Twitter and Facebook Apps May Be Killing Your Smartphone Battery Life

There may come a day when our children or grandchildren can enjoy their mobile devices with boundless battery life, but that day seems woefully far off. Currently, poor battery life is the bain of all mobile devices; if you don’t have to plug your phone in to make it through the day without it dying, you’re in the minority.

Kevin Purdy, sick of having to plug his phone in by 2pm every day, hunted through his Galaxy Nexus to determine which apps were hogging the most memory and demanding a constant data connection and thus were contributing the most to battery drain. The chief culprits, he said, were his Facebook and Twitter apps. (He’s not the first to point to Facebook as a battery drainer.)

Facebook Web App
Facebook Web App (Image credit: ITworld)

It only makes sense; both require always-on data connections to pull down notifications and direct messages, and every time you get an alert from one of them, your phone vibrates, makes a noise, or both.

Purdy’s solution? Ditch the apps and go with the web versions of services such as these. Again, that makes sense--sort of. He’s right that the web is still an incredibly powerful platform for applications; a bonus is that it’s platform-agnostic, and it’s true the Facebook and Twitter mobile websites look good and enjoy strong functionality.

Twitter Web App
Twitter Web App (Image credit: ITworld)

However, his cure may be worse than the disease. In order to work around the problem of these battery-hogging apps, he suggests creating a bookmark and adding it to your mobile device’s home screen (which is smart and handy). But in order to reroute all those notifications, you have to make sure that they all get sent to you via email instead of through the app.

That creates two problems: First, you’re still getting the same number of notifications, and thus ostensibly the same number of boops, beeps, dings, and vibrations. However, instead of having the app handle them all neatly, your inbox drowns in them. In other words, your battery life might improve by dint of the fact that you have two fewer apps constantly scouting for more notifications and messages, but you might go crazy dealing with the workaround.

That’s not to cast harsh aspersions on Purdy’s idea for preserving battery life, because even with the inconvenience of using the web versions of social media and dealing with a constantly flooded email inb--oh shoot, I need to plug in my phone really fast before it dies, better wrap this up.