Buggy Android Mediaserver draining your battery
Watch out for this little bugger!
I recently started listening to local music on my One S instead of just using Spotify. I quickly noticed that the battery drain seemed more aggressive than I was used to. I checked the battery stats and noticed that “Mediaserver” was draining a significant amount of battery. In fact, it was the second most battery consuming process. And I had only been listening to music for 3 minutes that day. A quick Google search revealed quite a few users experiencing the same issue. So whats causing it?
First and foremost, what is the Mediaserver process? Well it seems to be the process that handles music playback as well as a few other tasks, including file downloads. Basically, your music player tells the Mediaserver to play and control music, so its the latter who is doing the heavy lifting. So that could potentially explain the battery drain if the phone was doing music playback 24/7. But thats not necessarily the case. Since its a system process you cant kill it either, so you’re stuck with either tolerating the excessive battery drain or simply avoiding any kind of music playback. Neither of those are really acceptable. So lets explore some solutions.
The main trending theory seems to be that Mediaserver gets stuck in a loop while processing a media file on stored on your device. This could make sense, since removing all your music from the SD card seems to remove the problem. If this is the case, I would argue that this indicates a serious flaw in the Mediaserver process. One that is hopefully fixed in Android 4.1.
There are two solutions I have come across. Firstly, you could take out all your music, then add songs one at the time while monitoring the battery usage of the Mediaserver process and try to figure out which files it gets stuck on. This process seems very tedious and time consuming, but for those who are interested, the process is documented over at XDA. However, someone has also suggested the the issue is caused by processing album art. Somehow Mediaserver gets stuck in a loop on some sort of album cover art, so going through your music folder and deleting anything that is not actually music might help. I just noticed that one of my albums had quite a few hidden files present. after deleting them I will check to see if it helps.
A second alternative is to create “.nomedia” files in all your folders as this will prevent the Mediaserver from scanning the files in the first place. Some users have reported that this works perfectly well, but I have been unable to figure out what the downsides of throwing those files all over your sd card are.
The third, and hopefully most viable option is to cross our fingers and hope that this issue is
fixed in Android 4.1 Jellybean, which should be rolling out to quite a few devices soon enough in form of Custom ROMs now that the JB source code is out.
So, have you experienced the issue? Maybe you’ve found a fix? Please do share your experiences as this problem is quite annoying!
UPDATE: It seems that this issue is still persistent in Android 4.2. I did some tests on my Nexus 7, and after throwing some movies onto the external storage, the Mediaserver process started eating up the battery..
If anyone is experiencing the issue, please share your stories.