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Tip: Turn Off Global Roaming on Your DROID3 and Save Battery

Not that you will need to find 150 different battery saving tweaks on the DROID3 like many had to do with the Thunderbolt, but this is one that is built right in and can be applied in less than 30 seconds.

Since the D3 is a global device, it has both GSM and CDMA radios inside that allow it to find a connection even if you leave the U.S.  One thing you may not have been aware of though, is the fact that Verizon has blocked the phone from accessing GSM networks here in the states.  So if you aren’t headed over seas any time soon, why should your phone need to have that radio active?  If you leave your phone on its “Global” setting, there is a chance that it will constantly be trying to find both CDMA and GSM networks to access which could in turn cause your battery to not last as long.  With this simple tip, you can turn off the “Global” setting and tell it to strictly use CDMA networks.

To set your phone to CDMA-only, do the following:

Menu>Settings>Wireless & networks>Mobile networks>Network mode>CDMA

Any other battery saving tips that you have become aware of?  Have any of you tried this already and noticed an extended battery life?

Cheers Lonnie!

  • It helps. A little.

    I was in love with this phone for a day. Then I realized even with minimal use it barely lasts a workday. I turned this off immediately after I got the phone, cell standby still used consistently over 50%. It’s gotta be a software bug, cell standby is the top battery drain on pretty much everyone’s D3. The worst is the fact that motorola doesn’t sell an external battery charger for the BF5X like the OG’s BP6X. I always have a spare battery on hand for my OG in case I’m on the phone all day and kill my battery before the end. I can’t do that with the 3.

    My job relies on my having a phone at all times. If my phone turns into a shiny brick because the battery died, I might as well go home. Last night I switched back to the OG droid. It’s slow and the keyboard sucks compared to the 3. But at the end of the day, I don’t care how great a phone is, If it has the battery life of a potato, I’m going to stick with what works.

    I’m holding out for a week or so to see if moto releases a patch for it. Until then, it gets to sit in the corner and think about what it’s done. If moto decides not to do anything about this, I will return it, go back to my OG for good, and wait for something better to come along. It’s a shame such a fantastic device had to be ruined by this. Way to lose customers, Motorola. You seem to be getting better and better at that by the day.

    • Scott

      Motorola does offer a BF6X battery, well verizon does. You can buy it with the back cover for 49.99 on their website. I bought it and it does help the battery last longer and does not add any size to the D3. If anything it may feel a tiny bit heavier, but definitely worth it for a few more hours of usage.

  • Booboolala2000

    I returned the d3 because it had less battery life than my charge.

  • Anonymous

    I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, GrabPenny.com

  • Romma1

    I just did the same thing for my Droid Incredible 2 because of this post…. I hope I get better life now.

    • Woojoo83

      make sure you also UNcheck the “enable always-on mobile data” box as well. that will really boost your battery life without affecting any sending/receiving of emails, texts, data, etc.

      • Anonymous

        where is this setting? I can’t seem to find it. 

  • battery saver mode seems to help.  It turns off all radios after 15 minutes of inactivity.  Phone can go for a while with this on.  Take only a couple seconds to relocate wireless signals when you turn the screen on too.  

    Also, NOT picking it up to jack with it all the time helps.  

  • James_Ever

    Im really surprised by those having battery life problems. Yesterday I went 14hrs 48 min with 40% battery life still left and haven’t even touched the settings to CDMA only. Well I hope it improves those with battery problems. OT: when your device shipped did it originally come from Canada? I thought that was strange that it didn’t ship from TX, or Memphis like it usually does.

    • Mine shipped from PA.

      • meth feld

        Thanks for the tip…..Im charging my phone about twice a day with light to moderate use,,,,,but i have everything on; bt, gps etc etc    Whats the point of buying a smart phone if you have to keep all of the good stuff turned off all the time??  lol   cell standby/phone idle is a bit of a head scratcher but i/m sure the techy guru’s know all about it

        ps  thanks for the site….im on the edge of being addicted haha

  • Tol

    If only the D3 had LTE. It would be the perfect phone!

    • I’m sure they’ll release a Droid 3 LTE next year like they did with releasing the Droid 2 Global.

      • Rick

        I sure hope so. A physical keyboard provides a whole lot more than just simple text input for power users.

        If it’s next year though, it might come out being outdated again. I at least want my phone to get outdated after a month of getting it.

  • Frow86

    ive found that removing the sim card work the best cuz it locks the phone into cdma, even with the setting in cdma if you lose singnal it wants you to turn on global and that drains the battery

    • Hmm. I’ll have to check this out.. I’ve never been out of coverage so I guess I wouldn’t notice the nag message.

      • Removed the SIM card. Interesting thing is that it doesn’t block the menu options to select Global or GSM/UMTS with the card not even in there. It does notify when you boot back up with a card back in again, though. It reverts the setting to Global. I just yanked the card again because I don’t travel overseas so there’s no point in having it in there since Verizon blocks AT&T and T-Mobile anyway. Killer weight reduction mod!

  • CW

    thanks for the tip. just did this for my D Pro which also suffers from sucky battery life

  • Nick Moore

    Fantastic post! I was just looking over my battery usage and saw how crazy much cell standby was using, why didn’t i do this sooner..

  • Stephen D

    Got my Droid 3 today. Activated it, and then the touchscreen and buttons stopped working…now, I have to wait until Friday for the replacement. Such a tease….

  • What’s with the Thunderbolt hate?  So they shipped with wimpy 1450mAh batteries.  All peeps have to do is go to http://www.HTCexpress.com and get a pair of the 1700mAh units like I did.  Rocking 4G all day, every day.

