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Not all top Android phones and tablets work the same, and some devices have aggressive battery-saving software that can reliably prevent background notifications from playing. The Google I/O Android team explained this week why this is a persistent issue.

Modern versions of Android strike a decent balance between extending battery life (by pausing or limiting background tasks) and staying connected to cloud servers that provide push notifications. However, some manufacturers go even further for their devices, implementing more battery-saving techniques that can cause background services to break. OnePlus has had issues over the years with unreliable notifications, as well as the Chinese versions of many Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo phones.

Some members of Google’s Android team hosted a Q&A panel at Google I/O this week, where an app developer asked what they could do in their app to circumvent aggressive duration management. battery life on some devices. Longtime Android software engineer Dianne Hackborn replied, “We realize this has been an increasingly painful thing for app developers.”

“Android is not like Google’s operating system,” Hackborn said, “OEMs […] are doing a lot of customizations and innovations on the platform, so there are a lot of things that we can’t just tell them or force them to do. And in that area, it’s something that OEMs really care about for their users, about battery life. So that’s an area where they put a lot of effort into making things better…sometimes making things better – for the devs – a little also a lot.”

Android’s core operating system is open source code, so device makers can theoretically customize it as much as they want for their own products. However, if companies want to include the Google Play Store and other must-have apps, they must allow Google Mobile Services in addition to Android. GMS agreements allow Google to ensure that Android devices with the Play Store all work roughly the same. Google has also used GMS to force manufacturers to adopt certain features, like the Material You-style theme on more phones and hiding custom navigation options during setup.

It seems, at least for now, that Google is leaving battery optimization to the manufacturer. Hackborn pointed to several changes to Android over the years, such as Doze and App Standby (both introduced in Android 6.0 Marshmallow in 2015), as examples of how the Android team listened to manufacturers’ concerns about battery life. battery life. “It’s better for us to do it in the platform overall,” she said, “rather than asking OEMs to do each of the things separately. And OEMs are still doing a lot of things, we are constantly talking to our OEMs and working to scale down the changes they are making.

If you are having trouble with bug notifications on your Android device, go to system settings and turn off battery optimizations for a given app usually does the trick. Buying a different phone from manufacturers like Google or Samsung is also an option.