FAQ

General

What is App Tune-up Kit?
App Tune-up Kit was created to help software developers and mobile enthusiasts see how one app’s performance compares to other apps’ performance.

What should I do when profiling an app?
The answer depends on the type of app you are testing. Simply use the app like you normally would. Be as consistent as possible when you are testing two similar apps. For example, if you are testing a media player app, use the same video file each time with the same settings on each app (e.g. hardware decode enabled). If you are testing a social media app, perform the same actions each time. For example, start by scrolling the feed for 10 seconds. Then, select a post and open it. Next, read that article for 10 seconds and return. The more consistent you are, the more meaningful the results you will receive.

How can I get the best results with this app?
For best results, follow these practices:

  • Make sure your device is not charging over USB because this will estimate power consumption when the Battery Power Data Source is set to Auto-select.
  • Close all apps before you start testing. This is often done by holding down the Home key and swiping apps from the Recent Apps list.
  • When profiling an app, use it like you normally would.
  • Do not use the Back button to return to the App Tune-up Kit while a test is in progress or stop profiling before the profiling duration has expired.
  • The rating criteria was created using a profile duration of 60 seconds. It’s recommended that you use the same duration for more accurate ratings.
  • Be as consistent as possible when testing two similar apps. The initial rating you receive is based on the top twenty apps in Google Play. This is a good starting point, but it’s recommended you select the category of the app you are testing when it is available.  
  • It’s a good idea to profile an app several times. If you see a big difference in the results, profile again.

Can App Tune-up Kit report the power consumed by a single app?
No. The only data points that are app-specific are CPU Load (Profiled App), FPS and network statistics.

How can I get accurate FPS readings with App Tune-up Kit?
Apps are only rated when profiling data is available for a device with the same processor. If your device has a processor that is not listed above, a blue color will be used on the dashboard instead of the normal red, yellow, and green rating colors.

Requirements:

  • App Tune-up Kit v1.2 (or later)
  • An Android device with a Snapdragon 805 (or later) processor running Android 5.0 (or later).
  • Snapdragon Profiler v1.4 (or later) must be installed on your computer.
  • Make sure your computer is communicating with your Android device over ADB. If you haven’t done this already, there are articles like this one, which walk you through the process and show you where to download the proper drivers.

Once you confirm that you meet all of the above requirements, here are the steps to get accurate frame rate readings on Android apps:

  1. Launch Snapdragon Profiler on your computer.
  2. Select ‘App Tune-up Kit’ from its Tools menu. Wait until the status changes from ‘Not Ready’ to ‘Ready.’ Be patient, it can take up to a minute for this to occur.  Click OK to continue.
  3. Now disconnect your mobile device from your computer. Unplugging your device is required in order to obtain accurate direct power readings.
  4. Next, open App Tune-up Kit on your mobile device. If App Tune-up Kit was already running in the background, you’ll need to swipe it from the Recent Apps list, to make sure it is fully closed and start over at Step 1.
  5. If the application you intend to profile has been launched since the last time your device was restarted, you will need to swipe it from the Recent Apps list as well.
  6. Touch the Gear icon on the upper right to enter the Settings screen. Change the ‘GPU Profiling Mode’ setting from ‘GPU Load’ to ‘FPS (when available).’ Now you’re ready to view the frame rate of an app using App Tune-up Kit.
  7. Select an app, which will automatically be launched, and use it like you normally would.

After 60 seconds you should see a dashboard appear like the one above. In most cases you should see an FPS value when you touch the GPU tab on the dashboard. If you see “N/A” under GPU, it means that the profiled app did not provide FPS data. App Tune-up Kit currently can only obtain framerate data from Open GL-based apps like games and multimedia apps.

How should I profile an app that takes a long time to load?
Launch the app manually from the Android Home screen and wait for it to finish launching. If additional software downloads are required, you should let those finish. If an app has tutorial screens, you should go through those and stop before the app is ready to use. Next, use the Recent Apps list to go back to App Tune-up Kit and select the app you previously launched. The app should return to the same place you left it and App Tune-up Kit will profile it in the background.

What is the best profile duration?
The values App Tune-up Kit currently uses to rate apps are based on one minute profiling sessions. For some types of apps, you may get better results if you increase the profile duration. Also, if you plan on using the Compare Sessions feature to analyze two sessions or evaluate a similar app, use the same profile duration for each session.

How do I use the Compare Session feature?
This feature allows you to compare two different mobile apps after you save a session. To do this, select an app from the App Tune-up Kit home screen. Once profiling has completed, press the “Save Session” button in the toolbar. Next, press the Back button to return to the home screen and select another app to profile and save. Once two sessions are saved, from the App Tune-up Kit home screen, swipe your finger to the right and select “COMPARE SESSIONS” from the menu. Select the two sessions you wish to compare and tap the Compare button. The top-most session will appear on the right and the lower session will appear on the left. To view the percentage differences on a smartphone, rotate your screen so it’s in landscape view.

How are apps rated?  
When data is available, App Tune-up Kit automatically rates* a profiled app with averages from the top twenty apps in Google Play. This is a good starting point, but for better results you should select the category of the app you just profiled. This will compare the app with similar apps in the same category and provide more meaningful results.

