iPhone 5 battery charging

As is always the case every time a new iPhone is released, or a major iteration of its software pops up on Apple’s servers, the planet goes into meltdown about battery life. It’s almost as predictable as Apple’s iPhone release schedule, and it’s getting old.

I was already pondering how Apple’s newly released iOS 8 was performing for people when I read iMore’s post covering its new battery shaming feature. Rene does a great job explaining how iOS 8 monitors app usage and then plots out a percentage of the battery drain that app has caused. The reasons for that drain are plenty, and the important thing to remember is that they’re not all bad.

Reasons for apps using a lot of battery could be that they use location services in order to work some magic, or that they wake up frequently in the background in order to pull down an updated list of to-dos from their sync server. They could be doing all sorts, and that’s usually a good thing.

Take Dropbox and Google, nee Google Search. Both use a hefty percentage of my battery life, because both run regularly in the background. Dropbox monitors my location – using WiFi, not GPS – in order to upload new photos. Google does a similar thing to offer traffic and location-based info when I need it, as well as pulling the latest news into the app so I don’t have to wait for it to refresh when I open it. Both are valuable additions to my app arsenal, and yes, both can work with those particular features disabled.

But isn’t that somewhat missing the point?

Yes, I can get that percentage down – make iOS 8 stop shaming both apps and, theoretically, make my iPhone a nicer place to be. But it won’t, because I’ll lose functionality. In a day and age where my iPhone is the computer I use the most – bar the one I use at work, arguably – shouldn’t I let it be as useful as can be?

I fear that Apple’s new naming and shaming tactics will have two undesirable affects.

1) Developers will unfairly come under fire for apps that are supposedly draining battery at a higher rate than people think they should. Tweetbot is a good example of that, because it lives towards the top of most people’s battery hog list. But it’s running in the background refreshing every-so-often so that your feed is up-to-date. And, I’m willing to bet, you’re dipping in and out of it every five minutes to see what’s going on in the world. In short, if it’s being used, it’s going to use battery, isn’t it?

2) People will start turning features off in order to appease the battery life Gods. If that happens, will developers simply stop putting the time and effort into making awesome apps that do awesome things if people turn off the radios they need, or disable the background refresh that stops a delay in waiting for data to update upon launch? Only developers can answer that.

There’s another factor at play here, too: the ‘normals.’

I can’t be the only family tech support guy that’s waiting for the phone call from a family member asking why ‘Home & Lock Screen’ is using so much power. It’s going to happen, and I don’t have an answer. Explaining all the ins and outs of how iOS works or how their podcast app of choice is downloading hundreds of megabytes of files in the background is not something I relish, but I fear it’s an inevitable conversation.

Apple has always kept information like this back in order to shield users from what goes on at the sausage factory. Sometimes it really isn’t the best policy.

In giving us the fine-grained battery information some of us have been begging for, Apple may have created a monster.

Here’s hoping the larger batteries in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus can slay it.

  • Fanboy 

    Good thing Apple implemented a new battery saving feature in iOS 8.0.1 now. It stops your phone from connecting to your cellular network so now I can’t use my phone >:(

    • Waleed

      How to get that feature on my iPhone 5? I was gonna update but apple pulled it off the server 🙁
      Waiting for 8.0.2 so bad

      • Jonathan Amaral


      • Jerry


      • Rameez Khaliq


      • Ryan Bartsch


    • Merman123

      From iPhone to iPod in minutes.

    • Dan


    • John Wolf

      HAHAHA! That’s awesome! I needed that laugh today 🙂

      Sorry about your phone tho.

  • RarestName

    Because of that feature, I realised that battery life on my phone is pretty normal. Anyway, I found out that battery life actually improved on iOS 8, other than the annoying bugs.

    • Danial Hakim

      Same here.. but i downgrade to 7.1.2.. Waiting apple fix the bugs on ios 8

      • Rahimo

        Is Apple still signing the iOS 7.1.2 ?? This question was posted at 5:53 am GMT

      • MrSparkles

        Yes just updated my ipad mini to 7.1.2 and jailbroke it before it was to late

      • Danial Hakim

        Yeah… i downgrade it yesterday

  • Tip

    It’s okay guys. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have an innovative new feature. Sandwich Mode. Basically you can downscale your phone by folding it and it saves battery since the screen will be less of a battery killer. Apple: Combining Innovation with Timeless Classics by bringing back the flip phone.

  • 0ʇılouɐɯ

    Me TOO! ‘Home & Lock Screen’ is draining 45% of my battery life just doing NOTHING!! And… WHY???

