When Apple introduced the iPhone 3GS last month, they announced that the battery life would be improved. Given the poor battery life of my iPhone 3G, I took that as a great news and was very excited about being able to get more from my iPhone.

Like many other iPhone 3GS owners, I am very disappointed in the actual battery life. It is nothing like Apple had claimed but since the phone was brand new, I figured that I’d need to give it a few full charges and run downs to optimize the battery. I was wrong as it didn’t change anything. I also tried all the tricks as turning off push notifications, location services, etc…

So I decided I’d give a call to Apple to see what they suggested. It started pretty bad as I had to wait a solid 15 minutes to get someone on the phone. Oh well, they must be busy, I thought. Finally someone picks up the phone and mumbles what I believe is a name and some type of welcoming message for me. Eww, bad first impression!

I start telling my story to Apple’s Customer Service rep and I can clearly tell that he is annoyed. He sounds like he’d rather be cutting his own throat open with a rusty knife than being here helping me. Very bad impression! He finally decides to put 10 words together to make a sentence that I can’t understand. He’s got some weird accent, probably from the South. I ask him where he’s located. He says he’s in Texas. Somehow, I’m not surprised…

In a fantastic effort, he suggests I restore my phone and to try for a couple days. I had thought about it but I wanted to believe there was another solution (I hate restoring my iPhone). I hang up the phone feeling really disappointed by this experience. Apple is known for its usually outstanding support but not this time…

So I restore my iPhone and wait a couple days. The battery is still terrible. I decide to call Apple again. At this point, I just want the guy to tell me to take it to the Apple Store for an exchange. This time, it takes me only about 10 minutes to talk to someone. Some guy picks up the phone and I can tell right away he’s the same kind of careless guy as I had talked to a couple of days before. Whatever. He schedules an appointment for me to go to the Apple Store and have a “genius” look at it. Great!

Two days later, I meet with a “genius”. He plugs in my iPhone to his laptop and runs a software that tells him everything I’ve done on my iPhone. He can see how long I was online, how many calls I got, how long I was on the phone; pretty much everything related to battery usage. After a minute analyzing the numbers he tells me that my battery seems ok and that my numbers even seem to be above average. What a surprise!

That’s when we start gently arguing:

Me: I have the exact same settings as I had on my 3G, so why does the battery drain in half the time, especially given that you improved the battery life?

Him: Well, the battery is improved but since the processor is more powerful, it uses more battery

Me (making sure I understood what he just said): So you’re saying that the battery is indeed better, but we can’t see it because it needs more power to run, right?

Him: Right.

Me: That doesn’t make any sense. You’re saying the battery is technically better but it’s actually worse. So the battery is NOT better.

Him: Well it is, but it drains faster.

Me: So I’m right, it’s not better, you just said it drains faster.

Him: Technically it is better.

Me: I don’t care about the “technically”. I care about the results. I believe this iPhone is not behaving correctly. Is there any chance I can exchange it?

Him: According to the test we just ran, your battery is fine.

At this point I was really pissed but tried not to show it. I try to be cool and ask him again to make an effort and exchange it for me. He won’t do anything.

I left the Apple Store with the worst impression ever. Not only my needs were not met, but I felt like this guy and the 2 other guys I had talked to on the phone were totally incompetent.

To date, my battery is still bad and I’m hoping for an improvement in OS 3.1. I do believe the iPhone 3GS battery is better, it’s just a problem of energy management that can be fixed with a firmware update.

How is your battery on your iPhone 3GS?

  • Mike Roy

    You had my sympathy until “He says he’s in Texas. Somehow, I’m not surprised…”

    Way to be an ignorant bigot. How’s that working out for you?

    • It’s not to be ignorant to say that Texans have a strong accent!

      • Tom Bloss

        While half of the on-line support jobs in America are going to India, you’re complaining about Texas. “somehow, I’m not surprised”.

  • My iPod touch 1 g drains SO FAST. I listen to music with the backlight at 0% and in 4 hours I’m down to 20% <_< way to go apple, this never happened on 2.2

  • VistaUser

    @Mike, I don’t think he is being a bigot…. and yes, like it or not people from the south have a heavy accent..

  • Jerry

    dude do this..put in a tmobile simcard or any other carrier into your 3gs make sure is not jailbroken but make sure you are passed that activation screen on your phone..keep trying to make calls and its going to say call dropped..do that for about like 20 times. take it to the apple store and tell them your phone keeps dropping calls all the time and you can barely make phone calls..so when he plugs it into that program its going to show the amount of call drops you had..then he’ll exchange it with ZERO problem..make sure you go to a big apple store because the small ones are the ones that act up.

