Did iPhone OS 3.0 kill my iPhone battery?
June 25, 2009 6:08 AM   Subscribe

Why did installing the iPhone OS 3.0 cause my battery to keep draining its charge?

Like everyone else, I installed the new iPhone OS 3.0. Ever since then, though, my iPhone will not keep a charge. I plug it in at night and wake up and everything seems normal...for about four hours. Then I have to charge it again because I get the dying battery notice.

What gives? What, short of taking my phone to the store, can I do?
posted by jefficator to Technology (20 answers total)
You could revert back to a previous OS version.
posted by nitsuj at 6:20 AM on June 25, 2009

Odd. You've tried rebooting it? (holding down the home+top button until it turns off -- not just asks if you want to power it down but longer). That might stop some errant process from sucking down all the juice.

The other option is to try restoring the OS again (effectively wiping it out and downloading it again) and that may fix whatever is burning up the juice. You do that from iTunes. It will re-download the OS update, update your phone and then copy all your stuff back. If that doesn't work, then it is time to see the Apple store.
posted by birdherder at 6:21 AM on June 25, 2009

Response by poster: birdherder, I'm going to try the rebooting. I did start wondering whether 3.0 enabled errant processes in a way that the previous OS did not. I was pining for a task manager so I could shut things down. Thanks for the idea. I'll report back the results!
posted by jefficator at 6:27 AM on June 25, 2009

I read somewhere that some apps weren't handling 3.0 well and were leaking memory. I don't think that would cause a complete battery discharge, but it might be worth a look.
posted by shinynewnick at 6:29 AM on June 25, 2009

Response by poster: Nope. Still fading fast. :-(
posted by jefficator at 6:46 AM on June 25, 2009

Here is what I would suggest for experimentation purposes:

Turn OFF "Push" notification (set it to "manually")
Turn OFF WiFi
Turn your screen brightness all the way down

Those are the 3 things I do to help maximize battery life. If you find that fixes the problem, then turn each item back ON 1 at a time, until you find the one that seems to affect your battery life the most. Adjust as necessary.

Yeah, I know, there is some portion of people complaining that upgrade to 3.0 seemed to give them less battery life - and also complaining that an OS upgrade shouldnt do that. In a perfect world, maybe it shouldnt, but an OS update is new code and new code potentially has new behaviors, so ....adjust as necessary.
posted by jmnugent at 6:54 AM on June 25, 2009

Response by poster: jmnugent: I'm trying those things. Fingers crossed. I can deal with less battery life, of course. But I'm not even USING the phone. The charge just melts away in four hours of standby.

Perhaps its a hardware issue? Is it possible for a software upgrade to trigger a hardware malfunction?
posted by jefficator at 7:00 AM on June 25, 2009

I haven't noticed any reduced battery time (3G) at all, so I'm going to suspect your specific applications, here.

Then again, I remember the 2.0 OS update dramatically improved my battery life: pre-2.0 it died after a full day of light use; since 2.0 it lives for 2-3 days between charges. 3.0 seems to have had no effect on battery life for me, but I haven't used many of the fancy new features or tried out 1000 new apps, either.
posted by rokusan at 7:40 AM on June 25, 2009

Have you get gmail or other ajaxy stuff open in Safari? Safari runs in the background, and they'll soak away battery. Also, reboot already.
posted by fightorflight at 7:41 AM on June 25, 2009

Perhaps its a hardware issue? Is it possible for a software upgrade to trigger a hardware malfunction?

Yes. Upgrading to 2.2.1 unthrottled the WiFi chip for faster speeds, which led to it burning out the connection on some phones (including mine). Apple's stance was that it was a hardware fault, and you're SOL if out of warranty. Since upgrading to 3.0 I've gotten WiFi back, but it seems to not initiate wireless connections as smoothly as before. While I haven't been experiencing your battery issues, it's conceivable that if it spends a significant amount of time in a grey zone of connectivity, it could use up a lot of juice dropping and reconnecting.
posted by mkultra at 7:54 AM on June 25, 2009

Safari runs in the background, and they'll soak away battery.

I'm pretty sure that while Safari will load and render pages in the background, it won't continue processing beyond AJAX calls beyond the initial load.
posted by mkultra at 7:55 AM on June 25, 2009

Long shot -- are you in a 3G area? do you have it enabled? I know of other (older) phones that will suck the battery dry in a few hours if they poll for, but can't get, a 3g signal. I would hope that this wouldn't apply, but it's probably worth disabling 3g temporarily to rule it out.
posted by devbrain at 7:57 AM on June 25, 2009

Response by poster: fightorflight: As a matter of fact, I had my work webmail running on safari. I thought that it only engaged when safari was open? This wasn't a problem for me before.

Can someone speak to what AJAX is? I'm unfamiliar.
posted by jefficator at 8:17 AM on June 25, 2009

I haven't noticed any degradation in battery life after moving to OS 3.0 on my 3G. I keep notifications on, push enabled, 3g, etc.

The app I've found that killed my battery in the past was the Google Maps app. If I let the phone sleep versus exit the app the phone would get warm.

Make an appointment at the Apple Store with a genius to check it out. If your phone is <1 year old and the battery pooped out they'll swap it in the store for a refurbished one with a fresh battery (if they have them in stock) and you'll be good to go.
posted by birdherder at 9:15 AM on June 25, 2009

AJAX stands for asynchronous java and XML.

Web sites such as Google Maps use it.
posted by dfriedman at 9:52 AM on June 25, 2009

Note a quick google search seems to indicate You are not alone.
posted by bitdamaged at 10:10 AM on June 25, 2009

I have no issue, but I have only ever got a day out of my iphone 3G. I have to charge every night without fail.
posted by nunoidia at 10:30 AM on June 25, 2009

i know some people are having the same issues if they had jailbroken their phone on 2.2.1 then upgraded to 3.0.

to fix it they are having to restore as a new phone, no using your backup. good luck.
posted by phritosan at 10:46 AM on June 25, 2009

I would think that it probably turned some service back on that you had turned off. I have had phones that left the wifi on or the bluetooth on after I'd turned them off, and this affected battery life tremendously.

Frankly, I don't see a ton of benefit in using the wifi at all with a 3g device- just use the 3g network.

(I also don't see the benefit in turning push off. The phone polls the network constantly when its on- that's how it finds out if you have a call coming in or voice mail or a txt message. Getting an email pushed to you is the same thing. Much more intensive would be email clients on the phone itself that are initiating data connections every few minutes to ask for pop or imap data. )

(Or you have something like GPS tagging or breadcrumb trail or some other app always open in the background, constantly pinging the network for data. On a device like this, that will eat battery life like crazy.)
posted by gjc at 12:28 PM on June 25, 2009

Don't think anyone upthread already said this, but along similar lines, I'd see if 3G had been enabled in the settings. If you're in an area w/o 3G (like me), leaving the 3G connection "on" drains battery like crazy. It's not nearly as bad when I'm traveling in a city with 3G available and the 3G actually functions. So, maybe try turning off 3G? Good luck!
posted by ahimsa at 5:16 PM on June 25, 2009

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