  • Ricky

    All my batteries have been good to me so far and I work on pic editing a lot from both iPhone and iPad. Maybe I’ve been lucky enoughg to not get a bad battery. Or I simply don’t notice the battery drainage that often.

  • n0ahcruz3

    Battery life is horrible!! 🙁

  • johndhynes

    Or you can get a dumb phone with a battery that lasts a week and does nothing but make phone calls.

    I don’t worry about my battery, except when it’s getting low. If I can’t recharge right away, then I might turn things off. But I have an iPhone because I want to use all those features.

  • Jerry Cox

    Between this and “bend gate”, I’m hoping that we understand that there is a percentage of defective products that is acceptable during production… Unfortunately, when you release 10 million products, a 1% defect rate affects 100,000 products.

    Point is this is a new device that comes with new manufacturing techniques and tools. Early adopters will see these issues but as time goes by the processes will be resolved.

    This is why I’ve learned to wait a bit before buying… Not that its easy. But the next wave of i6’s and i6+’s will be better.

    As for the software, as a software engineer, I thought Apple responded too quickly to the issues that were being reported and released an update in haste and prematurely and in this business that is always a no-no.

  • vifish

    I disable most of the features since iOS6 in order do save more battery the thing is that i don’t mind opening the apps to check for updates/news/messages/so on, in iOS7 i disabled siri/parallax/contrast, notification center its empty, no apps notify anything for me, but in the other hand i can get 2 days without charging 😀

    • mlee19841

      always a trade off.

  • Viktor_Zweig

    I’ve been reading this blog for a while now and this must be the first post which made me realize that some people writing here do not live in a parallel universe where Apple is an absolute master of disguise.

    It is sad to see how a simple request from users which was repeated so many times is completely ignored by Apple. I’m talking about making bigger battery instead of making thinner (and now bendable) devices. I have answered multiple surveys sent to me by Apple about how I want bigger battery. I mean, why iteration 5 and now 6 could not have maintained the thickness of iPhone 4 which would allow for bigger battery?

    Also, this post refers to so called features that are lost if you don’t use background refresh or gps. These are only two seemingly useful controls that Apple allows on per app basis. That’s not enough. For instance, why can’t we eliminate stupid voip feature in Facebook app without jailbreak?
    Simply put, if I want to use my iDevice the whole day, I cannot do so without being a “wall hugger”. Now that sucks regardless what Apple tries to make us think.

    Oh, and one more thing: LONG LIVE JAILBREAKING!

    • Adam Bowman

      I like your post a lot. And your concerns are the same as mine. I’ve been using iPhones exclusively for the past 6 years, and I’ve been jailbroken for the past three, but, alas, I think I’ve had it. I’ve been waiting patiently for a bigger screen from Apple, and when they finally delivered I found myself underwhelmed and somewhat disappointed with what Apple had to offer. Now, after receiving the objective advice from many of the commenters on this blog, I find myself patiently waiting for the release of the Note 4. And I can hardly believe it. And my friends and family who have been coming to me time after time looking for help with whatever might be going wrong with their idevices can hardly believe it. But I must say that I am really looking forward to so many things when this switch occurs. Some of these are better battery life, swappable battery, expandable storage, customization without jailbreaking, more megapixels (I crop photos a lot and don’t want to sacrifice too
      much resolution), a stylus, true multitasking, lower cost, and now I’m even glad that I’m getting a device that isn’t known to bend at all.

      Ultimately, I don’t know how this switch will play out. I might come running headlong back to Apple’s iPhones in two years, but for now I don’t feel like standing in place when the competition is clearly running past what Apple has to offer.

      • Viktor_Zweig

        I tried the switch when Nexus 4 came out. I luckly kept my iPhone 5 to which I came back after approximately 3 weeks. As they say on jailbreak subreddit: jailebroken iOS > Android > iOS. 😉
        Simply put, while I love customization, iOS has a lot of awesome features which with right tweaks enhance user experience tenfold (i.e. Activator or Winterboard). In comparison, on Android, if you want a specific app to be enhanced by doing some other feature (let’s say download Youtube videos), the solution is download another app and that’s it.

  • askep3

    Everyone is saying that IOS 8 reduced their battery life but for me my iPhone 5s battery life is lasting longer.

    • Kr00

      Same here.

