Android 6: Experiencing battery drains, wakelocks, and apparent lack of Doze mode? This could be the culprit

Android 6 Marshmallow is the latest major build of Google's OS and pretty much all the relevant smartphones that have come out in the past months, or last year's flagships, run on it out of the box or have been updated to it. One of the major features that Marshmallow introduced was the so-called Doze Mode. What it does is, when your phone has been idle and not moving for a while (like sitting on a nightstand), Doze Mode kicks in to cut off any redundant processes that might be working in order to save battery.

Sounds absolutely great on paper, but we've yet to see groundbreaking results from Doze Mode. Not to mention that long-time Sony users seem to prefer the Xperia STAMINA Mode well over Google's solution, but that's a story for another day.

A number of users seem to have found a possible culprit for why Doze Mode doesn't seem to be doing the best of jobs, and possibly the reason behind random battery drops on phones like Samsung's Galaxy S7 / S7 edge.

Apparently, there's an issue with Android's built-in “Backup my data” feature — after a user at the AOSP Issue Tracker forums posted a screenshot of Backup keeping their phone in an 80-minute wakelock, others jumped in to investigate.

Some say that turning the feature off improved their battery life. Others report that the issue is a bit more complex than that. Apparently, if your device's Wi-Fi is ON, and you plug it in the wall outlet to charge, you will activate the Backup bug. From this point on, the bug is active and will keep your phone awake for prolonged periods of time for no apparent reason. Some say that a simple reboot and taking care to have Wi-Fi off gets rid of the wakelock. Others insist that they had to boot in Recovery mode and clear all their cache, then make sure to keep Backup off in order to be able to enjoy Doze mode.

And the sad news is that some users say that even with the Backup feature off, the wakelock would still sometimes return. A simple reset would fix it this time around, but it's still not awesome when you know that you need to nervously monitor your device's performance and constantly be making sure that it's on point.

Turning off Backup isn't much of a big deal. The feature stores your app settings on the cloud, so when you delete and re-install a specific app, you get it in the state it was when you deleted it. This will not stop your Google Photos, Drive, or any other services from synchronizing, If you want to test it out, here are the suggested solutions:

  • Simplest: Settings → Backup & reset → Back up my data OFF → Reboot

If the above doesn't seem to work, follow it up with:

  • Turn phone off → Boot in recovery (hold power+volume up or down, differs by model) → Wipe cache and Dalvik cache

Some users say that 3rd party apps, like WhatsApp and its automatic “chat history backup” can also trigger a wakelock, though, this is probably much more of an individual case. Others say that the latest Google Play Services 9 patch seems to have fixed the issue entirely. It seems it's a bit of a phantom issue that we will be spending some time hunting down. Marshmallow users, have you had this wakelock occur? Or is your handset dozing just fine?



38. Khillo81

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 30, 2016

This makes so much sense! I have a Sony Xperia Z5C and recently I have noticed this wake lock bug, and it was driving me crazy trying to figure out what was causing it. Thing is, the bug is not there once I reboot my phone; I get amazing battery life all day. Once I charge my phone overnight, the bug returns the next day after unplugging the phone. I've switched off the backup feature now and will reboot the phone before I go to sleep and charge the phone overnight. Let's see what happens. Will report here with the results. I was wondering though what would happen if I just switch off my WiFi while charging. Will try that as well.

37. chebner

Posts: 251; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Thank you PA for posting this story. I think this issue may have existed for a while. I recall on my One M8 always showing as awake on the power history screen. My HTC 10 definitely suffers from the issue. When I reboot and leave WiFi off I have about 55% tp 60% battery remaining when I leave work on a normal day. If I happen to leave WiFi on when I plug it in, my battery life sucks. In the low 40%s or worse when I leave work. Then streaming a podcast in the car on the way home and by the time I get home I'm down to the mid 30%s. I'm just going to leave WiFi off from now on, unless I need to connect to my home network for something. Glad I switched to AT&T and got unlimited data back!!

27. Scott93274

Posts: 6044; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

So Doze did not appear to be working on my Nexus for a while now... but that seems to have changed. I had restarted the device for the first time in over a month to install an update and now after leaving it off the charger for the past several hours, it appears to be working again, it's only gone down three percent. I don't know if this is due to a patch with the most recent update fixing the issue or if I simply had to restart to reset some settings as mentioned in the article though I didn't bother with clearing the cache... but hey, now it looks like I'm back to nearly two full days of usage on a single charge. Sweet.

