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6 min read 37 comments

Google Play Services battery drain: how to fix it

Is Google Play Services causing battery drain on your phone? It still seems to be a common issue. We’ve been seeing numerous reports of the app eating batteries across a range of devices and with Android versions from KitKat to Oreo. Let’s investigate this problem to uncover what’s going wrong and tell you how to fix it.

How to spot Google Play Services battery drain

The reason why Google Play Services could be the culprit is because for many apps it’s the key to the world of Google: it delivers your Gmail to mail apps, maps and location settings to mapping apps, ads to ad-based apps and so on.

If your trusty phone is suddenly suffering from a terrible battery life, the culprit could be Google Play Services. Batteries do deteriorate over time, but it’s a gradual process: unless you’re spectacularly unlucky, a battery that was OK yesterday won’t suddenly discharge three times faster tomorrow.

The easy way to tell whether Google Play Services is draining the battery of your device is to pop into the Battery section of your Settings app. As you can see below on the left screenshot, just tap on Battery usage.

This shows you the biggest power hogs, and in most cases you should see the Screen listed at number one, which makes sense, given that it’s the most power-hungry part of your device. If Google Play Services is using more power than the display or more power than the Android system itself, something’s wrong. In the below screenshot on the right, you can see the list of power hogs.

google play services battery 1
Google Play Services should be behind the screen and Android System in the ranking. / © AndroidPIT

Google Play Services battery drain: why it is happening and how to fix it

There are a number of reasons why it might be using more power than you’d like. We’ve seen reports of the app eating battery life across Android versions from KitKat to Oreo, and also on devices running Cyanogenmod or OxygenOS.

With so much variety there clearly isn’t a single solution to solve every problem on every device. But there are some things you can check.

As with any problem, we’re assuming you’ve already tried rebooting and that you have the most up-to-date software and firmware for your phone. If you haven’t, do those things first. They solve all kinds of issues.

Is your Google Play Services up to date?

Now, this might sound counter-intuitive, especially if you started noticing that battery drain after a Google Play Services OTA update, but sometimes you just need to accelerate through your Play Services versions to fix the problem. Here's how to keep your Google Play Services up-to-date.

If the latest OTA version is causing trouble then it's worth checking to see if there is a new beta version available. Back in November, Pixel and OnePlus users were able to stop the battery drain issue by installing the latest beta version of Google Play Services.

Is it draining your battery because you have loads of accounts?

Play Services’ main job is to download things in the background. Those things could be your emails or the app’s ads, or notifications or checking your location to see if it needs to trigger a Google Now event.

If your device is connected to multiple Google Accounts, for example because you have personal and work accounts or because you’re a spy or superhero with multiple identities, then Google Play Services is having to do all that for multiple accounts.

Is a third party app misusing Google Play Services?

If the battery drain is a recent development the problem might not be with Google Play Services but with one of the apps that uses it. Try booting into Safe Mode; if your battery problem goes away that’s a pretty big hint that the Google Play Services battery problem is down to a third party app.

Is Google encountering Sync errors?

Sync errors are when Google tries to synchronise data but can’t, for example because it can’t connect to a particular server. Problems with your data can also cause sync errors, so for example if something’s gone wrong with your contacts, calendar or Gmail that can cause Google to keep trying (and failing) to synchronize your local data with Google’s servers.

Removing and re-adding accounts can solve persistent sync errors but before you do that, try disabling Mobile Data in Settings for a minute and then turning it back on again.

Is it your GPS?

When an app needs your location, it requests it through Google Play Services, which gets the information by using your GPS hardware. If you weren't aware, using GPS takes up a lot of battery, and since Google Play Services facilitates this process, it can appear to be taking up the battery life when the GPS is really the culprit.

In the Battery usage screen we showed you how to get to before, tap on Google Play Services. On the detailed screen it shows you, scroll down until you see Location and tap it (like in the left screenshot below).