  • Ottawa Gamerz

    apple u tryed and failed stop coping SAMSUNG 🙂 my phone doesn’t bend like yours lol Samsung note 3 4 life

    • Guest

      • Ottawa Gamerz

        and ya when they release a new update they dont need a fix a week later shame i hope the blackberry beats apple 🙂

    • Guest

      Seems legit

      • Ottawa Gamerz

        ok but apple is trying the same thing but failing bad 🙂 6 is a note again the note doesn’t bend

      • Shadowelite123

        Actually the note 3 actually does bend. It the iPhone 6 and 6 plus did better than the note 3, the HTC one m8 and others with the LG G3 on top. This bendability test came from one of the most respected testers there are. Look it up. So before you post something, make sure your comment is even close to the truth. Plus only 9 of more than 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 plus owners complained about the iPhone bending, so please stop wasting our time with you fanboy comments and go back to your cave on the android side rather than the iOS side.

  • Guest

    10 thousand sold 9 hundred and 99 brought back for bending lol next time test it first

    • Shadowelite123

      Correction: 10 million sold, 9 complaints. Get accurate information first.

  • JayDee917

    The iPhone 6 battery life is extremely depressing. Today I took my phone off the charger around 6am and by 5:15pm it completely died. I didn’t play any games at all, I made about 10 calls (none lasting more than 5 minute), did some web browsing, and sent a bunch of texts. That’s all. It didn’t even last HALF a day. It actually seems worse than my iPhone 5s.

    Apple really needs to get their sh!t together and make an phone with practical screen size that can last at least one full day. I really can’t wait till I find a 6 Plus now.

    • Viktor_Zweig

      That is really weird. Unless there is some hardware related issue, you should try to troubleshoot by checking what app is using most battery. Often times, poor email setup can cause huge battery drain

    • Shadowelite123

      I beg to differ. My friend got it the day it came out and it lasts him 15 hours. And he plays games all day

  • n0ahcruz3

    Im going to return my iphone 6 tomorrow this POS has worst battery life than my 4s before

    • Shadowelite123

      Lol bro what a lie. Ive tested it and it lasts quite a long time. I bet your some random guy Samsung hired to talk bad about the iPhone 6 like they did before.

      • n0ahcruz3

        Heres my lie u random iSheep. Lol its funny ur the 2nd person that told me that then i show my screen shot and got nothing to say.

      • Shadowelite123

        Lol then something must be wrong with your phone because the one I tested didn’t have a problem. And not to mention that there’s no way of telling whether that photo is fake or of some other model of iPhone

      • n0ahcruz3

        Hence im returning it or have it replaced as i said in my first post

  • Alan

    Looking forward to the iOS 8.0.2 release notes:

    -Sorry about that.

  • Logan Deiner

    So intead of waiting 2 seconds for somthing to load, you would rather waste perfectly good battery on your phone.

  • mav3rick

    Yeah, they should, and they actually do, keep all information and shield users from owning devices they over payed for, giving all just a remote controlled device locked down on the software version they want, with whatever software flaws considered as features, like draining battery on couple hours usage or lately disabling cell signal on phones, because who is using their phone as a… phone? Better to shied users from this, too.

    • Shadowelite123

      Im sorry but you’re an idiot. Apple has such strict policies to ensure protection. Ios is one of the most secure mobile operating systems on the market. Android on the other hand is one of the weakest if not the weakest os in terms of security. Oh and my S3 is nearly dead and I used it for around 30 minutes. Brand new battery and yet the battery drains so fast. So like the other android fanboys on here, go back to android land and stay on your own side. You guys treat this as a war always coming over to ios articles and other ios related media, posting hate about the competition software or product because you guys are mostly fanboys that are brainwashed to think that preference means nothing and that your choice is the choice that everyone needs and cares for. If I want cheap and buggy features, ill make android my preference but I want somethsomething something that works and won’t crash on me all the time so I will stick to ios, windows, and blackberry because at least they actually have decent and working features.

      • mav3rick

        Strict policies to protect brainwashed sheep like you from overloading your brain. Not that there is much to protect. You deserve it.

  • Viktor_Zweig

    Glad to hear, you’re satisfied with the battery usage. It all depends on usage patterns, I suppose… My previous rant was mainly about functionality over design. For example, iPhone 5 or 6 now could have retained the thickness of iPhone 4 which would allow for a slightly bigger battery.

    The thing about bending is of course blown out of proportion. My personal experience was somewhat related to this craziness about bending: few months ago I noticed that the screen towrard the top was moving a bit inside of casing. I had to complain to Apple Care in order for them to fix the screen after some kid at local Apple Store said that the casing was slightly bent bcs I probably have carried the phone in my skiny jeans. The thing is at that time I was actually in jeans and they sure as hell were not skinny (nor will they ever be). Apple Care ended up replacing the screen free of charge despite being out of warranty.