iOS 5/iPhone 4S Battery Problems – And Solutions

Edit// Well, looks like I posted this a few hours too late. Apple has released iOS 5.0.1 which fixes the battery issues, amongst other things.

2011.11.21 update: It’s been about 10 days since iOS 5.0.1 was released. I haven’t gotten the exact statistics (although it’s kinda late to find out the pre-iOS 5 stats anyway) but even with the update, the battery still seems to run out faster than it used to. On occasion the phone will shut itself down at ~10% too, so I guess there are still problems with either the OS or the apps. Well, if the apps aren’t optimized for iOS 5 by now it’ll probably take a long time, if ever.

2011.12.03 update: Another update. Even with 5.0.1 the battery definitely drains faster than it used to. In the past my battery could last 1.5 to 2 days before requiring a charge, but now I have to charge it every day (assuming I only use it for messaging, if at all). As mentioned, it still shuts down by itself on occasion, even though the battery is still at 10-15%. I made sure there weren’t apps running in the background too, so it doesn’t seem to be an app-related problem. I suppose with the 200+ new features the battery life naturally takes a hit. So if you haven’t updated to iOS 5 for some reason or other, you might want to consider giving it a miss if you can live without the new features.

It’s been about a month since iOS5 was out, but I only updated my iPhone in the last few weeks since I was reformatting my computer. It’s been about a month already, but Apple has yet to solve the battery drain problem that some (most/all?) people have been encountering. Since the iPhone 4S comes with iOS5 installed it also has the same problems, but it exists on other platforms too.

Besides the (way) faster drain, I myself had my iPhone 3GS shut itself down at ~16% capacity, whereas in the past it would still work at 2-3%. Haven’t really heard of this happening to other users though, so maybe it’s the platform. Gave me a whole lot of trouble when I was going to my friend’s house and had to find a place to charge it so I could call him to meet me. Supposedly, there’ll be a fix within the next few weeks though. But before that happens, here’s a few tips to reduce the battery drain (it’s improved for me after I took the following steps, but it still seems to be draining faster than it used to).

Disclaimer: I’m not the most hardware/technically proficient person so the solutions I listed are based on what I found on the Internet.

Recalibrate your battery

  1. Drain your battery until it shuts itself down. Additionally you might want to leave it for a while as I notice the battery somehow still drains if you shut down your phone manually and turn it on again later.
  2. Charge it to 100%.
  3. Do a hard reset by holding the lock and home button (until the Apple logo appears).
  4. On a related note, you might also want to reset your network settings (Settings → General → Reset Network Settings)

Location Services

  1. Disable Location Services for any apps that won’t be needing it.
  2. Watch out for the icon which will show if there’s any app that’s using the service unnecessarily/frequently.

Settings > Location Services

  1. Also, disable Location Services for the system. What you will likely only need are the first 2. Check Gizmondo’s article for information on the services.
  2. Apparently in iPhone 4/4S (at least, it’s not the case for my 3GS), the ‘Setting Time Zone’ feature uses the location service rather frequently, so watch out that.

Settings → Location Services → System Services


  1. Turn off syncing for Contacts, Calendars and Reminders if you don’t need them.
  2. Apparently syncing for Exchange mail accounts seem to contribute more to the battery drain, although that may not be a specific iOS5 problem.
  3. A general tip (even if you’re not using iOS5) would be to disable Push and set Fetch to a lower frequency, or even to Manual.

iCloud/iTunes Wireless Sync

  1. Turn off any iCloud sync features that you don’t need (or just turn off all of them).
  2. Same goes for iTunes Wireless Sync, although technically it should only affect the battery if you’re actively syncing.
  3. At least, until Apple officially fixes the problem.

Sources: Apple Support forum, MacRumors forum, Gizmondo (which also offers a bunch of good suggestions)

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