Why you should avoid iOS bat­tery apps

iOS al­ready has ev­ery­thing you need, writes Glenn Fleish­man

Macworld - - Contents -

A-reader re­cently wrote in sus­pect­ing that mal­ware had in­fil­trated his iPhone: “While run­ning a bat­tery app on my iPhone 6, it showed an in­vis­i­ble Chi­nese pro­gram run­ning.”

Af­ter some back and forth and a bit of re­search, I found that the free app he’s us­ing, Bat­tery Doc­tor, doesn’t have a use­ful pur­pose and doesn’t of­fer ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion. The app claims that

it can help with bat­tery man­age­ment and us­age, in­clud­ing pro­vid­ing per-app de­tails about power con­sump­tion, and help­ing pre­vent an over­charge of an iOS de­vice’s lithium-ion bat­tery. All non­sense.

As one of the many tech­niques it em­ploys to re­duce spy­ing and mal­ware, Ap­ple doesn’t ex­pose much in­for­ma­tion to third-party apps about what’s go­ing on in iOS. I’m un­clear why Bat­tery Doc­tor’s mak­ers re­leased this app and ap­par­ently con­tinue to up­date it.

The app in the list that Fred­er­ick was wor­ried about trans­lates (with the help of Google) to ‘School Party – Love News’. He doesn’t have such an app in­stalled, and it’s ei­ther the bat­tery soft­ware purely in­vent­ing it or it’s show­ing the wrong name for an app that is run­ning. This non-ex­is­tent app ap­peared at least three years ago, based on fo­rum post­ings.

The com­pany has three other apps listed: one osten­si­bly rates GPU per­for­mance, not re­ally an is­sue for iOS de­vices, and the other two more con­sumer ori­ented. One trans­lates as “Daily Free Gifts ap­pli­ca­tion – only rec­om­mended limit free soft­ware and games gifts”; the other of­fers free videos, and was also up­dated in Au­gust.

To get use­ful bat­tery in­for­ma­tion, tap Set­tings → Bat­tery, where af­ter a mo­ment of cog­i­ta­tion, iOS shows you the per­cent­age of bat­tery con­sumed by apps in the last 24 hours or seven days. Tap the clock icon to get more de­tails about the split in time be­tween on screen/back­ground us­age. I just dis­cov­ered the Fit­bit app ate 7 per­cent of my over­all bat­tery con­sump­tion in the past 24 hours due to 5.4 hours of back­ground ac­tiv­ity.

I ad­vised the reader to re­move the bat­tery app.

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