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Shall we make a list of known battery draining apps?

batteryconsumption
appissues
battery
cpu-processor
wikimetadiscussion
Tags: #<Tag:0x00007fa003989040> #<Tag:0x00007fa003988e10> #<Tag:0x00007fa003988c30> #<Tag:0x00007fa003988a00> #<Tag:0x00007fa003988848>

#1

We have many topics about battery drain. These often contains posts of the kind “turned out App X was the problem!”

To make things easier we’re trying to build one list of apps that are known battery killers. If possible, we will add solutions and alternatives. For a more detailed explanation, see this post below

Reply below with your own discoveries and/or links to posts. I will keep updating the list this first post, linking them to messages with more detailed info!

Tags, with explanation:

  • inherent apps whose functionality inherently needs a lot of battery to work
  • needless lazy inefficient programming, bugs, tracking and other user-hostile nonsense
  • confirmed x N number of users that have reported this issue
  • affects everyone
  • situational some users mentions issues, some mention it does not cause problems, or the app requires specific use to cause a problem
  • when used only drains battery when in active use
  • possible background drain either it doesn’t always happen, or isn’t confirmed to always cause issues
  • constant background drain

TODO: add links to best battery optimisation guide topics here.

Chat Apps

Chat Apps need to poll, or receive push messages. Furthermore, a lot of them use the camera these days.

  • SnapChat universal, confirmed x ∞,inherent AND needless, when used AND possible background drain (read more)

Navigation Apps

Navigation typically requires a bright screen and the GPS. When using high-precision the location is also determined by listening to WiFi and BlueTooth.

Some also let you map the world in the background, but that of course will cause them to drain the battery as well.

  • Google Maps universal, confirmed x ∞, inherent, when used, possible background drain (read more)

Browsers

[TODO]

Camera Apps

[TODO]

Google and System Apps

  • Installing anything through Google Play Store needs research, "confirmed" x 1, situational, when used (read more)

:pencil2: List of known battery draining apps
#2

Great initiative. I might add more but here’s my first thought.

Certain navigation software (such as Google Maps) keeps the screen on if navigation is being used, and the phone gets very hot and drains rather fast.


#3

Should we distinguish between types of apps that basically have to use up a lot of battery (e.g. navigation apps) and apps that don’t provide any service in return for the battery drain (e.g. facebook)?
And between apps that drain your battery no matter what and apps that can be restricted to at least not drain your battery when they are not active?


#4

@JobLeonard

That sounds very good. :ok_hand:

But first it could be helpful for your postings as well to get rid of this parrot sitting inside of your keyboard casing…:grin:

Does this approach exclude apps going beserk after an update?

@paulakreuzer

This surely would provide a better overview and keep things clearer.
Also I think the app version and OS and patch level should be mentioned. Afaik Facebook used to work until it somewhen went crazy on Marshmallow.
Maybe it again would work properly on Nougat.

Generally I think this could only be a rough overview for reference as each device is highly individual. There will hardly be two exactly equal units with all the same software (versions) installed and also the overall settings (unless one keeps two or more FP2).
Cross-compatibility is my thought here. Someone may have installed another app working as it should but some other starts being buggy. Afaik the Facebook app did not start misbehaving on every device, but some ran into troubles after an OS security update. So it wasn´t quite clear were to start the troubleshooting.

Finally solution(s) given on how to keep the app usable without having to “force stop” it at last.


FP2 reboots in certain wifi networks
#5

Pokemon Go is a major battery drain, though I don’t think it’s one that goes unnoticed.


#6

@JeroenH, @paulakreuzer: Good suggestions, I iterated on them a bit, what do you think?

@Patrick1: LOL, that repetition thing happens a lot when I get tired (it’s supposedly related to my ADD). Thanks for pointing it out, keep the corrections coming! :wink:

The explanation will be put into a post below, so the top comment can become a pure “list” in the end. I have a verbosity issue (did I mention ADD?)


#7

Explanation of this topic

We have many topics about battery drain. These often contains posts of the kind “turned out App X was the problem!”

To make things easier we’re trying to build one list of apps that are known battery killers. If possible, we will add solutions and alternatives.

reply below with your own discoveries and/or links to posts. I will keep updating this first post to include them!

See this post below for an explanation of what we need.

Furthermore, let’s also add some more informative “tags” to the apps listed here (updated with feedback from the comments below)

  • Necessity
  • Confidence that the app is problematic
  • Does it affect everyone? (related, but not quite the same)
  • Only when using, or background drain?
  • Source

Inherent to functionality or… ?

