Looks like there’s one more feature to add to the list of 200+ that came with the iOS 5 update. Rapid battery drain. While most obvious on the new 4S, the drain has been seen on earlier models too. Initial reports point to the location based Time Zone setting as the cause. The truth is Apple has no real answers at this time.
It’s no surprise the release of a new iPhone model or new iOS software is followed by reports of crappy battery life. The same thing happened after both the 3GS and the 4 launched and iOS 3.0 and 4.0. This time the drain seems to be a lot quicker though.
Some people report needing to charge their phone halfway through the day. Mine hit 18% and I hadn’t done very much with it today. No background apps were running, but location services were active for a lot of things—time zone settings had been one of them.
Chances are most of you aren’t time zone hopping all day long. The duct tape solution is to stop your iPhone from automatically checking for this data. Under Settings click on Location Services, scroll all the way to the bottom and select System Services. Turn off Setting Time Zone. This may or may not make any difference, but it’s a start.
Disabling features like Calendar Notifications, Location Services for Reminders, and even Mail Push can also extend battery life. While I’m sure disabling any of these will help, what good is the phone if I have to turn off all of its features just to get it to last through the day?
The reality is we use our phones for everything. The more they do for us the more power they need. Scrambling at 3:50pm to find an outlet to try and squeeze a bit more life out of it is not always possible. It shouldn’t be. Underclocking processors and turning off features is not an answer. We need better batteries.
Are you experiencing the iPhone battery drain? An iOS 5.1 update will fix the issue I’m sure, but don’t hold your breath. We could be waiting awhile.
Update November 3: Several sites are reporting Apple has confirmed the battery drain issues and a fix is on the way—in the “next few weeks”. Hold tight!