Battery life has been an Android bugbear for years. While Google has made some significant changes to its mobile OS to improve things (with success, I'd argue), many popular smartphone makers still feel the need to take further steps to enhance longevity — and it's coming at a cost. Many go above and beyond the battery life enhancements featured in so-called "stock" Android, and frequently these alterations cause problems, resulting in issues ranging from delayed notifications, to prematurely killed apps, and even outright breaking behaviors that developers rely on. In fact, the lack of predictability that has ensued under the current laissez-faire power management scheme has become so dire that it recently took the top spot in a developer AMA request thread for Android 11 on reddit.
Google's Android AMA is underway, and the team's engineers have already answered the most hotly-anticipated question: How will Google fix the problem of inconsistent background limits across different manufacturers and devices? It's a long-standing problem where overly aggressive power management tweaks break functionality in plenty of apps, resulting in a headache for developers and frustration for users. According to the AMA, Google does plan on making a few changes to help fix things, but the company isn't doing all that it could.
OnePlus just published a recap of its second "Open Ears Forum" from all the way back in May. At the event, it gathered a handful of developers and fans central to the OnePlus community to solicit their feedback. Four months later, the company has revealed a set of changes influenced by that feedback, including more timely kernel sources for Open Betas and a new bounty program for reporting vulnerabilities. Most importantly for customers, though, OnePlus has promised to finally fix how aggressive its software is at killing apps in the background.
Usually, OnePlus is praised for its Oxygen OS software, which offers a light-touch, near-stock experience — at least, visually. Turns out, the company has been making some deeper changes to Android on its phones, and not all of them are for the best. Right now one of the most frustrating parts of OnePlus ownership for many is the company's aggressive battery optimization settings, which can kill apps you may want to be kept open. And worse, if you try to disable these settings on a per-app basis, they can be later randomly reset to defaults.
Android 8.0 Oreo includes several changes to how background processes work, in order to squeeze even more battery life out of your device. One of these is the Background Execution Limit, which imposes new rules on what apps can do in the background. By default, the new limits only apply to apps targeting Android 8.0, but you can force it on older apps as well.