  • Jerry

    btw the above method works like a charm..they have no choice but to swap your phone. if you completely can’t use it as you would tell the guy

    • Nice trick! Have you tried it?

      • Jerry

        yeah I done it with the 3g i have now, they swapped it with no problem thats how i learned the trick haha.. just keep making failed calls and they replace it with no problem..btw how can i got my face icon on this thing? thanks

      • You can go to http://www.Gravatar.com to add your picture. It will show it on most blogs when you leave a comment.

  • Anthony

    Through all the research on the topic I’ve done, it seems to be a widespread problem. Some people are reporting they replace the phone and the new one is better, however it’s all up to interpretation on what people think is “better”

    Mine doesn’t seem to perform as good as I would have hoped it did, however considering I don’t have ANY of the other problems many are having, I’m happy.

    Take the bad battery for now, and be happy you have a flush screen, no light leaks, buttons / switches that work, and a screen that displays whites as white, instead of yellow.

    A few months from now when they clean up the production (read: it slows down and workers take their time) find an excuse to get it exchanged and see how that one works.

  • Chuckles

    I don’t know about the comparison between the 3G and 3GS as I upgraded directly from my 2G phone. I noticed a significant change (for the worse) in battery life in my “upgrade.” The one thing that I can say that is good about the battery for the new phone is the 20% to dead time. On my old phone the time it took to go from 20% to 0 was about five minutes. On my 3GS, it seems that 20% means right around 20%.

    • Irha

      I read 3 times, but can’t make out what you are saying. You said, 3GS is worse than 2G, but the example you gave about 20% to 0 seems to show that 3GS is better.

      • yen

        I guess he’s saying overally 3gs battery is worse than 2g, while there is one exemption that 3gs battery status is more accurate than that of 2g.

      • yen

        sorry, just a few words missing, i mean 3GS battery status reading is more accurate. It takes only 5 mins for 2G battery to go from 20% to 0, while 3GS battery seems stay long enough to match the reading.

  • diguinho

    do you use push notifications? because my 3g batt drains very fast with push on… maybe if you turn push off you’ll see the real potential of 3gs battery

  • Sebastien

    No, push is off.

  • Ra

    All other phones have removable batterys :s

  • David

    Same here… I am in Australia, dunno if this means my phone came from a different production line (I guess it is coz we have a different electricity voltage). Anyway, it drains much faster than expected and faster than my 1 year old 3G iPhone.

  • Sebastien

    Go to gravatar.com and upload a picture

  • Andy Liu

    Can somebody please help me? I just downloaded Final Fantasy Advent Children from tytube onto my Iphone and there was audio but no video. It was just a black screen all the way through. I really want to watch this movie, so is there anyway for me to fix this? Thank you for your help.

  • Stocrazee

    Ditto! I too upgraded directly from an original iPhone and have really been disappointed with the battery life… I’m always charging! Once the firmware was updtd on my original, my battery life was better. I only hope they do the same with the next releaase of OS 3!

  • you’re a retard!

    hahahahaha I love that they screw your dirtbag ass in the ground. I can even tell from reading this shit of an article that you’re just a self-righteous dick. Not only were you making it personal with these people you even insulted half the U.S. “He’s got some weird accent, probably from the South.” Besides that comment you seem to imply people from the south are less than you. You can’t take personal strikes at people that are working and were not the ones who made the product themselves. “Well, the battery is improved but since the processor is more powerful, it uses more battery.” Is your brain too small that you can’t understand this? You can’t confuse battery life with battery quality. Batter life is based on power used for X amount of time; more power, more energy used: doesn’t make the battery bad because it uses a lot of energy. Oh and watch your fucking mouth next time dick.

    • The retard is the one who spends 5 minutes writing a comment trying to explain me how much a retard I am. Dude, I am French (born and raised), so I speak with the thickest, dirtiest French accent you can imagine. So when I say of someone he has a strong accent, that’s not an insult. It’s just my way to say he doesn’t speak like most people here in California and that’s hard for me to understand what he says. That’s it.

      You don’t have to teach me the difference between battery life and battery quality. The fact is Apple said we’d have more talk time, more 3G usage, more wifi usage, etc.. with the new iPhone 3GS and it is NOT true.

      Now if you don’t like what you read here, get the hell out! Nobody forces you to read “this shit of an article”.

  • Dave

    No question. Battery life is awful. Have the 3GS. way worse than 3G. 3.0 software has nothing to do with it.

  • hi, I’m working as a technical support for one telco company based at south east Asia and we providing support for iphone which is released by our company.

    This information is supposed not to be leak to end user, after u upgrade your firmware to 3.0 (or if u are a 3G S user), all applications which is open are actually not close although you hit the home button on the device itself, so it cause applications to be running in background and it will drain the battery much more faster then the previous firmware.

