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iPhone 3.0 Battery Draining? Here’s a Possible Fix

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All the goodness of iPhone OS 3.0 aside, the one thing you’ve probably noticed after updating your iPhone or iPod touch is how quickly its battery is draining.

I certainly did, along with many other users. The battery life of my iPhone 3G is now barely six hours, a huge departure from the 12+ hours or so I would get with 2.2.1. And even though I’d experienced a decrease in battery life with the beta builds of 3.0 back in May, the battery never drained at a rate as alarming as this. Now, it depletes 10 percent every hour even while the phone is left doing absolutely nothing.

My first thought was that push notification must be the cause of this. But even after turning off push notification, the battery continued to drain at an alarming rate. After some investigation, it would seem that the culprit is, instead, iPhone’s push mail setting.

To turn off push for all mail accounts, follow these steps:

  1. On the Home screen, tap the “Settings” icon.
    iPhone Settings Step 1
  2. Tap “Mail, Contacts, Calendars.”
    iPhone Settings Step 2
  3. Tap “Fetch New Data.”
  4. Turn off “Push.” This turns off push, in one step, for all email accounts that are enabled for it, while preserving the “Fetch” settings you may have already set for every account.
  5. Reboot your iPhone. To do that, hold down the Sleep/Wake button (the one at the top) until you see the red slider appear, then drag the slider.
    iPhone Sleep Wake Button

After your iPhone has restarted, you should see an improvement in its battery life. Leave a comment, and tell us if this works for you!

206 Responses to “iPhone 3.0 Battery Draining? Here’s a Possible Fix”

  1. I had the same problem under 3.0 with battery drainage, but have investigated further to find a solution. I have:
    – iphone 3G (jailbroken)
    – Mail PUSH option under the “Settings” icon has always been OFF (I’ll come back to this)
    – I synchronize manually 2 accounts: a GMAIL account configured with the GMAIL icon under the option “Add account”, and my corporate OUTLOOK account using MS Exchange ActiveSync
    – wifi, bluetooth, GPS have always been ON
    – 3G is OFF
    – with exactly these options, the phone ran well under 2.1

    Yesterday morning at 6am, I had charged the battery over night to 100%. I rebooted the device and did not use it. At 9am I was still at 96% (thats OK). Then I synchronized manually my mails (Gmail and corporate outlook), and I could watch the digital battery indicator drop. After 15 Minutes (reading and sending mails via wifi), the phone was very hot, and the battery was at 77%.

    I then deactivated the GMAIL account under “settings” and rebooted, did Mails again, and the battery continued to drop (note I have no PUSH mail activated – its always manual synchronization). Then I completely removed the GMAIL account from my iphone, now after reboot, and using only my corporate account with MS Exchange, the battery drainage is OK.

    I made a further test, since I have journal applicatins such as “New York Times online”, “Le Figaro online” etc,

    After having opened them once the same problem with battery drainage comes back. Even when the application is closed again, the problem persists. Using a tool called SBSETTINGS, I realized that some of these online journal applications keep on opening the iphone MAIL processes in the background. Fortunately, using SBSETTINGS, you can kill the MAIL process with a simple click and the day is saved.

    In my view some of the 3rd party applications – even those available through APPSTORE have not been well coded for 3.0 and even if PUSH option is OFF, the start the MAIL processes in the background. SOLUTION: Jailbreak, install SBSETTINGS kill the Mailprocesses when they should not run. Its a bypass but it worked for me.

    • jonnyBGood

      you are wrong…..

      The problem is with OpenSSH and not SBSettings.

      If you have a jailbroke phone here are the steps to fix the heat and battery drain.

      1. Uninstall SBSettings
      2. Install OpenSSH
      3. Install SBSettings
      4. Go into SBSettings and turn off OpenSSH

      Working, cool, phone.

      The rest of you are idiots.

      • Fredrick


        I just restored my 3GS last night and re-JB everything.. then today I started having all those battery drain and warm iphone problem.

        Apparently, it’s true, I reinstalled openSSH AFTER SBSettings, and it doesn;t show up in SBSettings as it should have been. Unsure, I removed openSSH. The battery drain continued.

