Play Services is suddenly a severe battery drain, but nobody knows why

November 20, 2013

Views: 2881

Google Play Services has been up to some strange stuff lately. Over the past day or so, the normally innocuous app/service has been juicing batteries. With no apparent provocation, users with a myriad of devices are reporting that the service has been up to no good when it comes to battery life.

Play Services is a necessary part of Google’s Android, so it’s not as if we could remove it or shut it down. What is evident is that the service, almost solely, is draining batteries rapidly. The question is why it’s doing so. Is Google testing something? Did something go haywire with Newsstand ahead of the launch this morning? We don’t know.

We tested this out with our Nexus 4, just to be sure. We had all cellular connectivity and WiFi off. We also disabled location sharing and background app refreshing, basically making our device a dumb brick instead of a smartphone. The result? Nearly 10% battery drain in two hours. In that mode, we routinely get through a day with a 4% loss in battery.

We’re not sure why it’s happening, but the problem is, unfortunately, unavoidable. Play Services is necessary, and a constantly running background app. This can’t go on forever, but even force stopping and clearing the cache probably won’t stop this madness. We’ve reached out to Google for an explanation, so we’ll update accordingly if we hear anything.
VIA: Android Police

Tags: ,

  • Chad Thornley

    My HTC One S has been experiencing this… already down to 75% with the charger unplugged 4 hours ago – roughly 20 minutes screen on time. Google Services is definitely at the top of the list with nearly 30% total usage :/

  • Nathan Bryant

    Google search was killing mines when I didn’t even use it. Was well over 30% and woke up to a 75% battery after being on 100% overnight and not touching it.

  • Alex J.

    I have noticed that, too, so i restarted my Nexus5 and Services are ok now. You should try that.

  • Keith0606

    mine was horribly bad on Monday it was about 40% of my battery use. Today is about 8% of my battery so far with about the same amount of use. I think i had about 4 hours of keep awake time before and about 8m of keep awake this time. The only difference was a reboot of my phone. It could be coincidence but maybe a reboot does in fact help.

  • samizad

    Play Services is responsible for only 8% of my battery drain but 46% of my 3G data. What’s that about?

  • Darkmyth CH

    My Note 3 (in switzerland) it eats almost 50% of my battery always wondered what should i deactivate… but i tried deactivating everything but it still eats a lot… any solutions ?

  • NoProblem

    Having the same problem . . . SO I uninstalled Google play services (reverting to factory version) – All of a sudden “Hangouts” required an update to Google Services (ah-ha! – I see a connection to the problem) . . . I don’t use Hangouts/Talk . . . so I uninstalled Hangouts update and disabled it . . . I think things will be fine now . . . not sure – but we’ll see . . .

  • Moon fisher

    Having same problem, for last couple of days.

    My phone complained about low battery when I reached work, and plugged out from charger.

    Initially I thought my car charger broke.

    I plugged it on my desk again.
    After sometime when I unplugged, phone immediately complained about low battery again.

    I then realized, something is eating my battery.

    Found that Play Store is eating more than 40% of battery.

    Need a fix for this so badly.

  • Charlie Val

    This killed my battery. Checked battery use and this used up almost 75%. I can’t even charge my battery not, always 0% and it’s not removable.

  • thajack

    This is nothing new. Play Services has been destroying my battery for a few months now. I just migrated from my stock GS3 firmware to CM10.2 a couple of days ago, though, so I haven’t had a good chance to see if there is any difference.

    • NoonianAtall

      How do you like the CM on your GS3? I’m still on stock but thinking of switching.

      • thajack

        It’s great. The only issue I’ve had is that a ringtone only plays once when the phone rings. It’ll continue to “ring”… but the sound only plays one time. The workaround for me was to open the file in my audio editor on the computer and just loop it several times so it plays for about twenty seconds. Otherwise, it’s been awesome.

  • shelovescloth

    this just started happening to my nexus 4 about two days ago

  • Charliezee

    Experiencing this too – for me my Note 3 screen usually takes the most battery at around 30% this can be with screen on time up to 4 hours – but yesterday google play services accounted for 30% – with a crazy 28% and stay awake of 15 hours and counting. What’s going on google????

  • Unbreakable360

    Personally I’ve never experienced a battery draining problems with Google play services mine doesn’t run in background and only uses 0.05% on my HTC one s. And no Google play services is not actually “necessary” I’ve only seen it effect YouTube and the play store. Both of which have a website

    • atomicwillow

      Actually, it’s very necessary. It handles Google account sign-in services, app APIs for gmail, contacts, maps, play store/music etc, chrome. In fact, I can’t think of a single Google app that doesn’t use it.

      • Unbreakable360

        Smh yes they all use it but it’s not needed to run properly I speak from experience I’ve frozen the app before I knew what it was and I was able to use my Gmail and maps perfectly fine it didn’t seem to effect Google sign in or contacts, on my phone at least. YouTube was the only one that gave me a “enable playstore services” message I don’t use all that other Google crap there are better alternatives

      • StabmasterArson

        I doubt that any app freezing tools can touch play services, it probably appears so, but in reality, it’s still running stuff for you.

