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Apple Investigating Poor Battery Life With iPhone OS 3.1

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3g_iphone_battert_deadAt first I thought I was alone, and that my iPhone 3GS was defective, but now it looks like battery complaints relating to iPhone OS 3.1 are far from isolated incidents. Apple (s aapl) is officially investigating the matter, according to The iPhone Blog, which is something the company generally only does if enough people crow loud and long enough.

My own experience is that the iPhone charges in far less time than it normally would, and then only lasts about 12 hours on standby with my average daily usage of around three hours talk/browsing/gaming time. That’s probably a full 12 hours of standby off of what it used to be able to handle post-updating.

The behavior seems to indicate that the iPhone isn’t recognizing or using the full capacity of the battery anymore. I’ve tried resetting the phone, but I haven’t done a full restore, since I’d rather wait and see what kind of fix Apple comes up with before I lose all my data and settings. Also, support forum posters indicate that doesn’t correct the problem.

Other problems include a sticky battery indicator, which sometimes also won’t go below 100 percent after a full charge, and a huge additional drain when using Push features. My temporary fixes include turning off Push altogether, and charging the phone whenever I’m near an accessible power outlet, since the battery indicator can no longer be trusted.

Hopefully, Apple can solve this quickly with a x.x.1 release, but until then, drop by the support forums and answer the questions Apple is asking about the problems to help expedite the process. You might even be able to get one of the “Battery Life Logging” profiles Apple is distributing to gauge the extent of the problems. If you’re experiencing similar issues, please share in the comments with specific details.

32 Responses to “Apple Investigating Poor Battery Life With iPhone OS 3.1”

  1. Brand new 21 GB iPhone bought in Singapore and it works nicely but the battery drains in less than 12 hours even without 3G and all the gadgets. Even when in off mode the battery is going down about 15% per hour. Not a very usable device if this cannot be corrected.

  2. Chris Badenhorst

    Since upgrading to 3.1.1 last week my iPhone battery drops about 1% every minute without bring used. I use it for business so the sudden dypp on battery life has forced mr to use my Nokia again as I am not near charging facilities during the day, come on Apple, sort this one out fast! On the go calendar use is vital to my business, Chris South Africa

  3. Mike Dedmon

    I hope this helps… My husband’s iPhone 3GS was setup and working with the Exchange based email at his work with no problems. They switched away from Exchange and moved to Google email. He didn’t make any changes to his phone because he just happened to be out of town when they made the change. Immediately he called me and said that his battery was going from 100% to 0% within 45 minutes to an hour.

    We did troubleshooting over the phone for several days and were just about ready to send it back to Apple when he mentioned this change to me. It made me suspicious, so deleted his Exchange configuration (after verifying that he had backups of his contacts / calendar) and configured his google mail correctly. This immediately fixed the problem. The phone is now back to its normal behavior and is working fine.

    It seems that if the email configuration is unable to connect for whatever reason, the phone is just churning in the background attempting to get connected and synced.

    I hope this helps someone out with this issue.

  4. Upgraded to 3.1.1 the day it was released and had no problems with battery life. Only in the last couple of days, did I see strange issues. No non-standard app would load (would get a second of splash screen before going back to home screen), and my battery was drained. All my standard apps would load without any issues. To check, loaded a new app from the app store, and it the problem with non-standard app disappeared. Seems like the new app (it really doesn’t matter what new app) has stopped some loop occuring.

    Thought this would stop the battery drain, but didn’t. Noticed that my usage meter would count up with the standby meter, even if the iphone was not in active use. Eg, if the phone is left in standby for an hour, the usage meter would indicated a further hour’s usage with the standby meter also clocking up an hour. Noticed the phone had a slight warmth to it while it was left on a table.

    It seems there is a background loop occuring to drain the battery. A stuck process? Wouldn’t mind getting hands on the profile Apple is handing out.

  5. Hitesh Sawlani

    I’ve been noticing a dramatic decrease in battery life (sticky meter included) since about a week (when I installed the last update)

    I called up Apple and they agreed to send me a new unit (its about 3months old).

