and the Adaptive Charging will work its magic.
This feature steadily charges your phone over the course of several hours rather than working as quickly as possible to get to 100%. Since the device won’t be in use for an extended period, there is little concern that users will be upset at how long it’s taking to fully charge.
Available on the Pixel 4/XL, Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a (5G), and Pixel 5, Adaptive Charging will help prolong your battery so that it can better maintain the original capacity over the course of owning that device.
It can be manually enabled/disabled from Settings > Battery > Adaptive Battery > Adaptive charging, while Google will note when it’s active at the bottom of the Ambient/Always-on Display. From Google’s description, all users need to do is (1) charge at night and (2) have an alarm.
A Google support document provides specifics regarding both points. Namely, your phone has to start charging after 9 p.m., while the alarm must be set between 5-10 a.m.
Important: When you charge your phone after 9 PM, with an active alarm set for 5–10 AM, your phone uses Adaptive charging. Otherwise, your phone charges normally.
That should align with most people’s schedules, but there are always edge cases, like those that work at night and sleep during the day. Meanwhile, it’s also an obstacles for those that rise very early or go without alarms on weekends.
As such, Google setting certain hours is a detriment. For comparison, Apple’s Optimized Battery Charging works more generally by predicting when an iOS device “will be connected to a charger for an extended period of time.”
In theory, Google being explicitly aware of your alarm should allow the feature to work at anytime, not just at night. Hopefully, Google expands Adaptive Charging to work with the schedule of more Pixel owners in the future.
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