Carat iPhone app

Whenever Apple launches a new iPhone, poor battery life is one of the common user complaints. The problem is that each users usage pattern is so unique that even Apple has a touch time fixing bugs that affect battery life.

It has also resulted in the popularity of articles such as this one, which give you tips on how to improve battery life. But what if we told you that an app could give personalized recommendations on how to improve your iPhone’s battery life based on your usage pattern.

That’s exactly what a new iPhone app called Carat aims to provide. The app has been developed by M.S. and Ph.D scientists from the UC Berkeley Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department’s  Algorithms, Machines, and People Laboratory (AMP Lab).

Here’s how it works:

  • It quietly works in the background and collects usage statistics about your iPhone. Don’t worry, it does not collect any personally identifying information.
  • Based on the information it has collected from you and other users, it gives you an Actions list based on cutting-edge battery science that tells you how to improve your iPhone’s battery life.
  • Actions lists could vary from asking you to upgrade to the latest iOS software update, to killing apps (which are referred to as Hogs) or even restarting apps (which are referred to as Bugs).
  • Bugs are apps that use a lot of energy on a small number of devices, including yours, which indicates that restarting a bug app may improve your iPhone’s battery life.
  • Hogs are apps that are correlated with higher energy use across many devices, so killing them might also help improve battery life.

TechCrunch reports that these are things Carat has discovered based on an initial test with just 100 users:

  • It found 35 apps with energy bugs
  • Carat has since found thousands of instances of these energy bugs on devices in the wild
  • Skype, Yelp, and Pandora are some of the most popular energy hogs. They’re not necessarily inefficient, they just require more power than most apps and might be the best to temporarily kill off

The apps should also be quite useful for iOS app developers as it can help them fix the issues that is causing their apps to be flagged as “Bugs” or “Hogs”.

Don’t expect to get recommendations from the app immediately as it gets better the more you use it. The initial version also seems a little buggy as it crashed couple of times when we were playing around with the app and told us that we should “Upgrade the Operating System” on our iPhone 4S running iOS 5.1.1 (unless they know of an upcoming iOS software update that is releasing soon).

We don’t want to be critical about the app as it is still early days. We’re quite optimistic about it and like the scientific approach to the problem.

The app is available in the App Store for free, so there is no harm in giving it a shot (download it using this App Store link). It is a universal app, so it should also work on the iPad and iPod touch.

Don’t forget to drop us a line in the comments section below to tell us the recommendations you’ve received from Carat and also your J-score (which is available in the My Device tab).

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