Thursday, April 3, 2014

KitKat 4.4.3 update almost here

There are literally dozens of bug fixes coming soon to KitKat 4.4.2 users.  When the Android KitKat 4.4.3 update is released by Google, (hopefully sometime during the month of April 2014), it’s expected that it will fix certain bugs and address other issues that have plagued users of KitKat 4.4.2 for several months.

To cite just two of the bugs that we've gotten e-mails about, in Android 4.4.2, Skype and other apps continuously try to access the camera.  This has caused the battery to drain too quickly, and has resulted in low performance.  Another bug has caused strange things to occur once the battery was charged to full, or when a low battery alert at 15% or 25% appeared, forcing the user to reboot his device to get things back to normal.

So be patient everyone.  Relief is almost here.

Android 4.4.3 details come to light

Monday, March 31, 2014

New permission added

Since an overwhelming number of our users of both Battery Notifier BT Free and Battery Notifier Pro BT have gone out of their way to tell us that one of the things they liked most about our apps was the fact that they needed only two permissions, it was a difficult decision for us to decide to add a third permission.

What Google has done starting with Android 4.4, otherwise known as KitKat, is to create what some have called "a bit of a mess".  In fact, some developers have outright demanded that Google go back to the way it was before.  We were waiting to see what the eventual fallout would be, and to see if Google would change their minds, but they have not.

Prior to Android 4.4, read access to the SD card or internal storage did not require any special permissions.  Beginning with Android 4.4, however, Google has insisted that read access now requires the READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission (for apps that didn’t already have the pre-existing write permission granted).  Data stored in the managed application directories on external storage require no permissions at all if you are the application that owns those files.

While Battery Notifier BT Free and Battery Notifier Pro BT do not add any sound files of their own, we discovered that many of our users who have some version of KitKat like to use their own custom sound notification files that they have saved to either the SD card or internal storage.  And we heard from them.  A lot.  Frequently.  Some sending numerous e-mails, with some willing to patiently help us test to try and find a workaround, with others not so willing to test while simply demanding "Fix it!"

So to our users who really liked the fact that we only had two permissions before, we apologize.  But enough of our users have spoken so that we feel we needed to add the third permission to enable our users to play the sounds on their devices that they wanted.  And it appears Google is not going to revert to the way it was before, or change their minds anytime soon.  Just please know that we are only using the added read permission in order to play sound files located on storage and nothing more.  Also know that we are still as concerned about our users' privacy as ever, and we will continue to strive to keep that as one of our highest priorities.

For our more technically savvy users, you can read much more about the Google and KitKat change regarding external storage here...
On the Edge of the Sandbox: External Storage Permissions
Written by: Dave Smith on March 20

Monday, August 12, 2013

Least Battery Drain Verified Again!

In our last post, the Norton Mobile Security - App Resource Hog Widget and the site at Norton Mobile Security - Battery Apps, verified that both Battery Notifier Pro BT and Battery Notifier BT Free have the lowest drain on your battery of any Android battery app.

Now, thanks to an excellent app for measuring battery use called Battery Stats Plus by
Root Installer, we were able to find battery usage stats for numerous battery-related apps that users had uploaded to their website.  We were also especially happy to find that an app we recommended before, BitDefender Antivirus Free, had battery usage of only 0.06%.

We then found the most popular battery-related apps, both paid and free, in the Google Play Top 500 apps for the Tools, Productivity or Widgets categories.  We wrote down the battery usage for each app from the Battery Stats Plus website.  After seeing the list of battery savers when we finished, we decided to add one free app which wasn't in the Top 500 in any category, but which we felt deserved to be included, BatteryFu battery saver.

We felt compelled to share this list, in particular so our Battery Notifier Pro BT users with the less than 0.01% battery use can brag to all their friends who have some other battery app installed on their phones.  BTW, both versions of Battery Stats Plus by Root Installer are also very good, and if you feel so inclined, we encourage users of both our apps to download that app, and then upload stats to the Battery Stats Plus website.

Here then is the list of 57 battery-related apps, 56 found both in the top 500 paid and free apps on Google Play, in the Tools, Productivity or Widgets categories, and at the Battery Stats Plus website.  In addition to the battery usage percentage, we also list the number of permissions for each app, whether or not they have a permission to access the Internet, and whether or not they display ads.  Finally, we list if the apps have any privacy concerns.

