Mobile updates that sap storage and battery life

Which? reveals the mobile and tablet system updates that can sap storage and battery life with one device losing 30GB of storage space – equivalent to a family photo album.

After thousands experienced issues with Microsoft’s Windows 10 update, Which? tested how some mobiles and tablets performed after receiving operating system updates.

While updates are promoted as a means to boost performance of your device, we found a number of devices were adversely affected after an update:

  • Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet – after upgrading from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, the device lost 30GB of storage – enough for an entire family photo album
  • Google Nexus 6P – web browsing time decreased from 716 minutes to 535 minutes after updating – roughly 3 hours – after updating from Android 6.0 Marshmallow to 7.0 Nougat
  • Apple iPhone 6 – battery life decreased by 38 minutes from 702.5 minutes to 664.5 minutes when upgrading from iOS 8 to iOS 10
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 – lost 3GB of storage down from 24.03GB to 20.98GB after updating from Android 5.0 Lollipop to Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Despite the potential risks, operating system updates usually include enhancements, to security for example. Which? recommends it is often best to wait a few weeks before you update, to allow for any teething problems to be resolved.

Which? believes that companies should do more to explain the possible effects of updates on device performance. They should also explore ways of allowing their customers to revert to the previous software if they don’t like the new version, and are willing to forgo any new security features it may offer.

Richard Headland, Which? magazine editor, said:

“Our latest research shows that, while upgrades are meant to boost the performance of our phones and tablets, the opposite can actually prove to be true.

“Given how much we rely on mobile devices, companies should do more to tell us about the possible downsides of updates, as well as the benefits.”

Notes to editors

  1. Testing – Which? tested battery life and usable storage – the aspects most affected by an OS update. In terms of battery life, we charge the device up to full and then time how long it lasts before going dead. For mobiles, we do two tests – one on continuous call time and the other where we continuously browse the web via 3G. While for tablets, the two tests comprise web browsing over wi-fi and continuous video playback.
    To see how much actual storage a device has, we check to see the available capacity after setting up the mobile or tablet and installing any available updates.
  2. Best and worst updates – selected examples from Which? testing
    Best and worst 3
  3. Your experience – Which? wants to hear from those affected by operating system updates and can e mail

Press Release