Remember when Google denied Google Now drained the iPhone battery?

I guess they lied.

Update: Some people are saying that I’m wrong. It could be that I read too much into the update — I’ve been wrong before.


  • Jeff Slater

    Google, lie? Say it ain’t so!!

  • The White Tiger

    How do you come to that conclusion? Because they improved a critical feature in the app? Or because they directly address people’s concerns about the Location icon in the App Store?

    As a personal observation (and one not meant as proof of an opposing statement), I never had battery issues.

    • Google did not say they hadn’t discovered battery issues. They categorically denied having them. There’s a difference. Denying them, you get to call them on. It’s either deceit or extreme incompetence.

      • The White Tiger

        I see “Location Improvements and bug fixes.” Where does it talk about fixes related to battery usage? I only see the part about updating being paused when the battery is low, which I’m pretty sure has always been what Now does. I believe it mentions it in the settings of 3.0.0, when it was introduced, but I don’t have that version anymore, so I can’t confirm.

        • Lucas Gladding

          I think the assumption that the improvements are battery-related is fair, given that “location improvements” is the focus in the description. It sounds like the location manager was too accurate in the previous version, so the GPS was being used more than needed. That said, it is an assumption, so I agree that Google wasn’t caught as red-handed as the headline and caption suggests.

          • The White Tiger

            What are you basing that assumption on? The fact that it’s a location-based improvement?

        • That would be the bullet points, all of which describe new behaviour… and all of which also acknowledge that the feature does, in fact, use battery.

          • The White Tiger

            If Google denied that Now uses battery, they’d be retarded and so would you for thinking there’s such a thing as software that is not powered by any sort of energy source. But they haven’t denied that it uses battery– they’re denying that Now abuses GPS and location checks to drain your battery at an abnormal or unreasonable rate. Which leads to their rundown of how Now works, and yes, the bullet points.

            For whatever reason, you assume these are new features. Now has done all those bullet points since 3.0.0. The only thing that’s new is the easy access to location settings, which is prominently displayed in a new card when you open Now.

    • Though some people have distaste for Marco Arment, he talked through location service implementations on iOS and how Google’s implementation of location services could have had big impacts on some users and very little impact on others.

      I think the secret to the battery issues is the 3rd bullet point, “The app stays asleep until you move – a lot.”

      it starts around 1:33:00

  • Miles

    I don’t think they’re saying they changed anything here, just clarifying how it works and giving an easier option to turn it off if people are worried.

    • The White Tiger

      Yeah, this seems like people are calling “gotcha” when it’s not really a “gotcha” moment.

  • LOL! Typical.

  • rj

    Huh? Where does Google admit Google Now that drained the iPhone battery?

  • Jeff

    They never admitted to anything, just clarifying how iOS location services works. If something changed, they never said so.

  • Chris

    This is such an ignorant post. The update is clarifying the way the app has always worked, not changing anything. It’s addressing the concerns the technologically illiterate, such as you, have been having fits about for a month.

    • Lucas Gladding

      “Location improvements” is the first item listed. Jim may be picking on Google, but that doesn’t make him wrong. We’ll find out as users spend more time with the updated version. The problem, if the location manager was the cause (i.e. the CLLocationManager instance was using an aggressive desiredAccuracy), is the lack of transparency.

  • They said all that before so no lie. Notice the 3.0.0 release has the battery info and not 3.0.1.


    • That’s not the 3.0.0 release notes. Instead, Google’s put new information under a 3.0.0 subheading which is part of their 3.0.1 release notes.

      The bullet points describe behaviour that’s different than before. The first point describes a lower power mode of location tracking than previously used; the second describes a new mode (which is not only overdue, but admits that the feature does use battery); the final point acknowledges that an even lower power mode is now used when the app is not in the foreground.

      These are all new features to Google, and the fact that they phrased them this way to fool people is even more embarrassing.

