Is the Kindle App Draining the Battery on Your iPad/iPhone?

kindle itunes logoWith literally months of standby time, Apple's mobile devices have excellent battery life. Most users will tell you that their iPhone lasts at least a day of heavy usage (the iPad lasts even longer) but lately there have been reports from some users that battery life has dropped significantly.

James Kendrick of ZDnet was the first blogger to notice, and yesterday he reported that:

About two weeks ago I noticed that my iOS devices were using more battery than ever before. A couple of days the iPhone was very low at the end of the day, and the same with the iPad Air 2. Each time it happened I couldn't think of anything I'd done differently. The iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2 were hitting the battery harder than before.

Looking at battery usage by app in Settings>General>Usage>Battery Usage I quickly homed in on the culprit. The Kindle app from Amazon is now always the app that is using a greater percentage of my battery, and often by a wide margin.

I read a lot of Kindle books but rarely for hours at a time; a typical reading session is only 15 minutes or so. Rarely does my accumulated daily reading time exceed an hour. The usage of other apps far exceeds this, especially Safari and Evernote. These don't come close to how hard the Kindle app hits the battery.

From the sound of it, the app must be active and running in the background, even when it is not being used. That is a surprise; IOS is great at putting apps to sleep when you're not using them. This cuts down on the resources they use - or at least it is supposed to.

I don't use my iPad enough to see an appreciable drain on the battery, but I have gotten anecdotal confirmation from a couple of friends. They all said that they saw a battery drain similar to what Kendrick reported:

kindle-battery-iphone-6-plus

What's more, Amazon has confirmed the initial reports, telling ZDnet that they had: "checked and see that number of eligible customers have contacted us regarding this issue and our technical team is currently working to address this problem. "

Update: Amazon's PR dept is disputing this report. They deny the scale of the problem. Okay, but I've now heard from several more people on Twitter who have experienced this problem. They also deny that the app is running in the background, and I could be completely wrong on that point.

Amazon is expecting to release an update which fixes this problem in the next few days. Until then, you might want to shut down the Kindle app when you're not using it.

In order to see what apps you have running, press the home button twice.  This will bring up a menu which shows all the apps running in the background. If you're running iOS 8, it will be a full screen menu. Earlier versions of IOS will show a taskbar menu across the bottom of the screen with icons.

To turn off an app (on iOS 8) simply select it and swipe towards the top of the screen. In earlier versions of iOS, press the little red X on the app's icon.

About Nate Hoffelder (11585 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

9 Comments on Is the Kindle App Draining the Battery on Your iPad/iPhone?

  1. Just a small correction. Pressing the Home button twice does not give you the list of apps running in the background, but apps that recently ran on the foreground. Some of those might still be running in the background, some not; you have no way of knowing it which ones are still running, unless you bring them again to the foreground (if they resume where you left them without a launch screen, they were still in the background; if they display a launch screen, most probably iOS had actually killed them but didn’t tell you).

  2. I don’t use the Kindle app but it seems like it would be far more relevant to check Settings > Kindle … Is Background App Refresh an option and is it enabled? Is Use Location Services an option and is it set to Always / While Using / Never? These are the primary ways an unused app can drain battery and also seem like they would be near completely irrelevant to a good Kindle app experience.

    As mentioned above, the app switcher doesn’t display or tell you an app is running; it tells you if it was recently running. iOS will be suspending those apps as resources become limited, but the two options above provide a path for apps to continue to run.

    And that’s not to say that the battery draining isn’t occurring only while the app is being actively used. Some apps can be that bad.

    • I’m looking at my iPad now and I don’t see an option for background refresh. There is an option for location services, and it is disabled on my iPad.

      • It’s actually under General->Background App Refresh, which is the option just below General->Usage. I just checked my battery usage for the past 7 days, and Kindle used only 1%, while apps like Chrome, Safari, and Facebook used 31%, 29%, and 11%, respectively.

        YMMV

  3. My Kindle must be ok (read omit this morning). My usage shows 3% for the Kindle app vs 39% for my FB app. Turned off the latter.

  4. I read a lot. I mean 2-3 hours at a time. I just recently started having trouble on my iPad. I have no trouble on my iPhone, though. I looked and the Kindle is using up all my battery life. Battery usage usually points out if the app was running in background, mine wasn’t. It is just using all my battery. It used to be 4 hours on my iPad would use half my battery life, and that includes Kindle. Now I can’t even spend 3 hours.

  5. I purchased an audible book yesterday and by the end of the day my iPhone battery was drained after having a full charge and not reading anything. First time I purchased audible but purchase books all the time. I surmise the problem is the audible feature.

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