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The Facebook Vampire

The Facebook Vampire

facebook vampire 2015 tech imagesWe love vampires but only in movies. We love our iPhones also. We can watch those movies on our phones this Halloween in case we’re on a trip or stream those movies on the iPhone to our TVs. And lastly, we love Facebook as a social media platform. But the iPhone, vampires and Facebook technically don’t mix well.

For me, the best vampire movie so far was Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola. Second to that was Interview with the Vampire starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Antonio Banderas. No offense to the late Aaliyah and no pun intended, but the sequel sucked big time. Dracula Untold is also worth watching and the only part of Twilight I liked was the last movie’s big battle. But that’s not what this is really about. While we like vampires in movies, we don’t want them on our iPhones.

We also love our iPhones, these sleek, versatile but costly things have one problem. Limited battery life. They hardly last a day before needing another charge and if you’re someone important to the company, you’ll need to keep it plug in lest you miss something. You might even need a battery pack, abominations that they are. And lastly, we love Facebook, admit it! Even though Facebook is a life-sucking, time-sucking social website. But that’s not its only vampiric aspect. It’s guilty of sucking out your iPhone’s battery life much faster.

If you’ve noticed recently how more often you’re grabbing your charger or battery pack, it may be because of Facebook. If you’re the type that doesn’t slide up an app when you’re finished, Facebook sucks your battery life while it’s supposed to sleep in the background. It’s supposed to be in the background to do constant notification checks so you’ll know what your friends are having for dinner or enjoying a European vacation while you’re stewing in your cubicle. But recently, it’s draining your battery faster than usual. Facebook admitted the problem and of course made a public apology.

Users often attribute Facebook’s bloodsucking as coming from constant notification and GPS location checking. As per Facebook’s engineers, the app was supposed to do so. That it’s not the guilty feature. You may have noticed that videos play automatically if you have a fast connection but has no sound. Unfortunately, this ‘feature’ continues to work even when the app is in the background. Now that’s not good. We all know that video is a terrible battery sucker.

“If you leave the Facebook app after watching a video, the audio session sometimes stays open as if the app was playing audio silently. This is similar to when you close a music app and want to keep listening to the music while you do other things, except in this case it was unintentional and nothing kept playing… The app isn’t actually doing anything while awake in the background, but it does use more battery simply by being awake.”

— Ari Grant, Facebook Engineering Manager

That’s one serious bug. If you know what’s good for you, swipe up your Facebook after using. Another reason is as annoying as little kids in the backseat of the car known as CPU Spin.

“…’CPU spin’ in the app’s network code – which works kind of like a never-ending feedback loop so the app is never really sleeping…A CPU spin is like a child in a car asking, ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’ with the question not resulting in any progress to reaching the destination… The version released today has some improvements that should start making this better.”

— Ari Grant, Facebook Engineering Manager

It’s great to know they’re working on a fix. Update your app as soon as the update’s available. Blood is the stuff of life and so is your iPhone’s battery. Make it a habit to slide up your apps on your iPhone and Android when no longer in use.

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