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Apple looking into iPhone 4S battery issues. Is yours affected?

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The iPhone 4S (s aapl) may have its first significant early life issue, according to many users, and even possibly Apple itself. Many users are reporting seeing very poor battery life with iPhone 4S devices, and on Friday the Guardian received word that Apple was contacting affected users directly to get to the bottom of things.

Problems with the 4S battery go beyond just the advertised changes, which acknowledge that the iPhone 4S won’t get as much standby time from a full charge than either the iPhone 4 or the iPhone 3GS. 3G talk time and other use cases are supposed to last longer with the 4S’s new battery, however, which a teardown revealed is higher capacity than the one in the iPhone 4.

Users who are having problems aren’t seeing just a small drop in standby time, however. Some users are reporting between 10 and 20 percent battery burn per hour while the phone is in standby mode. That’s well off the usual, which is closer to around 1 percent an hour, or even less. In fact, we’re treading well into Android (s goog) territory here, where battery life is a known failing of most devices.

Solutions people are suggesting vary from performing a full backup and restore, to switching off Siri, to not using wireless sync. But in many cases, these solutions don’t seem to be helping. Some argue that it’s an issue with 3G data, as users who depend more on Wi-Fi don’t seem to be as affected in some cases.

The Guardian reports that some iPhone 4S users who’ve posted about the problem on Apple’s discussion boards are receiving calls from Apple engineers looking into the problem. It’s a good sign that Apple is investigating, but according to one person who was contacted, an engineer admitted “they aren’t close to finding a fix.”

My own iPhone 4S seems to have comparable, if not better battery life when compared to my iPhone 4. I’ve managed to get as much as two full days of standby time along with five or six hours of usage. I tend not to be away from Wi-Fi for very long, however, and I have noticed that the phone runs hot and battery seems to drain more quickly when I’m actually browsing in Safari using a 3G connection.

What about you? If you’ve upgraded to the iPhone 4S, are you having problems with battery life? Maybe iOS 5 is the culprit, and you’re seeing problems even on an iPhone 4 or 3GS? Let us know in the comments.

54 Responses to “Apple looking into iPhone 4S battery issues. Is yours affected?”

  1. I suffered from this battery issue. After a full night of charging I could get just past noon before it died, and that was with light use (couple texts, a <5 min phone call and no browsing). At points I could watch the battery draining before my eyes. I exchanged my 4S for a new one and flashed it with the same image and I had no problems. I was on the Apple forums and it's a widely reported issue. I can't believe the media (this story aside) is not making a bigger deal about it as the 4S is unusable if you have one with this battery issue.

  2. Janine Cavanaugh

    I have noticed my iPhone 4 battery is draining VERY quickly, even on standby. I only noticed this happening after I upgraded to iOS 5.
    Also, my friend was telling me about her battery draining excessively fast on her new iPhone 4s.

  3. I upraded from 3GS to 4S.The first 2 days the battery was draining too fast and phone getting hot.After switching off notifications,locations etc the battery life has change but not much when you compare with 3GS

  4. Within a few days it was obvious the battery life on the 4s is poor in comparison with my previous iPhones (especially iphone4). Like other people I’ve spoke to there also having to charge it most days! This morning I’ve Unplugged my phone at 7am, got to work and checked it again at 9.15 and already down to 90% without any use!! Im finding myself not using the phone as much to make it last all day! Very disappointed ;-(

  5. I’ve noticed my iPhone 4s getting very warm (borderline hot) when in use. Also, they really need to work on Siri. I have no accent, speak slow and clear but Siri has my calendar full of crazy words.

  6. Like Evan, I end up having to charge my phone at the end of every day, and sometimes only just making to the end of the day! I don’t listen to my music very much or play games, so this is quite annoying.

  7. I too have noticed a shorter then usual battery life with my new IPhone 4S. I have optimized all the settings to gain the best battery life but it just seems to burn it up. Then I decided to look at my older 3GS. The 3GS could sit on the table all day, not being used. Then when I pick it up to use it, it would still be at 100%.
    I updated it to IOS5 and now, after sitting all day, I pick it up and it’s at 68%!!!!!
    It’s in the IOS5 people. That’s a good thing, because software can be fixed with a update!
    For the record, I didn’t turn on ICloud on the 3GS and cellular service is inactive.

  8. I don’t have Bluetooth on. I have manual fetch data from server. I have location services for Facebook, twitter, weather, whatsapp, and all other battery draining apps off. I have all system services off. I have brightness on half. Yet, after just texting for 25 minutes and visiting two websites on 3G, my battery drained from 90%-75%. That is absurd. That is more than 1 percent every 2 minutes.


