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10/30/2011
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4 Fixes For iPhone 4S Battery Woes

While you wait for Apple's engineers to pinpoint the source of iPhone battery problems, take these steps to save power.

10 Top iOS 5 Apps
10 Top iOS 5 Apps
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Concern continues to grow that a possible flaw in Apple's iOS 5 may be negatively affecting iPhone battery performance.

Posts about poor battery life by Apple iPhone owners in Apple's support forum have risen from 1,327 on Friday afternoon to 2,420 on Monday morning, with no word from Apple about the cause of the issue or when it might be resolved.

For Google searches with the keyword "battery" in the last 90 days, "iPhone battery" tops the list of rising searches. And for "iPhone battery," the search "battery life" is the second fastest rising search.

Apple is not the only mobile handset maker to wrestle with unsatisfactory battery performance. Android users have been grousing about poor battery life for years. But a comparison of the terms "iPhone battery" and "Android battery" in Google Insights for Search suggests a spike in iPhone-related battery queries, as does a comparison of the same terms in Google Trends.

Battery life is a new issue for Apple. The company set up a battery page in 2007 when the iPhone first came out to help people manage battery usage. Apple was also sued several times over its iPhone batteries because they could not be easily replaced by consumers. Poor battery performance over time was cited as a reason that iPhone batteries would need to be replaced. Apple says that a properly maintained iPhone battery "is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 400 full charge and discharge cycles." One of the lawsuits alleged that the number of charges an iPhone could accept before being degraded to the point of replacement was more like 300.

[ Read more about iPhone 4S Battery Life Powers Complaints. ]

Battery problems have become particularly noticeable in recent years because battery technology has not advanced as perceptibly as other consumer electronics technologies and because promised breakthrough technologies like fuel cells for portable devices have yet to arrive in the market.

Short battery life is affecting users of the new iPhone 4S as well as older models that have been upgraded to iOS 5, suggesting that the issue is a software problem.

Though Apple has not responded to a request for comment, there's no shortage of suggestions among iPhone users for improving battery performance. Here are a few worth trying:

Disable iOS 5-Style Calendar Notifications

One person posting in Apple's support forum claims that disabling the iOS 5 Notification Center, via the Calendar app settings menu (Settings > Notifications > Calendar > Notification Center-Off), resolves the battery problem. This supposedly fixes a bug that causes excessive notification polling. You should still be able to receive older style Alerts.

Disable "Setting Time Zone"

Other users report resolving their battery problems by disabling their iPhone's ability to automatically reset the time zone upon entering a new time zone. This is part of the iPhone's Location Services menu (Settings > Location Services > Setting Time Zone). Some users speculate that a bug in iOS location tracking causes the software to check the phone's location too frequently.

Disable Location Services For Reminders

Apple's new Reminders app can issue reminders based on proximity to places. While it can be tremendously helpful to be reminded to pick up some coffee when passing the local coffee shop, it's also a burden on the battery to keep checking whether you're near the coffee shop. If you haven't used Reminders yet, it won't yet be registered in Location Services. A more extreme step is disabling Location Services entirely.

Disable Mail Push

When iOS 3 came out in mid-2009, there were complaints about battery life. GigaOm writer Clayton Lai at the time recommended disabling push notifications for Apple's Mail app. A few of those dealing with iOS 5 battery life issues have also suggested turning off Mail push. This can be done through Settings > Mail, Contacts & Calendar > Fetch New Data > Push (off). This makes new email arrive based on your Fetch schedule setting rather than when pushed by the server.

Beyond that, users should at least be aware of other settings and preferences that may affect battery life. To conserve power, Apple advises users to: minimize use of location services; turn off push notifications; fetch new data less frequently, if the fetch frequency is not already set to "manually"; auto-check fewer email accounts; turn off WiFi and Bluetooth; use Airplane Mode in areas with little or no cellular coverage; enable Auto-Brightness, via Settings > Brightness and make sure brightness isn't maxed unnecessarily; and turn off audio equalization under Settings > iPod > EQ.

