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Android 13 will tell you which background apps are killing your battery

Updated Mar 18th, 2022 7:50AM EDT
Google Pixel 6 Pro Port
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Google released the first Android 13 beta version only about a month ago. That’s the first developer preview, which isn’t the more stable public beta you’re dying to install on your Pixel and other compatible devices. And Google has just released Android 13 Developer Preview 2, which includes an interesting battery-saving feature. The operating system will alert you when background apps kill your battery life so you can take appropriate measures.

Why is Android draining my battery?

Smartphone battery tech has evolved considerably over the years, but battery worries persist among buyers, regardless of the operating system. The various “fixes” in place include increasing the battery capacity, improving the efficiency of various chips, increasing the battery charging speeds, and even throttling handset performance to save battery life.

On top of that, building battery-saving features in the underlying operating system, whether it’s Android 13 or iOS 16, could further improve battery life. That’s what Google is doing this year, looking to prevent Android apps from killing battery life while running in the background.

However, it’s important to remember that Android 13 will not magically fix battery issues. Especially on older devices with poorer battery health. Usually, older hardware will experience obvious battery issues, as those battery packs degraded over the years.

Also, the older the Android handset, the less likely to get the latest operating system release. Moreover, older handsets take longer to receive the latest Android version, even if they’re eligible for the upgrade.

Google Pixel 6 Front
The front of the Google Pixel 6. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Android 13’s new battery notifications

But Android users rocking a relatively new Android handset or tablet that will get Android 13 at some point this year or in 2023 should be thrilled to hear that Google is upgrading the battery-saving features in Android.

The operating system will now deliver a notification informing users about excessive battery drain. 9to5Google discovered the new Android 13 battery features that Google detailed at this link:

Android 13 introduces a system notification that appears when your app consumes a large amount of device battery during a 24-hour period. This new notification appears for all apps on devices that run on Android 13, regardless of target SDK version.

The feature builds on existing battery-saving technology that Google added to Android a few years ago. But the new notifications will be more targeted. Moreover, after the user deals with the message, the notification won’t reappear until 24 hours later.

Google has built in place features to prevent the system from sending too many annoying notifications. Android 13 will take several parameters into account. It’ll look at the way the user interacts with the phone and whether an app continues to consume a large amount of battery life in the background.

Moreover, Android 13 will also look at battery-harming apps that run for an extended period in the background. If any app operates in the background for more than 20 hours, users will receive a notification telling them the “APP is running in the background for a long time. Tap to review.”

When can you try them out?

Finally, Android 13 will not treat all apps similarly. There will be exceptions allowed to run in the background, even if that means the battery will drain faster. The exemptions list includes system apps and system-bound apps, companion device apps, device owner apps, profile owner apps, persistent apps, VPN apps, and other apps that users decide to let them provide “unrestricted” functionality.

We’re still in the early days of Android 13. Therefore, we’re yet to see how the new battery-saving notification is implemented. You can install the latest Android 13 developer preview on compatible Pixels. But you’d be better off waiting until mid-May for Google I/O 2022. Google will probably release the first public Android 13 beta after the event.

More Pixel coverage: For more Pixel news, visit our Pixel 6 guide.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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