Bad Battery Life Issues Remain in iOS 5.1

By , Dec 2, 2011

Despite selling iPhones like they’re going out of fashion, it’s not been all unicorns and rainbows for Apple’s big releases recently. Some of the company’s top software outings have suffered a bloody nose as of late, with iCloud and iOS experiencing more than a few hiccups.

Released alongside the iPhone 4S, iOS 5 has taken an aging mobile operating system and added some much needed bells and whistles. The software also fixes some of the long-standing issues that iPhone owners have been complaining about for far too long.

One thing that iOS 5 has introduced is not entirely welcome, and that’s a very real battery life problem…

Not long after the release of iOS 5, many blogs, discussion forums, and chats in bars centered around an issue that a good percentage of iDevices running iOS 5 were running into. People were having worse battery performance than when they were running iOS 4. Since then, we’ve had possible fixes thrown at the wall, but so far, few have really stuck.

Apple even weighed in on the discussion by admitting that iOS 5 did posses some bugs that were causing an unusual battery drain, and that it was working to kill those bugs. When iOS 5.0.1 was seeded to testers and subsequently made public, we all assumed that the battery issue was no more.

We were wrong. Apple’s iOS 5.0.1 did not fix the vast majority of people’s problems, and even managed to give the battery drain issue to people that were not sufferers before.

Apple has now seeded a new beta to developers in the form of iOS 5.1. That’s a whole 0.9 better than the last release, so it must be good, right?

Wrong again.

I’ve been using the beta for a few days now, and others with developer access have as well. The general consensus, a consensus borne out by my own testing, is that the battery issues we have been suffering since early October are still there. If anything, they might even be worse!

So, where does that leave us? I’ve heard reports from some people that performing a DFU restore and then using an iCloud backup to restore all data is a surefire way to improve battery life, so I’ve tried that. We’ll see how it goes.

People have also reported that they have had to perform an iCloud backup each time they update iOS to a new release, be that the 5.0.1 release or this new beta. Is something going wrong during the update process when not done as a DFU restore, perhaps? Maybe, but let’s wait and see how battery life fares this time around before getting excited.

I’d love to hear how your iPhone’s battery life is performing on iOS 5.1. How did you upgrade, and on what hardware? Are you finding your iPhone’s battery draining faster than it should?

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  • http://twitter.com/ProZack27 Zachary Sloane

    I wish there was an easy way to re-import a camera roll without using a restore! I’d much prefer to just setup my iPhone as a new phone, but I want all my photos! :(

    • http://www.facebook.com/Griffin.Video.Productions Brett Griffin

      Zachery

      Get the Pics app (Phyar Studio). You can save your camera roll to it as a zip file then re-import it after a restore. Have done it a few times and is flawless.

    • http://www.facebook.com/iagucool Igor IcyClawz

      Hey try using iBackupBot, I use it for partial backup restores.

    • Anonymous

      You could try using PhotoSync to save them to your computer and importing them back to your iPhone via wifi once you have restored. It may take more than a few minutes, but restoring a backup does too anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

    Still rocking iOS 5..no need to upgrade and face a battery issue..if apple can not fix it yet why should I upgrade and risk having it !

    • Dan

      exactly, I’m still on OS5, didn’t update and my battery is fine.

      • http://www.facebook.com/iagucool Igor IcyClawz

        I dunno what “fine” is, but I’m using iOS 5.0.1 and you tell me if it’s good: if I leave it untouched for a night, about 7 hours, it could drain from 99% to 95% (at worst). Sounds normal?

      • http://twitter.com/mbhullar Mandeep Bhullar

        Well it isn’t anywhere close to normal, I’m on iPhone 4S with 5.01 and typically drain between 3-5% at night (7-8hrs), so clearly something is running in the background that is depleting your battery. Install an app like SysStatsMon and check what your normal CPU range is, mine is around 3% used and remaining idle. If your CPU usage is very high then some process in the background is killing your battery. One disclosure, I did setup my phone as a new phone vs restore from a backup and that in my case made a huge difference.

      • Dan

        Currently, If I set it down at 100% as I go to bed, it’s often 99% or 98% 10 hours later.

        I also have an animated theme on my lockscreen that seems to use the battery a bit. Before that it usually had a 100% after the night (on airplane mode).

        Mind you, I put it on airplane mode.

  • http://twitter.com/DanielJMahoney Daniel Mahoney

    Has anyone contacted their service provider and/or Apple and requested a replacement phone? If so, what happened, or what did they say? I was thinking about doing so because Chances are, any replacements will most likely have older software.

    • Anonymous

      I actually got Verizon to replace mine due to “Faulty proximity censor”

      When I recieved the replacement phone it was on newest firmware

      • http://twitter.com/DanielJMahoney Daniel Mahoney

        What exactly did u say to them?

      • Anonymous

        Well, I played stupid for a while…. if you just come out and say faulty proximity censor they might think something is up.

        I explained how I used my friends iphone and I was so surpised at how the screen would turn on and off as you put the phone up to your ear quickly, I explained how mine would get glitched out when pulling it away from my ear and the screen would turn on and off….

