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11/11/2011
12:46 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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iOS 5.0.1: The Battery Fix That Wasn't

Apple's iOS 5.0.1 update aimed to remedy complaints of poor iPhone battery life. For many, the fix made things worse.

Owners of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 have been complaining about battery life with iOS 5 installed since the operating system became available. Some owners report fully charged iPhones that are running on empty in as little as five or six hours.

Earlier this month, Apple said it had identified a bug that was causing the poor battery life and vowed to fix it with a software update. That update, iOS 5.0.1, was made available to the iPhone 3GS/4/4S, iPad/iPad 2, and iPod Touch Fourth Generation on Thursday.

The official changelog for the update said that it fixes battery life, fixes a Documents bug with iCloud, and patches a security hole.

According to the very vocal users on Apple's support forums who installed iOS 5.0.1, the update did not have the desired effect. Scores of iPhone owners complained that their phones saw no improvement in battery life after installing the update. Here's a sampling from the iPhone support forum:

"It's just ridiculous. Was at 100% and kept phone on charger while doing update OTA. Update finished and 1 hour later I was down to 82%. NOT happy."

"Same here as with others, my 4S has worse battery life now with 5.0.1 than the original 5. Drains about 1% per 15 minutes without any use."

"Just want to add my name to this growing list of disappointed users that was excited about this update. ... Apple failed to fix the battery issue with 5.0.1. Hope to see another update that actually works soon."

"Same for me ... 5.0.1 is worst!!! My battery life is ridiculously short. Without using the iPhone I'm loosing 10% per hour ... if i use it ... 1% to 2% per minute. Apple fix this soon as possible ... this is an emergency! Software bugs are always part of electronic products ... but this is disappointing and UNACCEPTABLE!!! Especially from Apple."

Looking through the first five pages of comments in the thread, I was unable to find a single positive comment about the 5.0.1 update's effect on battery life. Did it work for any of you?

InformationWeek's own Fritz Nelson said to me via email this morning, "I can tell you the fix is not working for me. [At] 7AM [I had a] full charge and 3 hours later I am at 67%. 30 min phone call, about 100 emails and that is it!"

Clearly, Apple has more work to do here.

It is worth pointing out that iOS 5.0.1 was the first system update made available for download over the air rather than through iTunes. Until Thursday, each and every previous system update required users to connect their iPhone to a PC and download/install the update with Apple's iTunes program. One of the benefits of iOS 5 is the ability to download portions of system updates rather than the entire operating system. The end result allows for iPhones to download system updates over the air.

If iOS 5.0.1 was successful at anything, it was proving that the over-the-air update method works well.

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user311
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user311,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/13/2011 | 7:25:11 PM
re: iOS 5.0.1: The Battery Fix That Wasn't
you're kidding right? If Steve were around he would be more likely to tell everyone that they are charging it wrong...
ppadilla8711
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ppadilla8711,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/13/2011 | 4:03:01 PM
re: iOS 5.0.1: The Battery Fix That Wasn't
RE: "If iOS 5.0.1 was successful at anything, it was proving that the over-the-air update method works well."
This was already proven by Android.
jczound
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jczound,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/12/2011 | 8:12:02 PM
re: iOS 5.0.1: The Battery Fix That Wasn't
I am wondering if there might have been a manufacturing glitch that affected only a certain batch of phones. That could explain some of the disparities amongst users. If I were Apple, I would invite those with issues to the local store so that the settings could be documented to see if there is any commonalities. Maybe offer a swap.

