Too flat too soon, too bad?
September 9, 2008 9:05 AM   Subscribe

How long does your iphone (3G) battery last?

I've read this thread. And I have implemented some of the suggestions. But as now we are 3 months into our iPhone 3G experiences I thought I would see how everyone is doing, and try to get some useful data to see if my phone is lemony. If the admins think it is too soon for such a similar post then feel free to get rid...

I'm getting a bit worried about my iphones battery. A couple of weeks a go I had a problem where the phone got REALLY hot and the battery drained within about an hour. Now I have heard that high temperatures can damage the battery. Since then I've been a bit paranoid about it.

On Friday my phone had quite a bit of use, but not what I would call excessive. I took a few photos and videos. Made a few calls and did a bit of browsing. But by 9:30pm the battery was as flat as a pancake. It was fully charged at 8am.

Today. No calls, one text message sent. Its basically been on standby on my desk all day and the battery has drained by nearly 25%. And that's without 3G or wifi switched on. With 3G on its down to about 60% at the end of the day. (8hrs)

So in order to figure out if I need to visit apple. Can you guys (and gals) who have an iphone let me know how your batteries are faring up?

Cheers in advance.
posted by gergtreble to Technology (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Mine lasts all day and I can stretch it to two days provided I:

Turn off auto-connecting to WiFi networks

Never leave the browser up on Gmail. I check my gmail through the mail app, but when my wife wanted to check hers, we found leaving her logged in and the page up drained the battery and heated the iPhone up, even though it was 'sleeping' in my pocket.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:20 AM on September 9, 2008

I believe this is unusual.

On a typical low-use day with 3G & WiFi on, iPod use on a 30-45 minute commute both ways and sitting in my bag the rest of the time, my phone shows a still nearly fully charged battery by the end of the day. My battery basically never reaches flatline in one day unless I've been travelling that day, and thus using the iPod function for hours, playing lots of games, texting, and intermittently using GPS and internet browsing throughout the day.
posted by tigerbelly at 9:23 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've changed "push" settings to on, but to only update once per hour, and only for the account tied to my calendar.

Mail fetching is done MANUALLY -- as I don't really care about getting a beep when I get a new email (in fact, I'd rather not...). My phone downloads my new email once I load up the mail app anyway. Fine by me.

I've turned 3G off most of the time because it SUCKS in Chicago and makes it even harder to make phone calls.

WiFi is pretty much always on, but I've turned off "Ask to join networks"...

To be honest, I don't use my phone to make phone calls for any more than maybe 15-30 minutes per day, if that. I do, however, browse a little bit every day with Safari -- probably 30 minutes a day -- and check mail on it several times a day.

Prior to installing the latest firmware, and prior to updating my settings to the above, my phone was sometimes going quite low by the middle of the evening (8pm or so?)

Now, I can easily get away with only charging it at night when I go to bed. The latest firmware (2.0.2) also seems to have drastically improved my battery life, although I may just be perceiving that for no particular good reason.
posted by twiggy at 9:47 AM on September 9, 2008

Mine's draining really stupid fast, too, as in can't make it through one day with minimal use (a few text messages, maybe one or two emails, a few short phone calls, maybe a little crossword or wikipanion, screen brightness is down, fetch is at once an hour and only the work email is on push) without charging on the computer at work. I had thought it was just the fun of having it.

Thanks for pointing out that other thread - 2.0.2 did help a little, but not as much as I would have liked. It was going dead by midday and now it's going dead by evening. I'm going to try the battery cycling, and keep an eye on this thread to see if it's worth taking back to the store.

It made me laugh when someone announced they were going to port Sims to the phone - because I can't even use this thing as an ipod without plugging it in right now.
posted by arabelladragon at 9:54 AM on September 9, 2008

Mine is flat after about 2 hours of gaming / browsing / talking assuming I leave wifi and 3G on. On an "ordinary use" day with push email every 30 mins and perhaps an hour of browsing and/or games the battery is still often running on empty by the time I get home.

This is not vastly different to my experience with a 3G Nokia N95 so I haven't thought to complain to Apple.
posted by roofus at 10:13 AM on September 9, 2008

I've got mine checking gmail every 15 minutes (via 3G), and with a little light texting and very little else I get a couple of days out of a charge.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:25 AM on September 9, 2008

No wifi, 3g on/off doesn't seem to matter, some texting and maybe one call a day, plus some browsing and music listening (maybe 30 min - 1 hr a day). I can go 2 days like this. Actually, most nights I charge it up just in case but to be honest I've only seen the battery icon go below halfway once in the month+ I've had it.

A friend of mine that bought one just a few days before me is also having battery issues. I haven't had a chance to sit down and see what her usage is like, if she has wifi off, etc. But I'm starting to think there are duds out there because the experiences seem to be so different.
posted by misskaz at 10:45 AM on September 9, 2008

FWIW the hot handset / superquick battery drain happened to me on my 1st gen iPhone a couple of times. I believe it was trying to sync email but not connecting (stuck in a loop somehow)... so it just kept on trying and trying and trying... Had to fully power off (holding power button and sliding across) and on again to stop that.

