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.
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There's nothing worse than picking up your phone, turning it on, only to realize the notification it's just received was probably supposed to have reached you 10 minutes (or, you know, hours) ago. Annoyingly, the root cause of this is frequently Android itself, trying to manage your phone's battery life by forcing "low" priority apps to go to sleep, with the end result being those delayed notifications. Fortunately, Android does offer you the ability to configure this behavior on some level, on an app-by-app basis, so that you can be more confident that notifications will be received when they're sent, not when your phone decides you should get them.
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.
With the introduction of Doze in Marshmallow, app developers and users had to find the perfect balance between battery life and background activity. Granular options for battery optimization exist on most Android devices, allowing you to single out apps you'd like to give free rein to. This can be crucial for backup apps (Google Photos), companion apps for wearables (Fitbit, Wear), and smart home security apps that require your location to arm or disarm (Nest, SmartThings).
However, some phones like the ones from OnePlus limit your access to battery optimization settings for system apps, specifically, meaning you can't give Google Photos the freedom to run whenever it needs to, which usually results in stalled backups.
A beta is by definition software that you shouldn't consider stable. When Google has trouble keeping bugs at bay even in its release software, we don't expect much from betas. But Android Q beta 3 is proving to be a little problematic — possibly even more so than Beta 2. The new gesture navigation is half-baked and breaking things left and right, snoozing for notifications has disappeared, and there's a bug that could cause you to disable your SIM card without intending to. All of these issues weren't there in Beta 2, and still we're discovering more problems as we go.
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.