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High battery usage by iOS Facebook app may be due to background audio usage; company promising a fix


Facebook has told Gizmodo that it is working on a fix after complaints that its iOS app is continuing to account for high battery usage even when the app is supposed to be sleeping.

We’re looking into this and hope to have a fix in place soon.

The company responded after a Medium post by product developer Matt Galligan, who noted that the app was continuing to draw significant amounts of power despite having background app refresh disabled. Others  then chipped in on the issue, prompting Facebook’s response.

It had been suggested that the high battery drain might be due to the Facebook app continuing to use Location Services in the background, but the company told Motherboard‘s Jordan Pearson that this is not the case.

A Facebook spokesperson emailed over the weekend to say that the battery drain issue “is not caused by improper background location collection,” and that the team continues to investigate the issue. “We are not collecting background location on iOS unless Location Access is set to Always on your device and you have enabled Location History in the Facebook app.”

Federico Viticci over at MacStories noted that the app had been showing high levels of background audio usage, even with background app refresh off, linking to others who had spotted the same thing.

On my girlfriend’s iPhone, for instance, iOS 9 reports 5 hours of on-screen usage for the last 7 days, and another 11 hours of background audio usage with Background App Refresh turned off.

My guess is that Facebook is hijacking audio sessions on iOS by keeping silent audio in the background whenever a video plays in the app.

Facebook has not commented, beyond its confirmation that Location Services are not the culprit. The company recently updated the app to support 3D Touch Quick Actions for status updates and photos on the iPhone 6s/Plus.

Screengrab: MacObserver

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  1. usmansaghir - 7 years ago

    I read about this over the weekend, since then i have deleted the facebook app and i must say the battery level is so much better. Battery life lasting me for a whole day if not longer on my iPhone 6. I hope facebook fix this problem. If not it can do1. 😀

  2. PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

    1) Wouldn’t this have come to FB’s attention if they simply tested their app for just 24 hours before submitting it to the App Store?

    2) Is installing the FB app necessary, or can one simply ‘turn on FB’ in /Settings?

    • djngoma - 7 years ago

      Reckon they might not even use their own app. Unless they are pretty much pluged into a power source the whole time…

  3. iSRS - 7 years ago

    Have to say that since I deleted the app, battery is much better. I use the mobile site and their Paper app for notifications

  4. All FaceBook apps are just awful and it’s a shame FB realised this just now since I knew it for quite a long time. Power management of their apps is the worst. For example they update Messenger app every 2 weeks and they don’t even bother to write what is new in their update in update log. FaceBook, why do you need to make an update every 2 weeks when once you add something new and in another update you remove it and all over again. What’s the point? Get yourself together!

  5. greenbelt2csp - 7 years ago

    “We’re working on a fix”
    “We’re working on another backdoor to siphon your privacy away.”

  6. cdavenport4 - 7 years ago

    Doesn’t anyone understand how creepy this is! Ease dropping on all conversations. I’ve never liked facebook! They eat up your time reading and posting things also they are very intrusive. This is the reason I don’t use freindface errr facebook.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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