        Then I read your comment and gave it a shot: uninstalled SBSettings, reinstalling openSSH and THEN reinstalling SBSettings.

        It works WONDER baby! :D

        Jonny B Good, I’d kiss you if I were gay.

  2. Andrew Sleigh


    The reboot is the thing that fixed my 3GS for me as I have previously turned off several of the high drain settings with no effect. Last night it only drained 2% compared to 15% the previous night, as a first time user I am now much happier.

    Looks like the settings are not being picked up as you change them by one or more system/downloaded apps, but do after a reboot.

    Now to switch things back on, one by one…

  3. Great feedback, everyone. It does seem that this is a problem affecting only some users.

    I am happy to inform you that Apple is aware of the problem. I filed a bug report last night via iPhone Dev Center, and I was given a configuration setting to install—much like a Provisioning Profile—that logs battery usage. I’ll be sure to report back when there is further development to this.

    • My battery not only is draining faster, this morning – after charging all night, it was very warm and the screen was dimmed. This never happened with my old one – I upgraded to a 3Gs last week. It charged normal until I found it warm this morning. It is now cooled and screen appears normal but using battery with no use.

      Anyone else have this problem?

    • Zelma, its funny that you mention it. I dont have as much of a problem with the battery (i think it lasts a bit longer than my 3G) but i have noticed that the 3Gs gets really hot sometimes when i have it charging on my computer. It doesn’t happen everytime, but I have experienced it at least 4 times since i bought the phone less than a week ago. My 3G iphone never did that.

      Ive also had an issue over the past 2 days where the phones screen would randomly freeze up for varying amounts of time (usually less than a min) where the phone wont let me tap anything on the screen. I just tap and the phone doesn’t respond, even though (for example) i can see the time change in the background meaning the phone itself isnt frozen, just the tap feature. Its wierd, and its nothing i experienced on the 3G. I was wondering if this is an issue im just experiencing, or if its an actual prob with the iPhone 3GS.

      (P.S. i did call apple support, and they told me the usual…reset all settings, and then if it the phone does it again restore firmware….but that obviously didnt help cus it happened this morn. i forgot to ask about the heating up issue tho)

  4. Champs

    I kept my settings from 2.2.1 and I know how much the battery drains on a given day with the amount of usage it gets — 3.0 takes a little more juice, that’s the bottom line.

  5. TJLeeland

    Sally B,

    I did that twice. At first it was great, but just in standby with no email address configured. It still drains at a rate of 1% every 2 minutes when texting, downloading, or checking email. In standby mode with no email, it looks like I would get the full 300 hours.

    Of course, you might have had different problems than I did.

  6. TJLeeland

    I’m doing some texting right now, and I’m seeing a high drain on the battery. Like 1% every three minutes, give or take depending on how many messages are flying back and forth.

    Rom, I think you’re right that push is what’s causing most people to see a problem. but I suspect that the true underlying issue is that the radio sucks up a huge amount of battery power with every communication. Push is just an enabler for the real problem.

  7. I restored to factory default and configured the phone to have:

    1. Push On for one MobileMe account. Other MobileMe and Gmail accounts set to Manual Fetch.
    2. 3G ON, WiFi ON, BT OFF, Location ON, Push Notification OFF, FMI OFF

    This has regained the pre-OS 3.0 battery life.

    Based on my personal experience, Push Notification for Apps is the culprit. Although I have yet to test if FMI also contributes greatly to the battery drain.

  8. Sally B

    I had the similiar problem (complete drain after 3 hours) so brought my 3G phone into an apple store where they performed some diagnostics on it which did show some issues. I was told to perform a restore from iTunes, but do not restore from a backup. The iTunes software automatically erased everything from the iphone, reinstalled the 3.0 software and a new sync replaced all my data and apps. While it did take some time, it was flawless, and my battery life is now probably better than before I originally updated to 3.0, even with everything activated, push, fetch, wifi, etc.

  9. TJLeeland


    OMG, Thanks! That was the problem. I almost never used my iPhone before the upgrade to 3.0, but with the addition of the voice recorder and landscape keyboard, I’m using it 24/7 and didn’t realize that would run down the battery quicker until you mentioned it.