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DanilaV053
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DanilaV053,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/10/2014 | 4:33:55 AM
If your iPhone doesn't keep its charge...
You might need calibrating iPhone battery if it degrades with time. It's simple and will max out battery usage: http://www.iosappsandhacks.com/iphone-battery-calibration
DrNET
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DrNET,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/6/2011 | 1:32:10 AM
re: 4 Fixes For iPhone 4S Battery Woes
I just purchased the 4S and experienced the same quick battery drain. That is when I noticed that the email screen was showing that it was checking email about every 5-10 seconds. I also noticed that the wireless AP was constantly being hit, thus chewing up more power. Simply turned email Push off and wala, I can use the phone, email, and other apps normally without unusual battery drain.
I have it checking email every hour, but it still checks immediately when I open the email app.
NeonRacer
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NeonRacer,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/3/2011 | 7:53:28 PM
re: 4 Fixes For iPhone 4S Battery Woes
Need a minor correction to one of your hints - a step was left out. All are good points but the Time Zone issue is key. It is one of the best hints because it has been reported widely as the source of the worst bug.

Here is correct path: Changing Time Zone is part of the iPhone's Location Services menu (Settings > Location Services > System Services > Setting Time Zone)
DenverNick
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DenverNick,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/2/2011 | 10:48:17 PM
re: 4 Fixes For iPhone 4S Battery Woes
I agree with ANON completely, it is a choice and no one should feel insulted on which they choose. I was new to the iPhone market when I got my Verizon 4 back in March. I have now switched to the 4S and love it. However, before that, I was a Droid man from the beginning, being an owner of both the original Motorola Droid, as well as the Motorola Droid X. Great phones, no doubt, but I found what I am looking for with the iPhones. And I can guarantee you, with the disdain I typically hold for Apple products, it is certainly not for the purpose of a status symbol. I finally got around to believing that while I can still hate Apple computers with a passion, the iPhone is just that, a phone, and I do not need a phone that i can 'hack' into, just one that works how it is supposed to. The iPhone does that for me.
DenverNick
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DenverNick,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/2/2011 | 10:39:36 PM
re: 4 Fixes For iPhone 4S Battery Woes
Thanks, Tom, I had been referring to my first comment up top. It had posted, I had seen it there and then the next time I looked, it was gone. Of course, ten minutes after I posted this other message, it showed up again so I was scrambling to remove the other, with no luck. Thank you for your response.
ANON1237925156805
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ANON1237925156805,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/1/2011 | 7:45:29 PM
re: 4 Fixes For iPhone 4S Battery Woes
What rot! One can argue pro and con about the ability to insert a spare battery internally and if that's what drives your smartphone decision, then good on ya. I agree that it feels a bit controlling not to be able to open the hood and swap, but on the other hand it does ensure proper disposal of the most toxic component of the mobile device. And it sure doesn't prevent me from carrying extra juice. For the same cost and weight as a spare battery I can and do carry a Mophie battery pack that I can plug into the proprietary (ych!) usb port to recharge and run the phone when I'm not near an outlet. So in practical terms this is not the big issue that you make it out to be. In fact since historically Apple's batteries have been excellent and since they charge so quickly even now, this has been a selling point for me.

Now there are batteru problems caused by the new OS. Apple isn't dodging the issue. They'll fix it and life will go on.

Is this thrilling? No, but it's no more of a nuisance than the 50 apps that Android removed from its uncurated app market and uninstalled remotely from users' phones because of malware. It's no more of a nuisance than being told that my hardware doesn't support the latest flavor of Android so I"m stuck with licorice while my best pal is eating cupcakes.

