In the past few years since smartphones became popular, we saw Facebook rising to the top as one of the most downloaded applications on iOS and Android alike. Although there are many people using the company’s social media and messaging app, there are thousands of complaints about the stand-alone Facebook app impacting device performance. Complaints about both the iOS and Android versions of the app have culminated into the realization of the company that something needs to be done. According to Ari Grant, the engineering manager of the company, a new Facebook update released today should improve the user experience on the iOS platform.
This month, matters were made worse for the social network giant, after AVG released its study about resource-hungry applications on Android. While the software developer focused its research on the Android platform, iOS users chimed in with complaints about the Facebook app being just as resource-hungry on iOS as it is on Android. Although iOS users have repeatedly posted about the Facebook app slowing down their smartphones and draining their battery, the company just now completed a fix for the issue.
The Facebook update for iOS users is rolling out today and according to Ari Grant, it will address the underlying issue of the battery drain that the app caused. Although Ari does say that not all underlying issues are going to be fixed by today’s particular Facebook update, the battery drain issue should be dealt with nonetheless. In his post, he describes how one of the key mistakes the Facebook app is making is CPU spin. CPU spin, in simple terms, would be the app asking the processor to refresh itself constantly, because of the data the app is gathering. Ari explains much better, saying that the request is like a child in a car asking whether they’ve arrived to their destination yet. We all know those questions are redundant, and Ari says this scenario reflects the CPU spin that is in the Facebook app’s code.
According to the post, today’s Facebook update for iOS should deal with the CPU spin issue and improve battery life on iPhones and iPads. However, the post points out that there is another issue present in the Facebook iOS app, which will also be addressed by the update. Ari describes a bug that impacts how audio sessions are managed in the Facebook app. In his explanation, the app “forgets” to close audio processes that were started by audio recordings or videos that were played in app. The bug forces the app to keep the audio process open, as it sends a false positive of audio playing, as it were. While the bug doesn’t consume data resources, it does force battery drain on the phone.
With today’s Facebook update for the iOS app, iPhone and iPad users can now enjoy a more streamlined user experience with the app, without having their batteries drained. Although Facebook remains a resource-hungry application that consumes a lot of background data and power, the fixes that will be included in today’s new build will no doubt positively impact the user experience. The update should be landing on devices around the world in the following few days, since it was just released last night. Hopefully, this update is the start of a more aware developer community within Facebook who will focus more on making the less of a resource-gobbler.