Taking on the iPhone 4S battery issues


My saga of trying to extend the battery life of the iPhone 4S to a usable point continues. I called Apple Support, who confirmed that the iOS 5.0.1 release didn’t have any impact on a proportion of users iPhones, and that Apple continues to work on the issue in its 5.1 release (rumour has it that the latest beta build of iOS resolves this, however I’ll believe it when I see it). Phone support did say I could go into a Genius bar, who would check out a number of things including the possibility of the phone not charging from the mains adaptor, and so they made me an appointment.

Of course, the Genius bar technical support folk (their job titles are ‘Genius’) did no such thing – they looked at the phone, killed some apps, confirmed that I’d tried this, and then noticed that the version of iOS I was running – whilst being the ‘latest’ in release numbers term, was one build old. For the un-initiated, a ‘build’ is a version of the software’s internal name – it ticks over at a slightly different rate to the external release number to try to convince the general public that the company they’re buying from aren’t ditsy idiots who did the programming equivalent of leaving their watch in someone post-surgery (perhaps an actual coder could give a better, more sympathetic explanation of this :-)).

They refused to tell me much about the builds (apparently they’re not supposed to) – but of course it’s all on Wikipedia. I moved from build 9A405 to 9A406 and – mercifully – iCloud restored the phone to a pretty much identical state as it had been before. Nothing in the release notes for 9A406 indicates it will have any impact on battery life, and, sure enough… A day later, and its having marginal impact – my phone, switched on at 5.50 am, is dropping its charge at the expected rate of 10% per hour under normal-light usage (currently down to 84% 1h 20 minutes later). Heavy usage will half that.

So, my next option: replacing the phone under warranty, for one that will be ‘new-ish’ – but may include remanufactured components. Given what the ‘new’ components are like, I’m actually hoping that the remanufactued ones will be an improvement.

Of course, my ‘last resort’ option is to give up on iOS in its entirety, as I can’t stick with a phone with this kind of battery life – it’ll be useless for work where I may need to go more than 6 hours without a mains socket. More on this thought process to follow soon, thanks to some insights from my friends and my fellow Coolsmartphone.com contributors…

I’m still hoping that someone out there will have the magic switch or setting that will fix this, or that iOS 5.1 will be released in the next few weeks… Anyone?

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  • Patch

    Can you list what you do on your phone in a typcial day and also what you have switched on???

  • Patch

    Can you list what you do on your phone in a typcial day and also what you have switched on???

  • http://www.division6.co.uk/wp/ Armand David

    @72ddf237486c0ba08acb455be1cb87e9:disqus  - mostly email (not set to push, I get about 300 emails a day), some Kindle reading, less than 20 mins of web surfing or using other apps on a typical day. Occasionally firing up apps. But today – other than checking email briefly first thing and using Kindle for 10 mins total – I’ve not used it at all. And the battery is down to 59% 5 hours in. 

  • http://www.division6.co.uk/wp/ Armand David

    @72ddf237486c0ba08acb455be1cb87e9:disqus  - mostly email (not set to push, I get about 300 emails a day), some Kindle reading, less than 20 mins of web surfing or using other apps on a typical day. Occasionally firing up apps. But today – other than checking email briefly first thing and using Kindle for 10 mins total – I’ve not used it at all. And the battery is down to 59% 5 hours in. 

  • Ploud

    Has this site turned in your own personal help me site. Why don’t you use a forum.

  • Ploud

    Has this site turned in your own personal help me site. Why don’t you use a forum.

  • Pagdodd

    On my last check, with 17% battery left I got:
    Usage – 5 hours, 23 minutes
    Standby – 17 hours, 17 minutes.
    I think this is fairly decent to be honest.

  • Pagdodd

    On my last check, with 17% battery left I got:
    Usage – 5 hours, 23 minutes
    Standby – 17 hours, 17 minutes.
    I think this is fairly decent to be honest.

  • http://www.division6.co.uk/wp/ Armand David

    @6aba3e7fd908d0a9dccbf8325ba457fd:disqus It’s a known issue with the current model of the device – hopefully the posts will help people out who have a similar situation, of whom there are enough that Apple has logged it as a bug.

    @cea193ac9d16c24384f00db4ae0bcb91:disqus That is a lot better than what I’m getting – suspect you’re in the majority who found that the 5.0.1 patch resolved your issues.

  • http://www.division6.co.uk/wp/ Armand David

    @6aba3e7fd908d0a9dccbf8325ba457fd:disqus It’s a known issue with the current model of the device – hopefully the posts will help people out who have a similar situation, of whom there are enough that Apple has logged it as a bug.

    @cea193ac9d16c24384f00db4ae0bcb91:disqus That is a lot better than what I’m getting – suspect you’re in the majority who found that the 5.0.1 patch resolved your issues.

  • Phil

    You say Apple’s logged it as a bug? Where? From what I can see there’s been nothing from Apple at all to even acknowledge there might possibly be an issue. The updated build mentioned is just a minor firmware update and doesn’t fix the issue.
    I’d love to meet anyone who’s got even a quarter of Apple’s advertised battery life for the 4S.
    Won’t be long till the lawsuits hit if Apple continue to ignore the problem.