      • Unbreakable360

        On a rooted phone titanium backup will freeze pretty much anything so will app quarantine that includes system apps. I know it’s frozen when I check running apps and it’s asking me to enable it, or when I try to use the YouTube app it says I have to enable Play services to use the app

    • Kevin Ecker

      Whether you know it or not, it IS running in the background

      • Unbreakable360

        Actually it really isn’t running in my background. 1. I use battery mix it shows me all running processes and play services is not one of them unless called upon by an app. 2. I use clean master which automatically kills any process of my choosing play services is on amongst many that I choose to kill. So in conclusion the app is not running in “my” background

  • Andy

    I’ve had the same problem, restarting the phone seems to have fixed it, at least for now.

  • Christopher Robert

    How many people who are having this issue are running ART instead of DavLink?

    • SirRipo

      It’s definitely not related to that issue. My GF’s phone has been doing it and it is only on 4.2 or 4.3, so no ART on her phone.

  • Christopher Robert

    How Many people who are having this issue have had crash recently?

    I am wondering if the issue is correlated or if Google is just having issues with play services right now

  • rs200e

    Not only does Google eat battery it takes all app storage. I disable anything Google and use aptoide for apps.

    • duckmanbill

      you realize the android operating system itself is google. Try disabling that.

  • Sergey Valkanesko

    Same problem. It all started about a week ago with google+ repeatedly crushing every day. And now Play Services totally drain battery by the end of the day.

  • Casondra

    Google play is responsible for 68% of my battery drain, not cool, and cannot seem you install updates for it on my Note 3…

  • Anonymous

    I get this drain overnight with wifi and data off. Google services keeps my phone awake all night long. I wake up from 100 percent down to 65 percent doing nothing. I also have disable auto syncing. Help us Google!

    • mrmobile

      In airplane mode, the drain is still happening on a stock N7 after registering with google. Disabling location access> Wi-Fi & mobile network location appears to stop the drain (in and out of airplane mode). More research in progress…

    • mrmobile

      Stock N7 – fully charged – no registration.
      After 6d 22h on battery sleeping, battery usage is 50% tablet idle, 46% Wi-Fi, 4% Android OS

      • mrmobile

        and battery at 70% – after almost 7 days on battery.

      • mrmobile

        same Stock N7 after 17d 20h 18% charge left – usage is 50% tablet idle, 46% Wi-Fi, 4% Android OS

  • Ian Thomas

    None of my devices are experiencing this. I guess they either fixed the problem or it is related to some other factor.

  • duckmanbill


  • Andrew Withey

    I turned off location updating in Accounts and that seems to have stopped the drain.

  • cigs645

    thx for the explanation. I just noticed it too and its BY FAR the biggest app drainer on my phone now, just started yesterday

  • Swampy

    I have had a similar problem with my S4 after the upgrade. I noticed that the CacheUpdateService wakelock was being held 100% of the time, thus flattening the battery very quickly. I took steps similar to “NoProblem” below: I disabled GoogleServices (and so reverted it to the factory version). At this point, Hangouts complained that it could not run with the old version of GoogleServices, so I disabled Hangouts. After this, I noticed that the wakelock was no longer being held and battery use returned to normal, so I upgraded GoogleServices again. It seems that things are still OK. From this I conclude that it was Hangouts that was doing it. Thankyou Google.

    • agnespigeon

      Thank you for the info! I just disabled it; hope my battery hangs in there now.

      • PantsFlyer

        I just installed the Hangouts update and the drain stopped.
        Battery life back to normal

  • BobR

    Oh no…. it isn’t fixed. I took my phone off the charger this morning around 7:30am CST and, at about 12:30PM CST, (at work) I got the message that I was below 30% power and, in fact, I was at 15% when I got to it. That was when I put it on the charger and started hunting for information on here. But that means it was 5 hours (roughly) from 100% battery left to 15% battery left.

    To add to it, I keep finding a number of apps up and alive, I kill them with my DU Battery Monitor, go back in a few minutes later and they are BACK IN AND RUNNING again. GooglePlayServices is certainly one of them, as is ChatON. Also some weather service that has (EUR) at the end of the name keeps resurrecting itself.

    • Elie Ayoub

      If you don’t use ChatOn, you might as well Disable it in the app manager. That’s what I did on my S3. Now it’s a whole new problem with Google Play Services on my N5… I really don’t want to disable that…

  • John Wentworth

    Knock on wood, not happening on my N5, 6 hours standy and only 5% usage by play services with about an hour of on screen time.

  • Tarantoga

    I have it happening on my Nexus 5 as well. Not really bad, but it’s eating 16% of battery, 2nd only to screen.

  • Steve A.

    typical android bugginess. What’s new.

    • benjji

      anyone who voted this down is worse than the iSheep.

      A stupid bug that drains battery life horrendously, but protecting your precious Android’s reputation is more important to you.

      Android, the operating system of choice for virgins.

      Bring on the hate 😀

      • Dudewithaname

        Wow, so much attention, very seeking, much cool. Wow.