    The only method to solve it is to reboot the device to keep all the application to be completely close so there will be no application running in background.

    That’s the only method to solve this battery issue at the moment (with the 3.0 firmware). there’s nothing much user can do.

    • Verruckt

      When I first had my 3G, the battery life sucks and the phone heats up to the point that it actually burns ur skin. After a few firmware upgrades, it became ok and battery life is better than 1 day.

      I just received my 3GS yesterday and same thing happened, heats up easily and short battery life. I did a reset on my iphone 3GS, charge it to full with the iphone off. The battery dropped to 60% within 4 hrs with wifi, bluetooth, 3G, push mail all turned OFF! I hope this problem will go away just like the 3G after a firmware upgrades.

      3.0 firmware seems to have some weird problem too. All sms sent to me takes more than 1 hour to reach my phone. This happen to my 3G after the firmware upgrade and I now see this problem on my 3GS.

  • Hew that’s right, I hate my battery life, I wasn’t sure If I was the only one, but clearly is a energy thing that can be fixed with an OS update. Thanks for writing this very important feature of the 3.0 OS, keep the good work.

  • ezjeeper

    I noticed the same thing on my 3G. After upgrading to 3.0, the battery is much worse. I do not run push notifications, location services, or even 3G service right now (nor data). I am in a location that doesn’t support it. And still, huge difference in battery life. Maybe there is something to what “thisdayallgodsdie” is saying in their post?

  • Javier

    I have CONCRETE evidence OS 3.0 is the problem regardless of push and all features deactivated.
    When my 2g iphone was running 3.0, my battery would drain at a rate of % 5-7 percent per hour in standby mode. I spend a whole day no either talking or texting and after 20 hours my battery was almost depleted. Again, I had Push, Location, and continously shutting MobileMail down from sysinfo pro as that process would run on the background when contactes are called up (WTF has MobileMail to do with phone contacts anyway?).

    I was so pissed that I went back to 2.2.1 using iTunes 7.7 as it doesn’t mess with baseband on the 2g which stayed the same after 3.0 upgrade so I could downgrade with no warnings at all.

    Now with 2.2.1 I’m having a discharge rate of % 1-2 per hour and I charge the phone every -almost- 3 days.

    Regards from Argentina.

  • Tom

    Hey, I found this post interesting as me and my father both bought the new MacBook Pros and they kept dropping on the network during the night, throughout the day they was fine. Weird? So I phoned up Customer Support explaining what the problem were, I got connected to someone with in 5 minutes and he asked for my name and serial code for my Mac. From there he explained I need to change my router encryption from WEP to WPA. I tried this and still the problem consist so I rang back the following day after explaining that WPA didn’t work it took me 10minutes for me to get through to someone and after my explaining he said (from what I could make out from his french accent) Let me check the article and then he put me on hold… For 30 minutes this is when I put the phone down and decided to try and figure a fix out for my self, after a couple of hours of playing around I figured out that the new airport card extreme that NOW supports 802.11N! Doesn’t actually support it at all! My fix was changing the router to 802.11G now I have to put up with a slower connection and consistant speed changes just soo my Macbook Pro’s can connect consistantly. Not good for when I’m on my xbox!

    My conclusion:
    Apple are like kids! They can’t take the blame for anything and if they can’t pass the blame onto anyone else they ignore the problem compleatly!

    So Apple… Grow up.

  • me

    I never had an iPhone and the 3gs is my first one. It has seemed to me the phone does waste a lot of battery life quickly. I spend 8 hours at work a day, and most of that time is also spent texting.. when I leave work, my phone is usually under 20% battery, and i put it in standby everytime I end a text. I use the net randomly too, but not more than 10 minutes a day I’d say.

    I have nothing to compare this too, so is a battery at around 15-20% after about 6-7 hours of texting good or not?

  • Rn3sto

    wow… Were they able to see everything you hAd done?
    by the way, is yor iPhone jailbroken?
    if so, they could easily have noticed that it is.
    or am I wrong?

  • Sebastien

    I had restored my iPhone a couple days before so they couldn’t see anything.

  • yOyO

    guys its the new firmware 3.0 causing all this to happen…. hopefully 3.1 will fix it. for now i went back to 2.2.1… and my iphone runs for more than 2 days even after using wifi and music…


  • painintheass

    Sorry, French accent or not, you were totally derogatory towards the apple people based on where they were from. Maybe your use of English as a second language prevents you from recognizing that… but I doubt it. And your explanation did, in fact, ignore what he was saying.. Battery is better, actual use is not because better battery is used more by processor. Practically, this sucks.. but you weren’t getting it.

    so anyway,

    my battery life is fine. If you use it as a computer all day, it won’t last. You need to plug it in. No different than my treo. It sucks you can’t swap batteries.

