Apple says iOS 5 bug responsible for iPhone 4S battery life troubles, fix coming

Nov 3, 2011
Tech

Apple has acknowledged what a lot of users were saying: the iPhone 4S has some troubles with short battery life. According to the tech giant, the trouble isn’t with the hardware, but with software. Fortunately, Apple have officially announced a forthcoming fix, too All Things D has received a statement from Apple has said the […]

Apple has acknowledged what a lot of users were saying: the iPhone 4S has some troubles with short battery life. According to the tech giant, the trouble isn’t with the hardware, but with software. Fortunately, Apple have officially announced a forthcoming fix, too

All Things D has received a statement from Apple has said the low battery life with the iPhone 4S is a result of a bug in iOS 5, the latest update to Apple’s mobile device operating system. Apple’s statement says a “small number of customers have reported lower than expected battery life on iOS 5 devices. We have found a few bugs that are affecting battery life and we will release a software update to address those in a few weeks.”

We’re not exactly sure what the bug is, but it’s likely that the trouble is with location services. It’s well-known that the GPS technology in iOS devices can take up quite a bit of battery life when used over extended periods of time. A lot of apps that use GPS note that battery life can be affected when users open them; if iOS 5 is keeping the GPS running when it shouldn’t be, that could significantly reduce battery life in any iOS 5 device, not just the iPhone 4S.

But users haven’t really been complaining about iOS 5 so much as the iPhone 4S in particular. As Ars Technica points out, there’s a lengthy, 209-page thread on Apple’s support forums claiming that iPhone 4S users are struggling with battery life problems. Ars Technica reports that it has tried to independently verify the problems and has found that the iPhone 4S does seem to have reduced battery life as compared to the iPhone 4 performing the same tasks, but it seemed fairly minimal, like 12 hours of video time on the iPhone 4 as compared to 10 on the iPhone 4S. Standby time seemed to be about the same.

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But that doesn’t seem to be the trouble that most users are having with their iPhone 4S handsets. We’ll have to wait until the updates come down for iOS 5 to see if that really is the trouble that users are finding. In the meantime, there are a few ways to reduce battery life – turning down screen brightness is one way, as is turning off location-based services in the Settings menu. You can also disengage the Siri “raise to speak” feature, Bluetooth and push notifications. That could at least be a stopgap while Apple figures out what’s the trouble with the iPhone 4S. At least they’re paying attention, though.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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