Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
10/1/2012
09:32 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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iOS 6 Drains Older iPhone Batteries Faster

Does Apple need to tweak iOS 6? Comparing the battery life of the iPhone 5 with that of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 suggests it does.

Apple iOS 6: 10 Most Interesting Features
Apple iOS 6: 10 Most Interesting Features
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
With iOS 6 onboard, the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S don't offer nearly the same battery life that's available from the iPhone 5. iOS 6 is available to a wide number of Apple devices, but the experience isn't quite the same across the different phones and tablets. Battery life appears to be the biggest thing impacted by the latest platform software from Apple.

I've been testing the iPhone 5 for 10 days now. The iPhone 5 ships with iOS 6 installed. I've found that the battery life continues to be very good, given all that the device offers. Keep in mind, it has larger display, a faster processor, and a more power-hungry LTE 4G radio on board.

Combined, these might have been a disaster for the iPhone 5's battery life. Instead, the slightly larger battery in the iPhone 5 and the way the A6 processor handles iOS 6 means excellent power management. Obviously, mileage with something such as battery life of a smartphone will vary greatly depending on how the device is used. With the iPhone 5, I've kept the Wi-Fi radio on at all times, have the screen set to about 50% brightness, and use it quite consistently to change social networks, email, take/share photos, and so on.

So far, it has exceeded my expectations. It easily lasts an entire day, from early morning to late evening. I generally unplug my devices from their chargers at 7:00 or 7:30 each morning. Even on the days during which I used the iPhone 5 intensely, it was still registering more than 30% battery life remaining after 11:00 in the evening. I have yet to put it through a torture test (i.e., spending a day with it at a busy trade show). That'll come soon, though.

[ See iPhone Scuffgate: Every Launch Must Have Scandal. ]

But iOS 6 isn't as friendly to the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 when it comes to battery life. I've installed iOS 6 on both the iPhone 4S and 4, and, have noticed, along with other users, that battery life has taken a pretty big hit on these older iPhones.

I have the same basic set of applications installed on the iPhone 4S and 4 as I do on the iPhone 5. The important ones--email, Twitter, Facebook, and others that ping the network regularly for updates--are all identical. With Wi-Fi on, but cellular data turned off on the 4 and 4S, neither device lasts 24 hours any more. They used to--and still should--last several days at a minimum.

Something in the way the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 are interacting with iOS 6 is causing excessive power drain.

For me, this isn't that big a deal. I no longer use the iPhone 4S/4 as daily drivers. I have the iPhone 5 for that. But for the millions of consumers who have stuck with their older iPhone hardware and updated to the latest system software, it's an important issue.

Have you updated your iPhone 4S or iPhone 4 to iOS 6, and are you seeing diminished battery life? Please feel free to sound off in the comment below about your experience.

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TheHPaj
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TheHPaj,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/15/2012 | 6:00:30 PM
re: iOS 6 Drains Older iPhone Batteries Faster
Let's hope that someone (????) from Apple takes 5 seconds to read this article and our comments. Call me cynical but I just don't have that much faith.
TheHPaj
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TheHPaj,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/15/2012 | 5:06:39 PM
re: iOS 6 Drains Older iPhone Batteries Faster
this new iOS upgrade killed the performance of my 4. I use (used?) this phone daily for work and family. Average battery life now? About 2 hours. The only way to extend that is to turn (almost) all systems off. As I work in marketing, that defeats the purpose of having many of the apps I have loaded on the phone.

Seriously considering moving to Android platform....
ambika1
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ambika1,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/15/2012 | 4:46:59 AM
re: iOS 6 Drains Older iPhone Batteries Faster
I am definitely switching to an Android phone if Apple do not take effort to resolve this issue. I am charging my phone almost every day, sometimes even twice a day. I deleted all the applications, music, cut down on mails, pictures, books...everything even restored the phone, but nothing happened. I am back to where I started.

