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Impact of IMAP idle push on battery life / mobile data

asked 2015-05-06 14:53:30 +0300

JonasG gravatar image

updated 2015-05-06 14:54:57 +0300

Hi everyone,

I'm quite excited about the new 1.1.4 release and its support for IMAP push. I'm a little hesitant to use it, though, as I only have 200 MB of mobile data per month in my contract. I used to check my email on three different IMAP accounts every 15 mins and regularly ran out of mobile data half-way into the month. Now, I'm only checking my email once every 30 mins during the day and "twice a day" at night, which helps in that I ran out of data only at the end of last month.

Is IMAP push going to use more or even less data than that? I used to have push on my old iPhone and rarely reached over 200 MB a month. Is it really actually saving data? On a related note, how does it impact battery life (compared to checking a couple of times per hour)? I imagine there's no such thing as a free lunch...

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IMAP IDLE use no data like polling even though it continuously maintains a TCP connection to the mail server. Now this is not entirely true, if a TCP connection is IDLE long enough some servers choose to disconnect, therefore a NOOP command is sometimes sent to maintain the connection, although it is very little data.

However, from a mobile perspective it is different. Keeping a connection alive on a mobile connection requires a full radio access bearer to be brought up and maintained. That will drain more battery as long as the socket is connected.It is difficult to say though how much more this will drain, you simply have to experiment. Why not log the battery status?

Larswad ( 2015-05-06 18:33:46 +0300 )edit

ok how do you disable this feature for an existing gmail account?

pmelas ( 2015-05-06 19:19:18 +0300 )edit

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answered 2015-05-06 18:09:03 +0300

sunkan gravatar image

Assuming that the network connection is stable (there is no need to reconnect the tcp session) it would depend on how often the mailbox is updated. If you don't receive so many emails it may save you BW. Not sure if the data used by polling itself is the problem or the content being downloaded when you receive mail

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Well things definitely improved when I reduced the frequency of the checks, but still downloaded the email... The stability of the network connection will probably spoil the deal for me, however.

JonasG ( 2015-05-06 18:17:22 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2015-05-06 14:53:30 +0300

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Last updated: May 06 '15