A news study says that many so-called “free” apps that display ads are sucking the life right out of your smartphone’s battery and also taking up chunks of your data plan.
Many users choose free versions of apps instead of paying anywhere from .99 to $12.99 for ad-free paid versions. Turns out that can cost you in the long run. Free apps that are ad-supported use 16% more energy than apps without ads. They compared 21 favorite apps from Google Play store and found that the free apps with ads cut battery life on the phone by more than 2 hours.
The also take up nearly 25% more memory in your phone and can use a whopping 80% more network data. Many of these ads contain content that must be downloaded.
If you’re on a plan with data limits, that can really gobble up your time.
Researchers at USC, Rochester Institute of Technology and Queen’s University say these apps make your phone run slower overall as well. The researchers say the battery draining effects probably aren’t intentional. Some developers just don’t take battery life and data usage into consideration when adding ads to their apps. Researchers hope this study will make developers more aware of the problem.
People have come to expect free apps and can be reluctant to pay for them. It’s impossible for a developer to maintain the servers and support for an app without money coming in and ads generate income. In fact, many find them preferable to the other way developers can generate money from free apps, which is to sell your information to advertisers.
If you really enjoy an ad-laden app, consider spending a little money to upgrade to a an ad-free paid version. Or look for a similar app with less ad content.