      • The White Tiger

        How are you getting that from the wording? It’s clearly stating what Google Now does and doesn’t do to placate the paranoid; I’m genuinely impressed by how you’ve misconstrued their words to fit with your image of them.

        But hey, who knows, maybe you’re right. But there is absolutely no way the conclusion you have come to is less absurd than the conclusion you think others are drawing.

      • My God man…this isn’t that hard to follow. The initial install of Google Now on iOS had the EXACT same thing you see under 3.0.0. I read it then and is why I made this comment:

        This is definitely the most egregious post on The Loop as it is 100% false and misleading. If it were someone else on Apple, you all would be screaming stock manipulation.

        • Because each and every one of those bullet points represents a coding change in 3.0.1. It’s really that simple.

          • You’re wrong. That is the exact same changelog from the 3.0.0 release where people started complaining.

          • That’s interesting. That means they were lying in the 3.0.0 release, because I don’t think any of those things are true of the 3.0.0 release.

          • How? Location access showing the icon but not using GPS has been substantiated as possible/likely by iOS developers (Marco specifically). What else in there would be a lie?

  • chjode

    I guess I don’t understand three things: 1 – any app that is continuously cranking away on Location Services and HTTP requests for nearby updates will clearly and unequivocally drain an iPhone’s battery 2 – Why won’t Google admit that? 3 – Why are people outraged when a location-based app drains their battery (see #1)?

    • Lucas Gladding

      CLLocationManager is complex, and there are different ways to determine location, some requiring less power than others. A location-based app doesn’t necessarily need to visibly impact battery life. If Google is hiding something (though I’m not sure they are), it could be that they abused the location manager settings, and had it working much harder than it needed to.

  • Billy Razzle

    Google lies constantly, regardless of this.

  • travis284

    The battery issue is that the app uses your location constantly unless you turn it off. It’s not that hard to comprahend.

  • kgro

    Hang on, you thought using your GPS does not impact the battery usage? Wow! There is a difference between battery drainage, that should be prevented, and the usual battery load, that should be optimized.

  • Another update

    Been using it since launch in ipad 3 and iphone 5. No battery drain to notice. Actually that was amazing . And the Service while limited on iOS is really useful and something that is totally another level than anything in other providers. Main reason I am considering moving from iphone 5 to android. Than and screen size, some of us actually use phones for productivity besides games.

    And your friend Gruber said there is no reason for now to use GPS (location data). This statement reveals that he has absolutely no idea what gnow does.

    Funny how easy it is to believe bad from one company when you have an agenda. Use or find out what you are writing on.

    Lazyass writing again. Stay with Apple and step up game there.

    • macyourday

      You forgot to mention apple is doomed, doesn’t innovate and you’ve had every apple product since the Apple ][ but you’re going all Scamsung. Who’s a lazyass now? Who’s got the agenda? Incidentally did you realise you stumbled on to an Apple based blog not one on how generous and selfless google is? I can’t imagine Loop or DF readers give a flying rat’s whatsit how great you think google is and posts reminding us about it on Mac blogs are tedious.

  • macyourday

    I can’t believe so many people are happy to let goggle know where they are all the time. Don’t bother telling me about no privacy on the net, I know, but actively feeding goggle accurate location information continuously for some perceived convenience is insane, lazy and stupid. What are the odds that all this data is being fed to homeland for a secret fee, saving the agencies the expense of setting up extensive location tracking themselves. Goggle already has years of data on suckers (and probably dumb, would be terrorists). Why do you imagine you’re allowed to use high grade, trillion dollar military technology (GPS)? Out of the goodness of their hearts? Who do you trust?

  • Well something has definitely changed my battery lifetime dramatically over the last few weeks. I’ve uninstalled the Hangouts app, but that didn’t seem to change anything. I’ve retracted location permissions to a bunch of apps, and still no noticeable change. Even with the 3.0.1 update to Google Search, it still doesn’t seem to make a difference.