A recent study done by Microsoft says that up to 75% of the battery life on Android devices is used up by free ad based applications. Popular applications like Angry Birds and Chess are using up more battery life starting up the GPS and downloading ads specific to your location. So what do you as an iPhone user have to do to keep this from happening to you? Hardly anything.
The iPhone is designed so the GPS is only used when a high precision location is requested. Currently only applications like navigation are allowed to do this. All other requests for location go through a separate process which gives general information where you are without using the GPS.
Additionally location based advertising in the iPhone is not allowed by Apple. Starting in 2010 Apple announced stricter rules in the approval of iPhone apps stating that it will not allow applications to use the location area primarily for targeting advertisements.
In the iPhone it is possible to disable location based feature as well. Head over to settings -> Location services -> Status Bar Icon. Switch that on and your location should appear in the status bar.
For such an easy thing to fix it’s very surprising the Android developers don’t correct this issue when their devices are known for awful battery life. Currently the Android market does have ad blockers that block ads in free apps using your /etc/hosts file, but you have to first root your phone in order to use them. However, this isn’t full proof as the application will still constantly request new advertisements to display. Since the majority of the battery usage comes from the actual transfer of data it will however help immensely. Other options include firewalls such as iptables, and droidwall. Obviously the easiest method would be to turn off your wireless when it’s not absolutely needed.