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This app solves Pokemon Go players’ biggest complaint, but iPhone users can’t have it

Published Aug 26th, 2016 11:14AM EDT
Pokemon Go Tips And Tricks
Image: Niantic

Bloggers have had a field day over the past week writing about how Pokemon Go is dead because it’s beginning to sink on Apple’s top free iPhone downloads chart in the App Store. Of course, those bloggers don’t really understand how the app market works, do they? Top-grossing games are never top-ranked downloads, as we explained in a recent article. What Pokemon Go had initially achieved was completely unprecedented, and no one who knows anything at all about the app industry would expect the game to remain at the top of the free downloads chart and the top-grossing apps chart.

Pokemon Go is still taking the world by storm and people love trekking out to hunt down Pokemon all around their areas. Of course, the game is hardly perfect and players still have a bunch of complaints. The good news is that we found a nifty little free app that solves what is easily one of Pokemon Go players’ biggest problems with the app. The bad news is that it only works on Android devices.

MUST SEE: The holy grail: Hack Pokemon Go so you can walk anywhere, no jailbreak required

For a long time, the biggest problem with Pokemon Go was Niantic’s server instability. The game would go offline all the time, enraging players as they tried to capture characters or engage in gym battles. Niantic hasn’t resolved all of its server issues but there’s little question at this point that things have improved dramatically. Other problems remain, of course, but one of the biggest complaints out there can be addressed with a simple free Android app.

Pokemon Go has widely become known as a battery killer. In fact, sales of smartphone battery cases and portable batteries have skyrocketed since Pokemon Go was first released. Amazon even has a special section on its site now packed with Pokemon Go essentials that will help ensure your phone doesn’t run out of juice.

One of the main reasons Pokemon Go is such a battery hog is that it has to be left open in the foreground with the phone awake the whole time you’re playing. Players have repeatedly requested a feature that would let the game keep tracking GPS positioning while it’s reduced to the background, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

On iPhones, there’s really nothing that can be done to reduce battery drain aside from repeatedly lowering the phone’s display brightness and then raising it again when you’re ready to play. That’s a huge pain, however. Google’s Android platform gives third-party developers much more freedom though, and there’s a great simple app that will really cut down on the amount of battery Pokemon Go drains while you’re not actively playing.

Via Reddit, the app is called Proximity Service and it was created by SSDeveloper. In a nutshell, the app turns an Android phone’s display off anytime the light sensor on the front of the phone is covered. This means that any apps open in the foreground — like, say, Pokemon Go — will continue to function, but the screen will shut off when you put the phone in your pocket, thus saving tons of battery life.

The app’s full description can be found below along with a link to download it.

Proximity Service uses your device’s proximity sensor to control the screen on/off state. Simply covering the sensor will turn the screen off whilst keeping the device awake – perfect for games that need to be running in the foreground but don’t need your continuous attention. Flip your phone on a table, place it in your pocket, or use any other means to cover the proximity sensor. As soon as the sensor is uncovered, the screen will come back on.

Proximity Service is minimal – there is no user interface and no complicated settings to deal with. Running the app will place a notification in the system that will persist as long as the service is running in the background. Touching the notification will stop the service.

Note that Proximity Service does not prevent the device from falling asleep when the device is being used normally with the screen on and user activity timeout has been reached. However, the device will not fall asleep as long as the screen has been turned off by the proximity sensor as this effectively counts as continuous user activity.

Download Proximity Service for free

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.