Facebook says its latest iOS app update, rolled out Thursday, deals with a recent complaint from iPhone users that the software was hammering the device’s battery even when the app wasn’t in use.
The app’s overly enthusiastic background activity appeared to continue despite users turning off Background App Refresh in Settings, leading engineers at the company to finally address the situation and fix it.
In a post published on its site Thursday, Facebook engineer Ari Grant said that having done some digging, it seems there were two main issues putting undue pressure on users’ iPhone batteries.
He called the first one a “CPU spin” in Facebook’s network code and offered this description: “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 engineer said the app update released Thursday “should start making this better.”
The second issue related to how the Facebook app managed audio sessions. Grant said if you leave the app after watching a video, “the audio session sometimes stays open as if the app was playing audio silently.” He compared it to when you close a music app but want to keep listening to the track while you do other things.
According to MacRumors, this particular “silent audio” action may have been enabled to ensure the app stayed active in the background so it could carry out tasks like pre-loading content. However, in his post, Grant insisted, “The app isn’t actually doing anything while awake in the background, but it does use more battery simply by being awake.”
The engineer finished up by saying users should see better battery performance with the latest version of the app, and at the same time promised his team would continue to look at ways of improving battery usage.
If you’ve noticed your iPhone power level falling away faster than expected, has Facebook’s app update made any difference? Sound off in the comments below.