  • Apps that inherently need a lot of battery to work
  • Needless battery drain (lazy inefficient programming, bugs)

Example: an app like SnapChat constantly uses the screen + camera + many CPU/GPU-intensive filters, so what do you expect? On the other hand, it can still be interesting to see how SnapChat behaves as a background app (see below)

Confidence that the app causes an issue

  • confirmed: at least two users, preferably more
  • possible: have been reported by one person only

Affects everyone?

Modern technology is complex yo! This makes technology behave in not-quite deterministic ways. That’s why we have to rely on real-world data. So sometime apps really cause issue on one phone, but not on the other. It could depend on what you do with the app. On app version. Whether it’s F-Droid or Google Play version? Could be OS related, or subtle differences in hardware.

  • affects everyone: Battery issue seems to affect everyone with the app. Example: SnapChat, as mentioned, inherently needs power to do its thing, so everyone using it is affected.
  • situational: some users mentions issues, some don’t.
    • Example: Bacon Cam bypasses the Camera2 API. However, in the process, it utterly drains the battery like crazy (even if it is used while charging!) when some of its more advanced features like multi-exposure is used. On my phone I simply can’t use it because it just kills the phone even if I start out at 100% with a charger.

Only when using, or background drain?

  • When used
  • Possible background drain (when it doesn’t always happen, or isn’t confirmed to do so yet)
  • Constant background drain

At one point I discovered that the Firefox beta used to have (and may still have, I haven’t checked recently) a bug where telemetry was always on, even if turned off, and using 5% in the background. This is different from, say, a camera app like Bacon Cam that only causes problems while running. The latter may be worth it to some, the former probably pisses everyone off.

Aso, not that active and passive battery drain may both apply.

Source

  • Who contributed it to this list?
  • Link to original source Was it first mentioned elsewere on this forum, or the rest of the internet?

This isn’t super-solid science, but sourcing information still matters! Also, a bit of appreciation in the sense that your contributions will be written down is always nice :). Maybe it adds some “gamification” where people will try to find and analyze more apps!

PS: Note that I don’t browse the forums every day, so don’t freak out if I take a week or so to react to your contribution!


#8

Google Maps

universal confirmed x ∞ inherent when used possible background drain

Causes: location, screen, CPU, downloading map data, background tracking

Workarounds: Reduce brightness, WiFi only and/or Offline maps, turn off location history(?)

Alternatives: Maps, OsmAnd~ (note: inherent battery drain remains, no idea about programming efficiency)

Aside from all the other uses, Google Maps tracks your movement if you let it. This may cause extra battery drain.

It also constantly asks for microphone access without this being activated, which not only makes me suspicious but wonder if it just activates all sensors in the FP (the microphone does not demand any significant amount of energy though)

Creating offline Maps

  • Tap the menu icon on left of the search bar (aka hamburger icon)
  • Scroll down to Offline maps
  • Tap Select Your Map
  • Select size of area you wish to download
    • NOTE: depending on zoom levels, maps might not download all information down to the deepest zoom. Especially in bigger cities it might be worth it to “tile” zoomed in areas.

#9

SnapChat

universal
confirmed x ∞
inherent
needless
when used
possible background drain

Causes: screen usage, camera usage, filters.

Workarounds: reduce brightness, don’t have the camera side open unless required, avoid filters

Snapchat is based around using the camera (there is a notable “click” when switching to camera view), and the filters can be CPU/GPU intensive. Historically it has not been programmed efficiently, even though they claim to try to improve it. Since it requires a connection to receive messages it may add background drain, but this is not confirmed yet.


#10

Installing anything through Google Play Store

needs more research
confirmed x 1
situational
when used

Possible causes: decompression may be heavy on the CPU, perhaps some microSD cards are more demanding

Workaround: none, except try to install what you need ahead of time and only update while charging.

(I’m going to abuse my “authority” and use my own confirmation here)

When installing or updating apps the battery level can drop by 10%-20% for what is supposed to be an update of a few megabytes. Not confirmed by others, more research is needed.

Originally, I presumed this was due to file-by-file patching, which is extra demanding on the CPU (but saves data). However, FbF patching only happens when charging and with auto-updates, and this also applies to manual installations. Also, it has not been confirmed by others. So the cause of the problem is a bit of a mystery.

Currently, two hypotheses exist: compression levels vary per app, so some may be very draining to unpack. Furthermore, maybe microSD cards do not all use the same amount of battery, making it possible that installing an app to them is more draining on some FP models. I use a SanDisk Extreme 64GiB, which is supposed to be really fast to read/write to (for photography purposes) but that could come at the price of needing more battery power to write.


#11

As you might notice, I’m trying to play with the formatting a bit. Top list is just:

  • name of app
  • tags
  • link to message with more info.

