Facebook Finally Explains Why Their iPhone App Kills Your Battery

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.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Kinda sketchy that the app was draining battery life for years (with lots of complaints), but it’s only when people figure out how it’s actually happening and raise privacy implications that they address it with “oh, whoops, we never noticed that totally unintentional bug.”

    I try to avoid conspiracy theories, but they’re either really lazy or had a reason for leaving that “bug” there for so long.

  • This is strange. I’ve gone back to iPhone now since April and I haven’t noticed any significant drain on Facebook in the battery stats, unless it’s recorded in another matter.

  • winnertakesteve

    Agreed. Although for what it’s worth my iPhone 6 has pretty lousy battery after ios9, and its never had Facebook installed.

    I do often have a fb tab open in mobile safari though. Does any of their background draining nonsense affect browsers?

  • Kael

    I have removed the Facebook app completely from my iOS devices. To much battery drain, and to many people are posting from ad filled hell sites. If you use the Web version then the ad-blockers do the good work. (click to like) 🙂

  • aaloo

    solution: get off Facebook 🙂 I left Facebook 3 years ago and have so much time in my hands. its unbelievable. Anyone who is close enough to me, we keep in touch via text messages or phone calls or meet up in person.

  • Paul R.

    Won’t effect browsers. I deleted the app and just use browser for over 1 month now and no more drain issues.

  • OliChabot

    Since I got my iPhone 6S (iOS 9) I have been having battery drain issue with both Snapchat and Facebook. This is REALLY embarassing and I hope both apps are going to fix this asap !

  • Anon

    Why not just get rid of the phone all-together, including any computers. That will free up more alone time for yourself. lol

  • I’m moving to a deserted island…with Starbucks and wifi

  • SV650

    Gary, that would be a dessert (and coffee) island.