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Checking out Doze and App standby on the Android M Developer Preview

One of the big user-facing changes to come from the Android M announcement at Google I/O this year is Doze, a new set of behaviors for making sure apps aren't sucking your battery life away when you aren't using your phone. More specifically, when you've left your phone on your desk or your tablet on the coffee table, Doze will detect the lack of motion and enter a new kind of deep sleep mode.

While it's not quite finished, and we know nothing about the Android M Developer Preview is set in stone, Google's message here couldn't be more clear. You should expect more from your devices when they are in an inactive state, and here's how they plan to do that.

Every year Google makes battery life improvements of some kind to Android, but those changes are often dependent on developers playing along and doing their part. When Google says Doze is meant to extend your battery life for idle devices, it's something that applies no matter what your apps are doing. Here's how Google describes the behavior changes that make up Doze.

  • Network access is disabled, unless your app receives a high priority Google Cloud Messaging tickle.
  • Wake locks are ignored.
  • Alarms scheduled with the AlarmManager class are disabled, except for alarms that you've set with the setAlarmClock() method and AlarmManager.setAndAllowWhileIdle().
  • WiFi scans are not performed.
  • Syncs and jobs for your sync adapters and JobScheduler are not permitted to run.

As you can see, Google is taking a much stronger position on app behavior through Doze, and as long as your phone is sitting still and not doing anything it'll get you a noticeable extension on battery life. Once the phone moves or you wake it up to do something, this function turns off and everything your phone has missed will come flooding in to the device. Hopefully developers will work to avoid individual notification tones for each missed message, but only time will tell how that gets sorted out.

Doze Exemptions

As we tested Doze through the M Developer Preview, a new exemption list for apps was discovered in the battery manager. This list gives you an idea of which apps are currently ignoring battery optimizations, and lets you go through and manually set others to behave the same way. It's a part of the App Standby feature, which helps determine when apps should be able to sync data and execute tasks. Like Doze, this feature can suspend network access for apps that are asking for it but not actually doing anything in the foreground. You can set just about anything to ignore battery optimizations currently, but it's an individual opt-in list so you can add or remove as you see fit.

The end result here is fantastic. Google has already delivered in a big way in the M Developer Preview when it comes to standby time, and that is going to make a big difference for a lot of folks. It means tablets that last for days, phones that can sit on desks without issue, and a generally better experience for the next iteration of Android.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