*All ratings are provided on an “as-is” basis without warranty of any kind. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and its affiliates specifically disclaim the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.

How should I use the rating dial that is displayed on the dashboard after a profiling session is completed?
The rating dial shows how a profiled app compares to other apps that are in the category selected in the “Compare To” drop-down list.
App Tune-up Kit screenshot of ratings dial

What is considered excessive mobile data use?
The answer depends on the type of application. Some apps need to stream or download data from the Internet in order to function. It’s normal for a video streaming app to use a lot of data. However, if you notice that a utility like a flashlight app or calculator is transmitting a lot of mobile data, you should investigate. Some apps use lots of mobile data by downloading ads.  

Should I uninstall an app that gets a poor rating?
Not necessarily. App Tune-up Kit flags areas that could have a problem and should be investigated further. You shouldn’t make decisions after a single test. Test each app several times and compare the results. If you see a big difference between consecutive sessions, you should profile again. It’s possible that your mobile device was running activities in the background that affected the results. If you are a software developer, it’s recommended that you use Snapdragon Profiler to visually correlate power spikes to other actions and look closer at graphic performance.

Capabilities

Will App Tune-up Kit work on mobile devices without a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processor?
Yes. This software runs on any smartphone or tablet running Android 4.0 or later. However, there are extra capabilities when using a device with a Snapdragon processor including the following:

  • Direct power readings on supported devices
  • GPU frequency and load values
  • Frame rate readings
  • App rating and recommendations on devices with the following processors:
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (8064)
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (8974)
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (8974)
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 (8084)
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 (8992)
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 (8994)
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (8996)

How often does this software collect data?
By default App Tune-up Kit collects data once every second. You can change this value in Settings.

How much of the CPU does App Tune-up Kit consume?
The amount of CPU that App Tune-up Kit consumes depends on the sampling interval. An estimate would be 10-20% of a quad-core CPU.

Why do I get an error message when I try to compare the results from two different processors?
The data used for ratings varies greatly from processor to processor. As a result, it’s meaningless to compare two different processor types.

What is the difference between direct power readings and estimated power?
Direct power is read from the power management chip on supported devices. If your device doesn’t support direct power reading, this software automatically estimates the power consumption in real-time by analyzing the frequency and load of every CPU core and the GPU in your mobile device. Power estimation also takes into account the brightness of your screen, which is one of the biggest consumers of power.

How accurate are power measurements?
Power accuracy varies depending on the update rate of your device and other factors. The accuracy of estimated power readings will vary depending on the type of software, processor type, screen size, and resolution being used. Estimated power readings should not be compared to direct power readings because they are collected from different sources. You should also not attempt to use this app to compare system power readings of one device to another device, since different devices have different configurations. For the most accurate on-target power measurements,use Trepn Profiler and follow these best practices.

Troubleshooting

Why aren’t apps always rated?
Apps are only rated when profiling data is available for a device with the same processor. If your device has a processor that is not listed above, a blue color will be used on the dashboard instead of the normal red, yellow, and green rating colors.

Why is the GPU Profiling Mode setting disabled?
The GPU Profiling Mode setting is disabled if you have run a profiling session with FPS.  After running a session in FPS mode, it is required that you restart your device before changing modes again.

Why doesn’t the screen always change when I compare an app to Games?  
Many of the top twenty apps are games, so the difference between the profiling data isn’t always significant.

Why do power readings vary so much on some devices with Snapdragon 808, 810 or 820 processors?
Some mobile devices only report power updates every 30 seconds. This can affect the accuracy of power readings in App Tune-up Kit. For example, App Tune-up Kit normally receives 60 power readings in a minute. Those 60 readings are averaged to create the power value that appears in the App Tune-up Kit dashboard. A device with a Snapdragon 808, 810 or 820 processor only updates the power reading twice during a one minute profiling session. This can cause large differences between the average power readings between sessions.

Where are session files saved on my mobile device?
Profile session files are stored in a folder on your device called “tuneupkit”. Use an app like ES File Explorer to select, copy or move the stored database files to your computer or cloud-based storage like Google Drive.

Why does App Tune-up Kit require extra permissions?
In order for profiling software to function properly, it must have access to several features on your mobile device. Here are explanations for each permission:

Android M permissions:

  • Storage permissions - Required to load and save profiling sessions and send a report.
  • Modify system settings – Required to set the screen brightness to 100% while profiling.

Android L (and earlier) permissions:

  • Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage – Required for saving profiling sessions.
  • Read the contents of your USB storage – Required for loading saved profiling sessions.
  • View Network connections – Used to determine whether the data your app consumed was over cellular or Wi-Fi.
  • Retrieve running apps – Needed to collect per-app CPU load and network statistics.
  • Prevent phone from sleeping – In order for App Tune-up Kit to obtain accurate readings, it’s essential to keep the device’s processor awake during profiling. This permission grants access to acquire a processor wakelock while profiling.
  • Modify system settings - Required to set the screen brightness to 100% while profiling.

How can I submit feature requests or bug reports?
Please send us your feature requests and other feedback via our App Tune-up Kit feedback form.