The messages then follow a certain template as well. What do you think?


#12

Why not make it a table?
Example:

universal confirmed inherent background source
Google Maps (✓) [1] [2]
Snapchat (✓) [3]

This way the Wiki could be just one post (wikis work best that way) and the source links points to posts here.


#13

Because I hadn’t thought of that :smiley:

EDIT: I’d still organize it in different tables per category though, because that also gives an opportunity to explain why some apps are inherently problematic (navigation apps for example).


#14

The table is a great idea.

@JobLeonard
The formatting in post #7 is much better to read than the first posting, so I would opt for reformatting that opening post.

Not so sure, if it’s a feasible idea to plan for giving a number of how many users have reported an issue. There will be enough work to do in keeping the list up to date with new apps, updates of old apps and distinguishing between the diferent appearances of problems to keep such a counter up to date. And I have my doubts, that it really adds information, as I guess, that many users read the topic, uninstall the mentioned apps and never report it.
Therefore - in my opinion - one user stating “Since I uninstalled this app or did xyz on my phone my battery lasts for ages!” would be enough.

Otherwise: Thx for the great idea and opening this thread/wiki. :heart_eyes:


#15

I agree, and I will, but right now I should be working. Also, what I meant was that I still would split it into a table per category, because that also gives an opportunity to explain why some apps are inherently problematic (navigation apps for example).

Don’t worry, I was planning to add even single-user reports anyway! You’re probably right that getting solid reports on it is problematic for the reasons you mention, but I think at least a 1, 2, 3+ count would be useful. It reduces the possibility of misattribution (uninstalling multiple apps at once when only one of them caused a problem). Imagine one person says “this app was a problem” and then another replies “I tried uninstalling, no difference”. Multiple confirmations is also an indication of whether it’s set-up specific or not.


#16

I totally agree, and this is a very important point.
My approach would just be, that such discussions/different reports decide on the status “universal/inherent”. It was just about saving you the trouble to start counting or searching the forum for reports on the apps, as such stuff ever once in a while is mentioned as an afterthought in a thread not connected to this topic.


#17

Excellent idea!
One suggestion for the list, though it’s not an app: the biggest battery drain by far for me is the Wifi Scanning. After an OS update (not after every reboot) often my FP2 runs really hot. It’s always
Settings -> Location -> menu (3 dots) -> Scan -> Wifi-scanning.
Switch that of, problem solved.

On older OS versions this setting is difficult to find, I think it’s
Settings -> Wifi -> turn OFF wifi -> click a link that appears -> disable wifi-scanning


#18

Here are my two cents:
I had two episodes of extremely fast battery drain so far (one I posted about here: https://forum.fairphone.com/t/weird-battery-drain-episode, 45% of charge were gone in 5 minutes), and in both occasions, OsmAnd~ was running (in the foreground, but battery drain continued when display was switched off). I have to say though that I use OsmAnd extensively, and except for these two occasions without any real battery issues. So, potentially this is caused by a very seldomly occurring battery drain bug in OsmAnd, but it could also be that these two cases were caused by a third confounding influence factor I haven’t figured out yet (e.g. cold)…

Just as a side-note: When I run my phone in flight mode, the battery lasts 3-4 times longer than with mobile services enabled. In flight mode, it will last approximately 4 days even with moderate app usage, while it only lasts 1-2 days with mobile services enabled.

Also on an only tangentially related note: For me the highest battery drain in the battery section of the settings is typically “Miscellaneous” (Sonstiges in german). At this very moment, “Miscellaneous” shows 18% usage, while the next highest app battery usage is at 4%. I don’t seem to be affected by the bug in the proximity sensor mentioned in this thread, as my battery lasts for 1-2 days. Anybody got a pointer how to get more infos on what apps could be involved in this?


#19

Short remark only:
Reduced my battery drain considerably by using the Firewall NetGuard (available now again from F-Droid). A firewall is basically not necessary for LineageOS (I use lineage) but it really helps to prevent that many apps connect to internet when using LTE etc.
Therefore, I only allow “Mail” to connect to internet when travelling.


#20

I used to have the same issue and I was never able to identify the app causing it, not even when using analytical apps like Better Battery Stats. After a while, however, I noticed ‘diversen’ (Dutch for ‘miscellaneous’ or ‘Sonstiges’) always got worse while at work, where cell phone reception is terrible. From then on, I just assumed ‘diversen’ was battery loss due to unidentified network stress.

Now that I switched to the latest version of LineageOS that seems to have been confirmed: ‘diversen’ is gone, but my top-power-consumer is now ‘mobile network standby’.

Don’t know anything for sure, but could you sometimes have bad cell phone reception as well?