  • Phil

    You say Apple’s logged it as a bug? Where? From what I can see there’s been nothing from Apple at all to even acknowledge there might possibly be an issue. The updated build mentioned is just a minor firmware update and doesn’t fix the issue.
    I’d love to meet anyone who’s got even a quarter of Apple’s advertised battery life for the 4S.
    Won’t be long till the lawsuits hit if Apple continue to ignore the problem.

  • http://www.division6.co.uk/wp/ Armand David

    @b1596dbea96337be02e10e60fad043be:disqus Apple Support know it’s an issue, even if no official statements have been made. If you read the comments around the 5.1 beta that’s with developers at the moment it sounds like they’ve done *something* to address it! 

    Are you going to try the warranty swap option? That’s my next recourse. Of course, a colleague has just lent me a Samsung Google Nexus, so I may try that and see if I leave iOS behind… from some initial fiddling with the menu system, that may be a bit drastic for me!

  • http://www.division6.co.uk/wp/ Armand David

    @b1596dbea96337be02e10e60fad043be:disqus Apple Support know it’s an issue, even if no official statements have been made. If you read the comments around the 5.1 beta that’s with developers at the moment it sounds like they’ve done *something* to address it! 

    Are you going to try the warranty swap option? That’s my next recourse. Of course, a colleague has just lent me a Samsung Google Nexus, so I may try that and see if I leave iOS behind… from some initial fiddling with the menu system, that may be a bit drastic for me!

  • Patch

    Wow 300 emails a day how do you get to look at them all.lol

    I use mine from a night charge in the morning at home wifi ans talks port app while getting ready (20 mins) then on train either listen to music or video (30 mins) at work I only have wifi on due to guest access and check Facebook and emails through day. Way home again movie or music and when home I still have over 50% left. I don’t switch wifi off but do turn off GPRS and 3G …

    I do believe with the amount of phones apple sell there will be some iPhones with problems like any phone company

    I have problems with my old phone but could swap the battery if needed but found that irritating ….. Each to are own really but if you do swap the phone the Samsung s2 is a good phone as brother has one.

  • Patch

    Wow 300 emails a day how do you get to look at them all.lol

    I use mine from a night charge in the morning at home wifi ans talks port app while getting ready (20 mins) then on train either listen to music or video (30 mins) at work I only have wifi on due to guest access and check Facebook and emails through day. Way home again movie or music and when home I still have over 50% left. I don’t switch wifi off but do turn off GPRS and 3G …

    I do believe with the amount of phones apple sell there will be some iPhones with problems like any phone company

    I have problems with my old phone but could swap the battery if needed but found that irritating ….. Each to are own really but if you do swap the phone the Samsung s2 is a good phone as brother has one.

  • Roverduk

    Apple, HTC, Samsung, battery life is pretty despicable on all of them, a smartphone thats next to useless for work after 1pm thats what we all need right?
    This is why i still have to carry a blackberry.

  • Roverduk

    Apple, HTC, Samsung, battery life is pretty despicable on all of them, a smartphone thats next to useless for work after 1pm thats what we all need right?
    This is why i still have to carry a blackberry.

  • Draven19us

    My iPhone 4s battery life sucks. This morning (after being charged over night) my phone battery lasted for 1.5 hrs. I only checked the news, checked out new apps in the app store and took 2 pictures….and then it died. It has been like this for a couple weeks. The battery life used to be good until I downloaded the first update and then it has been getting worse as time goes on. Apply needs to rectify this issue.

  • http://www.zoogue.com/free-iphone-4s-social-shell-case/ RandyGreen

    Now, that the iPhone 5 is going to be out in a couple of weeks, I think there will be a major improvement in battery management in the new system. i have an iPhone 4S and i often end up 10 percent battery when I use apps. I think the iPhone 5 will have a better “make” for this.

  • Anonymous

    It’s only rumours they’ll be a new iPhone in a couple of weeks. They seem fairly solid rumours though. And one of the rumours suggests a 10mAh capacity increase on the battery. If true, not sure that’s going to be enough to make any meaningful difference to battery life (especially if the rumours of larger screen are also true).

  • http://www.zoogue.com/free-iphone-4s-social-shell-case/ RandyGreen

    Well, if that’s the only im gonna get from the iPhone 5 aside from a thinner and sleeker design, then I should just stay with my iPhone 4S. Besides, 4S accessories and supplies are already getting low on prices and even being given for free! In fact, I just got ZooGue’s iPhone 4S social shell case for free a couple of days ago. Way to Go iPhone 5 rumores! (Gave me a lot of 4S freebies really =) )

  • ChrisCHENyan

    Hi, does ZooGue still does this promo giveaway? Quite interested since I won’t be joining the iPhone 5 bandwagon this coming september (if the rumors are true). :P

  • http://www.zoogue.com/free-iphone-4s-social-shell-case/ RandyGreen

    I don’t know much but here is the exact advert: (hope this helps)

    FREE iPhone 4S Social Shell Case

    Zoogue, the King of Innovation is giving away iPhone 4S cases for FREE. No need to buy anything on the site, you get it for FREE, just pay for Shipping and Handling and it’s yours. What is more interesting is that you can choose from several available colors to suit your style.

    HURRY! You can get it here: http://www.zoogue.com/free-iphone-4s-social-shell-case/

    Use PROMO CODE: FreeZooGueAccessory upon Checkout.

    Availability until Supply Last!