back to article As iPhone 4S battery suckage spreads, fixes appear

Ever since the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 were released earlier this month, early adopters have flooded the web with complaints about reduced battery life and overheating handsets. But now a few solutions have emerged from multiple sources – but not from Apple, unfortunately. "So... is this going to be considered 'Battery-gate' or ' …


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  1. otan


    you would have thought that by now they could least have worked out the simple bugs!

    flame on appletards

    1. Mike Judge

      iPhone4s launch

      was scheduled to coincide with Job's death (to give the lacklustre product the launch hype it needed), rather than when it was actually finished...

      in true Microsoft style, launch it when the marketing people tell you it's ready, rather than when the engineers tell you it's ready.

  2. JeffyPooh Silver badge

    iPhone GPS sucks...

    ...power like there's no tomorrow.

    I once used my iPhone as an automotive GPS (all maps preloaded, no roaming data) to navigate from London to Portsmouth, UK. Starting fresh, the battery threatened to be fully drained about halfway along, a bit more than an hour. This is using continuous GPS on my iPhone 3GS. I had to start using it in an intermittent manner to complete the journey.

    (Yes, I know. Next time bring a cigarette socket lead. Yes, thanks...)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well I have been using mine when I go running (usually 3/4 times a week) for approx 1.5 hours a time. Using RunKeeper and listening to music/podcasts I usually drop at most 20%.

      It has kept me sane(?) while running two marathons too.

      *Your* iPhone sucks power...etc... Mine actually doesn't.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge
        Thumb Up


        Maybe it has something to do with cell roaming AGPS? I imagine whilst running your AGPS is pretty much idling after a lock, with driving in a car AGPS will be running overtime on a longer journey.

    2. The Bit Wrangler

      To be fair this is true of any phone-based GPS - it was true on the N95 (yeah, sorry Apple, iPhone wasn't anywhere near cutting-edge here, surprise!) and it's true on all the Android handsets. Keeping track of live GPS tracking and routing information just takes a lot of processing power and that takes battery. I installed a N95 charger when I used that, now I have a Desire dock in my car to make it usable.

      Most GPS units have MUCH bigger batteries than phones (and the vast majority are cabled-in to the charger too).

    3. Tom 38 Silver badge

      On the iphone 3G/3GS the GPS is provided by a separate Infineon chip, on the iphone 4 it is provided by a much more efficient Broadcom chip.

      My iphone 3G would slaughter the battery if it couldn't find a 3G signal, my iphone 4 does not - similar deal, on the iphone 3G, the 3G radio was a separate chip to the 2G.

    4. Peter 48

      not unusual

      to be fair to Apple, I think you will find this happening to every smart phone on the market. In fact I think you would have problems finding a dedicated GPS unit that could run of batteries for more than a few hours. The combination of GPS and continuous screen usage will drain any device out there PDQ.

    5. Seanie Ryan

      power usage

      in case any of ye havent cottoned on to the common item here, its NOT the GPS that sucks the power, its when you have the SCREEN on permanently.

      Thats why runkeeper etc doesnt suck battery.

      No matter what you are doing, if you have screen on all the time, your battery will drop like a stone.

      Reduce the brightness can have an amazing effect on battery life.

    6. durandal

      Navigating from London to Portsmouth?

      A3, point south. If you've got issues going south of the river, down to the bottom of the M25 and point south.

      This didn't need a satnav, it barely needed a post-it!

  3. David 45

    "The battery's flat."..." What shape should it be?"

    Well - don't use it that way! Or, preferably, don't use it at all, then you won't get any problems.

  4. BiGBuX

    No response from apple. No surprise Steve took the reality distortion idevice with him.

    Shame really, his antics made interesting reading.

    1. Grease Monkey

      I liked to play whose craziest between Balmer, Jobs and Scmidt. The worrying thing was that Balmer usually came last.

      1. slooth

        You forgot to invite Larry Ellison

        1. andreas koch


          I think he ran outside the normal competition; no wondering there...

  5. bazza Silver badge

    Sounds like it's a lemon

    It's incredible how Apple get away with such crap software. We've all come to expect that the first iteration of an iSomething will be rubbish, and some how the market thinks that's alright.

    But Blackberry has their first outage in years lasting a couple of days and people are reaching for their lawyers.

    Either Apple customers are complete mugs who care not about service reliability and a Blackberry outage is such a rare event that it warrants extraordinary attention. Or no one takes iAnything seriously so long as it's shiny but otherwise rely upon Blackberry's services like their lives/businesses depend on it.

