Android Oreo has done a great deal to help prevent excessive battery drain. With a brand new API geared toward limiting background usage, apps can no longer run away and drain your battery. However for this to work, an app developer must have employed the new API. Since not every app developer has followed suit with that, is it even possible to prevent those older, non-complying apps from wasting precious battery? Fortunately, the answer to that question is a resounding yes.
I want to show you how to disable background activity for those misbehaving apps. Do understand this comes with a caveat: Those apps that you disable the background activity for might not function as expected. Notifications can be delayed and other odd behavior might appear. However, if battery life has become an issue with a must-have app (one that doesn’t take advantage of the new Oreo API level), this might be your only choice until the developer rebuilds their app to meet the Oreo standards.
With that caveat out in the open, let’s see how to disable background activity in an app that is pummeling your battery.
Disabling background activity
To disable background activity for an app, open up Settings and go to Apps & Notifications. Within that screen, tap on See all X apps (where X is the number of apps you have installed – Figure A).
Once you’ve tapped the offending app, tap the Battery entry. In the resulting screen (Figure B), tap the On/Off slider to disable background activity.
Congratulations, that app will be prevented from working in the background–thereby not draining your battery. The only time that app will work is when it’s open. Close the app and activity will cease.
Enable background activity
The next time that offending app gets an update, I would recommend going back and enabling background activity. To do that, simply reverse the process outlined above. If you find the app is no longer gobbling up your battery, leave background activity enabled. If the app goes back to draining the battery, disable background activity. Repeat this until the developer finally rebuilds the app with the new API and your battery is safe from drainage.
In a perfect world, all app developers will be using the new API. Since we’re not existing in a perfect world, there will be apps that might continue to drain the battery on your Android device. If you find that happening, you now have the power at your fingertips to stop this unwanted activity.
Subscribe to the Developer Insider Newsletter
From the hottest programming languages to commentary on the Linux OS, get the developer and open source news and tips you need to know. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays