Normal: The app tells you which apps to kill to extend your iPhone’s battery life

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 19 Aug 2014

Normal Battery Analytics

Battery life is quite a precious commodity when it comes to the iPhone. So it is important to optimize the settings on your iPhone to ensure that you can extend its battery life as much as possible based on your usage.

A lot also depends on the type of apps we use on our device. One of the reasons for poor battery life can be an app that is running in the background.

It’s quite difficult to identify such battery hogs as it’s not possible to find out what impact an app has on your iPhone’s battery currently. iOS 8 will provide some insight as it includes a feature which will tell you the battery usage at an application level.

A new app called Normal: Battery Analytics aims to make it even easier to identify the battery hogs. The app developed by Adam Oliner and Jacob Leverich, two Stanford Ph.Ds in computer science, will tell you how much battery life you’ll end up saving by killing the battery hogs.

They do it by collecting generic usage data on your device over time such as which apps are running, what type of device you have, and the battery level, and then aggregating that data from hundreds of thousands of users, to accurately tell you the battery hogs on your device, and give you an estimate of exactly how much time you will extend by killing the app.

When you launch the app, it displays the active hogs, the inactive ones and other apps. For each app, it will display the ring or donut chart, which displays what Normal knows about a hog, and its impact on your iPhone’s battery. Normal explains in the About section of how to interpret the donut chart:

The complete donut represents a full charge. The missing portion is the fraction of your battery that is currently depleted. The orange portion is the fraction of the charge Normal estimates is being consumed by the hog, and therefore the amount you would save by eliminating it. The gray portion is the remain battery that is unaffected by the hog. So more orange means more severe problem. The black line is our degree of uncertainty, shorter black lines means more certainty about the extend of the problem.

It tells you which apps are currently impacting battery life on your device under Active. As you can see, it is telling me that apps like Skype, Hangouts, Viber are the biggest hogs, which doesn’t come as a surprise as messaging and VoIP apps are known culprits. They also seem to have more certainty about the extend of the problem based on what they’ve seen from data collected from other users. I was surprised to find out that Hangouts has a much bigger impact on battery life than Skype.

Normal Battery Analytics - 1

Interestingly, it also identifies jailbreak apps such as flux, iCaughtU Pro that I’ve running on my jailbroken iPhone 5s, however as you can see below, it doesn’t have enough data to tell you whether the tweak is a battery hog.

Normal battery analytics - flux

If you plan to continue using an app even if its impacting battery life, then you can tell Normal to stop showing it by tapping on the app from the list, and tapping on “Stop Showing this app”.

If you’re concerned that the app may use your cellular data, then you have the option to send and receive data when you are connected to the Wi-Fi network and when the device is plugged in, which can be enabled via the Settings tab.

Overall, Normal seems to do a pretty great job in educating users about the battery hogs on my device. It can be quite handy when your iPhone is running out of battery. However, it is difficult to verify if killing the apps will actually extend your iPhone’s battery by the amount of time, Normal says it will.

Normal is available in the App Store for $0.99, which is very reasonable. It is currently available only for the iPhone.

Download now ($0.99)