You'll then find three mode options, one of which is called Power saving. This mode doesn't use GPS to retrieve your location, and is less accurate, but can save your battery life by only using your network and Wi-Fi information. If you find this setting to be too imprecise, simply switch it back to High accuracy later.

google play services battery 2 gps
Try changing your Location settings to keep the GPS from hogging all your battery. / © AndroidPIT

Are Emojis giving Google a sad face?

This is an odd one we know, but some users have reported sync errors when using emojis in contact names: Google doesn’t like that, and it can stuff the synchronization process.

Are you using a task killer app?

Task killers are supposed to disable unwanted processes, and they do – but sometimes the result of killing a task is that it immediately starts back up again, so you end up making your phone work even harder than before. That’s an easy one to check: try disabling your task killer and see what effect it has on battery life.

Are you running security software?

Security software has an effect on battery life because it’s always on. Like Windows, the threat of malware on Android is blown out of proportion: if you don’t download from dodgy app stores and don’t open unexpected attachments, the risk of infection is very small. As with the task killer, try disabling your security software and see what happens.

Have you encountered these issues? Have you been able to fix them? Let us know below.



Write new comment:

  • Just discovered that the 'Google Now Launcher' was the reason for my enormous battery drain, also listed under 'Google play Services'. After uninstalling the launcher, my battery life has become back to normal again.

  • I have a Moto Play X that has had reliable battery life of at least 18h since I got it eighteen months ago. In the last ten days battery life has dropped to 6-8h. As in your images above, Google Services is always at the top of the list, usually around 20+%. I have turned off all location services, stopped sync of BBC news, breaking news, Guardian app, calendar - basically everything that I can manage without. I've uninstalled security software. All this improved things for two days, sending Google services back to 4th on the list. After that it bounced back to the top. This is incredibly frustrating. A quick search shows that loads of people are having the same problem on a variety of Android phones (mine was updated to 6.0.1 in January, so difficult to think that's the problem. I'm at the point of considering changing phones, but how would I know that a new phone might not develop the same issue? (No way would I switch to an iPhone!) Any new ideas anyone?

    • BBC catches my eye - I like BBC services but the app is an unbelievable resource hog, and (I guess depending which services you might need it for) BBC has an excellent mobile-optimized web site. In fact I've deleted nearly all individual news service apps which like to be always on and "alert" users a lot. I use a "World Newpapers" aggregator app to list and launch websites via Android System WebView. Just adding news site shortcuts to a good browser works great, usually launches videos and live feeds, and whatever.

  • Guys chck my GPS Awake android simple gps navigation app that Awake you on the destination. GPS app can also used as alarm gps,car gps,gps app for truckers,garmin gps, route finder and can run on android tablet or any android devices. App also support find multiple routes to destination and quickest paths with gps alarm.Download this best GPS app frm PlayStore Search GPSAwake-lite in playstore

  • i think i have a slight problem, but probably not as bad as others...
    google services - 63%
    cell standby - 7%
    Os - 6%
    system - 4%
    screen - 2%

  • Thank you very much for sharing your idea and explaining suggestions to fix this problem, I recently discovered this problem when I installed a battery monitoring app from my ASUS phone. At first I find it annoying that my phone suddenly discharges fast until I have to search for solutions online, luckily I found your article and hope that this will work. By the way I decided to turn off auto sync from my gmail app and disconnect my other account just to see if this will work.
    I hope gmail can find a solution for this side effect with the battery issues as I really find google accounts very useful for my work, sometimes I receive emails faster in my mobile app than via desktop, but considering this problem, I can't continue using it. I'm afraid my battery will deteriorate if I will have to charge it from time to time.

  • Mark 9 months ago Link to comment

    I had Google play services draining upto 30% of my battery every charge cycle. I've tried all the angles suggested with no improvement, can't waste my life trying to and now resort to disabling and avoiding the world of Google at any cost. In this day an age of advanced coding you would have thought Google themselves would insert a small monitor report of just what is hogging it's play services (just like the battery monitor) to help users self solve this problem when it occurs. Speaks volumes that Google don't give a monkeys uncle about this wide spread issue. Fortunately i don't miss Google, they don't miss me and as a result my battery charge cycle regulary lasts 48hrs or more. Thus making the phone a pleasure to use as well as eco friendly!