Other than that, your iPhone 3G battery life/consumption sounds pretty similar to mine.
posted by saintsguy at 10:55 AM on September 9, 2008

Sounds abnormal to me. However His Majesty Steve Jobs just promised that the iPhone update coming on Friday will improve battery life of your iPhone (amongst other things like doubling as a shower head and portable vacuum cleaner) so perhaps you should wait to pay a visit to the Apple Store lest they just tell you to wait for 2.1 as well.
posted by genial at 10:59 AM on September 9, 2008

Mine lasts a few days with moderate use and wifi turned off.
posted by Slenny at 11:32 AM on September 9, 2008

What I've noticed is that if a TCPIP connection stalls, it really eats the power.

I also shut off 3G -- it doesn't seem faster that EDGE, and voice quality is worse.

I can go all day, but I'm used to the "when in doubt, plug it in"

I do suspect that the 2 hours-and-dead issues are bugs forcing the WiFi or cell radios to full power for extended periods.

Another thing I haven't investigated is how much location services eats power -- between talking to multiple towers and powering a GPS chipset, it'll be more than zero, but how much more?

As a class, *every* 3G phone with a reasonable form factor gets lousy battery life. Then again, I remember the days of analog cell phones that would barely make it through a day -- unless you went inside where signal wasn't reaching, whereupon the cellphone would ramp to full power to try and connect, and drain in 40 minutes.
posted by eriko at 11:32 AM on September 9, 2008

I have wifi and 3G on, and push is on too. I charge mine overnight, disconnecting it at 7am, and usually by 10pm its giving me 20% or 10% battery warnings. I play a lot of games on it in the evenings, and this is the action that causes the most battery drain for me (I make very few actual calls, mostly texting). At work I am in a good 3G signal location (no available wifi), but at home it will be searching a lot, as I am borderline for a 3G signal, so it often has to switch to EDGE.

I find 3G gives me significantly faster downloads when I'm at work, so I leave it switched on. Haven't noticed any voice quality difference, but haven't tested that specifically.

Never had the hot handset/battery drain issue, that seems like something that warrants a store visit if ti happens again.
posted by Joh at 12:01 PM on September 9, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses so far. They have gone a long way to making me realise I am not alone. As a secondary point, do any of you have jailbroken phones and have you noticed a difference between the battery life on a virgin phone compared to a jailbroke one? Mine IS jailbroken and I feel that it may have affected it.
posted by gergtreble at 12:07 PM on September 9, 2008

Mine used to drain in 1.1-1.5 days... until the last firmware update. Now 2.5-3.0 days. UK/O2. 3G on/off didn't matter (before the firmware update).
posted by fatllama at 12:27 PM on September 9, 2008

I believe power use will be higher if you're in a weak signal area.
posted by zippy at 1:10 PM on September 9, 2008

Not jailbroken, 3G usually off unless I'm using YouTube, WiFi generally off unless I'm at home, push off, plugged in all night and for about 10 minutes on my lunch break (I learned that some of the solitaire games are mighty battery hogs, go fig).

9 hours of iPod time a day, a couple calls, maybe 5 or 6 SMSes, lot of web surfing. Doesn't even really touch the battery.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:29 PM on September 9, 2008

Mine lasts about a day and a half, but because that's an awkward time I charge it more than that: it's my alarm clock so it's docked by the bed nightly. It never dies, though I guess I should force-drain it once and awhile.

I use it about 20-30mins per day for phone calls, sometimes less. I use the web or web-sucking apps for an hour or so per day. I check mail many times (it's set to check five accounts every 30mins, and if the required replies are short I type them and send them from the phone, too). I get and send maybe 10 SMS messages per day, and spend maybe 30 mins with AIM running per day. It's on WiFi when I'm at work or home, 3G in between or when out at night. I think it is set to auto-connect to WiFi, but I'd have to check.

Bluetooth is turned off (I don't use it).
posted by rokusan at 3:16 PM on September 9, 2008

One full day, making lots of calls, using some wi-fi and checking email / other 3G apps regularly through the day.
posted by skylar at 3:45 PM on September 9, 2008

(Oh yeah, duh, and I listen to music during both-ways commuting so add an hour and a half of music-playing to my list.)
posted by rokusan at 3:50 PM on September 9, 2008

I keep 3G, bluetooth and push email turned off, but wifi and location services on. I don't make a lot of calls, surf & check my mail a couple of times a day, & it seems to last a couple of days like that, unless I play Tetris, in which case the battery drains like CRAZY. So, to be safe, I charge it on my Chumby every night. (Yay Chumby!)

Check whether your bluetooth is off, but apart from that it sounds like you should take it in to Apple.
posted by media_itoku at 4:23 PM on September 9, 2008

I'm a fairly light user who tends to use my wifi network for internet access. Assuming I don't sit around watching youtube videos for a while, or get into any long phone conversations (which use the 3G connection,) I can get two days out of it on a single charge. And I leave bluetooth on for easy pairing with my car. But, keep in mind, I make surprisingly few calls during the day. my iPhone is basically an internet tablet that makes the occasional call.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 5:54 PM on September 9, 2008

apparently the new firmware may resolve some battery-life issues.
posted by lowlife at 6:35 PM on September 9, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the responses. I think my plan now is to wait for the 2.1 update, see if that does the job. If not I'll go see a "genius". But in the meantime I'll do a couple of full discharge cycles and see if that helps.
posted by gergtreble at 11:44 PM on September 9, 2008

Jail breaking didn't seem to change my battery life, but I am not running any background jailbreak apps except Open SSH.
posted by roofus at 3:00 AM on September 10, 2008

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