59 Comments
  • Generally, I like it.
  • I almost updated my tablet just for this-- 90% of the time, I use it when I get up in the morning to check work email, then again at night before bed. It probably spends 22 hours a day sitting on my nightstand. It's going to be great when I don't have to burn recharge cycles on the battery keeping it alive for that mild usage.
  • I do nearly the same with my N7 ('13), it generally does ok a few days no charge and no use, especially if I turn off the notification light. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Does Doze work while the phone is in your pocket as well? Because I generally leave my phone in my pocket at work, NOT on my desk. If it detects the motion of walking do you still get doze's benefits? Or does it have to be sitting still?
  • I know reading is hard, but if you go slow and sound out the words, the answer is in the article Sent via carrier duck. They were out of pigeons
  • Captain of team Dickhead huh?
  • Shirtless and jorted is no way to go through life, remember that Sent via carrier duck. They were out of pigeons
  • Funniest thing I've seen on AC in a long time...
  • Neither is being a cockbite.
  • You know cockbite makes no sense, right? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Sounds like this is actually going to help! Kind of sort of reminds me of Greenify's functionality and I'm excited!
  • Same here, my only worry is whether motion kicks the doze function off. My phone is never on a desk, it's always in the pocket, and therefore gets moved a lot. I use greenify and it made a HUGE impact on my standby times
  • RTFA
  • Haha, this guy^ Posted via the Android Central App
  • Holy heck - that's not a doctored photo? 4 days left on a Nexus5?
  • For real!
  • Just noticed that one of the icons in the status bar looks like a "No SIM inserted" icon - so this is probably a photo taken after installation, charge, and then sitting for 2 days with no activity.
  • This is crap. Not EVERYONE in America sits at a desk all day. Wouldn't they easily be able to amend the command to include the proximity sensor. Maybe even proximity plus gyroscope so it knows the phone is upside down in your pocket. Hell, apps can do that. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Chill out a little bit - it's a step in the right direction, and one that will benefit *most* users. It's not a magic bullet.
  • For what it's worth, I installed the M preview onto my Nexus5 last night. I use only this phone and it's been unplugged for almost three hours this morning while I work and use it normally and it says I still have over 3 days left on this charge. Disclaimer: Yes, I have all of the same apps installed, but I haven't had a chance to set them up yet so this will probably go down a little bit once things like Twitter, Google+, my other email accounts, and Facebook are up and working normally. But I've neva EVA seen battery expectations on my phone like this before.
  • Finally, Google doing something to match the iPhone's standby battery efficiency. It's ridiculous how with such a small battery, the iPhone 6 drains so little when idle, even when syncing mail and messages in the background. And no, I'm not an apple fanboy. I use an HTC One M9. Can't wait for this update to go live.
  • I think that standby time you're talking about depends greatly on what the apps are doing in the background. My brother has an iPhone 6 and I see him juice up at least twice a day. I can chalk it up to him being a senior in high school easily with social media apps syncing all day and IM apps as well. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I want them to fix the fact that while my screen is off, the phone is awake and draining battery. I send a text and slip it back in my pocket and it says its still awake.
  • I think that's exactly what they've done... if you read into the documentation, I'm pretty sure it says things like they are preventing "wake lock" in apps.
  • I'll believe it when I see it. Does app permissions affect Doze? Posted via the Android Central App
  • My Xperia Z3 may last a week with these features. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Same. Stamina mode on the Z3 is a monster. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Does this include the AC app, because it's the worst offender on my phone for wasting battery. BUT I use it, because the mobile site is a whole level of awful I can't stand. Posted
  • same here, enjoy AC but definitely one of my biggest drainers ... do you know if app permissions that'll be on M will affect this? meaning, it won't run in the background as much if we disable some permissions. thx Posted via the Android Central App
  • Do you have the AC sync in the background? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Second that. The app is better than the site Posted via the Android Central App
  • So what happens when my phone is sitting idle in my car, which is moving down the interstate at 60+ mph? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Right. Accelerometer vs. GPS. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Here's hoping the G3 sees M. Posted via the Android Central App
  • it should, but probably not until Spring 2016 Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think CM already has something like this.
    I put CM 12.1 on a G Pad V410 and the standby is amazing.
    It will probably lose 1 percent every 5 hours on standby.
  • But how will this impact push notifications? I am signed up for a number of push notifications through apps such as ESPN, Bleacher Report Team Stream, Weather Channel, MLB At Bat, NFL Live, etc... When on my desk at work, for example, will Doze prevent these alerts from coming in until I wake the phone (or at least move it)? I personally like my notifications as they are sent by the provider.
  • Anyone?? Hellooooooooo? lol
  • They will come through if you give them the exception in the Doze setting menu, if not they will only come flooding in when you wake your device. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Got a typo in there Russell. Near the end it should say difference. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good catch :)
  • Well, based on what I read this isn't going to help while the screen is off but moving around in my pocket which pretty much defeats the purpose of this (for me anyway) I hope they think to address this Posted via the Android Central App
  • Holy M(oly)! Posted via Android Central App
  • Lol. From my Note 4
  • This is gonna be a feature I look forward to and doze just sounds cool. S6 owners may benefit greatly with this feature Posted via the Android Central App on the HTC One M8
  • S6 owners should be really happy if that works. From my Note 4
  • That will be nice because once I get home from work in the evenings my phone is on a table and stays there until I'm ready to go to bed. Weekends will be even better since it's rarely moved at all.
  • This of course won't disable Cell Standby, which is required for your phone and the #1 battery drainer besides Screen, around 20-30% per day on idle, and can't be disabled in Lollipop. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Can't that be done with Tasker and airplane mode? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Only need airplane mode. Then turn back on Wifi.
  • This would be great with the Turbo. To bad it'll never see it! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah it sounds good.. As good as the battery saver mode and Project Volta in Lollipop was supposed to make a huge difference in battery life..
    I barely saw any difference. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's up to developers to use the API of project Volta, if they are LAZY it is obviously that you're not seeing any difference.. :)
  • I saw a difference... For worse. Since the Lollipop update my HTC one m8 battery life sucks. Used to have a great battery life, had 30 per cent left when I got to bed. Now I charge twice a day. :(
  • True, Lollipop wasn't that good at battery saving's. Project Volta my asspirin!
  • It sounds like a great feature especially since its one of the very few that have the option to opt in or ignore . If Android made that an option for every app and yes even those pre-installed apps , the Android operating system would the be the best on the market, thus making it a hands down, no comparison , operating system for all to enjoy .
  • Love the feature but sucks that I can't benefit from this. My phone is always in my pocket when it's not charging (work and such) so it's ALWAYS in motion. I hope they somehow do something for us users too besides the "leaves phones on desk" users.
  • As much as I want improved battery life I really don't like the sound of this. It is basically saying that when my phone is inactive I will never get notifications. No email, no sports scores telling me someone has scored, no Facebook Messenger, no Trivia Crack telling me it's my turn, etc. Doze seems to basically cripple a device when it isn't in use which is pretty bad considering stand by time hasn't ever really been the biggest problem. Screen on time is the problem. My Nexus 5 on Lollipop already goes the entire night while I'm sleeping (about 8 hours) only losing like 3 or 4%. Also, apps that need to sync data(pictures, etc) are best done when the phone isn't in use. What happens when you have an app to only sync when on wifi but the only time you are on wifi is when you aren't using your phone? Those apps will NEVER sync.
  • I have a Nexus 5 and when I go into checking the Battery Optimization settings it says that it is 'Not Optimized' and the Google Play Services app says 'Battery Optimization is not available'
    If I click on the 'Not Optimized' dropdown list option and select All apps, it shows all of my apps, but they are always showing 'Optimizing battery usage'
    and never seem to finish that cycle ..
    Any ideas??
    I am on Marshmallow V6 (obviously .. lol), but cannot seem to get this to work correctly ..