    Com’on! Why do people reply with answers like this? It’s a little insulting, don’t you think? Do you really think we don’t know if we’re using our phone more? It also annoys me when people respond with tips on maximizing our battery life. We don’t need lectures on how to use our phones correctly. Again, it’s you assuming we’re not smart enough to know how batteries and power consumption work — not to mention being completely irrelevant to the actual question at hand.

    I’m sure most of us know our normal usage and we know when the battery is lasting MUCH less time than it was under similar use. Telling us to dim our screen doesn’t address the fact that the battery is draining faster. It’s saying you’re smarter than us and we your help because we’re neophytes.

    I happen to be a 40 y/o IT professional with a number of IT certifications. I only say that so you will get that I understand technology. And even if I didn’t, people are reporting a loss of 20% an hour — stating in their notes that it’s happening even when they are not using their phones. All you have to do is read the note and you can see it has nothing to do with screen brightness or extra use. Almost everyone has stated it’s happening when the phone is standing by.

    Personally, I have mapped the drain based on various uses. With brand new restored phone (just 3.0) and with push, email, bluetooth, and wifi off, I lose 1% every three hours when the phone is just sitting there unused. This is exactly what should be expected given the 300 hours of standby time Apple claims.

    However, add an email address, with EVERYTHING set to manual and push turned off, and suddenly I start to lose 3% a minute. Something is wrong with that. Since push is off and I’m not checking my email (or using my phone in any way), I should not be losing any more battery life. And yes, I’m sure everything is off.

    OK, same settings but checking email: I can lose 1% every 2 minutes. That is insane. that means I have about 200 minutes of battery life if I’m downloading a large file via email. My wife sent me an MP3 and it got stuck at 9.1MB for an hour (thanks to AT&T’s stellar network) and I lost 30%! I should be getting no less than 5 hours on 3G, but I’m getting less than 3 1/2 hours at that rate. Maybe I’m expecting too much though. Perhaps 3.5 hours of download time is not unexpected, but I take 3G “talk” time to be just that; five hours of my phone talking to the network. But it could take into consideration that you’re reading pages in between page loads.

    I should get 540 minutes of video according to Apple’s site. That would be a loss of 1% every 5.4 minutes. Mine lasts about 6.5 minutes, giving me even more.

    In my opinion, it’s the broadband radio that is using too much power. Though I just don’t know what is going on that it uses six times as much power when an email address is configured; using all manual settings vs. no email configured. Some conversation must be happening somewhere when an email address is configured that doesn’t happen when it’s not. It’s most likely a bug, I think.

    I don’t have nearly the problem others have though. I’m just annoyed that I lose so much battery life just by configuring an all-manual email address. Though I also get annoyed at seeing my battery drop 2% just because I check my email. I have five accounts I need to check, and at the rate of 1% every two minutes, checking five accounts adds up quick.

    • @Bah – actually you’re the douche. TJLeeland’s post was very informative, thank you TJ. I’ve been experiencing the same problem just after installing 3.0, and I think this might be the cullprit. I have 2 email accounts configured, but I rarely use them anyway. I might just take them off and see if the battery improves, because lately it’s been draining to empty in a single day with almost no phone use. :/

  10. I have also found an Increase in Battery life.. From what i have read, those who have found a decrease in battery life may want to look at the possibility that they are using their phone more with the new OS??

    • I am so tired of this response. If you read the complaints, i have an original iphone and a 3G, i can charge them to 100%, go to sleep with the phone just sitting there, when i wake up they are both at 20% or less. ZERO use!

      • I agree, if your battery is better with the new OS, good for you – but I am finding i get about 4-5 hours off a full charge, and that is assuming I don’t actually make any calls. I don’tuse it for email at all, have only the apps you can’t delete on there, all of them mostly disabled to try to squeeze an extra few minutes out of the battery. This is my third phone in less than a year for this problem since the guys at the Apple store keep replacing it for me. Definitely not getting another one.

  11. at adamjackson, isnt 6.25 hrs of usage alot??? I mean, specs for 3g talk time is around 6 hrs right? (I assume 3G data is no different) from reading the macrumors forum seems like around 5 hrs of usage is average?

