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Is Facebook Draining Your IPhone, IPad Batteries?


Could the Facebook iOS application be draining the batteries of your iPhones or iPads? German IT specialist and iOS developer Sebastian Düvel made a strong case for that theory in a post on his hagga_blog.

Düvel said he used iOS developer tool Instruments to investigate why his iPhone 4S was down to around 10 percent of battery life after an average work day with “little usage” of the device. Here’s what he found:

This is a list of processes using the most CPU time, or, more easily said: these are the apps that have been running for the longest time. The first four are system processes (SpringBoard is essentially what shows your home screen and stuff). At the bottom is the Facebook app. It is using twice as much time as DTMobileIS (the process that feeds Instruments with live data from the phone). That seemed a little much to me. I’m using Facebook quite often, but not like every minute of the day.


So I let Instruments run a little longer and watched the flags. The flags indicate when an app is started, terminated, and — what interested me the most — sent to the background and suspended.

This means the Facebook app could be active in the background the whole time. According to Instruments, that’s not the case — not quite. Looking at the flags in Instruments, you can see that the app is waking up every few minutes, doing something for 10 seconds, and sleeping again.

I let this run for two hours and, as you can see in the rightmost column, the Facebook app is waking up at regular intervals, does something for almost exactly 10 seconds, and sleeps again — the whole day long.

This explains why this app is in first place in the CPU time listing. Theoretically, the app could use your location when awake and send it to Facebook, but I found no evidence of that.

Düvel said the only two solutions to this issue are deleting the Facebook app altogether, or using the multitasking switcher to quit the app after each use (pressing the home button twice and tapping a little longer on one app until they all start to shake, and then clicking the minus sign on the Facebook icon).

He added that he found similar results when testing Facebook Messenger and Facebook for iPad.

iOS users: Have you been experiencing poor battery life on your devices?

Battery life image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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