Fact is that so called closed and open environments each have their plesses and challenges. Pick one and have confidence in your choice. That way you won't need insult those who make a different choice. While you are at it remember that without the iPhone there wouldl ikely not be an Android phone as yhou know it today. While Google has made some innovations, it's amazing how much of the core of the interface is based on the iPhone. Even new features like folders work exactly like their iPhone coutnerpartws.

dfweezel
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dfweezel,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/1/2011 | 2:26:14 PM
re: 4 Fixes For iPhone 4S Battery Woes
Love your reply, you hit my points dead on the money. I have two touch a touch screen Nokias, X6 and C6 and they go for days on a charge but those are phone with apps that are tools only...not toys or symbols of false status. I also use an Atrix and always get through the day, on weekends maybe two.
Tom LaSusa
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Tom LaSusa,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/1/2011 | 2:08:24 PM
re: 4 Fixes For iPhone 4S Battery Woes
Denver,

I see two comments by you above. Which one are you referring to?

As a rule the only comments that are blocked are SPAM (obviously) and any that are blatantly offensive, derogatory, use foul language. Everyone is free to agree/disagree as long as it's done respectfully.

Cheers,
Tom LaSusa
Community Manager
InformationWeek
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/1/2011 | 1:19:01 PM
re: 4 Fixes For iPhone 4S Battery Woes
@dfweezel, Apple is so arrogant you can't carry a spare battery because you can't replace the iToy's battery without sending it in to Apple. You did, however, hit the nail on the head about getting a different phone. While I almost never have to charge my DroidX's batter more than every day or so, I can replace it, I can, if I needed to, buy an extended life battery (I'm still using the original battery a year later), or carry more than one battery if I needed. The solution is for all the Apple zealots out there to get off their high horse and buy an actual phone and not a toy that only appears to get tested when they magically "lose" or have one "stolen" one in a bar a week or two before they're released.
ArcherSLO
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ArcherSLO,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/1/2011 | 1:01:47 AM
re: 4 Fixes For iPhone 4S Battery Woes
Like so many other consumers have reported, I experienced an alarmingly rapid battery depletion on my brand new iPhone 4S. It was quite a relief to finally identify and rectify the problem. I didn't have to disable valuable phone features, delete/recreate email accounts, drain my battery completely, or perform a hard reset. In my case, the solution was actually quite easy and painless.

While there have multiple causes and solutions reported, issues related to Location Services seem to be the most common culprits of the accelerated battery drain problem. I've seen many reports specifically about the Time Zone function being the cause, but it was something a little different in my case. And while the specific cause may be slightly different in your case as well, the following information may help you to easily identify what that is.

If you don't already have the location services icon turned on, I would strongly encourage you to do that by going into Settings -+ Location Services -+ scroll to the bottom -+ System Services -+ scroll to the bottom -+ enable Status Bar Icon. You can see a sample of the icon in the image to the right. With the Status Bar Icon enabled, you should see the purple icon momentarily appear between the time and the Bluetooth icon at the top of the screen whenever an app is identifying your location. You will know there is a problem if you see that the icon is remaining there. In that case, you'll want to go into Settings and locate the offending app in Location Services. This is precisely how I identified the problem on my iPhone.

In my case, when I went to location services under settings, it was apparent that the offending app was actually Siri (although the status icon appears gray in the image to the right, it was stuck in purple when I discovered the problem). I powered-cycled my iPhone thinking that would clear it up, but surprisingly it didn't. So I reluctantly proceeded to turn location services off for Siri. It was clearly hung up for some reason, which would understandably cause a serious drain. I could practically hear my battery release a great sigh of relief while I immediately saw a substantial improvement in power conservation. Hoping that I wasn't going to have to live with that setting disabled, I later held my breath and turned the setting back on. Thankfully, the battery life has been great for several days straight.

It seems quite possible to me that any of the LS-enabled apps might cause this sort of hang, so don't limit your attention to Siri or the Time Zone setting.

This may actually be an iOS5 issue rather than just an iPhone 4S issue. It's been reported on iPhone 3GS devices running iOS5 too.
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