While the tech in our smartphones has progressively improved, there’s one thing hardware can never defeat – poorly written software. And the one part of your phone most likely to suffer at the hands of a dodgy app is the battery. So, what apps are most likely to send you running to a power outlet or battery pack and what can you do about them?
Which Apps Drain Your Battery Most?
A recent report, conducted by security company Avast, found many the worst apps on Android phones come pre-installed. But they add that social and chat apps, which keep churning power cycles in the background are particular bad. Avast pointed the finger at ChatON, WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook and Facebook Messenger as particularly power-hungry programs.
David Walke, the CEO of goCharge, added Snapchat to that list of social apps. His company makes mobile device charging kiosks.
Unsurprisingly, Spotify is another to watch out for as it’s using your data connection to bring those tunes to your ears. And Microsoft Outlook is another that is reported to enjoy drinking from your phone’s energy well.
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If you’re running a Samsung phone, there are several apps that Avast and other researchers have found can suck the power from your phone. Samsung WatchOn, Samsung Media Hub, Samsung AllShare and Samsung Push all get marked down for their power-draining ways.
On the iOS side, the news is similar. Chat apps, that stay active in the background and receive updates and send notifications are notorious for draining power. I find that Words With Friends is a killer on my iPhone. Unsurprisingly, mapping apps, like Apple Maps and Google Maps can be a significant drain.
A recent update to the Fitbit app has resulted in increased data and power use. When you install an app update keep an eye on battery life changes as it’s not unknown for developers to make mistakes that result in excessive power use.
It’s also worth noting that any app you have installed that has notifications enabled is a potential siphon on your battery’s tank.
What Can You Do?
Start by uninstalling apps you don’t use. Aside from sucking up storage space, if those apps are generating notifications or updating in the background, they’ll be stealing power from you. That includes pre-installed apps as well as the third-party software you’ve added.
Then, go to your phone’s notifications settings and go through each app, disabling background network access and updates unless they’re necessary.
With email, do you really need the software to update automatically, on every mail account, every minute? Can you dial back the updating? I have my email set to only update when I launch my email app, rather that checking the mail server every few minutes. The same goes with your calendar app.
With other messaging apps, like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and whatever else you use, I’d suggest only enabling notifications if they’re absolutely necessary. For example, I don’t have Facebook Messenger notifying me on my smartphone as I mainly use it for personal messages. But I allow WhatsApp to send me notifications as it’s a work tool for me.