From time to time, we receive reports that GoodNotes seems to be draining the device's battery very fast. In general, there are two cases for what is happening in this situation:
- GoodNotes is draining battery excessively - this could be due to an unknown issue
- GoodNotes is not actually draining more battery than expected - in these instances, there are a variety of reasons for the faster-than-expected levels of battery drain.
This article will hopefully help you pinpoint the cause of your battery drain, as well as confirm if the excessive usage is linked to GoodNotes 5.
Battery health and performance generally depends on a lot of different factors, such as:
- Your device model and iPadOS/iOS version.
- The age of the battery and how well the battery was treated over time. For more information on this, Apple actually has a health article on 'Maximising Battery Performance'.
- The display brightness.
- Background operations on your device. In GoodNotes, there are in-app processes linked to iCloud sync, handwriting recognition, search indexing, and auto-backup.
- Connections like Wi-Fi, mobile data, Bluetooth.
- Using external hardware, such as monitors or keyboards.
For example, if you write a lot in GoodNotes with Apple Pencil while the device is connected to mobile Internet, and you're connected to an external monitor, have full display brightness, and automatic backup to a cloud storage enabled, plus potentially other apps open in Split View, your battery will naturally drain at a faster rate.
How to check how much battery usage is linked to GoodNotes 5
There is actually a simple way to check how much battery GoodNotes 5 is using. Within the Settings app is a Battery page that shows a lot of information on your battery life and consumption. However, this can be somewhat confusing. As such, we have broken this down in more detail below.
The list of apps at the bottom shows you an overview of the proportion of battery used by each app in the selected timeframe (last 24 hours or last 10 days) which often gets mistaken with the total battery used by each app. As you can see, all of the percentages in the list should add up to 100% even though your device still has a lot of battery left. So seeing a 95% for GoodNotes does not mean the app is consuming 95% of your battery; it means the app is consuming 95% of the drain.
Here’s an example: Say you have used your iPad for one hour and you only used two different apps. You used GoodNotes for 45 minutes and you used Safari for 15 minutes (which you can see if you tap on “Show Activity” in the battery menu). Your iPad was fully charged to 100% and after one hour of using it it is down to 90%. That means you consumed a total of 10% battery. What you will see in the overview of proportional consumption per app should be something like this:
- GoodNotes 75%
- Safari 25%
GoodNotes’ total battery consumption equals 7.5% (75% of the drain). The formula behind this is:
proportional consumption per app (i.e. 75%) * total battery consumption during the timeframe (i.e. 10%) -> 75% * 10%= 7.5% (of total battery usage)
Once you have this information, the next step is to figure out if the amount of battery that GoodNotes 5 is using is excessive. To find out, we will need to use the hours of battery life Apple promises for an iPad under usage. As mentioned previously, this varies a lot from device to device, and is also affected by the other factors that we listed above.
For the latest iPad Air model, Apple promises 10 hours of battery usage for web-surfing or videos while connected to Wifi (less when using cellular data) . This is of course under ideal condition but we’ll take it as our factor for battery life. For our example above, we see that the iPad was used for one hour and the battery decreased by 10%, which is exactly what we should expect with 10 hours of battery life.
How to improve GoodNotes 5 battery consumption
Under more realistic conditions, your iPad likely won't last you a full 10 hours, especially under heavy usage and when other factors apply (such as the ones mentioned above). Here are a few things you can do or need to know:
- Reducing display brightness will already help to reduce general battery consumption.
- New documents you add in GoodNotes (import or create) will be synced via iCloud and backed up through auto-backup if this is enabled, which can be an additional factor for battery consumption. Changes you make will also be synced via iCloud every 15-30 seconds. This can be disabled through GoodNotes Settings > iCloud Settings - although please note, iCloud Sync is an important feature that backs up and syncs your notes. We generally do not recommend disabling iCloud Sync.
- Every word you write is indexed by GoodNotes in the background to make your notes searchable and allows you to convert them to typed text. This can be disabled through GoodNotes Settings > Search Indexing.
- Connecting external hardware like keyboards, or using screen mirroring can also have an effect.
Depending on your use case, some things are unavoidable. If you don't have a lot of battery left and you know that you still need to use your iPad a lot, in addition to reducing your screen brightness we'd recommend you enable Airplane Mode and disconnect from Wi-Fi to pause iCloud Sync and auto-backup. You can also disable Search Indexing; however, this should not affect the battery usage as much as the other factors mentioned. Don’t forget to enable these again once you’re able to charge your device again; otherwise, you’ll miss out on some of GoodNotes’ core features.
What if GoodNotes drains significantly more battery than expected?
If after following these steps, you find that the latest version of GoodNotes is constantly draining more battery than it should, we would be happy to investigate your case. Please report a problem to us and include the following information and files:
- The diagnostic data that you can export from GoodNotes ⚙️ menu > About > Export Diagnostic Data.
- Screenshots from the Battery page in the Settings app that show the percentage of battery consumed by apps you’re using and the time on screen for these apps (tap on “Show Activity”).
- Any factors you think could have effects on your battery consumption, for example whether you have connected your iPad to an external screen or if you have imported a lot of large documents during the time you observed the exceptionally high battery consumption.