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Mobile Developer

Reducing App Battery Drain Improves User Engagement

Bilge Boz
September 22, 2022

Mobile Devices: An Essential Part of Life Now

In the past few years, numerous app verticals have witnessed enormous growth at a global level – mainly because we rely heavily on our mobile apps in today’s fast-paced digital world. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and 2021 multiplied humanity’s need for mobile applications.

It might be for a school project or food delivery during a lunch break, to keep track of daily news or to have some by playing a game. Mobile apps answer countless needs since all it takes to get our work done is to open an app.

Statista reports that the global mobile app downloads were close to 250 billion in 2020 and are expected to exceed it in 2021. However, the downside of this whole phenomenon is that apps do have a high churn rate as well. According to Localytics, the average retention rate of app users by 30 is only 5.7%.

Make a Battery-Friendly App to Deal with Churn Rates

One of the major factors that contribute towards a user deleting an app is the application battery drain. Nobody wants to be using an app that makes them recharge their device repeatedly. In other words, the battery drain of an app directly influences the user experience.

Hence, as an app owner or developer, you need to optimize the battery usage of your app. For this optimization, it is essential to ensure a balance between performance and energy-saving. The battery consumption of an ideal app should be low enough to guarantee extended app use but high enough to avoid any decrease in performance.  

So what can you really do to reduce your app’s battery drain? Let’s have a look.

1) Follow the App Stores’ Battery Saving Standards

As a mobile app developer or publisher, you need to be aware of all the guidelines and instructions provided by Apple or Google regarding battery saving and optimization to reduce app battery drainage.

For example, Google provides a certain set of standards to Android developers. The most prominent one is the frequency that an app asks for the devices’ location and inter-app broadcasting. Google’s guidelines emphasize the necessity to limit this frequency as much as developers possibly can in order to optimize battery drain.

2) Reduce the Frequency of Network Requests

One of the major reasons your app is consuming too much battery is its frequency of requests to the network. If an app sends network requests after every few seconds, it will indeed drain a device’s battery too fast.

In order to optimize network requests, you can:

  • Collect and analyze network traffic data: You should know how to gather and analyze your app’s network resources in accordance with user actions.
  • Optimize user-initiated, app-initiated, and server-initiated network use: You should know how to optimize various network requests sent by these origins to reduce power consumption.
  • Optimize other/general network use: You should know all other sources of network usage to revisit and optimize them all.

3) Get Rid of Wake Locks

There was a time when developers used the ‘wake lock’ element quite frequently in their apps – well, some developers still do. A wake lock keeps the phone’s screen on, which drains the device’s battery. This is undoubtedly one of the most critical issues that you need to check while optimizing your app’s performance in terms of app battery drain.

While wake locks increase the battery usage of an app, for sure, some apps must avoid the screen from turning off. For example, no user would want their phones to go into sleep mode while watching a movie or playing a game. If you aim to keep the screen on, there are other ways to achieve this without being a battery drainer.

Reduced app battery drainage results in increased user engagement

One of the common ways is to use the FLAG_KEEP_SCREEN_ON functionality. Within the Android framework, it does not require any special permissions and does the job well.

Moreover, you can also use the DownloadManager to make downloads continue in the background rather than letting them cause additional battery use. You can also use Android’s sync adapter framework if your mobile app is synchronizing data from a different server to create necessary backups.

You can also go with the PARTIAL WAKELOCK function if your app requires the wake lock element during certain steps or components. This allows the user to shut off their screen at least.

4) Defer Unnecessary Processes in Your Code to Reduce App Battery Drainage

Another major reason for your mobile app consuming too much battery could be unnecessary steps and processes in your code. By deferring or completely removing them without impacting the business or functional requirement, you can optimize your app’s battery drain and improve user experience.

For instance, is it possible to cache data instead of downloading it again? Or can your app hold on with the data backup a little longer?

There are numerous tools available for developers to schedule certain app actions at specific intervals or designated times. One of the commonly used is the JobScheduler, which allows you to plan and manage various tasks efficiently to optimize battery drainage.

5) Never Go Live Before Testing… Again, Again and Again!

instabug- reduce app battery drainage results in increased user engagement

There is a reason why big software houses and organizations invest heavily in their SQA teams: No software application can be optimized unless it goes through a detailed testing cycle. As a developer, you might do everything you know or have learned over the years and bring all your skillset to the table. However, once the app goes through a vicious testing cycle, you need to look into each and every step, such as batch operations, network usage, location service usage, code optimization, etc.  Only then can the app be considered to be put live on the relevant platform.

Rethinking User Engagement Beyond Optimizing App Battery Drain

It is not only about reducing app battery drainage when it comes to improving user engagement. There is a myriad of other important factors to be considered that can impact user engagement. Below are some of the most common contributors to app churn, user engagement drop-off, and poor retention rates.

Register information: Try not to ask for too much personal information from the user before registering, signing up, or downloading your app.

Ads placement and frequency: Yes, a mobile app is created with the basic aim of monetization and income generation; however, too many ads or poor ads will make your user uninstall the app within no time. Take care of size, position, textuality, and visuality of your ads.

Make the first impression quick and easy: We often see a lot of apps with a tutorial that talks about the app’s functions. Well, in this fast-paced and competitive world, no one has the time to go through all that. So try to come up with a gamification sort of step-by-step process that makes it easy and quick for the user.

App errors, crashes, and bugs: Nobody wants to keep an app in their device that frequently crashes or gives errors while using. Make sure your app performance is good; otherwise, it won’t be staying too long in a user’s device.

Final Thoughts on Reducing App Battery Drain for Increased User Engagement

70 percent churn rate in 90 days. Reduce app battery drainage results in increased user engagement

With a 71% churn rate within the first 90 days, you need to consider that your app has very little room for errors or negative points, let alone battery consumption. In order to increase your business revenue and capture a larger user base, make sure your app is not draining the device’s battery, or else you might find yourself out of business pretty soon.

With these simple steps, your app should be on the way to reduced app battery drainage for increased user engagement.

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