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Facebook Finally Explains Why Their iPhone App Kills Your Battery

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Just over a week ago many suspected the number one cause of iPhone battery drain was the Facebook iOS app, as detailed by MacStories’ Federico Viticci.

This afternoon Engineering Manager at Facebook, Ari Grant, has taken to the Facebooks to respond to allegations of why the app drains your battery, touching on the background audio issue and more (via TNW). Grant says today’s release fixes some bugs, but there’s more coming.

In the meantime, here’s what he had to say about two major issues:

The first issue we found was a “CPU spin” in our network code. A CPU spin is like a child in a car asking, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”with the question not resulting in any progress to reaching the destination. This repeated processing causes our app to use more battery than intended. The version released today has some improvements that should start making this better.

The second issue is with how we manage audio sessions. If you leave the Facebook app after watching a video, the audio session sometimes stays open as if the app was playing audio silently. This is similar to when you close a music app and want to keep listening to the music while you do other things, except in this case it was unintentional and nothing kept playing. The app isn’t actually doing anything while awake in the background, but it does use more battery simply by being awake. Our fixes will solve this audio issue and remove background audio completely.

Grant says the optional Location History feature or anything related to location is not the cause of the battery drain, and went onto say “we are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.” Future iOS updates will address these battery drain issues, he reassures.

Now, if only Facebook would detail these fixes in their iOS app release notes, instead of the generic boilerplate we normally see every two weeks.

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