My last job had me carrying around a company issued iPhone 4. Interestingly enough, I had issues that others seemed to not even though I used less apps that those around me. Had to do a complete reinstall of the OS in the first week of ownership and found it interesting that my phone's clock was usually off those around me by like minutes, even though we were all carrying company issued phones and worked in the same location. My phone seemed to work the best with a hard reboot every week.
hdinin
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hdinin,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/12/2011 | 5:41:22 PM
re: iOS 5.0.1: The Battery Fix That Wasn't
Eric, to postulate much of anything from the "data" you report here is not only not scientific, it's foolhardy in this tiny corner of a universe made up of cranks and complainers. Of course, you're mainly going to hear from people for whom things don't work. That's how it is in the consumer world in general. I note that no one bitching about bad battery life or worse battery life (allegedly) after the update reports anything of substance by way of working conditions or the configuration of their device. I have a brand new 4s, which, of course, had iOS5 installed from the first second. I had no battery life problems (and I had my former 2 year veteran 3Gs, running iOS 4.3.5 to compare it to). Moreover, I had better battery performance than the 3Gs ever gave me (and it was barely acceptable) on any version of what came to be called iOS. With the update, things are unchanged, that is, no unacceptable or untoward battery life issues. I think people who expect any of these devices (including rival OS operating hardware; I also have an Android phone, a Motorola, from a European carrierGÇöit's far worse in this regard) to just run for even 24 hours straight without draining, unless being used exclusively as a phone, are out of their minds. I can report that certain iOS applications, installed since the acquisition of the 4S, are clearly battery life executioners. It's these apps that have the bugs and the defects I'm sure. The solution is simple. Turn them off, unless running them. Turn off the hardware at night, while you're asleep and the phone should be (for most of usGÇöif your life depends on a phone being on even while you're asleep, I pity you, or the way you've chosen to make a living), and let the battery charge while the hardware gets a "rest." I see these complaints as whining and unsubstantiated bullshit. Only double-blind scientific tests can determine the true picture of the energy management strategies incorporated into iOS5.
tinaaaa
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tinaaaa,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/12/2011 | 9:09:25 AM
re: iOS 5.0.1: The Battery Fix That Wasn't
I never had a problem with battery since getting the 4s. Once fully charged in the morning, it would last pretty much till the evening. I would only need a small 10-15 minute, if that, charge in the evening to last me the rest of the night comfortably.
JLOUIE000
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JLOUIE000,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/12/2011 | 8:28:49 AM
re: iOS 5.0.1: The Battery Fix That Wasn't
The 5.0.1 update worked for me. My iPhone 4s battery life has noticeably improved.
2pelham
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2pelham,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/11/2011 | 8:24:41 PM
re: iOS 5.0.1: The Battery Fix That Wasn't
Agree with offthewall! Charged my phone around 2am and 13 hours later down to 80%. Made a couple of calls, plenty of emails coming in, streamed a podcast for 20 minutes. listened to a few songs while working. 3g all day, no bluetooth. In my book, this is not a battery issue. My last phone (PalmPre) would drop to 40% in 5 hours on a good day so life is good for me now. Sorry to hear others are sill having issues.
iPhorgot
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iPhorgot,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/11/2011 | 7:54:00 PM
re: iOS 5.0.1: The Battery Fix That Wasn't
I found that deleting my email accounts, rebooting, and re-adding the email accounts solved my battery drain issues. It was especially evident to me that this was the problem when I viewed the drop-down screen (which shows weather, stocks, appts, etc.) and my appointments were flickering, as if constantly trying to refresh.
Don't know if it will work for you - but worth a try... good luck.
offthewall
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offthewall,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/11/2011 | 7:51:28 PM
re: iOS 5.0.1: The Battery Fix That Wasn't
I have 32GB and a 16GB iPhone 4's. Both running iOS5 had no battery issues. I installed 5.01 on both. Wife has the other one with her now but mine came off the charger at 9AM and 6 hours later it is at 96%. A couple of 5 min phone calls and about 20 emails. WIFI and Bluetooth on all the time. I don't see that as having a battery issue. Perhaps there is some common third part app amongst the ones having issues?
japura941
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japura941,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/11/2011 | 7:47:40 PM
re: iOS 5.0.1: The Battery Fix That Wasn't
If Steve were still around this would not have happened. Time to upgrade and switch to a Samsung or Motorola smartphone running Android OS...
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