Is the iPhone 4S a Battery Hog?

By  |  Friday, October 28, 2011 at 5:35 pm

TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld is unhappy with his new iPhone 4S:

Today, my iPhone died after about 8 hours—not even enough to get me through a full day without recharging (and this is typical). This was not 8 hours of constant use (unless you count the constant pinging of notifications, which may be the culprit). It was 8 hours total from the time I unplugged it in the morning and took it with me until the screen went black at around 4 PM. According to the specs, the iPhone 4S is supposed to get 200 hours of standby time, 8 hours of talk time, and “up to 6 hours” of Internet use on 3g. During the day, I made half a dozen calls less than 5 minutes each, used the Internet for an hour on the train (email, Twitter, light Web browsing), and then maybe another 90 minutes throughout the day.

Schonfeld isn’t the only person I’ve seen grumbling about this issue. Macworld’s Chris Breen has covered it, and provided some troubleshooting advice. And the Guardian’s Charles Arthur says that Apple is on the case.

How much battery life you get out of a phone is heavily dependent on how you use the phone and what you use it for–and I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as a typical user of the iPhone 4S or any other smartphone. But in my time with the iPhone 4S so far, I haven’t noticed any striking difference in battery life compared to the iPhone 4. With both phones, I can almost always get through one day, and a bit more, on one charge.

If you have an iPhone 4S and upgraded from an earlier iPhone model, have you detected a difference?

 
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22 Comments For This Post

  1. David Strom Says:

    I noticed a severe diminution of battery life, but once I turned off some of the unimportant push items the performance improved. Battery life definitely has been impacted by iOS 5, I think, but once I got notifications under control my battery life has been perfectly fine. I have never gotten below 50% in a day, although I am not a heavy user.

  2. @yuvalz Says:

    I upgraded from a 3Gs and restored it into the iPhone the first night after getting the 4s. Had the problem the first weekend. The phone would barely survive half a day. Read somewhere a suggestion to reset network settings on the phone. Did that. Ever since the phone can last an entire day on regular use and most of a heavy-use weekend day. Much better than that first weekend.

  3. Thom Kozik Says:

    Odd… no problem so far on this end. Battery life on my 4s seems as good, or perhaps even slightly better than the 4 it replaced. No problem making it through the day so far (unless I inadvertently leave something like Navigon running in the background!).

    Bad manufacturing batch?

  4. Jason Smith Says:

    The day after I got my 4S I took it to my neices birthday party. As I arrived I took it off the car charger with 100% batt capacity. I did one Siri search, two manual google searches, read some RSS feeds with Reeder (about 10 minutes worth) and took about 20 photos (some with and some without flash).

    That put me at 60%…

    Yesterday on the plane I played scrabble for about 2.5 hours on airplane mode. That took me from 98% to 52%.

  5. Steven Says:

    Ha! 8 hours of standby! Now Schonfeld knows what it's like to be an Android smartphone user. I have an EVO 4G and I only get about 3 hours of constant usage or 6-7 hours standby. It stinks. And I have the extended battery for the EVO too, and still, it didn't help much.

  6. David Hamilton Says:

    According to this article – http://www.idownloadblog.com/2011/10/27/tip-cure-… – it is (at least part) due to a bug in iOS5 that keeps location services permanently alive.

    Personally I have also turned off automatic downloads (from the Store) and Twitter, and am now getting much better battery life on my 3GS (which was dying regularly at 9pm after the iOS5 upgrade).

    This whole issue underlines the tradeoffs that are inherent in a mobile device. With more and more always-on internet services being built in to mobile OSs, we will have to be much more careful about the ones that we enable if we want the devices to have the type of battery charge life we require.

    Mobile devices are definitively a tradeoff, and I am deeply afraid that Apple might allow itself to be sucked into an arms war with Android over CPU, Screen-size and internet services, all of which result in reduced battery life.

    Creating a mobile device is about saying 'No', something which Jobs was famously good at. Let's hope that a post-Jobs Apple can remember to say no.

  7. The_Heraclitus Says:

    "According to the specs, the iPhone 4S is supposed to get 200 hours of standby time, 8 hours of talk time, and “up to 6 hours” of Internet use"

    Obviously, the Apple employee was using the old Razr and Apple execs told him to use those stats and hoped that the customer wouldn't notice the MAMMOTH difference in numbers.

    LMAO

  8. Franky C Says:

    I upgraded from a 3GS and have had hours better battery performance with the 4g.

  9. David Hamilton Says:

    Update: I've found that with Store Automatic Downloads and Setting Time Zone disabled I'm getting pre-upgrade levels of battery life.

    Modified Settings:
    Store Automatic Downloads – Settings > Store > Music: Off, Apps: Off, Books: Off
    Setting Time Zone (+ iAd Location detection) – Settings > Location Services > System Services > Setting Time Zone: Off, Location-based iAds: Off

  10. Rob Says:

    @Franky C

    Your 3GS had an old battery that would not hold a charge like it did when new. Thus, any phone with a new battery is likely to improve longevity for you, including “the 4g” (by which I presume you meant the 4S).

  11. JohnFen Says:

    I wouldn't blame this on Android across the board. It might just be something with your particular device or model. I use an Infuse, and if I don't use the internet much I can get almost an entire workweek between charges. If I use the internet moderate-heavy, I can get about 6 hours. I do carry a spare battery just in case I want to use a lot of internet, but I have only needed it a couple of times.

  12. Jonbains Says:

    Had much te same story as yuvalz – first weekend awful having upgraded from an ailing 3GS – read up, turned off 3G iCloud syncing, timezones ( not travelling much so no loss), but the main thing I did was cycle te battery from 0 to 100 everyday for four days – by day three it was getting irritating as I was still at 40% as of now had a typical phone day, hasn’t been plugged in since 7am (it’s now 9pm) and down to 18% – one thing I did notice tho – that jump from 1 to 0% can take up to an hour – reckon they have a series of issues around notification, the cloud and basic battery calibration

  13. Bill Says:

    I saw significant reduction in battery life from my iPhone 4 to my 4S. I have turned off just about every possible location-based and system services and it helped. A lot. But I still think my 4 is better on battery life.

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  20. Everlast Says:

    Try the $s with Siri, drains your battery like, in a few hours. Switching to Android.

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  22. Office design Says:

    A rash of complaints in various online Apple forums from customers upset about battery woes on the new iPhone 4S. As previously reported in USA TODAY, users said they've lost as much as 15% of the battery power per hour, even when the phone is not in active use. Last Friday, TheGuardian reported that Apple engineers contacted iPhone 4S owners seeking an answer to the battery issue.

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