[Update: Firefox Sync does not drain my battery any more, but I've had similar experiences with Exchange Sync and Soundcloud. My latest discovery is Juice Defender, my battery now lasts between 36 and 48 hours!]
From May 29th until yesterday I was experiencing unacceptable high battery drain on my Samsung Galaxy S II with Ice Cream Samsung. Instead of the normal 24-36 hours, my phone only lasted for 5-7 hours. According to the battery stats, “Android OS” was responsible for up to 80% of total power consumption, where one normally would expect the “Screen” to be the biggest consumer. CPUSpy showed that my phone only rarely entered “Deep Sleep”. The problem only disappeared when I disabled “Data” entirely, not when just disabling “Synchronization”.
Based on information in this issue on the Android-bugtracker, I wasn’t the only one to experience this problem. There seemed to be multiple solutions which worked for some but not for others. Apparently “Android OS” was just the poor sucker to get the blame, while in fact other applications can keep your phone awake.
If you ever experience a similar problem, here’s how I finally stopped the battery drain: I uninstalled a number of applications and checked battery usage. If the discharging continued at the same rate, I re-installed the application and went for the next bunch. And just before uninstalling my beloved Firefox Mobile, I deactivated Firefox Sync, which I (only then) noticed was trying to sync continuously. Ouch! I removed Firefox Sync from the Synchronization services and battery life is back to normal since. One of these days I’ll re-enable Firefox Sync to see if the problem returns. If it does, I guess I’ll have to dive into ADB for debugging info and report back to Bugzilla? Good times!
Last Friday I downloaded the newest official ROM from Samsung for my Galaxy SII from SamMobile.com and flashed it. I had no time over the weekend, but I just now deactivated the workaround solution I found on xda-developers and did some tests with meeting invitation responses and read receipts and I’m glad to confirm that I9100XWLPD indeed seems to solve the “connection error”-bug which ruined my initial Ice Cream Samsung experience. Yay!
[Update 21-5-2012: Samsung released new firmware, version I9100XWLPD, which seems to fix the bug.]
Since updating my Samsung Galaxy S II to Ice Cream Sandwich, I’ve regularly been experiencing the dreaded “connection error” in the mail client when trying to fetch mail from the corporate Exchange server. A colleague of mine, who agreed to have me upgrade his SGS2 after I promised everything worked flawlessly, had the problem even more regularly.
Searching the web turned up this interesting thread on xda-developers, which had amongst others a fix for the adventurous, but also this eye-opening comment:
The messages in question are Read Receipts, Delivery Receipts and similar messages. Once there is one of those in your inbox, you’re stuck until you delete it. [...] A better solution which has worked for me is to create a folder for your receipts. Then, on your PC, create a rule to move the receipts to the folder on arrival. This will obviously also work when your PC is off, as the rules are stored and executed on the server. You will have to create a rule which processes emails on arrival, matches a series of strings in either subject or body of the message and moves them to the folder.
And that’s exactly what I did; mails sent only to me with “Declined:” or “Accepted:” or “Tentative:” or “Read:” or “Not read:” in the subject line are automatically moved into a “tmp” folder. Your mileage may vary (apparently there are other conditions under which the Android/ Samsung mail client has problems downloading items form Exchange), but based on my limited experience up until now, this workaround gets most problematic items in my Inbox out of the way. Now let’s hope Samsung fixes this blatant error (and that it isn’t in the ICS-version on that beautiful Samsung Galaxy S III)!
Last week I flashed my Samsung Galaxy S II with the official Android 4 firmware from Samsung. Here’s some information and semi-random thoughts about the upgrade and my Ice Cream Sandwich on Samsung-experience so far.
- About the upgrade:
- What Ice Cream Samsung is like:
- Battery life actually seems a bit better than with the Gingerbread-based firmware.
- Ice Cream Sandwich seems slightly faster as well, more responsive.
- ICS isn’t all that different, from a user interface point of view. Some small tweaks and usability improvements, but nothing major.
- Face unlock (having Android unlock your phone after recognizing your face) is a nice gadget, but it’s of little use if you value security.
- More interesting, from a security point of view, are “encrypt device” and “encrypt SD card”. Should give that a try.
- The data usage app is really great, allowing you to monitor and manage data usage for the entire device and on a per-app basis. “Data Usage” is, as far as I’m concerned, one of the hidden treasures in ICS!
- Tailoring ICS to my liking:
- I’m not a fan of Samsung’s TouchWiz, which also features in their ICS implementation, so I don’t use it.
- At first I installed Nova, an ICS-only launcher, but I wasn’t blown away, so I reverted to good old ADW.
- I rooted the phone with CF-root to be able to install SetCPU.
- SetCPU, which I had previously used on my HTC, seemed to work all right at first, but it sometimes put my phone into a deep sleep during phone calls or when idle, with nothing but a forced reboot to wake it up. I uninstalled SetCPU (and am still looking for a similar tool to save battery mainly).
- I also installed AdFree Android, which adds known ad-domains to your hosts-file, having them point to localhost. Only for rooted phones, but it works like a charm. More privacy and better battery-life will be yours!
So I’m good, for now. But I’m sure I’ll be very tempted when Cyanogenmod 9 for the Galaxy SII comes out. Go TeamHacksung!