Idle battery drain on Android

One of the biggest misconceptions I keep seeing in the group chats is the fact that the users think there is nothing running in the background of their operating system and that if they turn off the internet access their battery life would last forever.

They have this unrealistic expectation of how Android should be behaving because they don’t understand how Android actually works.

I keep on hearing people saying stuff like “Internet turned off, there were no applications in the background”. but my battery still drained… Why bro , why? I turned by internet off there should be no battery drain and nothing running in the background.

That’s actually NOT TRUE…

There’s ALWAYS applications and stuff running in the background . ALWAYS. Even on a pure android build with absolutely no apps installed you would still have lots and lots of processes running in the background.

That’s how Linux and Android works… They were specifically designed to run that way. That’s what makes Linux and Android amazing, that’s what gives the Android the ability to multitask.

OK, let’s put it in a language that everyone can understand: WITHOUT THE BACKGROUND TASKS there would be no multitasking,there would be no Android as we know it.

Now let’s have a look at the apps. Most of the people do not understand that all the apps have the ability to perform tasks in the background EVEN WHEN THE USER IS NOT USING THAT APP. They were specifically designed to do that. That’s not a bug, it is an actual feature.

So, the apps and the operating system are ALWAYS OPERATING IN THE BACKGROUND under the hood, doing stuff they were supposed to do.

You can’t really change how the OS works. There is NOTHING you can do about it, not if you want your ROM (your operating system) to be of any use to you , not if you actually want any functionality from those apps you have installed on your ROM.

Now , most of the apps tend to behave relatively decent and play nice with the battery and conserve power when they can.

But there is a limit to that. You can’t have it both ways, you can’t have lots of apps on your phone, enjoy a lot of functionality and have a lot of operational capabilities without battery drain. The battery drain (both in idle state and when your phone is active will happen no matter what).

Now, some of the apps like Google apps, like Spotify, Instagram,Netflix and so on are notorious for being quite temperamental and heavy on the battery. If you don’t like the battery drain, the only thing you can really do is uninstall the most temperamental offenders if they’re misbehaving. Don’t try to install extra apps that promise you to “optimize” your battery drain. That never really works…

Android itself has been programed and designed by REAL ENGINEERS,smart guys with Masters and PHDs in computing to take care of the background tasks better than anything you or some wanna be developer could do it anyway.

This is the truth no matter how much you would like to believe otherwise. An amateur and part time Dev would never be as good as a REAL PRO working for the Google.

You really need to accept that THE BACKGROUND TASKS belonging both to the Android system AND THE APPS you are installing is gonna affect the battery life and is gonna cause drain.

So , long story short, when you add the combined background tasks resulting from both the operating system AND apps like the GAPPS in the equation it is normal to have a battery drain…

Regardless of the fact that you naively think that turning the internet off is gonna result in a better battery life. Is not always the case.

As I said above, some of the apps are poorly written and just by having them on your phone you will get that extra battery drain. For example apps like Spotify… Even with the internet turned off Spotify consumes more battery than gapps themselves. Or apps that continuously upload the content of your phone “to the cloud” to back it up…

It is well known that apps like that rely heavily on background tasks to get stuff done…Some of those apps are not really designed to play nice with the battery. Their number one priority is to take care of THEIR TASKS.. Tasks that most of the times are designed to run in the background without any input from the user. Now the problem with the background tasks is that they tend to drain batteries .

Those apps LOOOOOVE nothing more than waking up your device all the time in order to ping whatever the processes need to ping trying to call home, trying to contact their servers for updates, push messages and so on…

And here’s the funny thing… From time to time you get a “smart” user, a real “pro”. Who gets his knowledge from the “Bro science” that is flooding the group chats on telegram. That user decides to either turn off the internet or even worse, to install ”Optimizer” apps , super advanced stuff that promises them 0 battery drains… Battery Guru this Battery Ninja Pro that, or anything that tells them it has this mega fancy-schmancy Doze Mode customization tools which you can make it even more aggressive if needed to exert full control of your phone. Some of them will even promise you some super-duper advanced battery-saving modes that can help reduce battery drain so “you charge less often.”

What do you think it will happen when those optimizers , taskers and what not begin to install services and create background tasks that enables them to stay all the time alive and bypass the Android restrictions and Doze and standby settings?

You guessed right… Those apps (because most of the time people would have a minimum of two of those apps, PLUS some sort of kernel manager) would forcefully keep your whole phone awake in order for them to KEEP AN EYE on the rest of the apps they are trying to prevent from connecting to the internet.

Is basically like you trying to prevent the big bad bear from eating your sheep and PUTTING like two or three wolfs into the sheep pen in order to scare the bear away and control the sheep. What a SOLID PLAN…

Or so you thought… Because wolfs being wolfs, they would proceed to do what they do best. That is to kill more than they can eat. And so you ended up in a awkward situation where you, yourself have caused MORE damage to your flock, than the bear would have, your actions resulting in the death of considerably more sheep .

The bear would have just grabbed one and fucked off in the woods to eat it. That’s how they operate. In this analogy the bear is your android system and the sheep is the charge in your battery.

Most of the apps people have installed on their phones NEED internet in order to be useful. They need constant access to internet to perform their background tasks that makes them useful to you.

But since you’re a “very advanced user” and on your phone there is less or no INTERNET ACCESS, well those apps they are forced to DEFER for a while their tasks….

AND THEN THEY WAKE the PHONE UP AGAIN and you have like minimum 20 to 30 apps (most of the people would have around 100 apps on their phone) sending bursts of something called “wake locks” waking up your phone again and trying to get him to connect to the internet and so on…

But, BECAUSE there IS NO internet, guess what? YES, the tasks gets deferred YET AGAIN 😁 and the vicious cycle continues. Along with the battery drain…

Because all these apps will keep on waking the phone up , constantly trying to get it to ping their servers , to get notifications updates to send telemetry and so on… causing the operating system to wake up your phone, over and over and over again therefore ending up using battery. Is a lot to talk about…

I found out the hard way that in order to prevent the the idle battery drain is best NOT to mess around with the phone and the operating system.

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