News: Silent Facebook & Messenger Server Update Brings Fast Draining Battery with High Temperatures

Silent Facebook & Messenger Server Update Brings Fast Draining Battery with High Temperatures

Many Android users woke up on January 10 to discover that their phone's performance took a nosedive overnight. Battery life is draining fast, overall performance has been sluggish, and devices seem to be overheating for no apparent reason. Not to worry, this isn't happening because of something you did.

All of these issues seem to be originating from a server-side update to Facebook and Facebook Messenger that occurred silently in the background. It doesn't matter if you actually use the apps or not, they're both constantly running and putting a massive strain on your CPU by forcing it to stay on higher frequencies.

UPDATE: David Marcus from the Facebook Messenger team claimed on January 11 that the server-side issue has been corrected. He stated that restarting the apps should prevent Facebook and Messenger from behaving the way they have been since January 10. Let us know if this works for you, and read on for more information regarding the issues Android users have been facing.

Yes, It Really Is Facebook & Facebook Messenger

Believe it or not, Facebook and Facebook Messenger are the main culprits behind this whole mess. The apps themselves haven't been updated since mid-December, so it appears that Facebook remotely flipped a switch on some behind-the-scenes feature or update that's causing all of these issues.

Not only is the update forcing your phone to stay on the higher frequencies (above sixty percent load in most reports), but the heat being generated is also preventing your phone from fast-charging. And as with any electronic device, heat represents wasted electricity, so that accounts for the terrible battery drain.

Facebook and Facebook Messenger's CPU usage and battery drain are off the charts.

I'm not sure what sort of black magic Facebook used to hide Messenger's name from Android's battery menu and its list of juice-sucking apps, but that doesn't deter us from figuring out who's to blame. Using BetterBatteryStats, it's very clear that Facebook and Facebook Messenger are the real culprits, as both appear at the top of all CPU and battery usage stats.

Just take a look at those crazy system and usage times—all this from two apps which haven't even been launched since the update. The prolonged CPU usage translates into heat, and heat added to the high frequencies means extreme throttling on your phone, which is the reason why it's so slow and laggy. Your expensive device now has only one good use: A hand warmer!

The Solution

Well, the solution is obvious—simply uninstall Facebook and Facebook Messenger until the company gets its shit together. If Facebook and Messenger came preinstalled on your device as bloatware, you can uninstall all updates or disable the apps by heading to Settings -> Apps. You can also uninstall the apps straight from the Google Play Store, but be sure to disable automatic updates from the drop-down menu on the app's Play Store page as well.

Alternatively, you can try force-stopping the apps by heading to the Apps menu in Settings, then selecting Facebook and Facebook Messenger, and tapping the "Force Stop" button at the top of the screen. This will make the apps stop running in the background for at least a little while, but the next time you open Facebook or get a new message, the overheating and battery draining will start right back up.

Let us know if you've experienced these issues on your device, and if the solution worked. Feel free to share any thoughts or comments in the section below.

Cover image by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay; screenshots by Kevin M./Gadget Hacks

17 Comments

currently facebook is using more battery than my OS and I hadn't even used it today. Going to have to uninstall as its eating up between 17% and 20%.

You can also force-stop the apps if you don't want to uninstall them. Hopefully Facebook will correct the problem before it gets out of hand.

Yeah then 5 min later it's running again

Facebook for me is only using 2% of my battery. However, I beta test so I'm assuming you're referring to the release version.

Actually, it's affecting almost everyone. I have the beta version myself, users with the alpha and release date versions are reporting it as well. It might not affect every single person, but it sure has made it's way around.

Sounds like you got lucky, haha.

Removed Facebook and replaced it with Metal. Much better.

Definitely. I recommend switching to Metal pro, totally worth $1, does everything better except for chat, and for that I use Disa.

My Greenify app handle all these dirty apps smartly.

I've been suffering from serious battery drain for quite a while now. I uninstalled both fb and messenger, but it still seems to be draining too fast. I have my screen intensity turned all the way down and it is set to turn off quickly, I keep wifi and gps turned off, I don't play games - I don't know what else to do. It gets hot in my pocket while it's draining as well. Do you have any suggestions? I also bought a new battery thinking my old one was going bad, and it's STILL draining like mad. I've gone from 100% at 9am to 47% by 2pm and haven't made a single call!

Which phone do you have, and which operating system is it on?

I have an LGL31L running 4.4.2. Battery drain has been better the last couple of days (running Metal instead of FB, etc.) but I still have to keep my screen at 0%. Yesterday at 6pm I was down to 49% after no phone calls all day.

Most of the tests I would like you to run require you to be rooted, is that something you would be interested in?

Actually, I'm not sure I feel comfortable doing that. Is there anything else I can try? The drain is NOT as bad as it had been before, though I'm still getting down to 30% or so in 12 hours without making any calls.

Have you taken a look at our battery saving guide? It has a handful of tips/tricks that should help you prolong your battery usage without rooting.

I'm so glad the drippler app brought me this article tonight. I have noticed within just the past 24 hrs my phone (htc 10 running 6.0) has just in general been running like crap and is not charging like it was the night before. One question I have though, the article says Facebook hasn't done a "real update" since December... What about those of us who are beta testers for both FB apps? I'm downloading updates to both apps several times a week and I like being a beta tester but now I'm ready to put that on pause until I figure out if it's them making my phone run this bad or if my phone is fighting back from some binge usage the past couple days....

The beta versions aren't the real reason for the fast draining battery and high temperatures (even though that's what David Marcus first tried to downplay it as), it was a server-side change that caused almost every single person with Facebook or Messenger installed to be affected. The version installed doesn't seem to have mattered, but there are a few people who state they didn't experience these issues.

It's up to you, I'm a beta tester myself, and beta versions are known for having significantly worse battery life than the 'stable' releases (which is what we were referring to in the article, it hasn't been updated since December 14th).

I've dumped Facebook and Messenger again, because the battery usage stats were higher than the brightness on my s7e. I've gone back to using Swipe Pro with Chrome browser, which is amazing as I don't have to download a separate messenger app.

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