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The Reason Behind Delayed Notifications on Certain Android Devices

· Deutsche Version

When buying a smartphone, battery life is a crucial decision factor. Even the most advanced mobile device is pretty much useless without energy. For this reason, smartphone manufacturers use various means to squeeze the absolute maximum out of their batteries. However, some brands of Android devices take it too far and throw the baby out with the bath water. They limit the background activity of third-party apps in such drastic ways that some of these apps can no longer provide basic functionality.

Longer Battery Life at the Cost of Reliability

If an app is active in the background, it might consume energy for no valid reason. This is why manufacturers like OnePlus, Samsung, and Xiaomi simply terminate third-party apps in the background or cut off their network connection based on custom, intransparent specifications (without notifying the user). Such measures don’t comply with Google’s Compatibility Definition Document (CDD). While not all apps suffer from obvious drawbacks, this undue behavior imposes major limitations on instant messengers like Threema as it inevitably leads to incoming messages appearing too late or not showing up at all while the app is in the background.

Special Treatment for Mainstream Apps

The problem runs even deeper, though. Since phone makers don’t want to annoy their customers, they add the most popular apps – WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, for example – to so-called “whitelists.” Apps included in whitelists are exempt from restrictions and work perfectly fine under all conditions. This gives users the impression that Threema is responsible for delayed notifications because other messengers don’t suffer from similar shortcomings. In fact, however, device manufacturers are solely responsible for these delays, and, what’s worse, there is nothing Threema can do about it.

In theory, users can enable the background activity for individual apps on some devices. However, the respective settings are typically scattered across countless screens in the system preferences’ most deep-leveled submenus. These settings differ not only from brand to brand but also from device model to device model, and the next OS update may reset the configuration altogether. On many devices, there is no way to manually fix the misbehavior in the first place.

Huawei Is the First to Reconsider

Some weeks ago, Huawei has re-enabled Threema to make use of the background activity provided by Android. On newer Huawei devices, Threema is therefore fully functional again. Our repeated attempts in convincing other manufacturers to also exempt Threema from destructive restrictions have failed, however.

This is why we now ask you, the users of affected devices, to contact the brands in question directly and kindly ask them to resolve this unfortunate situation:

For more information, please read this article over at androidpolice.com.