PIA consumes more battery than any other app on Pixel/Oreo
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 126.96.36.199.
I already contacted support about this, and their response was pretty terrible:
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.
...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.