Anyone who knows me will tell you: I suffer from moderate-to-severe “Battery Depletion Anxiety”. It’s sad but true.
Symptoms. The first actual symptoms appear as my phone’s battery indicator approaches the 70% mark; I become concerned and start evaluating my charging options. At 50% I turn on battery saving mode, this dims the screen and slows everything down to an annoying crawl, but provides much needed relief as it significantly slows the progression of my condition.
The next step is not pretty, I try my best to plug in before it is reached, but on those rare occasions when the bar does reach 30% I am known to break into a cold sweat, lose all focus and run around in circles looking for anything that would charge my phone. I’ve heard that at 15% the battery indicator turns red (RED!) and a troubling message appears, it says something like “your battery is running low” – like I wouldn’t already know that! I’m not sure about the details, it has only happened to my phone once and I promptly passed out.
It is not a very well-known disorder, but it affects many aspects of the sufferer’s life. When I travel, I pack not one, but two portable chargers. One of them is equipped with a small solar panel, should I find myself on a desert island. When the airline offers me a free first-class upgrade I’m not excited about the free beverages or the spacious seating, I’m excited about the in-seat power outlet. When I get into my car the first thing I do is plug my phone in to charge. Like many other sufferers, I dedicate a lot of time and attention to the charging or “income” side of the battery balance sheet. But being a technology professional, I know better than to neglect the consumption or “expense” side, which is equally important.
Treatment. Just like a bank account, two things matter when it comes to your phone battery: how much goes in, and how much goes out. And while the “in” part is simple (if not always easy) to control, the “out” side is a bit more complicated, mostly because any app running on your phone can potentially drink up the precious battery juice without limitation and without telling you. It is up to you, the battery-responsible phone owner, to keep watch. And you have to be ruthless about it, you must find the battery hogging apps and kill them!
Finding the battery hogs is much easier now than it used to be. If, like most mobile users, you are using a recent iPhone or Android phone, the phone’s operating system provides a battery consumption list that you can find following these instructions:
1. From the home screen, tap “Settings”, then select “Battery” from the list.
2. A list of apps and their respective battery usage is presented. The apps that have used the most in the last 24 hours are at the top of the list.
3. In the top right corner of the list is a clock icon. Tapping that will tell you how many minutes each app has been used for, and how often the app is doing work in the background.
1. Open Android settings from the status bar or from the app list, then select “Battery” from the list.
2. Tap the “Battery Usage” button
3. At the bottom of the screen you will find a list of apps and their respective battery. The apps that have used the most are at the top of the list.
At the top of the list you will find the obvious unavoidable battery drains: the phone’s screen, the operating system, voice calls – if you make a lot of those. But if any of your more discretionary apps find their way to the top of list, you should consider taking action.
The simplest thing you can do with a battery-hogging app is kill it. ‘Kill’ here means different things for different phones. While iPhone users may just close the app, Android users may have to uninstall it to prevent battery consumption in the background. But one thing is certain: if you don’t really need the app remove it from your device and it will never use your battery again. If you can’t see yourself getting along without the app, see if it has battery saving settings.
Prevention. Unfortunately, as an app user there is not much you can do to improve an app’s energy efficiency. This is where we, the app developer must step in. Here at Vaporstream, we are painfully aware of the fact that our solution resides on our users’ phones, and we do not want to drink up precious battery charge. While app optimization is a vast and complicated issue, there are a few guidelines that we follow to help conserve your charge:
1. We do not use polling for communication. Vaporstream apps do not “nag” the server for information. Apps that constantly reach out to the server to ask “Do you have anything for me?” create unnecessary wireless communication that drains your battery. Instead, our apps establish a connection that allows the server to reach out to the app when it has something to say.
2. We do not communicate in the background. When the Vaporstream app is closed, we rely on OS-level push notifications to tell us of events.
3. We do not look for a connection when there is none. If you drift out of cell signal, Vaporstream will not try to frantically yell into the void for the server, all of this yelling consumes a lot of energy. Instead, we wait for the OS to tell us that an internet connection has been restored.
Bottom Line: Battery consumption cannot be sacrificed for functionality. Mobile apps should be held to a standard that requires optimization and minimal battery drain. To find out more about how Vaporstream approaches development, how we differ from the competition and what this means for your organization when using secure messaging, contact us.