Android app ads account for up to 75 percent of battery drain

Android app ads account for up to 75 percent of battery drain

Summary: But ads aren't the only thing sucking on the battery teat.

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Apps that serve ads account for up to 75 percent of app-related battery drain on Android smartphones, according to research carried out by Purdue University and Microsoft [PDF].

Using a specially-developed energy profiling tool called EProf the team tested five popular Android applications - Angry Birds, Free Chess, the Android browser, MapQuest and the New York Times app - on an HTC Passion (Nexus One) running Android 2.3. The results were are quite eye-opening.

While playing a level of Angry Birds, 70 percent of the battery drain was as a result of the game uploading user data in the background, such as location information) and the downloading and displaying of ads to the user. Free Chess also showed similar energy-sapping behavior, this time ads alone accounting for 70 percent of the battery drain.

The team claim that this excessive battery consumption is down to poorly-coded ad modules, and hope that more information will allow developers and advertisers to write more efficient code.

Ads aren't the only thing sucking the battery dry. Both the Android browser and the New York Times app consumed around 15 percent of battery power on user tracking alone. The EProf tool also discovered bugs in apps such as Facebook's Android app that also cause the battery to be drained more rapidly that necessary by not allowing the CPU to enter sleep mode even after the app has been terminated.

The complete report is quite in-depth, but if you're an Android app developer, of you develop ad modules for apps then I suggest you take the time to have a read through it. It could very well help your app consume less of your user's battery life.

The team plans to make the EProf tool under an open-source license shortly.

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Topics: Android, Apps, Google, Hardware, iPad, Mobility

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10 comments
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  • good info

    great info, now how do you manage it - tell us what settings to use...also might try using spell check and grammar - easy to do....
    mholliger
    • That is easy!

      Pay 99 cents for the ad free Angry Birds!

      Or, put the phone into airplane mode when playing the games.
      slickjim
      • Obviously you don't know about Android

        Because there aren't "paid version" of Angry Birds, only free version on Android platform.

        And you probably didn't know that the Free version nets more money than the paid version of Angry Birds for Rovio?
        Samic
  • Root and Install AdFree,

    Use Dolphin instead of stock, install juice defender (or similar), shell out a couple of bucks for Titanium Backup and use it to either delete or freeze crapware the OEM or phone company installed. Enjoy mucho battery life.
    txscott
  • Ad Drains

    Not sure that I trust any research funded by an Android competitor (ie MS).

    However, I did notice this effect with Angry Birds. When in the vicinity of a wireless network, the game would significantly slow down. It may not be noticeable on faster mobiles, but mine is a low spec machine.

    Wireless communications are the most energy hungry part of the Android features. One way around this is to temporarily disable the wifi on your droid when you don't need it. It made Angry Brids much more playable for me, with shorter pauses between levels.

    There is a discouraging amount of adware in the Android market. I have become more selective on what I install, paying close attention to the permissions requested. If you look closely, you will notice that some programs are requesting an obscene amount of access, when many programs and games really only need the ability to save settings.
    kurio999
  • When I check my battery drain, its the screen

    The display screen uses by far the most battery on my Android devices.
    I don't play a lot of games, but have several "free" (ad-supported) apps.
    I cough up the $.99 for apps I use a lot.
    radleym
  • Not just while running...

    I have my email set to poll an IMAP server every 5 minutes. This is a fairly large data pig, but it is OK, because I asked it to. My dictionary application, which I used twice a month, was using more data than my email that I read several times a day, complete with attachments. I removed the application, and now I get more battery life, and have 1/3 the monthly data usage (data is a battery drain, which is why Juice defender works.) I use "My Data Manager," but there are others too. Kill your data pigs, and your battery will thank you.
    grant22
  • Droid, Apple, now Microsoft. I detect a conflict of interest here.

    This is interesting when you consider that Microsoft launched the Microsoft phone, and is in direct competition with Android and Apple. Is this a conflict of interest, with a flavor of bias added for good measure?
    massimj
  • What did Purdue get from Microsoft in exchange for this?

    Did Microsoft drop off a truck load of Microsoft phones, or free Windows 8 for the entire Purdue campus in exchange for this article putting down the competition?
    massimj
  • And there aren't ads on Apple's devices?

    When the "Genius" ranted about Flash and their ads from his hidden checklist o' questions (as to why they don't sell Adobe suites with Flash in them, though the same suites don't include Premiere Pro or other apps that would be competition to their own name-brand kiddie fluff like Final Cut Pro X, hello FTC...), I asked how it was possible to disable HTML5 ads from the same devices, and got him tongue-tied in the process.
    HypnoToad72