Despite company's claim, Evenwell apps are still there in older Nokia phones

Missed WhatsApp notification? Couldn’t wake up on time as the alarm failed to go off? Well, these are the classic examples of aggressive background killing of apps in favor of longer battery life. In fact, a number of Android smartphone makers are distinguished for this malpractice.

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Don’t kill my app! is a public site for humiliating such phone makers

Regular users may find it quite surprising to notice the name of Nokia in the hall of shame. One of the USPs of the HMD Global backed OEM is unaltered, vanilla Android One shipped with majority of their phones. What could be the reason behind this anomaly?

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The answer is Evenwell

Developed by Evenwell Digitech Inc., these are a set of third party apps specially coded to monitor and kill other activities to save some battery juice on Nokia phones. Fortunately Nokia is going to get rid of this abomination, as the AI driven Adaptive Battery in Pie should do the work just fine.

When our devices that launched with Android N or Android O originally upgraded to Android 9 Pie, we started to gradually disable Evenwell while carefully monitoring end user feedback. Now we have completely disabled Evenwell from our legacy devices so even if you see the solution there, it does not do anything. On our new devices launching with Android 9 P (or later) releases we do not have Evenwell at all.

Sounds good? Well, don’t get too much excited. A redditor with Nokia 5 (a first gen Nokia Android phone without Android One) managed to dig up plenty of Evenwell residues from the current firmware. Matter of fact, you can still access them with a casual trick.

First, I have found some workaround to reenable the Evenwell power manager, if you use the Nova activity shortcut you can find this: Activity Manager, Power Saving . If you click on it, it will take you to the old list where you can restrict apps from running from background (Menu where you could disabled apps, is no longer there)and then Evenwell PW will reenable itself

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Evenwell Power Manager reactivates itself after manual execution

The person also located a bunch of telemetry related components which are apparently hidden from regular app drawer. Those can be useful for debugging, but shipping them with retail devices is nasty move.

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Similar remnants can be found inside Android One powered Nokia phones as well. Another redditor, who is a owner of Nokia 6.1 posted the following as a reply to OP:

Not even disabled. It was active and was uploading data from my Nokia 6.1 till I disabled it myself. I am contemplating between writing to HMD or just selling this phone off and not buying anything HMD ever again. This is a major breach of trust. I do not expect my data to be transmitted when I have explicitly chosen to opt out of the user experience program, let alone a company that is doing that with a software that is almost impossible to access or disable.

HMD recently appointed Wingtech, Huaqin and TSMT as the ODMs after numerous controversies with FIH. As a result, new age Nokia phones (e.g. Nokia 3.2 and 4.2) do not have Evenwell in their firmware.

This is true, but the problem I’m writing about is on the “old” devices. The Nokia 3,5,6 and x.1 still have Evenwell, even disabled and it is going to be removed on Android Q. Also i checked some if the x.2 models in a store and I checked if Evenwell software was there, but I couldn’t find it so they are keeping it promise.

Interested Nokia owners can participate in the ongoing discussion by clicking here. Don’t forget to tell us if you can find further evidences regarding Evenwell crapware.

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Kingshuk De

I came from a mixed background of Statistics and Computer Science. My research domains included embedded computer systems, mobile computing and delay tolerant networks in post-disaster scenarios. Apart from tinkering with gadgets or building hackintosh, I like to hop on various subreddits and forums like MyDigitalLife and XDA.