How to keep iPhone usage stat from grossly exceeding actual usage and draining the battery accordingly?
December 5, 2008 7:24 AM   Subscribe

Sometimes, my iPhone 3G usage statistics are totally out of line with my actual usage and the battery is drained accordingly. This doesn't seem like a settings issue but rather some application or service getting "stuck" and not turning off when the phone is locked. Any ideas what I can do to address this?

Sometimes, my iPhone loses its battery really fast. Whenever this happens, I look at the usage under the Settings menu and it's much, much larger than what I've actually used. E.g. I'll use it for maybe 30 minutes after a full charge, leave it locked and if I check in 4 hours of being locked, it will report 4.5 hours of usage. Whenever the usage stats are accurate, the battery life is fine.

Turning the phone off and back on will always correct this problem. The inaccurate usage remains, but it stops increasing during times when the phone is locked.

This doesn't seem like a "turn off 3G" issue or anything like that. It seems like some application or service isn't turning off when the phone is locked. It keeps running, reports usage to the OS and keep draining the battery. When I took my phone into the Apple store, they ran their diagnostics and it reported the locationd service had been crashing.

I've already had my phone replaced once in an attempt to resolve this issue. When I got my new phone, at the Apple Genius' suggestion, I did *not* restore from a backup. Instead I loaded everything on the phone again manually. For all intents and purposes this is an entirely new phone. I'm having the same problem, so I'm looking for other commonalities.

The only customs apps I have that I use much are Facebook and Twitteriffic. Are there known issues with 3rd party apps causing this problem?

Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.
posted by Nelsormensch to Technology (7 answers total)
As you troubleshoot this, it'll probably be important to keep in mind that when you quit an app, it is shut down. Only a few Apple apps run behind the scenes, and no third-party app is allowed to run in the background.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:34 AM on December 5, 2008

Have you upgraded your iPhone to 2.2? It's supposed to fix some issues, and some people are noticing better battery performance.
Meanwhile, others are noticing poorer battery performance on 2.2. The iPhone blog seems to think it might have to do with Exchange mail accounts -- does this apply to you?
posted by cgg at 7:59 AM on December 5, 2008

I had this exact thing happen, and I read a dozen support threads about it with people reporting the same issue, but I didn't see a permanent solution (it will often stop for a while after a hard restart, but then eventually come back). I followed my suspicion that it was something endlessly trying and failing to update over the network, and went to the Fetch New Data settings and turned Push off, and changed my Fetch settings to hourly, and the problem immediately stopped. I think it was an email account at the root of the bad behavior but I've been too busy to troubleshoot it more comprehensively.

The related bug was never acknowledged by Apple, but I think they were aware of it and may have fixed it in 2.2. I have installed 2.2 but I haven't reactivated my old Push/Fetch settings yet. I really wish Apple would be more forthcoming about reported bugs and workarounds.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 8:12 AM on December 5, 2008

There is a bug where music spontaneously starts (and stops and starts and stops) playing when 3rd-party headphones are left plugged in -- this happens to my iPhone 3G and it is infuriating because it drains the battery considerably. There is a thread on Apple's support forums, but it does not seem to have been recognized as an issue yet.

So, are you leaving your headphones plugged in?
posted by onshi at 8:24 AM on December 5, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses so far. I am running 2.2, but this issue has been around since before that.

The iPhone blog seems to think it might have to do with Exchange mail accounts -- does this apply to you?

I don't have an Exchange email (using Gmail on the iPhone), but I do have an Exchange calendar setup (sorta) that syncs with Google Calendar. Might be the same issue, so I'll try reloading that.

... and went to the Fetch New Data settings and turned Push off, and changed my Fetch settings to hourly, and the problem immediately stopped.

Yeah, I've got Fetch New Data setup to hourly and that hasn't changed in a while.

So, are you leaving your headphones plugged in?

Nope, I only use Apple's headphones and they're always unplugged when I'm not actively using them. Good thought though.
posted by Nelsormensch at 9:23 AM on December 5, 2008

It also could be reception-related. iPhone apps, including the native Apple ones, don't work too well when reception is spotty - the app can't get a connection, and keeps trying to connect so it keeps the phone on - and burns up the battery. I've heard this happening with Fetch enabled. Is your phone in an area with marginal reception?
posted by meowzilla at 10:05 AM on December 5, 2008

I've found that the Maps app will sometimes stay on after I've gone away from it. I've noticed this being especially true when the phone would have trouble locking in with GPS (note locationd is what is running and/or crashing). Rather than just hitting the home button to close it, hold the button down for 5 seconds until it closes. This closes the app completely and breaks the connection if there was one. I'll exit this way all the time unless I'm actively using maps. If you're having this problem and you're not using then I got nothin'.

I doubt it is a third party app that may be stuck sucking down data since Apple doesn't let those apps play outside their sandbox. If there's a *data* leaky app, it will be one of the built in ones that can abide by different rules than the 3rd Party guys.
posted by birdherder at 11:37 AM on December 5, 2008

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