EXPERIMENT: Does Google Now Launcher Drain Battery?

Wondering if Google Now Launcher drains battery in your Android phone more than it should? Check the results of my experiment.

Hello guys! How are you today? 🙂 Even though the main focus of MobileGuru.LOL is now Android app development (and documenting and learning Java development), I didn’t stop being a technology geek. I will still from  time to time write posts with advice and tips from the perspective of a regular user of Android and review some gadgets.

Today, I will keep learning app development, but this post will be about my small observation about battery life with Google Now Launcher on. Let’s start!

A Few Words About Launchers

A few years ago I was a great fan of using launchers on my Android phones because they added new functionalities and improved the looks of icons, menu, app grid and so on. They were for me the essential Android apps everyone should play with. Many of them also offered many extra customizations (e.g. the size of icons, the transition effect and what not). However, back in those times they tended to slow phones down and drain battery life heavily.

For the last two years, I haven’t been using custom launchers because I was simply happy with how my phone (at first Sony Xperia Z3 Compact and now Z5 Compact) worked and how its interface looked.  I just didn’t feel the need to change it.

However, as you know or may not know, I am a big fan of Google and if Google releases some app, I usually install it on my device. This is what happened when I learned about Google Now Launcher.

What Google Launcher Is

Google Now Laucher is a launcher app released by Google. It’s nicely integrated with Google Now (I personally love this service) and makes the interface of your phone  look neat and minimalist. All you need to do to access Google Now is swipe right from the home screen. What’s more, in the app grid it groups apps according to how often you use them. This is how Google Now Launcher looks like:

Google Now Launcher

The whole idea behind Google Now Launcher is really great, so about a week ago I decided to install in on my Xperia.

Google Now Launcher Drains Battery… Like Hell

Just after I updated my Xperia to Android 6.0, I wrote two articles about battery life improvements (The Doze Feature in Android Marshmallow and Android Marshmallow Battery Drain & Optimization) and how happy I am about them.

However, when I installed Google Now Launcher about a week ago I was astonished at how fast my battery started to drain. At first I didn’t realize and didn’t really believe that it was Google Now Launcher to blame. I just thought that maybe my Xperia got older or that I should restore factory settings to it.

Anyway, I decided to run a small test and measure how my long my phone would last with Google Now Launcher and with its default launcher. Below are my results.

Battery Life With Google Now Launcher

I fully charged my phone and unplugged it from its charger at 1.00 AM.

I went to sleep so the phone also went to sleep (and turned the doze mode). During the day I wasn’t heavily using my phone (because I didn’t want its battery to die too soon). All I did was:

  • Sent several SMS and MMS messages
  • Browse the Internet for a couple of minutes (I didn’t use Facebook or Messenger)
  • Make two or three short calls
  • Listen to music in my car via Bluetooth
  • Updated a few apps over Wi-Fi

I would say that this was much less than a regular user would do with the phone during the day.  Unfortunately, in 24 hours my phone was almost dead. Look at the battery stats:

Google Now Launcher drains battery: test

As you can see, except for the night, the battery drain is high.

Google Now Launcher battery drain

This is what according to my phone consumes battery the most during that time.

According to this chart my phone would barely  last for 24 hours.  After seeing this worrying result, I uninstalled Google Now Launcher from my phone and ran the test again.

Battery Life With The Default Sony Launcher

I fully charged my phone at 9.00 AM and started to use it normally. I was doing pretty much everything I did in the first test and I also had mobile data turned on almost all the time.  I almost immediately noticed the change in battery drain. Battery percentages stopped to drop like crazy while I was using my phone.

It’s already been 24 hours since I fully charged my phone and it’s still alive. Take a look:


This is how the battery chart looks at this moment (after 24 hours of using my phone). Astonishing, isn’t it?

Google Now Launcher drains battery

This is how battery usage looks with the default Sony launcher.

I pretty sure that my phone without Google Now Launcher will last 48 hours (with both location and mobile data turned on).

What the above two short tests show is that Google Now Launcher decreases battery life of my Sony by 50%!

Share Your Thoughts

How about you? What are your experiences with Google Now Launcher? Does it also drain battery of your phone so much?

Feel free to share your thoughts. You can either leave me a comment in the comment box below or contact me directly.

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