    In short, what gives?

    1. oddie

      people buy BB because they want hardened security and reliability. people buy apple because they want braging rights and shiny factor.

      the day an apple product stops looking pretty for 2 days is the day you will hear the fanboys howl :)

      PS. I used to be a BB boy, now I drink the android juice :D

      1. Shakje

        I bought an iPhone

        because Nokia pissed me off, WM7 looked limited and clunky, and Android didn't support NTLM auth at the time. And I liked the phone after playing with a colleague's for half an hour. Each to their own I guess.

      2. bazza Silver badge

        Switch to Android

        And indeed you are not alone. Many have switched, and there is certainly more app development activity in the Android space.

        Personally speaking I find Android's terrible update mechanism (in fact, what update mechanism?) very off putting. Coupling that with the continual stream of reports of flaws and security mistakes in Android plus a not very good web browser makes it a non-option as far as I'm concerned.

        Being a self confessed techno geek I like the architecture of QNX. It's much better than shoe-horning unix in to a mobile as Apple and Google have done. I don't think that MS have done anything particularly revolutionary in their kernel either. It will be interesting to see if RIM can build on QNX's cleverness to deliver an obviously better product (better battery usage, smoother app experience, etc). For example the playbook, whilst currently somewhat flawed, does a fantastic job of web browsing and multitasking. RIM will certainly be hoping so, but I fear that Apple and Google have shown that mere technical superiority is not a market factor.

    2. pdogguk

      Because not everything on an iPhone runs through Apple's datacenter.

      I have my Gmail account and my work Exchange account set up on my iPhone. If one goes down, it could be Gmail or could be Exchange.

      RIM have *most* services running through their servers, so there's a single point of failure. It's the way it was designed, sure, but if their datacenter goes down, everybody loses out.

      If people want some reimbursement for the service outage, so be it.

      For the record, a BlackBerry outage is most certainly not a rare occurrence.

    3. ThomH Silver badge

      It's confirmation bias

      The iPhone is, by a wide margin, the single best-selling individual handset. So the threshold for reporting faults is quit low — each fault, even if extremely minor, will affect a large number of people. Apple compound the problem with their holier-than-thou approach to product launches and to marketing; that would increase the newsworthiness of faults even if nobody was buying the products.

      Conversely, each individual variety of Android handset and each model of BlackBerry phone has a relatively small audience. So a fault has to be pretty critical for it to be worth reporting.

      That's why in the last few weeks, similar prominence has been afforded to the stories that (i) large swathes of BlackBerry users are provably cut off from being able to text, surf or email; and (ii) some subset of 4S buyers anecdotally report that the battery life feels a little short.

      If you already hold the conclusion that Apple's software is crap then stories like this look like confirmation. However the reality is that flaws like this on the iPhone are newsworthy whereas flaws like this on, say, a specific Motorola handset wouldn't be.

      Every single relevant consumer satisfaction and/or device durability survey that has been published since the iPhone came out puts the iPhone amongst the top tier of handsets, at least equal with the top-rated devices from Samsung, Motorola, BlackBerry and anyone else you want to compare to.

      I'd therefore suggest that the overwhelming weight of evidence is either that Apple's software isn't crap or that all handset software is equally crap.

    4. ryanp

      what percentage does it affect?

      I personally have an Android and do not agree with Apple on a lot of their stances, but even I feel that this is not a big deal.

      Lets compare this to the Blackberry outage. Every single Blackberry customer was affected for days, and working in IT saw many users affected by this. This affected all of their 70 million or so subscribers. This Apple battery issue on the other hand has 1200 posts right now. lets say that only 1% of people have posted something so the real number is 120K people. That means that roughly 58,000% more people were affected by the Blackberry outage (of course these are just guess numbers and maybe we should say you can be +-20,000%).

      Basically Blackberry's issue affected their entire userbase, while right now this battery problem seems to be affecting a small percentage of the iPhone userbase. Battery issues like this are rampant throuhgout the smartphone community no matter who the manufacturer is. It seems something like this jumps out for Apple because they do such a good job in providing a good experience. They purposefully dont use cutting edge technology in a lot of areas, because they dont want to compromise in areas like battery.

      What world wide outages has Apple experienced relating to their mobile business?

      I will agree that I do not like Apple's policy to stick their head in the sand and pretending that nothing is happening. Even when their is an issue, it seems like it takes a nuclear bomb to get them to acknowledge something. I think that this is pretty poor.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

          @ Bob: Apple shills?

