Facebook, Spotify Drain Android Batteries Fastest

The Facebook app's constant background notification checks still have the greatest impact on overall Android device performance, AVG's report found.

app usage and smartphones

The popular music streaming app Spotify is now the second most resource-consuming app in the Android store, up from its fifth place rank in the third quarter of 2014, according to security firm AVG's quarterly Android App Performance Report.

The report analyzes aggregated, anonymous data from more than 1 million AVG Android app users to discover the top performance-affecting apps worldwide.

The app took second place in the fourth quarter of 2014 behind social networking app Facebook, whose constant background notification checks still have the greatest impact on overall Android device performance, consistent with the report's findings from last quarter.

Over the holiday shopping and sales period, the official Amazon for Android app entered the charts in the fourth quarter, ranked No. 5 in the top 10 list of most all-round resource-consuming apps.

"Consumers are rarely aware that it's the apps that are draining the battery; they usually blame their phone or tablet first," Sandro Villinger, global marketing and product manager at AVG, told eWEEK. "Battery life is one of the main concerns for mobile users, so any app that's causing the battery to die unnecessarily may start to be avoided. Other than games or heavy streaming services, no app should tax the battery heavily, but we're seeing the exact opposite when we analyze the data. It's the news app, the reader, and even some tools claiming to improve security or battery life that are really killing it."

Netflix, which previously was at the top of the list for draining mobile device performance, completely dropped from the charts after a major app update in November, the report noted.

Meanwhile, tools like Clean Master and background apps like Samsung's Security Policies, which are designed to help keep smartphones secure and smooth, actually ranked among the highest drainers of battery, storage and data plan.

Samsung's security policy update service, known as Knox, automatically checks for and downloads security updates, which can cause a 30 to 40 percent drop in battery life.

The time users spent gaming on Android devices fell from 62 percent in the third quarter to 49 percent in the fourth quarter, while social and communication apps rose to 11 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively, of total usage.

The social photo sharing app Instagram and the private social sharing app Path ranked third and fourth in terms of battery drainage, the report found.

"Almost all popular location-based services apps, such as Google Places, Groupon and Gowalla, are using virtual passport stamps or another reward system to present you with location-specific deals, which also means your information will be shared with a wide amount of local and global businesses," Villinger said. "App developers need to ensure full-on privacy when sharing both your information and your data."

Another thing to consider with battery life, Villinger noted, is that location-based services (LBS) apps are constantly using GPS and mobile data to get a fix on a user's location to provide the most up-to-date information.

"Developers will need to find a healthy balance of minimizing the frequency of doing that while still giving you good location-based information," he said.