Google Play
August 12, 2013
Battery-related apps in Top 500 Tools, Productivity or Widgets categories
Battery usage stats from the Battery Stats Plus website

InternetPermissionsBattery Use
3< 0.01%Battery Notifier Pro BT - Shkil/larryvgs $2.19
10.06%Battery Percentage Pro - Wagwan Apps $1.36
Yes150.06%Battery Saver Pro - Protutu - An Tu Tu Pro $3.99  L
30.14%Battery Monitor Widget Pro - fsinib $1.99
120.20%Bataria Pro - Battery Saver - Jappka $1.99
20.25%Battery Solo Widget Pro - Pedro Maicas $1.99
20.26%Battery Widget Plus - JINASYS $1.30
Yes80.27%Battery Stats Plus Pro - Root Uninstaller $2.67
70.29%Battery Widget Pro - JH Jeong $1.22
200.32%Deep Sleep Battery Saver Pro - Root Uninstaller $2.59 A
Yes110.42%BetterBatteryStats - Sven Knispel $2.89
60.43%BatteryBot Pro - Darshan Computing, LLC $2.49
Yes240.44%DU Battery Saver&Widget - Du Apps Studio $2.99  A
Yes190.49%GreenPower Premium - Binary Mango AS $4.80  A
Yes60.57%GSam Battery Monitor Pro - GSam Labs $1.99
70.66%Battery Monitor Widget Pro - 3c $3.88
Yes170.72%Battery Widget Reborn - Tomas Hubalek $1.99
Yes170.79%Battery Booster (Full) - IMOBLIFE Co. Ltd $0.99
30.86%Battery Widget+ - Elvison $1.29
Yes100.86%Battery HD Pro - $3.95
Yes311.13%Juice Defender Plus - Latedroid $1.99  A,L,M
Yes311.36%Juice Defender Ultimate - Latedroid $4.99  A,L,M

Privacy concerns:
A - Can discover accounts and get your e-mail address
L - Can determine your current location and send it
M - Can read your e-mail and messages

InternetPermissionsBattery Use
3< 0.01%Battery Widget - geekyouup
30.02%Battery Notifier BT Free - Shkil/larryvgs *
Yes/Ads240.03%Battery Master-Save power! - Power Apps Tools  A,L
10.05%BatteryBot Battery Indicator - Darshan Computing, Inc.
Yes/Ads60.07%Gauge Battery Widget - Tomas Hubalek
80.09%BatteryFu battery saver - Toby Kurien
Yes/Ads170.10%Battery Saver - AnTuTu  L
20.13%Battery Widget - Elvison
Yes/Ads150.18%Bataria - Battery Power Saver - Jappka
Yes/Ads30.21%Battery Solo Widget - Pedro Maicas
Yes290.23%NQ Easy Battery Saver FREE - NQ Mobile  A,L
Yes/Ads220.23%Battery Dr saver+a task killer - aipopDev  A,B
Yes/Ads40.25%Battery Monitor Widget - fsinib
20.25%Battery Widget - JINASYS
20.27%Wakelock Detector-Save Battery - UzumApps
Yes/Ads30.27%Battery - MacroPinch
00.28%Circle Battery Widget - Cedric Depoortere
Yes/Ads60.30%GSam Battery Monitor - GSam Labs
Yes160.32%Battery Widget Reborn (Beta) - Tomas Hubalek
Yes/Ads240.38%2x Battery - Battery Saver - Sam Lu
Yes180.40%AVG Battery Saver & TuneUp - AVG Mobile
Yes240.44%DU Battery Saver&Switch Widget - Du Apps Studio  A
Yes/Ads240.48%One Touch Battery Saver - TACOTY CN  A,L
Yes/Ads70.49%Battery Monitor Widget - 3c
Yes260.49%Battery Doctor (Battery Saver) - KS Mobile
Yes/Ads40.53%Beautiful Battery Disc - Thalion
Yes/Ads250.69%Easy Battery Saver - 2Easy Team  L
Yes/Ads160.75%Battery Booster Lite - IMOBLIFE INC.
Yes/Ads70.77%Battery Stats Plus - Root Uninstaller
Yes/Ads250.78%GO Battery Saver &Power Widget - GO Launcher EX  A
Yes/Ads100.87%Battery HD -
Yes/Ads30.90%Battery Percentage - Wagwan Apps
Yes301.01%JuiceDefender - battery saver - Latedroid  A,L,M
Yes191.12%Deep Sleep Battery Saver - Root Uninstaller  A
Yes/Ads231.35%Super aTool Box-cache battery - aipopDev  A,B

* Listed at Battery Stats Plus site under its previous name, Battery Notifier (Big Text)

Privacy concerns:
A - Can discover accounts and get your e-mail address
B - Can access the list of web sites you visited in the browser
L - Can determine your current location and send it
M - Can read your e-mail and messages

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Least Battery Drain Verified!