  12. Gazoobee

    Forgot to mention: For me, with push turned on Wifi turned on auto brightness turned on etc etc. I have an *increase* in battery life with 3.0 also.

  13. Gazoobee

    Seriously stupid, uninformed article. The author hasn’t done his research.

    Note that at least one and possibly two of the links he provides to “others with the problem” lead to sites talking about the hacked beta of 3.0 not the released one.

    If you read the only good link (Apple support forums), almost everyone who mentions the problem either fixed it with a hard reset, or if they still have it, they basically admit to hacking around on their phone and obtaining the OS 3.0 before it was released, playing with push notifications before they were released etc.

    • Sorry you feel that way. Please don’t be a killjoy.

      Everyone else either found the article helpful or are using this as a discussion place to figure out what really might be the issue and what has/hasn’t worked from them.

      Cheer up.

  14. You don’t have to continually turn WiFi on & off.

    The iPhone has a timer that will turn the WiFi chip off after 30 minutes if no applications is sending/receiving data (even when WiFi is set to ‘on’).

  15. My issue is signal quality now with the 3GS. I used to get full signal in my office, but now it’s up and down and I can blow through 50% of my battery before the work day is up. Then once I’m in the rest of my house, the phone will stay at 50% for the rest of the night. It’s strange, and I hope that it’s rectified here shortly. If not, I might try and take it back for a replacement. My wife’s 3G gets five bars when I have 1 or 2, in the same place.

  16. adamjackson

    The other day I did a full charge and discharge TWICE.

    I then set out at 9AM and went to a cafe. was in airplane mode for 4 hours listening to music.

    Then I set out to dinner and drinks with friends. by 6:30 the phone was dead I used GPS, 3G and a little wi-fi in there. Usage was 6.25 hours before it died.

    I just fully charged it and followed your instructions. let’s see if it improves.

    • At adamjackson, isn’t 6.25 hrs of usage alot??? From what I’ve read on other forums 5 hrs of usage seems about average. I mean, the specs 3g talk is something like 6 hrs right?

    • metagrapher

      The iPod app seems to take up a fair amount of charge, similar to what it would if it were a normal iPod, I’ve found. This is probably related to the fact that the iPod is one of the few background apps that can run.

      Do not expect this fix to do much for your battery life while you are in airplane mode. This fix encourages your phone to use the 3G radio less, but this fix cannot have any effect at all if the 3G radio is off to begin with.

    • This is good I would say! When i first got my iphone 3g it would go all day with lots of use… music and internet… and it would still have like half a battery left. Now after 5 months on, and after installing the OS 3.0 software, it dies within about 1.5 hours of internet wifi use, or like 2 hours of music/calls… its pathetic… if I cant find an answer Im going to have to get a new phone, because I cant have a phone that only lasts for a few hours while Im out.
      I wont be buying a new iphone/model of it until… the battery is at least twice as long, the camera is at least 5 MP, and everything is more reliable and easy to install etc…it’s such a dispointment.
      Apple really need to improve their game if they are going to continue to target business men/people who rely on their phone to work!
      Blackberrys have less functions, but by god they are so much more reliable.

  17. my iphone seems to be the same. could it be its draining faster because 3.0 is new and your picking up your phone more and more and playing with it?

    as a rule of thumb for ANY rechargeable device you should always charge it fully and drain it down until it dies at least once a month. this will cycle the battery and give you longer lasting batteries.

  18. You are right Howwie.
    This Apple thing sucks!
    It would be nice to see this issue to appear in their adds.
    Crazy, huh?
    So the new iPhone has DOWNGRADED previous generation of gadgets.


  19. Ryan Burke

    Same here as Gregg, Batt. life has increased. For me though, I have 3 tenants of battery conservation:

    1. Brightness – Keep it low, like under the “B”, and turn off Auto-Brightness. Adjust to situation manually.

    2. Keep Wi-Fi off – 9/10 times, I’m in 3G which is fast enough. Only time I need it on is downloading big apps or using an appt hat requires it.

    3. Closing apps – Now with 3.0, this is a bit more annoying, but closing down apps that can stay resident, like Safari, does seem to help. I use a memory tool as well to keep my 128MB with as much free memory as possible.

