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iOS 11 and WhatsApp Web might drain your battery

After updating my iPhone (in this case an iPhone 6 Plus) to the newly released iOS 11, its battery life got absolutely destroyed. Now the initial hit can be attributed to the OS trying to re-index its files, but the drain just kept going and going during work hours afterwards. Normally when I get home around 8pm, the battery was above 50% charge at the very least. iOS 11 however, killed the battery dead around 4pm.

What the hell?

Curiously my iPad Air 2 did not suffer from this battery drain and considering I minimized the amount of apps on my iPhone mere weeks ago, I was pretty sure it wasn’t an app gone haywire. Or was I? Turned out WhatsApp was pretty high up in the list of apps gobbling up battery charge, but that has always been the case. It was when I shut down for the night, working through my Pinboard to-read pile on my phone that I noticed the battery drain acting normal again. What gives?

Turns out it was WhatsApp, not the app, but its online brother: WhatsApp Web. For some reason, the browser interface isn’t really compatible. Now WhatsApp Web works by basically connecting to your phone, sending and receiving messages by proxy. This means it’s constantly contacting the app on your phone. It now seems the changes in iOS 11 have made the connection between WhatsApp on your phone and WhatsApp Web in your browser incredibly intensive in battery use. I don’t know how or why, but going through the day with no WhatsApp Web tab in my browser does seem to restore the battery to mostly normal.

So, if you have any battery problems yourself, try to stop using WhatsApp Web. It might just save your phone.

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