It's always nice when users simply believe what you tell them because it's the truth.  But what is truly special, is when we completely by accident come across a page that has third-party independent verification from a well-known company with the reputation of Norton Mobile Security.  Yes, what we have been saying now for the past two years is true.
Both Battery Notifier BT Free and Battery Notifier Pro BT have the lowest drain on your battery of any Android battery app for your Android phone or tablet!

First of all, a big thank you to Norton Mobile Security so we could provide these links.
The versions of both our apps that they tested are each slightly outdated, (the renamed Battery Notifier BT Free is Battery Notifier (Big Text) 2.1.6, and Battery Notifier Pro BT is version 2.1.8) but they tell you all you need to know.

The first place to visit is the Norton Mobile Security - App Resource Hog Widget.  If you enter the name of our apps, the App Resource Hog Widget will also tell you about our low memory use, but the thing to look at here is the power rating, which according to Norton Mobile Security is "The impact of this app on your smartphone’s battery life, calculated over time to eliminate discrepancies."  That's right.  We got a big fat zero.  Now we realize you might be thinking, "Well, those other popular battery apps probably have zeroes also."
Our only response to that would be, go ahead.  We want you to test those other popular battery apps at the App Resource Hog Widget.  Please do.  You might be surprised.  :-)

Battery Notifier Pro BT
Skhil/larryvgs Version 2.1.8
Power Score 0 - Category average 12
Memory Score 0 - Category average 9
Shared Memory 5MB - Category average 8MB
Effective Memory 12MB - Category average 19MB
Battery Notifier BT Free
Battery Notifier BT Free
Skhil/larryvgs Version 2.1.6
Power Score 0 - Category average 12
Memory Score 0 - Category average 9
Shared Memory 4MB - Category average 8MB
Effective Memory 12MB - Category average 19MB

Norton Mobile Security - Battery Apps is another great link to compare battery apps if the App Resource Hog Widget doesn't have the battery app you are looking for.

Enter the name of any other battery app.  (Yes, there are a lot of them.)   Even if you are lucky enough to find an obscure app that nobody has heard of that matches our zero power rating in the App Resource Hog Widget, they will either want to connect to the Internet, have "madware" issues, or they will require many more permissions.  In short, they can't match the strings of 100's you will find for us at the second Norton Battery Apps link. - Battery Notifier Big Text

Once again, here are the links that verify we have the least battery drain:
Norton Mobile Security - App Resource Hog Widget
Norton Mobile Security - Battery Apps

Now go look up all those other popular battery apps you thought used less battery than us.
Go ahead.  We'll wait...  :-)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Battery Notifier Pro BT Personalization Update

With our 2.5.3 update to Battery Notifier Pro BT, we have tried to respond to many of the visual status bar requests that we have gotten from users.  And you know who you are. :-)

We've had requests for the percent sign many times before.  However, every time we tried to squeeze in the percent sign before in the space that Google gave us, we were never really happy with the results.  We also weren't impressed with the look of many of the percent sign icons that were out there in other apps.  When we created our own percent sign icons this time, we took our time trying out different things, and made certain this time that they met our standards.  We believe that they are the easiest to read compared to the competition, and we hope that you agree.  We also believe they are easier to read than the tiny optional percent sign that many of the Samsung phones provide, and we think we also compare favorably to the recent updates many of the HTC phones have released, that also include the percent sign as an option.  And the HTC and Samsung phones have just one color and one size only.