    I only have to ever really charge my phone when I’m sleeping. On a busy day I may need a mid day charge. On weekends, i drain it completely and charge it back up fully.

    • metagrapher

      FYI, the Wi-Fi radio consumes less battery power than the 3G radio. In other news, the BT radio is the most power hungry radio in the device.

      You would be better off to turn 3G off and use Wi-Fi religiously. …and only use BT when you absolutely need it.

      PS: Push notifications are a battery hog, because in order to get ‘push’ed information your 3G radio has to call home every 30 seconds or so. This means that your phone is constantly communicating, which can make for a power hungry hot antenna.

      Another thing to watch out for is how often you are going into and out of 3G zones. If you are on the cusp of 3G service and your device continually slips between 3G/Edge/whatever then you are consuming a lot of battery for this. Every time the service area changes the device must communicate with the network. This, like push notifications, means that your device is using the hot antenna more frequently, and consequently consuming more power.

      FWIW, my phone almost never dies on me unless I am forced to go more than 2 days sans charge.

  20. Alexander Brooks


    I read somewhere and tried it myself, you should try to recaliberate your battery. This means that you would need to run your phone until all the power drains and then fully recharge it.

  21. I didn’t notice a decrease in battery life with the 3.0 software update.. But i’ll give this a try.. However, I think turning off Push will stop my automatic Google Calendar and Address book sync.

  22. Try reinstalling the iPhone 3.0 update, I found that both performance and battery life improve with the 2nd install of any of the iPhone OS updates.

    • I used to install updates 12 times but found that you reach optimum performance after the 8th installation. Everything after 8 is overkill.

    • Adam/Mark/Trevor/Jeff … you guys serious about the 8 times installing the new update bit? how does that help? can you pls tell me what happens if one installs so many times? i mean whats the difference in each install?

      • Compasionate Reader

        Oh, poor thing ;-) They are just kidding, laughing about Adam’s proposal to reinstall 3.0 update. You bad boyz… ought to be ashamed… You managed to confuse Ajay…

    • I tried it!

      But only after 9th install did I get optimum battery performance.

      Also, by installing a battery monitor in terminal, I can get good reliable battery results to check each reinstall.

      Now I will check if installing only the kernal 10 times will make the cpu of the iphone faster

  23. Howie Isaacks

    No battery issues here even with Push services turned on. Either way, I’m not going to settle with less functionality to save battery life. If iPhone 3.0 is a battery hog, then Apple needs to fix the problem instead of us needing to change the settings.

    • Roy Lee

      I agree that Apple needs to fix this bug!
      Fortunately for you, you are not experiencing the massive lost in battery life. My iPhone is draining itself dry and what’s worse, you cannot even charge it to full capacity. The green bar on the battery life goes up to about half and then it drops down.
      So frustrating :(

  24. Funny but I have had the exact opposite effect. Since the installation of OS 3.0, I have seen an improvement in my battery life. Not huge but it does seem a little better.

  25. Problem here is that Push HAS to be enabled (along with Location Services) for Find My iPhone to work. What I did was leave Push enabled, but change MobileMe mail itself from Push to Fetch (along with my work Exchange acct). So “push” is on, but none of the mail is actually pushing…and at this point, my battery life seems to be more or less normal.

    My settings: 3G & Bluetooth off, Wi-Fi on (not searching), location services, push notifications, mail push all ON, all mail accts set to fetch hourly rather than push. After normal use without any iPod playback, at the end of the day I was on 2 hr 20 min use and 9 hr standby, and was still at 67%…not great, but good enough (I find I use an iPod Shuffle for music/podcasts most days).

    • I have Push turned off on my 3G and Find my iPhone works pretty well. Location Services has to be on, but I don’t think Push needs to be on.

    • I had the problem of not holding a charge and also my phone not wanting to charge at time and the constant buzz on my pc speakers from data traffic on the phone, but I figured out what it was, I had a cracked version of text free unlimited on my phone and once I unistalled it the constant buzz stopped imediately and also my battery life returned to normal like it was with 2.21, hope this helps someone

    • i used to play on my iphone for hours and i never had problems before, then suddenly my battery drains big time could it be one of the apps that i have downloaded? is using it while charging a bad idea? i dont think so but then this happened