          Certainly not. Since the "lepperdgate" all Apple employees are contractually forbidden to acknowledge the existence of El Reg. Just *thinking* about vultures gets you a blame.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One Two....

    "You're using it wrong..."

    "We don't comment on rumor or speculation...."

    "We already have a patent on 'using a mobile device as a hand-warmer' and 'method of rapidly draining electric charge from a mobile battery' and our lawyers will be contacting you shortly."

    /AC due to the people that don't see the humor in this. Yes, I see you.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My iPhone 3GS running iOS5 is fine

    oh well, good job I've no need to upgrade/switch yet.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Yup - ditto.

      Although it nuked Stanza, about which I *extremely* pissed off because there is no chance it will ever get upgraded now.

      1. Tim Bergel

        Yeah, sad about Stanza

        I wanted to upgrade my iPod touch to iOS5, but I can't unless I'm willing to kiss goodby to the 200+ books I've accumulated in Stanza.

        1. NorthernMonkey

          Are they ePubs? Bang them into a Dropbox and download (free) BlueFire from the App Store. Open them from Dropbox into BlueFire (admittedly one at a time, which is a palaver) and you won't need iTunes. Worked ok for me when I found out Stanza was borked; which in fairness is Amazon's fault for buying it out and then letting it die so it didn't compete with Kindle.

          Not sure what other formats BlueFire supports, so YMMV.

    2. Peter 66

      Me to

      My 3GS has been fantastic ever since I got it - about 2 years ago, runs iOS 5 nicely so why upgrade? Her indoors HTC Desire, despite being half the age doesn't have any 'official' updates, sure there are people porting later versions of Android over but an non techy person is not going to know about this or indeed do it.

      Can we admit that Apple have supported their products longer then any other manufacturer have supported an Android phone?

      1. Philip Lewis

        No need to speculate - it is very well documented

      2. bazza Silver badge

        @Peter 66, Apple Long Term Support

        "Can we admit that Apple have supported their products longer then any other manufacturer have supported an Android phone?"

        Absolutely! Though of course there are tales of Apple withholding new features from older phones "because they're not powerful enough". Shame for Apple that the hackers generally get them going on older phones anyway. And then there's the things that most Apple upgrades seem to break...

        So Apple are definitely along the right road when it comes to updates; updates yes, but still trying to force people to buy new handsets.

        Android is terrible for updates and, if any kind of common sense prevails, will end up costing Google dearly.

        MS and RIM seem to have updates well under control. In the case of MS it could become a significant reason to give a Win Phone a go. It might not be perfect (though initial reactions seem positive), but a couple of meaningful upgrades in the handsets' lifetimes seems a real possibility. Service packs and updates have kept Win XP viable for ages; why not the same in the mobile market?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh look, an offical Desire upgrade to Gingerbread...

        Just because it wasn't offered Over The Air, doesn't mean it does not exist:

        Dead easy to do, so long as you know what a USB cable is and sync your contacts with Google or do a backup first. Probably easier than some of the iPhone upgrades I have heard of.

        I am sure some of the later upgrades for Apple products have already run in to legacy issues - mainly because a software update will not add extra hardware (eg memory) to an existing product. Plus it is easier to maintain what is basically one product when you are the only supplier and have a strangle hold on it.

        Android is by its nature cross platform, and the handset manufacturers will always want to develop new handsets as Android (and the technology it runs on) develops. This helps push things forward and encourage innovation over patent trolling.

        In the case of the original Desire, HTC had to trim their "pre-installed" applications in order to make Gingerbread fit into the ROM. They trimmed applications that were available from the market (and of a newer version), and supplied the others with the upgrade as seperate files should you need them. That is quite a bit of effort for what is technically an obsolete product.

        I think we are all lucky that we all get the updates that we do - for example, I didn't complain to Vauxhall when they brought out the new model Astra, just because I have one of the older ones. I am sure a dealer would change the badge on the boot for me it I asked him to, but I very much doubt he would put a new engine in it for me.

        Oh yes - the clocks go back on Sunday morning - the excuse of the iPhone users getting in to work late on Monday because their alarm clocks didn't go off is getting a bit old. An iPhone isn't the answer to everything.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      iPhone 4 / iOS 5 - no problem

      But then I don't have iCloud enabled, and I don't send diags to Apple (I may own an iPhone, but that doesn't mean I'm an iFan). I did turn on the wifi sync just recently, but no issues so far.