We've also had many requests for all red or the color yellow before, and we finally decided to give in.  So now if you want all yellow or all red, you can have it!  But we didn't stop there, and ever since we got that one request for purple, we decided, why not?  So now all our Neon add-ons have fuchsia, purple, yellow, orange and red that extend all the way from 100 to zero, so all you users with the new clear status bars can go nuts!  Be creative!  Just remember who came out with these colors first.  Who loves ya, baby?  :-)

Animated charging icons is another feature that was requested, that few apps have without the use of an extra intrusive overlay which requires system permissions in order to work.  Again, thanks to Dmytro's hard work, there are now five different animated charging options in Battery Notifier Pro BT that require no extra permissions, and which make it easy to tell now at a glance if your charger is properly connected.

We are not done, however.  In future updates we will be continuing to improve and add features to Battery Notifier Pro BT that our users have requested.  We'll get to them soon.  Just be patient...  :-)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

New Google+ Page

We have a new Battery Notifier Pro BT Google+ Page for those of you who would like to keep on top of the latest Android news and links that there just isn't room for here on our FAQ blog page.  In particular, since the issue of privacy has pretty much exploded here in the U.S. with the amount of government surveillance it has been discovered has been taking place with U.S. citizens, we will be on the lookout for privacy-related Android stories to post about.  A recent post deals with a massive leak of phone number and e-mails that Facebook admitted to a few days ago.  We warned you about Facebook before, didn't we?

We can never say this enough.  Before you download that next app, and allow some company total control over your phone, check those permissions first!  And it wouldn't hurt to take a few minutes to scan those user agreements either.  And while you are much better off getting your apps from Google Play, you really can't blame Google if you still download "Fart Sounds Machine Version 2.2" after reading the long list of permissions they want.

Anyway, our Battery Notifier Pro BT Google+ Page is a work in progress and will take some time to get followers, but if you would like to read more privacy-related Android stories, know more about "Fart Sounds Machine Version 2.2", and read other Android stories we feel are important to our users, visit our brand new Battery Notifier Pro BT Google+ Page
at the link below and FOLLOW us.

In return, we'll do our best to keep users of Battery Notifier Pro BT informed, as well as giving you all the latest information on Battery Notifier Pro BT itself.  Thanks!

Battery Notifier Pro BT Google+ Page

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Battery Saving Tips

Updated: 8/13/2013

Part One - Do I need a battery saver?

Many users who load up their phones with a lot of apps, many of them free, will soon start to see their battery levels start to drop a lot faster than they did before.  Then they will download a battery saving app in an attempt to fix the problem, and many times will only wind up making things worse.  Many of the free ones will want to show you ads constantly, which may drain your battery even faster.  Some may trick you into keeping your Internet connections open all the time when the screen is on, under the guise of saving you battery when the screen is off.  In addition, there are a number of apps out there which are just viruses which users are being tricked into downloading through "scareware".  There is even one which is a known virus which you can still download at Amazon.Com last we looked.

Also, make sure you read our blog post on Recommended Antivirus And Privacy Apps which recommended Clueful Privacy Advisor from Bitdefender.  We had a perfect 100 Privacy Score in Clueful on our phone.  However, after downloading a very popular battery saver with a rating almost as high as Battery Notifier Pro BT, our Privacy Score in Clueful dropped from a perfect 100 to 46!  Just by installing this one app!

Many battery saver apps these days are also just task managers in disguise, which will turn off or stop all apps running in the background unless you specifically tell them which ones you don't want them turning off.  We are certain use of these so-called "battery savers" are why we are disappearing from users' status bars more frequently these days, and then we get blamed when the battery saver turns us off.  A battery saving app we tried from a well known manufacturer had a phone only mode which did this, but even worse, they falsely identified many of the apps on our phone including ours as being "power hogs".

And we hate to sound like a broken record, but it still shocks us today when we find very popular battery apps that want so many permissions.  One we found had over 30 permissions.  Do you really want a battery app having that much control over your phone?

If you want to know how much battery your "battery saver" is using, go take a peak at our post Least Battery Drain Verified Again! and then come back here for a battery saver I will mention in a bit that I do recommend for those users that need one.

Doing tests on our own phone using SystemPanel by NextApp inc., we found that keeping the Internet connections on all the time when the phone was just sitting with the screen on, drained our battery at about 6% per hour.  Turning off the Internet dropped the battery drain to 3% per hour.  When the screen turned off and it was put to sleep, battery use dropped to about 1.5% per hour.  So obviously to save battery you want to keep the Internet off and the screen off as much as possible.  Set your screen timeout to two minutes or less, and you will have solved half of the problem.

