Update: the Facebook battery drain is true

As always, your mileage may vary, but I’ve been following the advice from this morning’s piece about Facebook and it’s true: my iPhone battery lasts longer now. The quick summary of this piece is that Facebook uses Location Services more than you’d usually want and it uses Background App Refresh far more than anyone in the world who doesn’t work for Facebook would like it to do.

The idea came from a writer named Scotty Loveless of Overthought.org and I wrote:

[His] piece is very persuasive. I don’t know the writer Scotty Loveless and hadn’t heard of Overthought.org before but he argues this point and many others with exactly the kind of reasoned approach that makes you believe him. Certainly enough that I’ve immediately switched off Location Services and Background App Refresh for Facebook – and only for Facebook. I particularly liked that the fella repeatedly avoided the kind of ohmygodstopeverything screaming you see in similar articles.

Is Facebook draining your iPhone battery? Looks like – William Gallagher, The Blank Screen – April 8, 2014

I’ve now tested out what he says and it’s true. Here’s the test:

[Write] down your usage and standby time, press the sleep/wake button (or lock button, as some call it) to put the device to sleep, and set the device down for five minutes. When you come back, take note of the change in time. If your device is sleeping properly, then the Standby time should have increased by five minutes and your Usage time by <1 minute . If your Usage time rises by more than one minute, you have a drain problem. Something is keeping your device from sleeping properly, significantly shortening the time it will last.

And here’s what happened on my iPhone:


Those are two shots taken five minutes apart. It’s got to be approximate since there are no seconds – 61 seconds would therefore count as 2 minutes – and this is probably why the two Standby times are 6 minutes apart. My iPhone was sitting on my desk doing nothing for up to six minutes yet look at the usage figure. Something used my iPhone’s battery for up to two minutes.

And it was Facebook. I know because I took the article’s advice and switched off Location Services and Background App Refresh for Facebook (and not for anything else) and here’s what the same test got me:


My iPhone was again on standby for five minutes and that’s what it shows. But it also shows no usage in that time. None at all.

I’m convinced.





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