        I actually replaced two, and I even talked to a tech guy and he said they go through some 180+ point inspection before giving the phones back…. told him how the odds of having two defective ones must be astronomical…. we lawled

    • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

      I4s will have 5.0 maybe or higher
      I4 8 gig will have 5.0 maybe or higher
      3GS might have 4.3.5 I know this cause the wife got it on hers 4 weeks ago..but more than lightly 5.0 now or higher

  • http://twitter.com/binarydivided Filip Langer

    I still have iOS 5.0 on my i4. My battery is just fine and I’m really happy with it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bennygreen Benny Green

    How can it be a software issue when it only affects some iphone’s considering they’re mass produced ?! Sold plenty of them & only 1 customer has this battery drain. Start looking at qc on the batteries themselves Apple.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002299879250 Bodrul Jamal

    Is anyone else having the ‘Invalid Sim’ issue on their iPhone 4S? Mine is the 64gb White.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bennygreen Benny Green

      Tried resetting network settings ?

  • http://twitter.com/astereo Astereo

    I’ve home button issues that u believe at connected to 5.0.1. I’ve seen a decent number of threads with others who seemed to have them with the upgrade, so I’m hoping 5.1 fixes it.

  • http://twitter.com/kull14 kull

    IT is a BETA!!

    • Anonymous

      Your point? It was a beta created specifically to fix the battery problem.

  • Anonymous

    I upgraded from iPhone 4 to 4S, 4 weeks later sold the 4S and I am back on my iPhone 4 still on iOS 4… And not going to upgrade any time soon

  • Anonymous

    I’m confused. With iOS 5 my 3GS’s battery life almost tripled! Bought an iPhone 4S and while not as good as the 3GS’s battery life under iOS 5, it’s been definitely above average.

    Are the people complaining really iphone users? Or people hired by the competition to start rumors??

  • trev villanueva

    Used the ‘software upgrade’ option in my iphone4s to upgrade from 5.0 to 5.0.1… I can say battery life did improve bec i did not change any setting after the upgrade. My observation:
    1. Battery life is at par/almost at par to iphone4 @ ios4 when not using cellular data/ 3G
    2. Iphone has a tendency to heat up when using browsing the internet using 3G…heat of course contributes to lower battery performance and possibly lowering the overall life of your battery
    3. I have yet to test internet use over 3G at different ambient temperatures to really establish a definite correlation
    4. I have yet to quantify the % dropoff in battery performance when using the internet over 3G

    Hope someone helps in this experiment

  • http://www.facebook.com/BtxNeo Marco Urrea

    i have an ipod touch 4g 64gb and iOS 5.0.1 kills severely fast my battery. i used wi-fi and messenger app for 20 min and i got from 100% to 75% ; i want to go back to ios 5 o ios 4.2.1 ;S i hate this update i havent decided yet whether i should turn off my gadget and start using it again when ios 5.1 or ios 5.X is realeased( i updated via OTA)

  • fan Chen

    For me, there isn’t any battery draining problem once off my 3g data. So is this the main cause of all the problem?

    • http://twitter.com/etechnonews eTechnoNews

      The same here, when I use 3G connection battery drains like 40% (6 hours-7 hours). When I turn 3G off and use EDGE battery drains 3%-5% the same time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Felipe-Lopez/1608523380 Felipe Lopez

    BAttery is the same. Notification center addition takes it toll. Just like lockinfo. There’s no battery issue. Remove all widgets and find out.

  • Anonymous

    OK, i have iOS 5.0.1 on my iPhone 4 and i can say that i do not have any battery issues. about week ago i have had 4.3.3 jb, now 5.0.1 restored and used back up from 4.3.3, everything works and no huge battery drain. btw, i have noticed that with 5.0.1 my phone doesnt get as warm as it was on 4.3.3

  • Michael Brill

    This is weird: I have an iP4 and a 4s. Both are on iOS5. This happens with either the 4 or 4s… 100 percent fully charged, just left alone and not used at all, the batterys’ exhaust themselves in just over 24 hours. When I use either one for the work day making calls, sending texts, surfing the net, etc and then let the battery drain to zero, the life of the battery is still just over 24 hours. Anyone else?

  • http://www.facebook.com/DuquetR Remi-Xavier Duquet

    Just tried the latest IOS 5.1 Beta, on my iphone 3GS.
    Since 5.0.1 the Wifi did not want to connect at all. I am seeing a slight improvement, with the 5.1 release but I can see that the range is still very limited compared to what it was before.
    on IOS 5.0 I was able to reach any wiFi without issues, now since 5.0.1 it has not came back to its normal behavior.

  • http://www.marcelusive.net Marc Elusive

    I’m having issues with my battery on my iPhone 4GS; I’ve never had to charge it at work and it’s 4pm and I was a 24%! Perhaps the addition of AT&T’s 4G speed may drain it more? I don’t know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1660810919 Mark Kaplan

    Much worse battery life after upgrading

  • Anonymous

    Updated to 5.1 from 5 on my 3GS and battery life is draining during use at a rate of 1% every 2 minutes. Found this blog post during my search. Just disabled location settings, closing apps, reset network settings, etc. Hope this helps.

  • Greg Ginn

    I had to recharge my phone 3 times today alone. The battery drain is 3 times worse than 5.0.