Solved: Microsoft Authenticator draining battery on Android phone

During the summer I got the issue onto my OnePlus 6T phone. It involved the Microsoft Authenticator app that is used to Multi-factor Authentication confirmations. In short: the Authenticator was eating my charge quite rapidly. And when a battery is being drained rapidly there is the matter of heat. Yes, OnePlus is a hot phone – but mine was taking it too literally.

I didn’t switch my phone to English (yeah, guilty on using Finnish-encrypted phone UI ) before screenshot.. so I added the translations.

In short: even with light use the battery didn’t last the full day it had done before. I spent some time googling for answers as I didn’t want to start reconfiguring my MFAs during my vacation.

The usual answers were:

  • restrict battery use for Authenticator (yeah, I did that)
  • let OnePlus optimize Authenticator’s battery use (it was on by default)

“Of course” those didn’t help.

The solution

The solution was simple. It was always there, but I didn’t want to take the step. The same solution has been used for decades for many different programs. Reinstall it.

After trying “just about everthing” I started to work on the reinstall: making sure I had my other device as backup MFA or taking temporarily MFA off on some environments (non-production). Unlike when you loose your phone or have to reinstall it fully – I managed to do this in a controlled way. After I had removed all MFA connections (or just made sure they exist and work on other device) I removed the Authenticator installation. And reinstalled it.

After reinstallation it was just a few extra units of time to use my phone Authenticator as primary MFA device again. And several Office 365 instances are happy again..

After several weeks of this re-installation – everything still works. And my OnePlus battery lasts easily 15-20 hours again – and I use my phone too much I hear. But the main thing: my OnePlus is again cool.

Addition: There is a Backup-Restore feature in Authenticator. It is a few feature and you must activate it manually from Authenticator app. This should make the reinstallation easy and less time consuming (ie, non-brainer) in case the restore works as it should. I haven’t tried that. However, it is always a good idea to have a backup device ready in case you loose your mobile – and it will be less problematic in case the restore has hickups..

Case #2: Galaxy Watch battery drain

Just recently I got into a situation when my Galaxy Watch suddenly started to drain battery. While it usually lasts 2-4 days (3-4 days when I don’t move much and there is a good connectivity(!) ) it was dropping down to half of that. Looking at Watch application it was the Contacts-app that was going crazy. And it actually reflected on phone as well (again, apps using more battery). Since I didn’t even use Contacts for calling or anything, it must have been a case of “bitti poikittain” (a twisted bit) and something was running amok.

The solution was easier than with the Authenticator app: just rebooting both the watch and phone fixed this. That was actually the first watch reboot I did since I started using it – almost two months ago.

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