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Google Play Services battery drain: how to fix it

Are Google Play Services causing battery drain? They certainly seem to be: we’ve seen numerous reports of Google Play Services eating battery in KitKat and Lollipop, on the Note 4, Nexus 6 and Galaxy S6. Let’s investigate Google Play Services battery drain, what’s going wrong and how to fix it.

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.

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Batteries don't deteriorate overnight. If yours has, it's almost certainly a software or services issue. / © ANDROIDPIT

Google Play Services battery drain: how to spot it

If your trusty phone is suddenly suffering from 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 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.

The easy way to tell whether Google Play Services is draining the battery of your OnePlus One, Nexus 6, Note 4 or any other device is to pop into the Battery section of your Settings app. 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.

androipit smartphone battery attack 3
Top tip: don't do this. / © ANDROIDPIT

Google Play Services battery drain: why it might be happening

There is a number of reasons why Google Play Services might be using more power than you’d like. We’ve seen reports of Google Play Services eating battery life across versions 4.1.32 and 4.2, on devices running Cyanogenmod, on Lollipop and on KitKat. 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.

  • Is Google Play Services eating 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 synchronise 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.

AndroidPIT Google Location Services location mode battery saving LG G4 Lollipop
If Google Play Services are energy hungry, your phone will tell you in Battery usage and in Location. / © 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 synchronisation 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 problems with Google Play Services eating battery? Let us know below.

26 comments

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  • 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 4 months ago 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.

  • 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>_gmail.com.db was about 4 GB and the journal about 700 MB.

    Opening the DB, the table context contained about 9 million entries from
    com.google.android.contextmanager.module.UserLocationModule with really close timestamps:

    "com.google.android.contextmanager.module.UserLocationModule" "1" "1470093547798" "1470093547798"
    "com.google.android.contextmanager.module.UserLocationModule" "1" "1470093547805" "1470093547805"
    "com.google.android.contextmanager.module.UserLocationModule" "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://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=214973) 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?

  • beater pc 4 months ago Link to comment

    All of a sudden, about 1.5 months ago, my phone battery was going dead in 3 hours or so. I tried new batteries and even bought a new phone of the same model but it was still going dead quickly. After getting technical with it I discovered it was the Google crap that was causing the problem. No amount of tweaking settings would fix the battery drain on this old phone. In the end I had to root the phone and deleted everything Google related. I installed Amazon app store to get apps from now on.

  • The fix of the google play servicies is very simple go to settings, then location, disable use location with wifi/3-4g and choose only use gps. That is all

  • Goggle play service use 91%of mu battery ? i made restore factory setting, and i disabled sync but still have same prob

  • I could fix the battery drain when I disabled all location related things. That's a shame. It worked for at least a year without battery drain. It must be a bug.

  • One thing I noticed is that I disabled things I wasn't using like Google Music, and the battery then drained - which caused sync errors within Google for it. Personal --> Accounts --> Google --> click on account --> disable sync should fix it, I'd think.

  • Hey! I started getting this problem today, I have a Galaxy S6. I unplug it from the charger before I sleep and 5 hours later when I woke up my mobile was at 80% and Google Play Services has consumed around 16% of my battery (In battery usage)
    I read the article and I don't have any of the problems mentions above.
    I also tried to update Google Play Services but nothing happened, now my mobile is draining 1% every 30 seconds.
    Any idea what can I do other than Factory Data Reset ?

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