PIA consumes more battery than any other app on Pixel/Oreo

My wife's Google Pixel running Android Oreo has been getting terrible battery life for the last month, and we're fairly certain PIA is to blame.  Each time we check her battery stats, we see something like this:


My own Nexus 6P does not demonstrate this behavior, even after the recent update to Oreo.  And my wife's phone wasn't having this problem when we first signed up for PIA, it's a new issue.  We're both up-to-date, using version

I already contacted support about this, and their response was pretty terrible:

Me, 2017-10-17:
My wife's phone drained almost entirely while inactive overnight, so this morning she asked me to investigate. Android's Battery Usage stats report PIA was primarily responsible for the rapid battery drain. It reports "102% of total app usage (4350mAh)" which sounds absurd - I have a screenshot; the breakdown of multiple apps reports it causing 70% of total battery discharge since the last full charge (maybe 36 hours ago) and "Android System" responsible for another 25%, bluetooth for most of the remaining 5%.
Why would the PIA app cause such significant battery drain and is there anything we can do about it?
We've had this app on her phone for months but haven't seen it get this bad before. She's using a Google Pixel (1st generation) and was recently upgraded to Oreo. I also have the PIA app on my phone and have not had problems with it - I'm using a Nexus 6P and am still on Nougat. Please let me know if there are any other diagnostics we can pull for you.
PIA Support, 2017-10-27:
I apologize that you have experienced such a battery drain. Unfortunately the app does use a lot of battery because it needs to maintain a constant connection to keep you encrypted tunnel secure. In order to do this the app needs to ping our server every 8 to 10 seconds. you may be able to supplement this by turning on the batter saver function on your phone. The best option is to turn the VPN off when you are not using the phone.
Me, 2017-10-27:
...Your recommendation is to turn the VPN off when I'm not using the phone? It's a smartphone. If the phone is powered, it's sending and receiving data that should go through the VPN.
Anyway, I'm trying to say that this behavior isn't just normal battery drain. Again, my wife and I have both been using PIA on our phones for months and haven't seen anything like this before. If there's no known battery consumption issue with a particular version of the the app, on Pixel phones, or on Android Oreo, we can resolve this ticket because there's probably nothing you can do for us. But at least throw this report over the wall to your engineering team so they can add it to the pile :)
PIA Support, 2017-10-28:
I appreciate your understanding. I will make sure that our team is aware of your ticket.

All that to say, they're either in denial or have just decided this problem isn't worth their time right now.  To anyone at PIA reading this: Please take this issue seriously!  It's not worth sticking with your service if it has such an adverse effect on our phones.  To everyone else: Please speak up if you're having a similar issue!  PIA probably doesn't have a sense of how many people are running into this.





  • I have the same complaint. But not about PIA, it is about WAZE. That app kills my battery in 30 minutes if not plugged in. I have an LG G3 running MM. Same with MAPS.ME when I am running the traffic monitor. I guess what I am saying it that anything that is in a constant state of activity will drain the battery. These batteries are not the best technology available and really are probably the cheapest battery the OEM can get. Not saying you have to live with it, but I do what they said. I turn off my phone or my data when I have no need for it.

    However, I hope that one of the Support guys can bring this up to a developer on increasing the keep alive time interval so the phones can keep the battery up a little longer.
  • I got the same problem. PIA = Pain In the A$$
  • edited November 2017 Posts: 116
    @islemaster @p0136204

    We're looking into it, but many of our own personal devices do not behave this way ((mine included) so narrowing down the specific issue without a debuglog or physically having access to your device will take time to get to the bottom of.

    In my experiences developing and using custom ROMs for Android, not every phone is created equal. You can buy the exact same phone two times and get different results sometimes. This has not been ruled out as a possibility but know we're looking into some potential causes.
    Post edited by sn0wmonster on
  • edited November 2017 Posts: 520
    It would appear that there are issues with Oreo on Pixel phones. Not saying that the issue is Oreo, Pixel, or PIA's fault. Just saying that there are issues. Haven't seen any press about Oreo being an issue with other devices, but that does not mean there aren't any.


    Post edited by Omnibus_IV on
  • edited November 2017 Posts: 1
    I'm also getting major battery drain on a stock s7 edge running Android 7.0. It's gotten so bad that I've had to turn it off when I'm not charging my phone. I really hope something can be done about this.
    Post edited by Chl649837 on
  • @sn0wmonster  Thanks for your patient response, and sorry for the delay in mine - I didn't realize my notifications weren't set up properly.

    Is there anything I can do to help with the pain of debugging from a distance?  I'm a developer and am happy to sideload builds, track down debug logs, whatever will help.  If your team can point me in the right direction, I'm happy to share any diagnostics we can find.

  • Considering being a new user. Any feedback on this in regards Galaxy S8? 
  • @zigzag03, I run PIA on my S8 with minimal impact on battery life. 

  • Posts: 1
    Same problem since November.
    Pixel 1 with Oreo.

    It annoys me so much because I payed for a year after a great first month. Then this started happening.

  • edited December 2017 Posts: 17
    I'm also getting insane battery drain on my Nexus 6P on Oreo 8.1 so it's not just Pixel phones. There seems to be a problem with VPNs and 8.1 at the moment but am unsure if this is what is causing battery drain: https://www.neowin.net/news/google-addresses-android-81-oreo-vpn-issues-fix-to-be-released

    Link to my other post on battery drain: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/forum/discussion/28912/pia-app-glitches-android-8-1-and-battery-life#latest
    Post edited by nedder on
  • Posts: 1
    Same here, OnePlus 3T with Android 7.0.

  • Posts: 685
    This issue should be fixed in our next release. It is currently awaiting QA pass and a few remaining things are being worked on.

    In the meantime, I would recommend trying with OpenVPN directly as a workaround: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/pages/client-support/android-openvpn-connect
Sign In or Register to comment.