Worried about battery life while using Google Now? Google says there should be minimal impact [Updated]

google_now_app

Earlier in the week, Google finally released the eagerly anticipated Google Now feature for iPhone and iPad to take on Siri, Apple’s personal assistant feature.

The Google Now feature has received positive reviews so far, however there have been concerns raised about the impact it can have on battery life as many users have noticed the Location Services icon in the status bar after they updated to the latest version of Google Search app.

The concern was that Google Now was frequently using GPS, which could have a major impact on iPhone’s battery life.

However, Google has clarified in the support article that they’ve implemented the feature in such a way that there is minimal impact on battery life.

The support article first explains why Google Now uses Location Services:

You may notice the Location Services icon location services icon in your status bar after you start using Google Now. It appears because Google Search sometimes reports your location even when you’re not actively using the app. Google Now uses these reports to give you traffic alerts and other updates. Along with Location Services, Google Now uses Location Reporting to get precise location information.

The note then goes on to clarify that it shouldn’t have an impact on battery life:

Since Location Reporting has been optimized to use GPS as infrequently as possible, there should be minimal impact on your battery life.

Update:

Krisztina from Google has provided clarifications on why this should have minimal impact on battery life in the comments. It is quite possible that the drain in battery life that you’re observing is due to some other app:

Many apps that keep the icon on actually do drain the phone’s battery because they require very accurate location. (For example, some apps have to run your GPS all the time during navigation to keep you from missing your turn.) This update to the Google Search app is built very differently: it uses cell towers and wifi hot spots for much lower battery impact.

We extensively tested Google Now on iOS for months and didn’t see reports of significant battery impact — we would encourage you to try it in the Google Search app for a few days and we don’t expect you to see significant impact on your battery.

If you’ve still noticed an impact on battery life after installing Google Search 3.0.0 then you can disable location reporting for Google Now in the Search app and location services in iOS. However, it would mean that certain kinds of information such as commute traffic, may be limited or won’t show up at all.

If you’re seeing a problem, then tap on the gear icon  on the Home screen of the Google Search app, then tap on the Feedback to report the issue so Google can investigate it.

Alternatively, you can disable Location Reporting in Google Search app by following these steps.

  • In the Google Search app on the Home screen, tap the gear icon .
  • Tap Google Now.
  • Tap Privacy.
  • Turn the Location Reporting setting to OFF.

You can disable Location Services by following these simple steps:

  • Tap the Settings icon on the Home screen.
  • Go to Privacy.
  • Go to Location Services.
  • Turn the Location Services setting at the top to OFF.
  • Scroll down to the item for Google, and set it OFF.

Note disabling Location Services for Google in iOS will also impact the quality of Google search results.

Let us know what you think of the Google Now feature in the comments. Is it having a major impact on battery life?

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Categories: Google

  • bamer

    Definitely drained my 4S running jailbroken iOS 6.1.2. With Location Services turned I could watch my battery percent continuously drop. About 1% every 1.5 min.

  • Microsoftjunkie

    Well Google is not known for optimization so color me skeptical.

  • Necter

    These were my observations in the update release. The whole idea of keeping d GPS always ON as a way to keep Google Now up and running brought up issues: battery life and privacy. Even tho one could turn off location services in the iPhone settings, it would be great for GN to turn off GPS upon exit from app or delete from background (esp the latter).

  • Krisztina Radosavljlevic

    Hi there, I’m with Google and wanted to address the battery concern:

    Reports that Google Now on iOS drains battery life are incorrect. We understand people’s concern about seeing the Location Services icon stay on when they use Google Now. Many apps that keep the icon on actually do drain the phone’s battery because they require very accurate location. (For example, some apps have to run your GPS all the time during navigation to keep you from missing your turn.) This update to the Google Search app is built very differently: it uses cell towers and wifi hot spots for much lower battery impact.

    We extensively tested Google Now on iOS for months and didn’t see reports of significant battery impact — we would encourage you to try it in the Google Search app for a few days and we don’t expect you to see significant impact on your battery. If you are seeing a problem, please do tell us (just tap feedback in the app settings). We take user feedback very seriously.

    Best,
    Krisztina

    • http://www.iphonehacks.com iPhoneHacks

      Hey Krisztina, Thanks a lot for stopping by and addressing the concern, appreciate it. We just love the Google Now update, we’ve been eagerly waiting for it.

      • Pacomacman

        This is called ‘kissing ass’! :)

        • Kimk69

          Really.

    • http://www.iphonehacks.com iPhoneHacks

      We’ve also updated the post with the information you’ve provided so readers don’t miss it. Thanks again!

  • Alan

    I’m not sure what’s the fuss about. I am loving the feature. It’s much better than Siri and I haven’t noticed any impact on my iPhone 5’s battery life.

    • Pacomacman

      Siri and Google Now are two different things… Google Now gives you information, whereas you ask Siri to do things for you… so why compare?

      • Alan

        I don’t think they are different. Apple and Google are trying to solve the same problem, but due to the limitations of iOS, Google hasn’t been able to add all the features. So you feel that they are different.

        I am also comparing it based on what works for me. Siri seldom works and had got to a point that I hardly use it. Google Now works a lot better for me and I am using it more often. I also really dig the feature where cards are waiting for me when I launch the app rather than having to ask Siri.

  • Jeremy Goodlander

    I have an iPhone 5 with a Mophie Juice Pack. Normally I can get through an entire day and half another day with the battery. One day of Google Now and my phone and Juice pack was dead in less than 8 hours.
    I removed it. Battery back to normal.

  • Paul

    I’ve had the location services on for the last hour on my iPhone 5 and my battery went from 96 to 76 during that time with it just sitting on my table.