iPhone battery woes persist with Apple's first iOS 5.1 beta

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Released earlier this week, Apple's first beta of iOS 5.1 issued to developers reportedly does not address battery problems experienced by some users, as solutions to the complex problem continue to elude.



ABI Research's Michael Morgan spoke with ArsTechnica about the problems that some have reported since the release of iOS 5. In addition to existing iPhone users who updated their handset to iOS 5, the problems have been reported by those who have bought the new iPhone 4S, which comes with iOS 5 preinstalled.



Morgan said that although Apple has apparently not yet been able to solve the battery life issues for all users, an eventual software fix is still the most likely solution. He said that software is the most likely cause of the problems seen by some, not hardware.



"We tore down the 4S and tested some of the major components, including the new A5 processor," Morgan said. "Nothing that we tested was significantly different from the iPhone 4, and power draw was right where we expected it to be."



Of course the version of iOS 5.1 seeded to developers on Monday is only the first beta of the pre-release software, and Apple will continue to make changes to it before its release. The final, public debut of iOS 5.1 could turn out to resolve the battery issues being reported by some iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 users.



But Apple already released iOS 5.0.1 in November, an incremental update that aimed to fix bugs affecting battery life on the iPhone. However, some users said that installing iOS 5.0.1 failed to address the battery life problems they were experiencing.







Apple quickly responded the same week iOS 5.0.1 was launched, and issued a public statement in which it admitted there may be some issues that still need to be addressed. While Apple said iOS 5.0.1 addressed "many" battery bugs, the company said it was still investigating "a few remaining issues."



General battery-related issues, or any "undefined glitch," are a "massive problem" for Apple, Morgan said, noting how difficult it can be to pinpoint a problem in software as complex as Apple's iOS 5.



Morgan said what makes the battery issues so difficult for Apple to completely address is not only the complexity of the software that powers the iPhone, but also the variables involved with how users actually use their device. New features like Notification Center, automatic updates to content in Newsstand, and syncing with iCloud mean people are using their device more, which will naturally drain battery.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 116
    Does it fix the headphone echo caused by Apple's wacky implementation of noise cancellation? Sure, the person I am talking to hears me just fine, but I don't want my noise isolating headset to pick up every little noise around me and transmit it into my headphones. That kinda defeats the purpose of 'noise isolating'. Just give us the option to turn this 'feature' off!!!
  • Reply 2 of 116
    I had read about Apple asking a user experiencing battery problems if they would mind installing monitoring software to help diagnose the problem. Does Apple make this software available to the masses so that more users may help in providing usage data?



    I have not experienced any problems with my 4S and absolutely love it. I would also happily provide a positive control if I knew such software were readily available.
  • Reply 3 of 116
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ChrisKnight View Post


    Does it fix the headphone echo caused by Apple's wacky implementation of noise cancellation? Sure, the person I am talking to hears me just fine, but I don't want my noise isolating headset to pick up every little noise around me and transmit it into my headphones. That kinda defeats the purpose of 'noise isolating'. Just give us the option to turn this 'feature' off!!!



    Noise isolating == noise cancellation ? Understanding : question_mark
  • Reply 4 of 116
    wdowellwdowell Posts: 203member
    And what about Airplay woes - cut outs after a few seconds with the iPhone 4S. From information I have, 5.1 does nothing to fix it.



    None of the Apple or tech sites seem to discuss it.



    I am certainly not the only one - https://discussions.apple.com/thread...t=165&tstart=0 - pages of people with problems



    B&W (Zeppelin Air), and other manufactures say apple is working on a fix. Come on.. it's been weeks now and we cant even use Airplay!



