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The apps sucking the life out of your phone

27 Oct 2015

Snapchat has dethroned Facebook and Spotify as the number one smartphone performance killer.

According to the latest AVG Android App Performance Report, Snapchat’s simultaneous use of a device’s camera, Wi-Fi, mobile data and GPS functionality has seen it become the top phone-draining app.

Social and blogging platform Tumblr has also made its way to the top of the list, emerging as the highest traffic-consuming app for the period. Despite the relatively low-level content viewed on the platform – primarily news, short video clips, blogs and some pictures – Tumblr used more data than Netflix and Spotify combined, according to report.

Additional findings from the report include:

  • There is a costly quest for updates: Topping the list of hidden, battery-draining services this quarter is the innocuously named “com.sec.android.fwupgrade,” which is responsible for delivering periodic Samsung updates to Android devices via Wi-Fi.
  • As with the similarly update-heavy Samsung Security Policy Update (KNOX) and Google Play apps, the service has a massive impact on the battery life of a device.
  • Your browser ‘hoards’ data: Google Chrome emerged as the second-highest storage-consuming app this quarter thanks to its collection of user browsing data over time, joining more obvious apps, such as Spotify and Amazon Kindle
  • Facebook ‘mis’-manages: A consistent ‘top’ performer in the AVG charts, Facebook has a new contender this quarter, with its monitoring app, Facebook Pages Manager. The app stores a lot of local content as it tracks page statistics, followers and comments while on the move.

Though many users make a conscious choice to download and run high-impact apps on their smartphones, AVG’s research has found a host of apps that silently drain smartphone resources in the background without the users’ knowledge or action.

These apps are differentiated in the report as those that run at start-up, versus those that are run by the user. The following apps consumed the most overall battery drain, storage usage and mobile data combined. 

Run at Start-Up

  1. Facebook
  2. Google Play Services
  3. Facebook Pages Manager
  4. BBM
  5. Words with Friends
  6. Instagram
  7. Messenger
  8. ooVoo Video Call Text & Voice
  9. ChatON Voice & Video Chat
  10. The Weather Channel

Run by User

  1. Snapchat
  2. Amazon Shopping UK
  3. Spotify Music
  4. LINE: Free Calls & Messagse
  5. Samsung WatchON (Video)
  6. Netflix
  7. Clean Master (Boost & App Lock)
  8. Amazon Kindle
  9. Amazon Shopping (Global)
  10. BBC News
  • A bad forecast: Both The Weather Channel and Words with Friends were surprise entrants in the start-up chart, AVG says,  with the apps seemingly having no clear need to run invisibly in the background.
  • A drain on your wallet and smartphone: With two of its shopping apps in the top 10 ‘run by user’ list, if users want to save data and battery life on the go, they might want to steer clear of Amazon, AVG suggests.

“The goal of these reports is not to alarm smartphone users, but rather to enable them to make informed choices about the apps they run on a daily basis,” explains Tony Anscombe, senior security evangelist, at AVG Technologies.

“Apps are meant to enhance, not to detract from your smartphone experience, but with so many options, we are in danger of overloading our devices,” he says. “If you are one of the people who feels like they are fighting a constant battle with their device’s battery, or never have enough storage to save your favourite clips and images, then we want to help you take back control.”

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