        But no, what you said is ridiculous. Remember the drama with IOS 7?

        Also, what does sex have to do with an operating system? I think you are severely brain damaged to link those 2 together.

  • Jack Bowker

    Here’s how I fixed the drain:
    – Go to Google Now and turn it off
    – Go to Google Settings > Location, and turn off Location Reporting
    – Go to Settings > Location services > Untick ‘Use wireless networks’
    – Go to Settings > Applications > find Google and clear the data.
    – Finally, go to Settings > Applications > find Google Play Services and clear the cache
    Just restart your phone and (hopefully) enjoy your extra battery life!

    I know that some people really find Google Now useful, but until they fix the many issues with it, I’d rather have my battery life! Vote this up if it helped please 🙂

    • greyhulk

      I didn’t do any of this and it has resolved itself. It was definitely something on Google’s end and all of my devices are now normal.

    • Elie Ayoub

      Thank you for the suggestion.
      I’m certain it’ll do, but unfortunately that’s just temporary… and drastic.
      Shutting down all these services isn’t really a solution, it’s a compromise :/

    • x38

      Helped on Lenovo K900. many thanks!

    • chris

      While this does work it is really annoying to not have location services enabled, many apps rely on that, like yahoo weather, urbanspoon etc, to get data. Google needs to dig in and take a look at what is causing Google play services to make so many requests for the location, my wakelock app showed 17,000 requests in a 2 hour period, that is ridiculous

  • Nitin

    Same issue. Drains about 7% in 2 hrs of inactivity on Galaxy S4. I disabled/forced stopped. Hangout stopped working and I uninstalled. Now I do get annoying notifications that some apps need this service. Although all the other apps seem to be working fine… tested maps and navigation and no issues.
    Will wait for the issue to be fixed before I install this service again.

  • brianmilligan62

    Lots of suggestions here about the possible cause so I installed the JuiceDefender app and disabled Google Play services. But I also switched off Location services as well and appears to have made a significant difference, Now Google Play services is no longer listed in under the Battery settings. Give it a go.

  • x38

    Same on Lenovo K900

  • Dmitry Perets

    Started to happen on my 4.1 too. Just removing “Google Now” didn’t help. I found that it is solved when I disable using Wifi/mobile in Location settings. But this is not a good workaround – applications like Google Maps can’t find me quickly, when they use only GPS… So I narrowed it down just to disabling “Location Reporting” (and then cleaning “Location History” and rebooting the phone). This seems to work for me, even when using Wifi/mobile is enabled. Seems to be related with the latest “Google Play Services” update – they mentioned there some “Location API geofencing improvements”… Hmmm… improvements…

  • Vinicius Gati

    Nexus 4, 56% battery for google play services, damn you google… more than 20 days and no solution…

  • Lisa King Sweet

    85%battery use from google play music. An app I don’t use.
    Finally reset to factory and did NOT register my google account.

    • Tolits Liquido

      did it work?

  • I’m glad I found this post because I thought I was going nuts. Within the last 24 hours, the back of my Note 3 is very hot, and the battery has been draining. When I looked up running apps, Google Play Music was running, and I know I’ve never used this before. I certainly hope we figure this out soon. I can’t keep my phone plugged in 24/7.

  • Jack Bowker

    I rolled back to factory settings on my Samsung GS3 and I have all the services on again, battery life has went back to how its supposed to be 🙂

  • SomeMoreHaruForYou

    I knew I wasn’t just making it up. Google needs to fix this problem ASAP. Otherwise I will be forced to use one of their competitors who has better battery life.

  • セフィロス

    I disabled the app.

  • My HTC One started having battery problems after the 4.4 kitkat update. I went from 12-18 hours down to less than 8 from a full charge. I never have wifi on but location (gps) and good settings for everything else. I do use my phone and turning off features to save battery is not why I bought a smart phone. It should at least last 12 hours with average use and since I didn’t change anything on my phone except the update, my settings or apps are not the issue, it’s the 4.4 kitkat update and needs to be fixed ASAP.

    I believe the AWAKE (in Settings > Power > History) was different before the update. Now it is always on and I can’t figure out what it is or how to turn it off. Under Settings > Power > Usage it shows that Android System using 60% then all the other stuff with Google Play Services being one of the top 5 too.

  • Kitkatkillsbattery

    HTC One. Used to love this phone but since KitKat it is a piece of crap. Can no longer go a day without it dying. What’s worse is despite tons of people raising hell NOTHING has been done. Makes me wish I got an Iphone. This is the kind of BS I will gladly pay to avoid. I tried the cache partition thing but thats as tech as I get. Really love the…”just remove all the apps and find which one is the problem…” OK, like I have that kind of time. How about the,”Try a factory reset, it might work.”! Seriously? Customers should not have to resort to forum suggestions that may or may not work and are huge hassles.
    HELLO? Google, HTC, someone figure this out!
    If this is not fixed soon it will be the LAST Android or HTC purchase ever. I should not have to be writing this nearly a month after the issue has come up. Pathetic.