    Some Apple support reps when you call them dont even know what Airplay is. Im baffled at the ignorance. I thought Apple support was known to be good! i found myself explaining it wasnt an app but a feature. took 3 people and 40 minutes to finally be directed to a 'senior' person who finally did.
  • Reply 5 of 116
    No problems with battery or AirPlay here. Love my 4S. Hope they can fix the problems that others are having.
  • Reply 6 of 116
    I know exactly what you mean! WTF!!!
  • Reply 7 of 116
    I have noticed a noticeable battery life increase when disabling Siri. When Siri is enabled, a small infrared LED light is always on when your screen is illuminated for the "raise to speak" feature. It's purpose is to notice when you raise your handset to your ear to speak to Siri without any button pressing.



    For those with battery issues, I would suggest disabling Siri for a day or two and see if it helps.
  • Reply 8 of 116
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GoPowers View Post


    I have noticed a noticeable battery life increase when disabling Siri. When Siri is enabled, a small infrared LED light is always on when your screen is illuminated for the "raise to speak" feature. It's purpose is to notice when you raise your handset to your ear to speak to Siri without any button pressing.



    For those with battery issues, I would suggest disabling Siri for a day or two and see if it helps.



    How is that different from the hardware that turns off the display when you're on a call and raise it to your ear. That's been around for years...
  • Reply 9 of 116
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cyberzombie View Post


    How is that different from the hardware that turns off the display when you're on a call and raise it to your ear. That's been around for years...



    The infrared light is only on when a call is initiated and in progress. Siri makes the light stay on anytime the phone is in use.
  • Reply 10 of 116
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    Without experiencing or knowing much about the problem, my first guess would be that it is likely affecting the same group of people who were affected by "Antennagate", i.e. a group of people who experience poor network coverage. As far as I know, when in a poor coverage area, more power is consumed attempting to find a strong signal. With features like Notification Center's geofencing and current-location-using weather, the phone is more frequently in need of a data connection. Perhaps something else about iOS 5 exascberates the problem.



    For the majority of people in strong cell coverage, no problem exists. For a minority, it means terrible battery life. If this is true, a slight fix may be to turn off Location Services for Notification Center. While not experiencing terrible battery life, disabling this feature rewarded me with better and more consistent battery life.



    Just a theory.
  • Reply 11 of 116
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cyberzombie View Post


    How is that different from the hardware that turns off the display when you're on a call and raise it to your ear. That's been around for years...



    On the 4S, it's the exact same IR light. The difference is it's on permanently (for Siri) instead of just when you're on a call (other phones).



    Claiming that this is the reason for battery trouble, however, is one of the silliest things I've ever heard.
  • Reply 12 of 116
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GoPowers View Post


    I have noticed a noticeable battery life increase when disabling Siri. When Siri is enabled, a small infrared LED light is always on when your screen is illuminated for the "raise to speak" feature. It's purpose is to notice when you raise your handset to your ear to speak to Siri without any button pressing.



    For those with battery issues, I would suggest disabling Siri for a day or two and see if it helps.



    I'm guessing this affects battery life to a degree, just as many new features do.



    However, this is likely not the primary culprit, as this would suggest that all 4S's are affected evenly, which they are not.



    Since the majority are experiencing battery life on par or slightly below the iPhone 4 running iOS 4 (to be expected with newer location features) with only a minority grossly affected, some other variable must be at work. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but I've heard of several iPhone. 4 users running iOS 5 experiencing newfound battery problems. These people don't have Siri.
  • Reply 13 of 116
    The few users who are complaining about battery life can simply go to an Apple store and get a replacement for the iPhone under warranty.



    Nearly everyone else is NOT having battery problems on the iPhone.



    Thus, this must be a HARDWARE defect in a few iPhones.



    The solution is to simply get a new iPhone under warranty.
  • Reply 14 of 116
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 404member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    On the 4S, it's the exact same IR light. The difference is it's on permanently (for Siri) instead of just when you're on a call (other phones).



    Claiming that this is the reason for battery trouble, however, is one of the silliest things I've ever heard.



    If this is one of the silliest things you've EVER heard then you need to live a less sheltered life! Or cut back on the hyperbole. The guy was just making a suggestion.
  • Reply 15 of 116
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bulk001 View Post


    If this is one of the silliest things you've EVER heard then you need to live a less sheltered life! Or cut back on the hyperbole.



