Battery killers — these 20 apps are the worst for your phone

Photo of Tinder app logo
(Image credit: BigTunaOnline | Shutterstock)

Your new iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21 probably had tremendous battery life during its first month of use. But slowly, battery performance has likely started to wane. Turns out, much of that could be dependent on the apps you have installed. And no, it's not just Tinder or Facebook.

The folks over at pCloud, a cloud storage company, analyzed 100 of the most popular apps to see which were draining battery. While social media apps were obvious contenders for lithium-ion lessening, there were some more benign apps that most would probably never suspect. 

When ascertaining an apps battery usage, pCloud looked to what functions an app might deploy, such as location or camera. pCloud would then assign a figure to each function for battery draining potential and would apply those metrics to each app. The company also was on the lookout for battery-saving functions such as dark mode. It was by evaluating these metrics that pCloud listed which apps would likely even choke devices on our best phone battery life roundup. 

Leading the pack was surprisingly Fitbit. The fitness band used 14 out of 16 available background functions, including the four most demanding. These include camera, location, microphone and Wi-Fi connection. Following Fitbit was another surprise entry, Verizon. Yes, the app that you can use to pay your Verizon bill could eat more battery than Uber, Skype or Facebook. 

Top-20 most demanding apps graphic by pCloud. Showcases apps by icon with battery usage underneath.

(Image credit: pCloud)

It's no surprise that apps like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and Tinder were all in the top 20 list of "most demanding apps." Social media apps often require many phone functions. Plus, these apps also keep attention for much longer than say a news app. Not all major social media apps made the list. Notably, Twitter was absent, which could be a testament to the app's design. 

It should be noted that pCloud is weighing potential app usage to the number of functions used. There isn't a direct comparison with one app to the next, and which would cause a phone to die faster. Considering that these apps vary wildly in function, comparing use of the Verizon app to livestreaming platform BIGO Live would likely not be a good evaluation.

Generously, pCloud also included a breakdown of the top-50 battery-draining apps. Some notable apps include McDonald's, Reddit, Netflix and TikTok. Duolingo, with it's daily notifications, also lands in the top-50. Weirdly, so does online payments company Klarna. 

List of top-50 apps that drain battery life by pCloud

(Image credit: pCloud)

Beyond battery life, pCloud also found that travel apps eat the most amount of internal phone memory. Here, pCloud is essentially comparing the size of apps. United Airlines takes the top spot for using over 400mb of memory, with Lyft and Uber following behind. And it's not just going to places that will eat up battery life, so too will delivery apps that bring you your food.

Imad Khan

Imad is currently Senior Google and Internet Culture reporter for CNET, but until recently was News Editor at Tom's Guide. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with the New York Times, the Washington Post, ESPN, Wired and Men's Health Magazine, among others. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.