On iPhone 3GS Poor Battery Life And Apple’s Poor Customer Support

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?