Another reason to quit Facebook: It's still a battery hog

The Facebook app continues to consume more power than most. There are two possible workarounds.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read

I honestly like Facebook , warts and all. But lately those warts have become too much for some, which is why there's increasing interest in finding alternativesditching the Facebook app, or leaving the service entirely.

Recently I was reminded of another reason to consider uninstalling Facebook from your phone: It's a battery hog.

I first wrote about this two years ago, and to my amazement, it seems nothing has changed: Facebook is still the no. 1 drain on my iPhone's battery, and not just by a little.

According to iOS, in the past seven days, Facebook accounted for 21 percent of total battery usage. In the last 24 hours: 24 percent. (Granted, it's a weekend, so I'm on it more.) These are my numbers, of course -- yours may vary, perhaps significantly.

If nothing else, it's definitely worth a look. On your iPhone, tap Settings > Battery, then wait for the Battery Usage section to load. Now check to see which app is consuming the highest percentage of your phone's juice. If you have Facebook installed, chances are good it's near the top.


Facebook! You battery-killer, you!

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

If it is, you've got a couple options.

Two workarounds

Let's say for sake of argument that you don't want to quit Facebook altogether, but do want it to stop consuming so much power. You can start by disabling background app refresh and location services for the app. It's hard to say exactly how much impact that'll have on power consumption (because it depends on your usage), but it's a start.

To disable background app refresh, tap Settings > General > Background App Refresh. Scroll down to the Facebook entry and toggle it off.

To disable location services, tap Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Scroll down to the Facebook entry, tap it, and set the option to Never. (Needless to say, this will prevent the app from providing any location-oriented services.)

Give those two settings a try for a week or two, then check the Battery info again to see if Facebook's usage has dropped.

If not, there's a second option: Delete the Facebook app altogether. This doesn't remove your account from the service, of course, it merely eliminates a battery-sucking app. You can still access Facebook by signing in via your mobile browser.

Incidentally, that will also save you some storage: On my iPhone, the app consumes a little over 500MB. If your phone has only 16GB, that's a pretty decent chunk of space to free up.

The downside, of course, is that you'll have to live without a few app-specific amenities, like videos that autoplay (assuming you even consider that an amenity).

There's no harm in giving it a try. Ditch the app for a week or two and see how it goes. You may find that browser-based Facebook affords all the social goodness you need.

If you've already made the move, hit the comments and let your fellow iPhone owners know how it went!

Editors' note: This post was originally published on Feb.9, 2016, and has since been updated.