We still believe most people don't really need all those extra controls or an extra battery saver app running in memory constantly in order to save battery.  Just do number one in the list below and keep all your Internet radios off and only turn them on when you need them.  However, if you are one of those people who have to be constantly in sync with the Internet all day long, but don't want the battery drain associated with keeping the Internet on all day long, there is one battery saver we can recommend.  It's called BatteryFu battery saver by Toby Kurien.  It uses little battery or memory, and has just enough permissions to work properly.  Best of all, it's free and it has no ads.  It got many one star ratings when it first came out for being buggy with early versions of Android, but the bugs are gone now and the app has gotten mostly 4 star or above reviews for the past year.  If you really feel you need a battery saver, it's the one we recommend.

For most people who don't need constant contact with the Internet, it's easy enough to just make some simple adjustments yourself to save battery, and here are the tips we've found that we believe from experience help the most.

Part Two - Battery Saving Tips

1) Turn off all radios you aren't using
This means switching off the WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth and 3G/4G when you don't need them.  If you don't have an option to turn off 3G/4G, put the phone in Airplane Mode.  Turn off all the apps that are using GPS or location; many of them will keep using the GPS to determine where you are and feed you information based on your location.
2) If all signal strengths are about equal, to use the least battery use WiFi first, then 3G, then 4G.  If you have a strong 4G signal, 4G may be best not because it will use less battery, but because it can download more efficiently.

3) No live wallpapers.  Darker wallpapers are preferable to light ones on some screens.
4) Put the screen timeout or sleep to the lowest setting that doesn't annoy you.  Two minutes or less is best.
5) Turn off auto-brightness and instead drop the screen brightness to 20%, or the lowest you feel it still looks good to you.
6) Get rid of excess screen widgets, or else severely limit how often they update.
7) Turn off unnecessary display animations  (Auto-rotate is OK).
8) If you have Power Saving options, turn them on and leave them on.  The only exception here is if you find your Android status bar is particularly dull and hard to read, then turn the power saving off for the screen only.

9) Limit notifications.
Notifications are useful, but frequent ones tax your battery.  Be smart about which app notifications are enabled.  Make sure those apps that are always busy, like Twitter or Facebook, aren't always refreshing with new updates and notifying you of them.  With email, make sure you don't have notifications enabled for every new message.
10) Control background syncing
The more often apps sync, the more battery they use. And there are dozens of apps that sync: email, calendars, contacts, Dropbox, weather widgets, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Google Talk, and more.  Each app has its own settings, so go into each one and set the sync interval for the longest you can stand, or to manual or never for ones that don’t really matter.  Facebook can ignore what is set sometimes and turns automatic syncing back on by itself.  Likewise, Skype and Google Talk like to keep connections open and sync behind your back.  Sign out of them when not in use.
11) Turn off automatic updates in the Google Play Store
You can leave the Notifications option checked to have Google Play notify you when updates are available, but we found the reminders got annoying after awhile, and now we just check for updates once a week or so.  Download the updates when your battery has plenty left, and use WiFi when possible.  Or plug in your charger, and then download the updates you want.  Be sure to check to see if any updates have any added permissions.
Do a scan with Clueful when you are done to see if any privacy issues have changed.

Location, location, location
12) Control location services
This might be under Google Maps - Menu - Settings - Location Settings, or Google Settings - Maps & Latitude.  Uncheck all of the following: "Report from this device" or "Location reporting", "Enable location sharing", "Automatic check-ins" and "Check-in notifications".

Battery Draining Apps
13) Eliminate unnecessary battery draining apps
We still feel the best battery monitoring app to eliminate apps that are draining your battery is the paid version of SystemPanel by NextApp, Inc.  It's relatively simple to understand once you get used to the menus, and it can monitor apps over hours or days while still taking up little battery itself while it does the monitoring.   We were able to eliminate some apps that we previously liked, but which we found were taking up over 3% of the battery each.  Another option but a bit more complicated is Battery Stats Plus by Root Uninstaller.  You can also share stats with other users of the app by uploading your stats to their website.  It can show you "draining apps" which are above a certain threshold which you can tweak (default is 1%).  One advantage over SystemPanel is they also have a fully functioning free version with ads.  However, once we bought the paid version, we think they go a bit too far still pushing their other apps for our tastes.

Things that in my opinion don't matter much, that others say you should turn off:
1) Haptic feedback
2) Vibration
3) HTC sense