Google Services

Google Services uses more battery as it encompasses more things, but that doesn't help with the confusion factor

Jonathan wrote in with a concern:

Battery drain since 4.3 and/or new PlayStore

Am I the only one to have this problem? I have the same situation on both Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 10. Play Services takes a great chunk out of the battery.

Thank you.

It's not just you, Jonathan. Seems like everyone running the combination of Android 4.3 with the new Google Play services (which, really, everyone should have by now) is seeing the Google Services entry in their battery list with bigger numbers than we're used to seeing. This makes sense — it's doing more than ever. 

The good news is that for most people it's not really keeping the CPU awake very often. That's what abnormally kills your battery. After some investigation and discussion, we think that the Google Services now encompasses more "stuff" so it uses more battery, and some change in the way it gets reported are the cause of what you, and everyone else is seeing.

But that's not the root issue. 

Google needs to change the look of the Battery information screen in the settings, because what the numbers show us isn't the whole story. Follow along.

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Battery statistics

That's Jonathan's Battery statistics screen. Before we go any further, thanks for making me look at the Jungle Heat game — it looks pretty damn awesome. Enough of that, let's look at those numbers.

We see what we're used to seeing, but what we're used to seeing is pretty useless without doing a little calculation. In Jonathan's case, Google Services did not use 20 percent of the battery. It actually only used 5.4 percent. Don't pay attention to the numbers, instead pay attention to what they mean.

Jonathan's Nexus 10 has 73 percent of a battery charge left. That means, only 27 percent of it has been used by everything that used any of it. That 20 percent figure you see for Google Services is really 20 percent of 27 percent. You need to do a little math, even though we all hate math.

((100-73)*.20) = 5.4

That means 100 percent (the fully charged battery), minus the amount of charge left (that's 73 percent per the top of the screen) leaves us with the total amount of battery used — in this case, that's 27 percent. Of that 27 percent that's been used, 20 percent of that went to Google Services, meaning that 5.4 percent of a full charge has been used in the 1 day, 13 hours, 22 minutes and 20 seconds the Nexus 10 has been off the charger. That number is bigger that we used to see for Google Services, but it's not an abnormal amount compared to everyone else. The screen is just confusing, and has always been.

Google needs to fix this. Somewhere in the mix of numbers and percentages, they need to tell us the amount of the overall charge that each entry has used, not the percentage of the used percent each has used. See — I told you it was confusing.


This is a better representation of exactly what's been eating away at that battery. Make it a card that opens when you tap or long press on something, We all love cards. Or do it some other equally simple way, just show us what those numbers and percentages mean so we're not switching from the Battery settings screen to the calculator app to figure it out for ourselves. You can do it, Google.