20. Remmy

Posts: 191; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

My Z5's battery drops up to 10% on 7-8 hrs on idle compared to a 2-3% drop with Stamina Mode on lollipop. :(

18. rakmvk

Posts: 17; Member since: Jun 13, 2011

Android has this issue from beginning i have seen it on Gingerbread to Kitkat .

16. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

WTF? A backup bug? I NEVER enabled that spyware backup since I had my OnePlus One, does it still get enabled with this "bug"? Really starting to sound like the google devil up to no good yet again, first "accidentally" hijacking data from WiFi networks, now this...

15. skymitch89

Posts: 1453; Member since: Nov 05, 2010

The only time that I have issues with battery drain on my Note 5 is when I have little to no cell service and the system is constantly searching for service.


Posts: 657; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

Using Greenify's (MM version 2.8 beta) experimental aggressive doze feature completely solves 99.9% of the idle battery drains in Android Marshmallow. I leave my WIFI+data on 24/7 with 0% drain overnight. Case closed.

5. Mxyzptlk unregistered

I really wish Google would have made it easier to see what's causing WakeLocks on Android, but I guess that makes too much sense.

13. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

This isn't as easy as that. I was an electronics tech for 15 years, and troubleshooting issues can be one of the hardest parts of the job. I for the most part handled hardware issues, but with software there are even more possible culprits. Depending on the issue, there can be literally thousands of possible variables that can cause an issue. Look at this instance, for the bug to happen, WiFi has to be on and the user has to connect their phone to the charger for the bug to happen. Now think about all of the different settings and things that can be enabled or disabled in software on a smartphone, and then add in the hardware part of plugging it in (and even then what component, hardware or software, was affected by connecting the phone to the charger to activate the bug?) and it's much more difficult than you make it out to be. People often don't realize how difficult troubleshooting is until they have to do it themselves, and even then most won't bother with it once they reach a certain level of difficulty.

17. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

What he's demanding was actually there in an earlier build of Android KitKat, part of AppOps, which came built-in on my OnePlus One renamed to Privacy Guard...

24. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Like I said below, detecting Wakelocks can be done easily, but finding what is causing them is more involved. He said Google should make it easier to find out what's causing Wakelocks. Now obviously detecting them aids in finding the cause, since that's the first step of the process, but just knowing that you have a Wakelock won't tell why it's happening. For that you have to do some troubleshooting.

25. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

I think there might have been some miscommunication and over-complication here. What's 'causing them is 99% of the time just a carelessly programmed application from my experience. If Privacy Guard detects a wakelock on my OnePlus One, it also pinpoints it to the application that 'caused it, providing a simple toggle switch to disable such app from waking my device if I want. That's one key component in me getting great SOT usage out of my OPO:

26. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

And I get that. You could easily say that app is the "cause" of the Wakelock, and you can disable or uninstall the app. To me, that's the "surface cause", aka the app is causing the Wakelock. However, you still don't know why that app is generating a Wakelock. To me that is the actual cause or the "root cause". That is what I am referring to. The only problem I see with disabling the app is that if it's an app you use a lot, disabling it won't help you. Until the root cause is discovered, you'll either have to go without the app, or live with the Wakelock. In this instance, WiFi is the surface cause. In my case, my use of data connection is usually 95% WiFi and 5% mobile data, mainly because of the fact that my signal where I live is crappy. I get by that with WiFi for data and Network Extenders for voice calling. So in that case, I would have to live with the Wakelock until the root cause is discovered and remedied. I hope that clarifies my meaning.

28. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

"The only problem I see with disabling the app is that if it's an app you use a lot, disabling it won't help you. Until the root cause is discovered, you'll either have to go without the app, or live with the Wakelock" Not really, I don't need to disable the entire app, I simply disable the Wakelock calls coming from that app via Privacy Guard, it's that simple. However, in this case where it's not a particular app but the system itself, yeah, you won't be able to just disable it via Privacy Guard. You'll instead have to know what service is 'causing it and disable that service via an app like DisableServices. Knowing what service 'causes it, as you said, will require troubleshooting and some trial/error tests.

22. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Uh, what? You do know it's possible to detect wake locks with root access, right? So it's not entirely out the realm of possibility. I'm pretty sure Google can easily make it viewable to see what apps and/or services are causing wake locks to happen. Several apps have been able to detect them as well. It was part of a previous build in Android. And I think Doze should be implemented better without having to have your phone completely stationary for it to kick on.

23. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Detecting Wakelocks is one thing, finding their cause is another, which is what you said in your post above. That's the difference. Even when people know there are Wakelocks, finding the cause is more involved. There are numerous threads for Wakelocks on Android Forums, but it takes some troubleshooting to find out the cause. Android N is supposed to make Doze more aggressive so the phone doesn't need to be stationary for it to kick in.

30. Mxyzptlk unregistered

What I was saying is that Google needs a better way to detect and prevent random wakelocks in Android that keeps a phone from dozing or something that keeps a rogue app or service from preventing doze. I think your explanation is a little more analytical than what I meant to say.

31. Scott93274

Posts: 6044; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Apple needs to release better OS updates that don't brick their hardware.

35. Scott93274

Posts: 6044; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

OH NO! AN ARTICLE LINKING TO A SINGLE ANDROID PHONE THAT I'VE NEVER OWNED AND HOW IT HAD AN ISSUE! ... Oh look, a minute on Google and I found an article titled 30 major problems with the iPhone 6. I know the link says 22 major problems, but I guess they kept finding more and more problems. Your move, "puppet master".... HA HA HA HA HA!

32. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

That maybe, but it never ceases to amaze me how people assume that to fix this issue, all you have o do is (insert solution here). There's a reason that everyone isn't a technician or engineer. You don't just fall into it, you have to get education for the field and then you need experience dealing with problems on top of that. The difference here is that your average user is using devices that 40 years ago would've only been used by people with training to use them. So to expect your average user to be able to troubleshoot reshoot and remedy issues is asking a bit. Generally people today are more tech savvy than they were 40 years ago, but that's more for using them everyday, not working on them. If it were that easy to fix problems that arise with devices like these, you wouldn't have your Genius Bars or Geek Squads to fix them. And I would imagine that they wouldn't have issues dealing with issues such as these either.

34. Mxyzptlk unregistered

I think you're over complicating it. There's ways of detecting wakelocks. You act like it's an impossible problem that require significant engineering. I don't think it's as complicated as you think.

36. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Who said it was impossible? I said it's not as easy as you make it out to be. And like MrE said in post 28 and I said in 26, in a case like this where it's a system process, something that can't just be disabled, you have to find the root cause before you can fix the situation. The only reason you're thinking I'm overcomplicating it is because you're overly simplistic. And let's not forget, if this was say an issue for another company, you'd say something along the lines of, I'm sure they'll get a fix out quickly.

4. mistercarter

Posts: 360; Member since: Sep 01, 2011

my Huawei P8 seems to work just fine... 2-4% battery drop overnight, seems quite good to me

3. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

So this only seems to be an issue, when you have backup turned-on and its plugged in? So if its plugged in, why are you even worried about the benefits of Doze? Its not gonna lose any charge because its plugged I mean you said it here "Apparently, if your device's Wi-Fi is ON, and you plug it in the wall outlet to charge, you will activate the Backup bug." With the battery size of most Samsung phones, I just don't see a real need for this feature anyways. You want to concern battery power, turn off everything you don't need, remove apps that contain services that are redundant and useless, turn off WiFi unless you actually are using it, don't set apps to auto-sync. To only refresh data when you open the app, and make sure the display is set to turn off at its fastest time which is 15 secs I think, and don't talk on your phone all day and turn off AOD.

6. srirachacha

Posts: 23; Member since: Mar 06, 2015

"You will activate the Backup bug." This statement does not mean that the bug is only present when you plug the phone in. It means that you have now STARTED the bug. Hence when you unplug the phone, your battery will drain quickly. Also you're basically telling people to not use their phone for the many purposes a variety of people bought these types of phones for.

8. Tuxedo

Posts: 356; Member since: Mar 19, 2013

Wasting power is bad no matter how you look at it. Being plugged in is no excuse. It unnecessarily heats up the device and causes slower charging. Net charging rate takes into account the device discharge rate.


Posts: 107; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

wow, you just went full retard man. apologizing for a bug that keep the phone awake for HOURS. you are even worse than those iSheeps.

2. AllFanboysMatter

Posts: 206; Member since: Feb 14, 2016

Imma try this!

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