Facebook admits that its app is draining your iPhone’s battery

Even for all the hours we spend on Facebook every day, lately it seems like the app has been draining iPhone batteries faster than normal. According to many users, the new battery menu in iOS 9, which lists app-by-app battery usage, has confirmed that Facebook is using more than its fair share, and now the company has acknowledged a problem. “We found a few key issues and have identified additional improvements, some of which are in the version of the app that was released today,” Facebook’s Ari Grant wrote today.

The first issue we found was a “CPU spin” in our network code. A CPU spin is like a child in a car asking, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”with the question not resulting in any progress to reaching the destination. This repeated processing causes our app to use more battery than intended. The version released today has some improvements that should start making this better.

A second issue being blamed for some battery drain is tied to the way Facebook handles audio playback. “If you leave the Facebook app after watching a video, the audio session sometimes stays open as if the app was playing audio silently,” Grant said. This is similar to when you close a music app and want to keep listening to the music while you do other things, except in this case it was unintentional and nothing kept playing.” Facebook’s app isn’t actually doing anything in this state, but it’s still sucking down juice simply because it’s awake in the background.

Grant is quick to note that the battery issues have nothing to do with Facebook’s location-based features or location history. “We are committed to continuing to improve the battery usage of our app and you should see improvements in the version released today,” he wrote. But it sounds like a few more optimizations will be needed before Facebook totally eradicates the problem and its iOS app returns to normal battery usage numbers.

Chris Welch