  8. Markl2011

    Patent infringement

    Poor battery life? They'd better be careful or Google will sue them for infringing their patent!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Patent infringement

      As a first gen HTC Desire user who has to use Juicedefender to get a full day out of a charge with quite low use, I LOLed, bravo sir.

    2. JaitcH

      Android batteries don't ...

      catch fire inexplicably. Apple has the exclusive on that.

  9. NoneSuch

    Guess you should have waited for the iPhone 5 huh?

    Actually, given their flawed release history, best wait for the iPhone 27. Just to play it safe and make sure the bugs are worked out.

  10. James O'Brien


    "And should Apple ever get back in touch with us, we'll update this article – but don't hold your breath."

    Why would they? They dont make mistakes.....

    Nuke for obvious reasons

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I simply downgraded to IOS pre4.2.1 using this simple tool coded for the job, then for more certainty I bought this battery from this manufacturer I trust, popped the battery cover and replaced it, and in the meantime those devs contributing their free time are taking a look at the source so maybe they'll come up with some original solution until Steve makes a video apology - then I proceeded to eating some sushi and making important decisions for the world below... see, it's a wonderful world!

    1. Graham Dawson

      All I can say to that is...

      ... I want sushi. At least that part of this fantasy is achievable.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        LSD helps to think different...

        This guilty pleasure is a very well kept secret...

        -Use a well known command to enable the debug menu for the appstore

        -In the debug menu, select the "Android" server and beg Apple devs for the server URL

        -Search for the "Iplan2BAdroid" app and install it

        -Put your Iphone4S in DFU mode

        -Draw a capital "A" on the screen using 2 fingers in a symmetrical way from bottom to top and from center outwards for the horizontal bar...

        If you succeed, you will be blessed by a Steve Jobs video where he explains that when nobody was peeking at his phone, he was using a custom Android version on it with a boss key to revert to IOS's top menu in case someone looked, and that he apologizes for such a sin. Then a menu will appear where you can trigger the phone's backplate motorized opening/closing if you want to change the battery and also enable Android ICS - the device will reboot to Android... in that mode, drawing an "X" on the screen will have it display a static IOS top menu so that you can avoid violent excommunication from the sect members! Add sushi and voila!

  12. g e

    I do hereby move

    That Fanbois should be renamed FailBois

    Cos every Apple update so far seems to have contained a fuckup-101 which, considering they have total control of the hardware should never happen.

    Fail. Boys. (or 'Still Amateurs', your choice)


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Isn't it amazing..

      .. just him many jealous people exist?

      Every time something is wrong with a groundbreaking device, you get all the groundless lala from people who don't have one. Well, smuggie, enjoy your privacy breaking Android. You do know that (according to what Google said to the Canadian privacy commissioner) it replaces the Streetview WiFi sniffers? And why exactly do you think it needs your Gargle account details before any of the stuff works?

      Oh, and if you use Windows mobile, I don't even *need* to continue..

      (from someone who has both Android and iOS devices)


      1. HP Cynic

        Please stop working from the assumption that iPhones are better; only a "fanboi" would think an iPhone was something to be jealous of.

        People have Androids because not just because they are cheaper (some are now the same price or more) but in many cases absolutey better bits of kit, especially if you want something with a larger screen.

        Many people commenting will actually have neither.

        The iPhone is massively overpriced, personally I'd expect better from a company making 60%+ margin on each handset.

        Declaration: I just cancelled my iPhone 4S order, I was going to "see for myself" but the price is unjustifiable so I'd rather not waste anyone's time.

        I'm getting a 2nd-hand 3GS instead. I have high hopes for the 5 next year but probably best avoided while they work out the extra bugs inherent in such a total redesign (rumours of course).

        That or next year I'll get whatever Android 4.0 phones have risen near the top.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ground Breaking!?!?!

        I really do like my iPhone 4, but groundbreaking it certainly is not!

        You really need to stop stroking it, it's damaging your eyesight (and mental facalties).

      3. hplasm Silver badge

        Groundbreaking device?

        You can use it as a pickaxe? Might as well...

        1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          You kill the troll

          you have a little trouble lifting H- a pick-axe.

      4. Jedit

        You're right, I'm so jealous...

        I'd really love to pay £150 over the odds for a phone with shitty battery life and specs that were outdated at launch.

        As has been commented on these illustrious pages before: the reason for the design of the Apple logo is obvious - one bite is enough to tell when an apple is rotten.

      5. George 24

        Ground breaking

        What is ground breaking in iPhone 4s? Obviously the ability to contribute a bit more to global warming....


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