    I don't do much laughing. And come off it with the hyperbole nonsense.



    Quote:

    The guy was just making a suggestion.



    No. He wasn't.
  • Reply 16 of 116
    I am running the Beta and get 18 hours standby with 8 hours heavy Data/Talk/Enet/Games/Location/



    What more do you WANT from APPLE!!!!!!
  • Reply 17 of 116
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,532member
    I hope that Apple can work something out. I have an iPhone 4s and battery life is atrocious. I can have a fully charged iPhone, take it off the charger, and it will drop 1% within a few minutes just sitting there on the table doing nothing.



    I could also just be browsing the internet at home via Wi-Fi (that's all, just checking a few sites) and see my battery drop from 80% to 70% in about 15 minutes or so. It's very frustrating to say the least.



    And yes, I do have Bluetooth enabled. I have Bluetooth in my car and I like the ability to just leave my phone in my pocket and go instead of having to go through multiple to steps to enable/disable Bluetooth when I'm entering/exiting the car so I just leave it enabled all the time.



    That being said, my iPhone 4 exhibited NONE of the battery problems that my iPhone 4S has and I have the same usage patterns. I would run my iPhone 4 down to about 50% after a day's work. With the iPhone 4S, I'm down to 20% and sometimes 10% by the end of the day.
  • Reply 18 of 116
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jameskatt2 View Post


    Nearly everyone else is NOT having battery problems on the iPhone.



    Thus, this must be a HARDWARE defect in a few iPhones.



    The solution is to simply get a new iPhone under warranty.



    That's faulty logic. What if most people don't have the problem because it only appears with specific combinations of settings, networks, etc.? I'm pretty sure its not as simple as just swapping out a few phones - and so is Apple, given that it's been working on software fixes.



    That said, the fact that the 4S recently achieved a 96% satisfaction rating makes me think that the battery problem affects a much smaller proportion of users than the media has been suggesting. That's the thing about extremely popular products. When you get thousands of people complaining, it's hard to sell if 50% of the user base is affected or just a very vocal 0.5%.
  • Reply 19 of 116
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member
    The betas usually have their own set of problems. a newer beta does not solve bugs in the previous release version. This beta still have problems that existed in the 5.0 beta.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post


    I had read about Apple asking a user experiencing battery problems if they would mind installing monitoring software to help diagnose the problem. Does Apple make this software available to the masses so that more users may help in providing usage data?



    I have not experienced any problems with my 4S and absolutely love it. I would also happily provide a positive control if I knew such software were readily available.



    I filed for bug report and they've sent me the file. Few days after I have submitted the log they got back to me saying that this is a known issue. Apple knows exactly what is causing this issue but they are most likely working on other issues as well.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    On the 4S, it's the exact same IR light. The difference is it's on permanently (for Siri) instead of just when you're on a call (other phones).



    Claiming that this is the reason for battery trouble, however, is one of the silliest things I've ever heard.



    The Siri IR light is not permanently on. It is only on when the display is on. This is why you need to turn the display on (not necessarily unlock the iPhone) to get raise to speak to work.
  • Reply 20 of 116
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brutus009 View Post


    I had read about Apple asking a user experiencing battery problems if they would mind installing monitoring software to help diagnose the problem. Does Apple make this software available to the masses so that more users may help in providing usage data?



    No, they don't. You either have to be a developer or a regular user and have your case escalated to engineering to have it given to you.



    On a sidenote, I do think I have crappy battery life. But I also know that iOS 5 is much complex than ever and as more and more features are enabled, it will make people use it differently. I also believe that some rogue apps may be causing issues as well. While there is an approval process for apps, sometimes things slip by.



    This battery fiasco will only get worse in the future as Apple is obsessed with thin devices and that leaves less space for battery. Naturally they aren't going to make brick sized phones, but battery size is important here. For me, and I will always state this, iOS 5.0 beta 5 was the most superior version of iOS for me. Battery life was far superior than it is now. Who knows what made it work.
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