It may be a hit with iPhone5 and I might have bought one too. But, now I am seriously thinking to switch to something less fancier. If you cannot keep your customers happy...then you don't deserve them either!!!
KL70
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KL70,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/4/2012 | 10:06:18 PM
re: iOS 6 Drains Older iPhone Batteries Faster
I have the 3GS (yeah I know) and since the update my phone battery drains in literally seconds. I was on the phone not even 5 minutes;my battery showed as being at 92% at the start of the call; by the time I hung up my phone shut off and said it was 0%. I plugged it in and in less then 2 minutes it said it was at 95%....not impressed. I was waiting for the rush to end before upgrading to the 5 but this is nuts. And yes I had turned off all apps that auto-connect or use location services, I even made sure the display brightness was set to manual instead of auto adjust. I have just finished wiping and re-doing the software so I'm hoping that will help long enough for me to call my service provider and get an upgrade...
vkaranth078
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vkaranth078,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/2/2012 | 5:17:52 PM
re: iOS 6 Drains Older iPhone Batteries Faster
I upgraded my 4s (I brought the model that came out last fall) to iOS6 a week ago and I noticed immediate drop in its battery life. The battery would drain very rapidly even without using it. Prior to upgrade, the battery would last for ~1.5 days after charging it to full. But after iOS6 install, the battery would not even last for a day even without using any apps/making any calls. I have done all the settings suggested by Phil below (and perhaps toggled off some more options) - but did not help much. Playing 10-15 mins presentation video in youtube will drain ~3-5%. I continue to monitor the battery life for a week more before I make a visit to Apple store.

~ Vidya
Ojm37
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Ojm37,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/2/2012 | 2:50:01 PM
re: iOS 6 Drains Older iPhone Batteries Faster
I have an iPod Touch (4th Generation) and iOS6 is sucking battery like crazy! If I turn off the WiFi, it lasts OK. But with the WiFi on, doing just about anything (games, playing music, etc) sucks a fully charged battery to nothing in about 2 hours! Some games (Bejeweled, Wurdle for example) can suck a fully charged battery to nothing in less than 30 minutes. NOT what I expected....

My daughter is having the same experience with her iPod Touch.
Eric Z
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Eric Z,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/2/2012 | 12:04:26 PM
re: iOS 6 Drains Older iPhone Batteries Faster
Apple always seems to have this issue with new OS versions. It breaks a number of features, and it becomes a "how long until x.1" fix is released. I bet we'll see an update to iOS by the end of October.
tlogan212
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tlogan212,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/2/2012 | 5:06:47 AM
re: iOS 6 Drains Older iPhone Batteries Faster
Greetings Eric,
I don't know how Apple convinced themselves to put iOS 6 out knowing about the inconsistencies in the new version. Not only am I experiencing the same power issues as most commentators have attested to but iOS 6 is also causing my apps to become unresponsive and lock up at times. I am then forced to exit the app and log back in if my use of the app was important. Need I say that I am hotter than a jalapeno pepper about having gone with the upgrade. Is it possible to revert back to iOS 5?????
nerath
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nerath,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2012 | 9:15:26 PM
re: iOS 6 Drains Older iPhone Batteries Faster
I have not noticed any difference since upgrading my iPhone 4s the evening iOS 6 was released. It is very possible that in my twiddling after upgrade I may have tweaked some of the settings menioned in pwienberger100's post, but nothing major.
sbailey274
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sbailey274,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2012 | 8:57:29 PM
re: iOS 6 Drains Older iPhone Batteries Faster
Typical fix is to reset all settings, setup as new. That does not wipe out any data or apps. Run back through the wizard when it reboots. Secondly let the battery drain all the way until it cuts off then charge back undisturbed for 1.5 to 2 hrs PAST when you see 100%. That seems to fix this issue for a LOT of people. If that does not help and you have exchange email account, delete the email account, reboot the device and add the acct back.

BTW the battery can be replaced. Apple can do it and will free within the first year or 2 yrs with AppleCare. Also you can get 3rd party replacements. But i doubt you have a faulty battery if its only a year old.
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