The popular app that's draining your iPhone's battery life

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CEXEFE iPhone 4/4S screen showing notifications for various social media apps: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ also for app store, ma

iPhones may be beautifully designed and contain more technology than the first mission to the moon, but there's still something that drives many users mad: the battery just doesn't seem to last very long. There are a number of reasons for this, but the experts have revealed one very common problem: there's an app which is refreshing itself so regularly that it's a major drain on the battery.

And the culprit is the Facebook app.

The iPhone doesn't have an enormous battery life anyway - at a stated 1560 millilamp hours - compared to more typical battery lives of other smartphones of over 2,500. Any iPhone owner will have adjusted to the need to regularly recharge - or will be permanently frustrated by their phone dying at key moments.

But while there's little you can go to alter a battery problem that's built into the phone, there are other culprits you may have installed on your phone which are making things worse. A report in the Guardian has identified the Facebook app as one of the chief offenders.

Facebook

Facebook is incredibly popular with iPhone users. It was the eighth most downloaded free app in 2013 (after Candy Crush Saga, YouTube, Temple Run2, Vine, Google Maps, Snapchat and Instagram). The separate Facebook Messenger app also made it to number 15.

The report quotes two self-confessed nerds who have separately highlighted an issue with the app. Scotty Loveless used to work on the Apple Genius Bar and said that when he received his new iPhone, he ran some tests so he could see which processes were running at any specific time, and how much memory and processing power they were using. He found that even though he wasn't using the Facebook app at the time, it kept showing as running - and using processing power. Separately Sebastian Düvel, a German iOS app developer, made the same discovery.

According to Pocket-lint, these experts discovered that the battery drain was a result of the multi-tasking function of your phone. Usually when you stop using an app and send it into the background, it freezes there and stops using battery power. However, there are some exceptions - which operate what is known as 'background app refresh'.

Apps that play music or record audio stay functioning - so they can operate in the background when you're doing something else. Likewise those that use location services - like sat nav - continue to function so they can check your location. This is one of the issues with Facebook, which will check your location when it's in the background.

The other issue is that Facebook contains a VOIP messaging service, and these VOIP programmes (like Skype) need to keep checking for incoming calls.

Solutions

Fortunately the two experts identified that when Facebook updated the app in March this year, it allowed you to turn background refresh off for Facebook in the system settings. Loveless disabled location services and background app refresh, and the power left on his battery actually showed as having increased.

It's also worth pointing out that there are all sorts of other things that will increase battery drain - such as being in an area with poor phone reception - because the phone will continually boost power to the antennae. It will also deplete fast if you have push notifications every few minutes that light up the phone and drain the battery.

These experts don't suggest that anyone stops using useful apps, but that they take these steps, and then either take a spare charger to work or in the car - or learn to live with their phone running on empty by the end of the working day.