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The Stack Archive

SnapChat and Samsung the biggest Android app resource hogs this quarter

Tue 20 Oct 2015

In a quarterly ranking that no app publisher wants to do well in, the SnapChat messaging app joins Samsung’s mobile utilities to top out AVG’s list of Android applications which take up the most resources on your phone. Other interesting findings from the report include that Yahoo’s photo-blogging platform Tumblr takes up more multimedia bandwidth than Netflix and Spotify combined, whilst the not-Scrabble game Words With Friends earns a prominent spot in the list of leeches due to its frenetic background activity, and the supposedly text-focused BBC News app is No.4 in the ‘Top Ten Data Hogs’ category.

The PDF report, itself ironically bogged down with big images, is a meaty insight into the world of development teams that seem to be imagining user environments identical to their lab phones (default OS install + 1 app). Divided by apps that run at startup and those that are started by the user, as well as in sub-categories according to performance drain, battery usage and data drain, the SnapChat app takes overall gold for its high impact on all areas, though in the specific section regarding battery drainers, it comes in second to the Samsung WatchOn video app.

Here are the unlucky winners:

Top 10 Battery Drainers (startup)

top-10-battery-drainers

Predictably the core OS updating facility in Android leaves nothing for Mr. Manners in terms of resource consumption, but follows stablemates Microsoft and Apple in this regard. More interesting is the impressive entry from Samsung ChatOn – particularly considering that the app was discontinued in February. AVG surmise that the app is still present either in older mobile inventory that’s still being sold, or also possibly in custom OS images which no-one has bothered to edit lately. So for all that expense, the user is getting absolutely nothing, and thanks to sneaky startup policies may not even know that the app is running – or even installed on their phone. During its tenure at the Play store this little-loved app drew well-rated user comments such as ‘Useless korean bloatware forced down your throat (cannot be removed …)’, and observations that it turns up on tablets despite its phone-only ambit.

Facebook’s dedicated app makes the first of many incursions here, although the presence of the Lookout Security & Antivirus app is no surprise, given the necessarily intrusive and nosey activity of pretty much all OS-centred security software.

Samsung makes further impressions in this category, with its pre-installed Beaming Service – a barcode scanning facility described popularly as ‘bloatware’ at Play – and its low-fun Samsung Security Policy Update app, which spends plenty of volts phoning home for security patches.

Edging in at No.10, Devexpert.net’s Weather and Clock Widget needs plenty of updates and resources.

Top Ten Battery Drainers (user-initiated)

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Previous offenders OLX Free Classifieds and the Telstra app have cleaned up their respective acts since their inclusion in a previous report, making way for Cheetah Mobile’s Clean Master Boost & App Lock to ironically demonstrate the high cost of trying to improve performance.

Video-heavy services such as Netflix and the BBC are predictable entries here (although the BBC might be expected to do a little less pre-loading, caching and autoplaying), whilst the analytical perambulations of the Amazon Shopping UK app put it in a surprisingly high placement for a catalogue-browsing facility.

It’s hard to criticise Surpax’s Super-Bright LED Flashlight app for causing the most predictable hit on battery life.

Top Ten Storage Hogs (startup)

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Facebook wins clear gold for the sheer amount of social debris that balloons the cache for its base app, whilst social media experts using the Facebook Pages Manager to orchestrate their campaigns had better clear out the ballast on their phones first.

Top Ten Storage Hogs (user-initiated)

top-10-storage-hogs-USER-avg

Spotify tops the charts with its offline listening capabilities, whilst Chrome’s legendarily comprehensive caching procedures attempt to make it look spiffy and quick by preloading and general pigging-out on available storage.

Top Ten Data Traffic Hogs (startup)

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Yahoo Japan seems to have an unbalanced dietary attitude compared to the company’s other localised apps, as it only concedes first-place to Facebook’s determination to eat the internet. It’s also surprising to see two weather apps sucking down preloaded content with such voracity. AVG recommends uninstalling these, along with the almost-equally needy Apus Launcher.

Top Ten Data Traffic Hogs (user-initiated)

top-10-data-traffic-hogs-USER-AVG

Considering the relatively mean constraints of its video uploading services, its surprising to see the native app by photo-blogging platform Tumblr beating out Netflix for bandwidth consumption in this category. Although the hugely popular network acquired in recent years by Yahoo allows multiple sizes according to need, in the same way as other content management systems, I have noticed that it rarely uses proxies, and never in the dashboard, where users can see subscribed posts stripped of their blog context (which is where the more economical image-version use usually kicks in). Though initial image loads use the smaller sizes, the largest and most bandwidth-heavy versions seem to be lazy/pre-loaded automatically, independent of scrolling or visibility, raising the bandwidth signature by an order of magnitude or more.

The AVG report now dedicates a whole section to mobile gaming, an area where users are probably not expecting much mercy in terms of resource conservation. Download the full report here to find out which sprites are leaving you with an Android paperweight, though I’ll mention that fans of Supercell’s Hay Day might be advised to keep their chargers handy.

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