Facebook app a major cause of iPhone battery woes

Victor Barreiro Jr.
Facebook app a major cause of iPhone battery woes
Want to help reduce battery drain on your iPhone? You'll want to turn some Facebook background functions off.

MANILA, Philippines – Shorter than usual battery life on an iPhone might be caused by an overzealous Facebook app, according to tests done separately by two researchers.

The Guardian cited Scott Loveless, a former Apple Genius Bar employee, and Sebastian Düvel, a German iOS app developer, who came to similar conclusions about iOS battery drain using the same developer tools.

Düvel’s findings

Düvel noted in a blog post last November that the Facebook app ran persistently in the background. From his tests, it seemed the Facebook app woke up every few minutes, performed an action for 10 seconds, then went back to sleep.

The Guardian called it “collateral damage” as the app attempted to keep a connection with Facebook’s servers, likely as a result of Facebook chat and, later on, Messenger and WiFi voice calls for users in the US and other regions.

A March 18 update from Düvel on his blog post stated that Version 8.0 of the Facebook app enabled a Background Refresh option that could be toggled off, which keep the app from constantly refreshing, thus lessening battery drain.

Loveless explains iOS battery drain

In a blog post on March 27, Loveless created a guide with detailed information on testing iOS battery drain and detailed steps for increasing iOS battery life. Loveless’ first outined step was to disable Location Services and Background App Refresh options for the Facebook app.

Testing his iPhone 5S using Xcode, Apple’s developer tool, Loveless said he noticed Facebook repeatedly jumped up on the process list despite not being used.

He tried disabling Location Services and Background App Refresh, and it led to a drastic change: his battery percentage increased from 12% to 17%. He added that the behavior – increased battery percentages after disabling Facebook’s background functions – occurred on multiple iPhones he tested.

In his post, Loveless also noted how disabling Background App Refresh on apps you don’t need constant updates for can also help in varying degrees. He also offered a number of other tips that may provide users with further battery life, though these points were situational, such as disabling push notifications for annoying apps or using Airplane Mode when it’s impossible to receive a cellular signal.

How to disable Facebook’s extras

To turn off Location Services, go to Settings, then Privacy, then Location Services and look for Location Services to disable Facebook’s option, as well as any other Location Services functions you don’t need or want on your phone.

The Background App Refresh option is found by going to Settings, then General, then Background App Refresh. You can choose to turn of Facebook’s function there. – Rappler.com

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.