    My battery was lasting:

    1hr usage
    7hrs standby

    WiFi Off.
    3G ON (usage was using safari on 3G)
    2 email accounts set on Fetch hourly
    Push Off

    They asked me to check to see if it was software or hardware related by doing a restore and NOT syncing anything, just having an “empty phone” and seeing how long it lasted…

    Well it did last longer:

    1.5hrs usage
    11hrs standby

    But its still far from what they told me it should last:

    5hours 3G safari
    24-48hrs using it as a phone
    6hours WiFi safari

  6. Julian Cooper

    Me too.. since update iphone gives me half the battery life it seems. Also I get sometimes black screens during calls now, so I can’t see other incoming calls or on screen options.
    very frustrating.. There’s a lesson here about being the quick to download updates.. From now on I’ll wait a month or two!

  7. Cristian

    I only have my 3GS 3.1 version since a couple of days and this is my first IPhone experience , but still I noticed some issues related to the battery performance. First, it’s draining too fast. Secondly, when reaching 20% battery life left, I get no sound alerts for text/emails/etc, just vibration for calls. Is this normal behavior?

  8. I have seen a huge decrease in my battery life since the update. If I don’t plug it in at night – it is completely dead before I wake up in the morning, so it’s using a ton of battery even while it’s “sleeping”. Hope they fix it soon!

  9. Mine dropped from 58% to 10% within 1/2 hour when I was only using a GPS navigation app. Bluetooth was on but not in use. The longest life I can get out of it now is if I turn off everything; 3G, GPS, BlueTooth, WiFi etc. Then it only lasts about 24 hours on standby even if I don’t make or receive any calls. If I do make calls I’m lucky to get about an hour of call time before it has to be charged.

  10. I haven’t noticed the problem in terms of life since I plug the iPhone into my Belkin charger and speaker connector every morning and evening on the cimmute. It seems to last the whole weekend, ready to be charged up on Monday morning. I have had the sticky battery meter though. Really annoying, but also seems to be an intermittent fault. I guess it’s revenge for those of you with the video capability and still operational WiFi.

  11. I recently experienced highly accelerated battery drain on a road trip where the emphasis was on using location-based services – yes, I was trying to find my way around on the map (Where IS Dunkin Donuts). Didn’t make it 2 1/2 hours and I and “red alert” batter was <20%. I have turned off Location services (a shame, I like them); searching for Wi-Fi, unless I am sitting still long enough at a hot spot, notifications, some push.. basically all the neat things we want the phone to do for us, but that suck up power. Something is very wrong here. If you turn everything off… it is no longer a fun widget, just a pocket warmer. I hope they get it fixed or it's back to the Blackberry that never dies.

  12. Battery draining much faster. Also, I’ve had several text messages where the progress indicator stops just before the end — then I get that exclamation mark telling me the text wasn’t delivered. Turning the phone off then on again did the trick with the text problem, but I did that just yesterday, so how long it stays fixed, I don’t know.

  13. I know this would be an embarrassment for Apple, but I sure would be a lot happier if they’d let me roll back to 3.0.1 until they get 3.1.1 out. Right now this upgrade is pretty hard to defend.

  14. John sargent

    Started immediately after the upgrade, sudden black screens, slow response when opening apps, now crashes multiple times per week vs almost never, much less battery life, clearly is 3.1 sw or firmware related, first real problems after 18 mos of ownership.

  15. Ohhh, you are not alone. Since 3.1 I have rebooted my iPhone more times than I’ve rebooted in the previous 3 – 4 months. I never reboot this phone, now it’s a must. Locked up on me twice in 2 days, push the Home button and nothing happens. Wait 5 minutes and it’s back to normal. Calls just stop working. No apparent reason. That also happened to me twice since 3.1. Only found that a reboot fixes that. Really freaking annoying. But the fun one was the night it was at around 90% when I went to sleep. I forgot to plug it in, of which I’ve done plenty of times WITHOUT the same results. 6 hours later, it’s completely dead. Not enough battery to even show the low battery screen.

    Ridiculous that one update does this. I have had this phone for 10 months. Not one of these problems existed before 3.1.

  16. My phone experience has gone down drastically since my update to 3.1. My phone has had trouble dialing out, it rarely can connect to the 3G network for data usage, the battery life is miserable. Glad I’m not alone!

  17. i always run my battery down as i invariably forget to charge it. But when i went to the genius bar last week for a macbook appointment i asked the genius about the dropped calls and battery life issues id had within the first week of 3.1and the guy said they have had a few people in and they’re just referring people to wait for 3.1.1 now because it seems to be a firmware issue rather than a handset issue, with a restore or not.

  18. Shadowbottle

    This seemed to be initially occurring with 3.0 as well, but I found that a full cycling of the battery fixed it. Have you tried running the battery all the way down and then charging it completely without interruption?