Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Social: Facebook App A Battery Drain On iPhone, Pose Privacy Risks Too, Android Affected

Source:  TUAW.

Facebook Apps At Root of iPhone Battery Problems – Wonder What Information it’s Gathering


By using Apple’s iOS development tools, a developer in Germany found out the Facebook app is a major source of battery drain.  So chances are that if you’re a Facebook user on your iPhone, if you hold and tap the Home button and then disable the Facebook app from the multi-tasking panel, you should be able to solve this particular battery issue.

The same can be said about Facebook’s dedicated messaging app as well.

However, it goes to the issue of why Facebook apps are behaving radically different from other apps.  According to Apple’s rules, certain apps like Spotify that has audio and voice features are allowed to continue to work in the background.  Makes sense.  However, why does Facebook apps need to be working on the background, particularly the main Facebook app?

It’s unlikely a major of users are using any of its audio or voice features.  In fact, I’m not aware of any such features.  According to the developer, Sebastian Düvel, Facebook apps would stay active for 10 seconds in the background and then go into sleep mode but it would wake for another 10 seconds.  This happens as long as Facebook apps remain sitting in the multi-tasking panel.

Again, the question is why does Facebook apps need to be active at all when they’re not being used.  Obviously, one has to think that its active so it can try to know what the user is doing, where the user’s at, and  gather and use these information to push out ads.  Of course, I can’t say with any great certainty this is happening.  I’m willing to entertain other theories but this is one that fits given Facebook’s past of playing fast and loose with user privacies.

I have a Facebook account with only a couple of friends that I use to keep myself in the loop about what Facebook is doing.  For the most part, I don’t use it unless there is a major new feature – which is far and in between.  Most Facebook announcements are actually ways in which the company can get users to share more information, which is really disguise for the company to gather more information to sell to advertisers.

So, I don’t have Facebook apps installed on any of my iOS or Android devices.  I’ve recently picked up a Windows Phone device and I did install Facebook on it to see how it works compared to others.  I’ll be looking at the battery life in light of this development.  Eventually, I’ll uninstall it as well.

For Android users, battery life is an issue and I get the feeling that Facebook on Android could be an even worse drain and privacy risk than on Apple’s more closed ecosystem.  Also, recently, Facebook suggested to Facebook users to switch off Home when they think they’re being overloaded with updates.

I think that’s a good suggestion.  Plus, you can probably get a few more hours of battery life out of your Android devices as well.  And not being stalked by Facebook too.

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