    • Some people don’t like carrying and swapping 2 batteries around. I refuse to do it myself. Also, the 1700mAh isn’t *that* much more charge.. only about 15% more actually.

  • wes

    Just changed this on the Droid 2 Global, anything to squeeze some extra juice…

  • Eric

    can this be done with D Inc 2?

    • Anonymous


  • OG Droid
    • That’s going to be a $650 phone without contract. Ouch.

    • This is fake my friend 🙁

      • OG Droid

        Well that sucks….I thought it looked a little fishy with the old bionic screen on the new form.

  • jnt

    The Inc2 also has this setting… guessing it can have the same affect there?

  • Sweet! Thanks for the tip! Used this tip on my wife’s DI2.

  • Elbuort

    This doesn’t sound right to me. Similar option exists on the Droid 2 Global, which defaults to the global setting as well. The phone (both phones actually…I think) are disabled for global usage without an unlock code from Verizon…which you become eligible to receive after 6 months of billing.
    But all that aside, this is not wifi scanning; I don’t think either phone is actively, or even passively scanning for a GSM signal. While harmless, since these are CDMA in the States, I don’t think this will show an improvement in battery life. Basically I am not surprised a few people aren’t seeing a resultant improvement.

    • Anonymous

      They’re not disabled for global usage.  The SIM card slot is just locked and can only work with the card provided by Verizon.  If you want to use foreign SIM cards, then you have to be a customer in good standing (6 months with no problems) for Verizon to give you the code to unlock the SIM slot.  But straight out of the box, it does work with GSM networks abroad on Verizon’s provided SIM card with their roaming rates.

      And when in Global Mode, the GSM radio is primed and read to go for whenever the CDMA signal drops out.  In the US, the GSM bands are locked out, so you’ll have the phone trying to find both CDMA and GSM signals.  Putting it into CDMA only mode deactivates the GSM radio.  Global mode allows it to remain on.  So setting the phone to CDMA only mode most certainly can lead to an increase in battery life.

      • Lakerzz

        You took the words right out of my mouth. 😀

  • Anonymous


  • Darkpsycho

    I’ve noticed this if you do it on the Droid Incredible 2

  • Unexpected62

    I did this last night and my battery is still getting raped. Cell Standby is ALWAYS at the top of the list for battery usage, way over 50%. 

    I’m at 80% right now after 1 hour and 52 minutes off the charger, and my display has been on for 22 min.

    • Do you have poor signal? That can cause a lot of battery drain.

      • Anonymous

        Poor signal will also cause the GSM radio to run more often if the phone is in Global Mode.

    • Courtney Poucher

      My cell standby is 44%.  I have 15% battery left after 13 hours.

  • Anonymous

    Where could I find the Thunderbolt energy saving tips?  Even switching to 3g with LTE on/off I can actually watch the battery give me the middle finger.

    • Anonymous

      Just turn off mobile networks under the wireless and networks menu when you’re not using the Internet. I can easily make my Tbolt last well over 24 hours with moderate use!

    • Anonymous

      extended battery and cm7

  • the thunderbolt needs this for switching from CDMA to LTE WITHOUT using LET onoff

    • Anonymous

      Didn’t the latest OTA add such an option? (My Thunderbolt is running a custom rom, so I can’t check myself.)

      • Anonymous

        The last OTA update did add similar functionality to the Thunderbolt.

    • Anonymous

      I use LTE Switch. LTE ON/Off made my phone all screwy. Wouldn’t let my phone send or receive data on 3g or 4g, just CDMA. 

  • Anonymous

    I did the same thing on my Droid Incredible 2. Only problem is that when it can’t find a signal it asks if I want to switch to Global Mode. Even when I select, “remember my selection,” it never does……

  • JoeFishNC

    I just turned mine off…in 8 hours I am usually at 70%, with no charging…maybe longer NOW !!!
    If you use it heavily or talk on it a lot, I would imagine the battery wouldn’t last, just like any device…

  • Anonymous

    Wont that disable 3g as well?

    • KevinC

      why would turning off global disable 3g?

    • Anonymous

      No, there are two radios, both are capable of 3G they’re just different technologies and frequencies, one of which Verizon doesn’t use.

      • Anonymous

        Gotcha. Thanks. How’s Holly?

    • Anonymous

      No, there are two radios, both are capable of 3G they’re just different technologies and frequencies, one of which Verizon doesn’t use.

  • I wish this worked for me. My battery went from 100% to 40% in 7 hours. I just returned the phone today. Hope the bionic is better.

    • Droiiiiiid

      Thats actually pretty good battery life, giving your phone 12-13 hours of battery….

      • Sorry, but I just can’t consider that to be good. I got 3 days out of my droid 1 with extended battery. This one is a slave to the battery juice. I understand its a more powerful phone, and therefore uses more battery, but is it 66% more powerful? No.

        • Anonymous

          It’s probably…more than 66% more powerful. 

        • Anonymous

          Something doesn’t sound right, was the phone hot all the time even when sitting idle?  Was that with heavy usage?  Robert claims he’s getting 36 hours with his just prior to your post.

  • Robert Crandall

    Ya know, I saw this option but didn’t want to mess with it. I uninstalled ATK and installed JuiceDefender, and I was at 30% battery after 36 hours this morning. I was skeptical at first, but the battery life is pretty good. Happy about the purchase 🙂

    • Courtney Poucher

      Wow.  That’s impressive.  What kind of data manager settings do you have?

  • Duck

    Was the first thing I did when I received my Droid3 🙂