There’s been quite a bit of hubbub in recent days about the Facebook app for iPhone causing excessive battery drain and what the cause might be. Now a Facebook employee has come forward to explain the situation.
Facebooker Ari Grant today explained that there were a couple of issues discovered with the Facebook app for iPhone. First up was a “CPU spin” in the app’s network code that Grant described as “a child in a car asking, ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” These processes ended up chewing up battery, but a Facebook app update released today includes some improvements that Grant says “should start making this better.”
The other issue involves how the Facebook app manages audio sessions. Grant says that if you leave the Facebook app while watching a video, the app will continue to stay awake as if it were playing audio silently. “The app isn’t actually doing anything while awake in the background, but it does use more battery simply by being awake,” Grant says. Facebook has implemented fixes in its app that resolves this audio issue.
Finally, Grant points out that these issues aren’t caused by anything related to location. “If you haven’t opted into this feature by setting Location Access to Always and enabling Location History inside the app, then we aren’t accessing your device’s location in the background.”
Battery life is super-important on a smartphone, because not everyone always has access to a charger or battery pack. And because Facebook is one of the most popular apps around, it’s no surprise that a brouhaha emerged surrounding Facebook and battery life concerns. While Facebook was quiet about the issue for a couple of days, it’s good to see someone from the company finally say something and offer some details on what was happening.
If you’ve got an iPhone and have the Facebook app installed on it, you’d best jump into the App Store and get the latest version of FB’s app.