As Apple continues to investigate the iOS 5.0.1 battery life problems, learn about the four things that will kill your iPhone's battery as quickly as possible.

Eric Zeman, Contributor

November 12, 2011

4 Min Read

On Friday, Apple admitted that perhaps iOS 5.0.1 didn't resolve the battery life issues as intended. In fact, many iPhone users took to Apple's support forums to vent about how the software update actually made things worse. The comments are quite colorful--and not exactly positive.

"The recent iOS software update addressed many of the battery issues that some customers experienced on their iOS 5 devices. We continue to investigate a few remaining issues," said the company in a statement provided to AllThingsD.

Based on the pages upon pages of complaints published on Apple's support web site, one might disagree with Apple's claim that there are "a few" problems still in the code. While we wait on Apple to figure things out, these are four things that will suck the life out of your iPhone's battery.

1. Dastardly Display: The display is the one component on any phone that uses the most power. With iOS 5.0.1, you have plenty of control over the display and fine-tuning the settings can help extend--or destroy--the battery. You want to kill your iPhone fast? Set the display to the maximum brightness setting, and set the autolock feature to "never." This ensures that your iPhone's display will shine as bright as possible, always remain on, and kill your battery ASAP.

[ What are your must-have iPad apps? Check out our choices: 10 Epic iPad Apps. ]

2. Nettlesome Notifications: One of iOS 5.0.1's best features is the new notification center. It delivers notifications to the home screen in a less-obtrusive way than before. It can also wreck your battery. Here's how. In the Notifications' setting menu, turn Notifications to "On" for every single app on your phone. Second, for those that allow it, set the "View on Lock Screen" setting to on. This ensures that every time a notification arrives, it will turn on the iPhone's display. Third, set the "Repeat Notification" tool to 10 times. This means the iPhone will turn the display on to remind you of this same alert 10 times.

3. Ridiculous Radios: Aside from the display, the wireless radios in any cell phone rank second in terms of draining the battery. Want to ensure minimum battery life? Turn on the 3G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth radios, and be sure to set Location Services (a.k.a., GPS) to on. Then go into all the apps that support location services and make sure they are switched to on. This ensures that all of your location apps will be pinging away at 3G, Wi-Fi, and GPS networks to determine location--and thus draining the battery as quickly as possible. (Want to score some bonus points? Go out into the middle of nowhere with all the radios on and watch the iPhone desperately try to find something with which to connect.)

4. Irksome iCloud: Another key feature in iOS 5.0.1 is Apple's new iCloud service. It is used to backup the device's data and settings to Apple's servers and cross-populate that data across iOS and other Apple devices. In order to do that, it has to talk to the network and upload/download data. Make sure iCloud is turned on to boost your device's time spent talking to the network. Second, load up as many separate email accounts on the phone as possible. Have Gmail? Turn it on and set it to "Push."

Have a crusty Yahoo account from back in the day? Why not check it out, too. What, you have ancient Hotmail and AOL email accounts from the 90s, too? What the hell, turn 'em all on and see how large your spam folder is. Don't forget to turn on PhotoStream on, too, so that every picture you take with your iPhone is automatically uploaded to the cloud.

On the Flip Side: Of course, if you need your iPhone to actually last through an entire day, we recommend you do the exact opposite of all the above suggestions. However, if you have some time to kill and don't mind having a little bit of fun, go ahead and try everything above and see how fast your iPhone dies. Then be sure to tell us how it works out in the comments below.

About the Author(s)

Eric Zeman


Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies.

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