Smartphones are taking over the world, one app at a time. Our mobile devices have become so integrated into our daily lives, we can barely make a bathroom stop without them. Smartphones provide us a certain sense of convenience, so much so that we use these mini computers to complete work-related tasks, set and update goals, communicate with loved ones, check emails, transfer money, tell the world which ice-cream we decided on for dessert, and for many forms of entertainment. We have smartphone ‘apps,’ also known as downloadable applications, to thank for this most recent technological revolution, as the number of smartphone users worldwide continues to grow at rapid rates, and is predicted to surpass 2 billion by the year 2016.
It’s not all smooth sailing for the future, though. A word of caution to the discerning downloader: even the most beloved applications suck the life straight out of our mobiles’ batteries – sometimes drastically reducing the device’s charged lifespan until users feel as if plugging their smartphone into the circuit has to be added onto the official ‘To-Do List’. Luckily, there are heaps of productivity apps to help you organise your to-do list available in the app store.
As battery life is a key consideration when designing a mobile app, users are advised to consider what function the app is designed for.
If you find yourself browsing through your app store, there may be some apps you want to investigate further before deciding if they’re really worth the extra work for your phone.
Here are 14 apps that are notorious battery-drainers:
Facebook is one of the most popular mobile apps on the market. Trends from AVG Technologies revealed that in the United Kingdom alone, ‘mobile active users’ totalled 33 million; even that number was dwarfed by the United States, where 179 million Facebook users took the smartphone plunge. Facebook mobile is also a big storage-eater, on top of being one of the worst battery-zapping apps to date, and it eats through data if it is left on. But let’s face it – are we really going to part with on-the-go Facebook anytime soon? This is an app that can be turned off and on again in settings in order to save data and battery life, but if this is done then no push notifications or updates will be visible on the phone’s display until next login.
Where photos come to life, but batteries die. Edit, share and blog your photos with this little treasure – but prepare yourself, because Instagram is also a chart-topping battery drainer and, like Facebook, eats a significant amount of storage.
3. Google Maps
If you’re always getting lost, then you might sacrifice your battery’s lifespan willingly for the convenience of Google Maps. But keep its true nature in the back of your mind – a portable GPS that isn’t a phone might be the best solution if you find yourself traveling often. Google Maps can be switched off in-between uses, an action recommended if you’re interested in prolonging your smartphone’s battery.
4. CandyCrush Saga
It claims to be ‘the sweetest game ever’, but it still crushes batteries. Thankfully, however, this app was recently updated in early July, which has taken it in leaps and bounds from 4 to 4.5 stars according to the app store customer ratings for iOS. Apps that display a high frequency of advertisements, particularly games, must persistently refresh the screen, which drains energy after every refresh, claims Taylor Casti of Mashable Australia.
This is a very popular app that enables users to listen to and access music. However, its operating system is in need of further development, as users have reported battery drainage as high as 1% per minute of activity, which is similar to watching video in high definition.
6. Path (and Path Talk)
This social networking application is designed for users to share their photos and messages with close friends and family. Its engineers have recently added video sharing, and increased the number of friends a person may keep in their address book from 50 to 150. Path Talk also allows users to see and track where their friends are, and can even access how low their friend’s battery may be getting!
This is really a gem of an app, as far as its innovation. Shazam ‘listens’ to music, and identifies the song title, artist, and album after only a few seconds of rendering. It even catches obscure titles and alternative artists, whether it’s listening from a car radio, or in a shopping mall. It’s great, but perhaps not the most efficient edition to battery life, as it must access data or wifi to do so.
Who doesn’t want to share pictures at the touch of a few buttons with their friends and family for a laugh? In order to send recorded videos or pictures to friends, Snapchat must be connected to the internet, which takes up power when it’s in use. This is particularly true when recording video, an action that users have reported to consume a lot of energy, more than snapping a still image.
It may be Australia’s leading telecommunications corporation, but it’s no stranger to the tiresome complaints of its app’s heavy energy use from Telstra customers. When active, the app could be sucking away 30% of your smartphone’s efficiency.
10. Google Chrome Browser
Known to suck the life from laptops, unfortunately the mobile app doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Some users, however, have reported better success after removing and re-installing Google Chrome, so if you really don’t want to part with Chrome, try deleting the app and re-installing first.
Another social media that affects long-term battery life performance, and like Facebook, uses a large quantity of your phone’s memory. According to Kevin Purdy with ITWorld, there may be a shortcut: Purdy recommends deleting the app, access Twitter through web-search, then bookmark it and save the link on your phone’s home-screen. By clicking the icon button, you will automatically be taken to the web-app version of the Twitter site, and this may be crucial to saving your battery from the inundating notifications that exhaust your phone. These steps can be done for other popular apps that regularly update their mobile websites.
12. Google Play Music
Users have reported that this app may drain their smartphone’s battery life by 90%. Removing Wake-locks, which permit an app to continue running even after a phone has gone into sleep mode, may help to sustain battery life when using Google applications. In the case of this app, wake-locks can be disabled in App Ops.
13. TripAdvisor Hotels & Flights
It may be an extraordinary convenience to book flights and reserve a hotel on a last-minute business trip or for a surprise event, and TripAdvisor can you help you do all of those things, but beware! This app has been considered one of the highest on the market in regards to wear-and-tear on battery performance.
14. 9GAG Funny Pics and Videos
Who doesn’t like watching funny videos or sharing funny pictures, but when your smartphone conks just hours after a solid charge, it’s no laughing matter. If using this app be careful to keep an eye on your battery drain.
Enlightened mobile users have caught on to the problem of battery consumption, and have thus discovered some solutions that may, depending on the circumstances, help users to prolong battery life while still enjoying their favourite, but nonetheless, very hungry, applications.
Notice a sudden increase in battery drain? Find the app responsible in settings and re-install; otherwise, shutting down the phone and restarting may also improve performance. In some instances, using bookmarked shortcuts saved on the home screen for web-apps using Internet browsers may also be a solution. If all else fails, and you don’t want to part with that special app, portable mobile battery chargers may just be the way of the future, too.