  • Dave T Feb 17, 2017 Link to comment

    As soon as I connect to the internet, "Google services" starts up on its own. My battery drains down to 15 percent in about 4 hours when "Google services" is running. Its not the battery, or the hardware. If I stay off the internet "Google services" won't start. If I go to settings>Applications>running> and shut down "Google services" right after I connect to the internet; there is no problem. I have to keep an eye on that though, just about anything I start, automatically starts up "Google services" again. Google: you need to fix this. Not me. If my phone automatically connected to the internet every time I turned it on, it would be useless, and i'd have to buy a new one . . . . hmmmm.

  • Md E. Jan 23, 2017 Link to comment

    Yes correct can you help me to do

  • So where is this app called "battery" that shows so much wonderful information? My battery readout only ever shows screen and tablet idle.

  • After researching and struggling with this issue for a year...I think I've finally sorted it out. I deleted and reinstalled my 2 Google accounts associated on my phone. This seems to have fixed the problem and Google services utilises normal battery, around 2 to 5 %. Try it, it might work for you too. Good luck!

  • How to fix it. go to setting click on location select only use device sensor. Dont select wifi/4g or both device sensor/wifi/4g. Problem now solved

  • pozmu Aug 9, 2016 Link to comment

    Strange thing, I went to my list of accounts and there was sync error with one of the accounts - Google account that I use only for the calendar, it's an old pre-Gmail Google account but for some reason it tried to sync Gmail which obviously failed, let's see if this will fix battery drain.

    • My personal opinion is that Gmail app is worth less than you pay by storage space and memory - it might be different today on the main reason I had to disable it, but couple years ago I had two phones already outdated ZTE Blade with Android 2.2, which I 1st tried Gmail and for my regular account the email apps, but this issue still existed in Samsung Galaxy Lite although I never even started the app...

      THE ISSUE:
      It seems to sync all your emails, or at least everything but the content/attachments into your device, and without an option to choose external storage. I have so much data there that the storage was quickly filled, yet only fraction was loaded, so naturally the gmail app started complaining, among with loads of other apps, that the storage was full.

      Go to Settings/Applications, tap gmail, disable it and clear it's data, then forget it and install AquaMail, or any other actually proper email client :)

  • Uninstall gmail.

    I run a stock, but rootet Kitkat 4.4.2 on a Lenovo Tablet (unfortunately no update available), but with the current gmail and google play services.

    I noticed that Google Play Services used all my free space (around 6 GB), so I deleted all data and some unusued apps.

    I noticed also a lot of battery drain while the tablet was off and not connected to the internet.

    Within one day the Google Play Services had blown up to now 7,6 GB (yes, not MB) and this made me suspicious which file takes all the space. After some fiddling I downloaded the Google Play Service Databases and I found two files:

    context_<mailbox_name> was about 4 GB and the journal about 700 MB.

    Opening the DB, the table context contained about 9 million entries from with really close timestamps:

    "" "1" "1470093547798" "1470093547798"
    "" "1" "1470093547805" "1470093547805"
    "" "1" "1470093547811" "1470093547811"

    Starting at night: 2. Aug.2016, 01:19:05, I get one million entries within two hours (until 2.8.2016, 03:13:27), this continues until in the morning apparently the ram is used up.

    I did not have any other option other than to uninstall gmail.

    I've seen a similar issue (h--ps:// which was closed.

  • I was just out for the evening. My battery was fully charged at 7:30. I requested a Lyft and sent one text message and didn't otherwise use my phone. At 12:30, 5 hours later, when I wanted to request a Lyft again, my battery was at 14%. Google Play Services was using about 35% of the battery and had taken up most of the memory. Can I disable Google Play Services and still use the phone?

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