    My 4s does seem to use more power then the 4 I gave my wife, even though the 4 is over a year old my use in a typical day would only bring the 4 down to about 60% but the 4S will be down around 40% with the same use.

  10. David Blank

    Not a 4S issue. It’s definitely IOS5. Seeing the same thing on my iPhone 4 and my iPad gen 2. 20% seems low. I’d say 30% +. iPhone used to be able to make two days if I didn’t really use it. It’s barely making 8 hours with the same usage I’d have had 80% battery left in the last iOS version.

  11. Roland silva

    I went thru 4 before I had one that worked perfectly. The first one would lose 1% every 2-3 minutes worth doing nothing. Notifications off locations services off screen level turned to 50%. Final one works perfect.

  12. We are going to ship my farther in-law my wife’s old 3GS. I updated to IOS5 and have found the battery to drain Quickly. I don’t know if this is because it has no service and is constantly looking for service or if there is a problem with the phone IE… IOS5

  13. I’m seeing less battery availability too. For example, after a full 100% charge before going to bed and turning the phone off, I see only 60% 9 hours later. — And modest usage during the work day shows greater battery drain than my old 3Gs.

  14. Corinna Reilly

    My iPhone 4 is suffering drastically since upgrading to ios5! I had to turn notification centre off ; location awareness off for most apps; and it’s still dying. Put it in standby at 95% and 2 hours later came back and was 35%

  15. I got and iPhone 4s from sprint and the battery life is horrible! It does not hold the charge and I don’t use Siri or listen to music or play games. It’s a shame that I got an iPhone to avoid battery problems I was having with droid and now it seems to have followed me! Please help!!!!!

  16. This is an iOS 5 problem and not an iPhone 4S issue. After upgrading to iOS 5 I can hardly leave my iPhone 4 on overnight without waking to a red 10% battery bar. I disabled all the iCloud stuff and still have major battery suckage.

  17. I am absolutely having the problem. Battery life seems half of what my Iphone 4 had, it just drains even when you don’t use it. My friend has the same problem with his 4S as well, hopefully apple finds a fix.

  18. I think it’s IOS5, not as much the phone. I have a ‘4’, and it’s doing the same thing. I turned off the setting time zone button, in system services, and that seems to have really helped mine. not hot now, or draining nearly as fast. Got the tip from Gizmodo…

  19. I have the 3GS and never had battery issues until I upgraded to iOS 5. I am getting the same 10-20% battery drain per hour mentioned. The problem with mine seems to be with a Microsoft Exchange Calendar that I have added. When looking at the notification center, the Calender items will “twitch” as if it is constantly being refreshed/rewritten.

    I deleted the calender and re-added it and it seemed to correct it for a while. Then all of a sudden it started happening again. This time I turned the calender off and back on instead of deleting and it seems to have fixed it again…for now at least.

  20. Similar to Mike’s comment, I upgraded on my 3gs and had alarming battery loss (100% to zero in four hours) – I noticed that in the notifications window, the calendar was updating continuously. Turning this off cured things straight away.

  21. Trevor Cobb

    i have owned every iphone ever sold by apple. 2g, 3g, 3gs, 4, and now the 4s. i’ve been with at&t, softbank japan, and now verizon. my 64gb white 4s had TERRIBLE battery life. losing at least 10% battery life in hour in standby mode. full charge leaving car and heading into office at 9AM, by 12:30 I was often less than 50% battery life, with very little usage. I did a warranty exchange at an apple store and the replacement 4s I received is worlds different. battery life is back to normal, like it was with my 4 and all other phones. i believe i had a lemon because I tried doing multiple types of restores, and setting it up as a new phone without a restore and it did nothing to fix the issue.

  22. Mike O'Connor

    As a developer with Xcode, I can look at the phone ‘console’ and see in the logs. In my case my battery problem had to do with the calendar. It had trouble syncing part of it, and continuously kept retrying, using up the battery in a few hours. Turning off calendar sync cured it.

    People’s mileage may vary, but my point is this battery thing is a software problem, and I’m sure it will be solved in (hopefully the next, quick) update.

    • I can’t even get 7 hours. I don’t listen to music no games. Just talk text and emails went to see an apple genious today who told me to turn off location services which is inenofnthe perks of the phone and too turn off wifi. Phone died 2 hours later. For a whopping total of 6 hours battery life. No web surfing about an hours talk time just texting and emails ! Arggg