  • Adam

    Hi, i have jus orderd the new 16gb black iphone 3gs from the apple online store. And after i heard about the battey problems i’m thinking about cancelling my order. what do you recommend: buy it and wait for os 3.1 or cancel it and get something else???


    • Keep it and wait for 3.1 🙂

      • Adam

        I hope they’ll fix the problem in os 3.1 .

        Mine is arriving on monday. 🙂

  • Adam

    i live in oxford, uk.

  • matt

    My battery is shocking i sold my iphone 3g and got 3gs and its battery is 5 times worse than the iphone 3g … wish i have never upgraded to iphone 3gs

  • Nan

    As i was reading this entry, an apple guy that sold me the 3gs told me that due to the processor speed is higher, battery drains faster too! what the hell? then what for apple said the battery last longer? this is so sheety.. Come on.. are we idiots?? sigh.. honestly, i am really happy with my 3gs.. BUT what i usually do with my iPhone 3G, its the same with 3GS.. but batt life is so disappointing, worse i dare say compared to 3G.

  • JTMoney

    I have had my 3gs for about 5 weeks now. For those 5 weeks, it ran perfectly. Then, yesterday, I was at work and picked it up off of my desk and it was off. It would not come back on. I went to the apple store accross the street and they said it would take about 2.5 hours to look at my phone and 5 days to look at it if I left it with them. I went to one of the chargers hooked up to an iMac and plugged the phone in. It said the battery was completely depleated (which is wierd because it read 86% 5 minutes before I noticed it shut off, then 3 seconds later it read 49%, then I removed of from the charger and it said 50%. I made 2 phone calls and it then read 80%. Over the next hour, it depleated.

    I took it home that night to restore the phone and update everything. I gave it a full charge and have had it on with no usage and it is down to 30% now. The person who signed me up for my appoint

  • -ment said that it was not liquid damage. They shine a light into the headphone jack and the data port to check for this.

    I will let you know what they say after my appointment.

  • They gave me a new one. The guy at the store said that because it is not liquid and that he can’t figure out what is wrong with it, that they have to replace it.

    I’ll let you know if this one works.

    Does the backup on the of save videos from the phone?

  • Shazam

    Iv had to same battery problem, if my phone is totally charged in the beginning of the day by the middle of the day its almost dead… Iv gone through 3 iPhone 3Gs and they are all the same… wtf

  • Rick

    Wow sir you are a dick. Seems like apple had every right to treat you so, like shit.

  • bomno44

    I have brand new iphone 3gs and the bat life is 4hrs.. and thats with 2.5hrs of standby… its a joke.. the lad in apple said thats what happens if you use 3g or wifi or push email or bluetooth.

    so in fact what i have is an Apple IPhone that i cant use any features or apps if i actually want to use it away from a plug point… im sure my first phone (nokia 5110) had a better spec than this piece of shit….

  • Andrew

    I live in England and have the same problems with battery life. It’s my first iPhone and I previously had a Nokia E71 which would go a week or more between charges so it was a real shock to have to charge EVERY day or so. I followed the advice and turned off push notifications, reduced screen brightness etc but it just seems wrong that I have to turn off the phones features in order to get through a working day with my iPhone still on.

    What’s the point in making a phone with all these features then not being able to use them!

    Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone but it’s rather annoying to have to ration my usage through the day, Apple must have some way of getting more out of the battery.

    Unless this issue is seriously turned around I’ll be going back to a Nokia or Blackberry next upgrade, which is a real shame as the iPhone is a great piece of kit.

  • Shane

    From what he said, it sounds like you were just a jerk. I think he could have been more informative by telling you that the battery drains faster than the previous model though. It IS a stronger battery. It’s just not strong enough to keep up with the higher demand the 3GS has – at least not enough for your satisfaction.

    Stronger battery + even more intensive hardware = less battery efficiency

  • Zink4007

    Seriously you’re a dick. I’ve called apple hundreds of times and never been on hold for more than 10 minutes. You were derogatory about people from the south with your ignorant “why am I not surprised” remark. Look at your smart-ass comments you made about apples employees! I can only imagine how much of a douche you were to them in person. You’re probably one of those jack wagons that go to Walmart.com just to file petty complaints

  • Maybe you could change the blog title On iPhone 3GS Poor Battery Life And Apple’s Poor Customer Support to something more specific for your webpage you make. I liked the the writing nevertheless.

  • fred

    Same issue here –

    Good job you can open the door at the back and replace the battery, really, isn’t it?

    Oh, you can’t.

    Quite honestly, I’d rather use a 10 year old Nokia.

  • lilo