iPhone 4S Battery Life

A Lifehacker reader wonders why his new iPhone 4S has poorer battery life than his old 3GS. My experience of iPhone batteries is that they take a couple of cycles before the meter is accurate but I don't have a iPhone 4S yet so I can't comment one way or the other. What about other iPhone 4S owners? What's the battery life like?


    Down 40% in 3 hours...

    I've had mine since Friday, and yes at first the battery was pretty horrendous. It would drop 60% during the day from light use. It is getting slightly better after a few cycles, and I hope it improves even further. Otherwise it's going back for some tinkering.

    My iPhone 4s died when the display read 1%, so it seemed very accurate to me.

    Oh, its also worth mentioning that with Notifications, Location Services, iCloud, push, etc turned off, its still lost about 6% of battery life in 20 minutes of non-use. Amazingly bad.

    Ive had the opposite. It seems every so slightly better than my old iPhone4. I have push email and location and bluetooth enabled and i can get through a day and a night and have 20% left. It craps on my HTC sensation which I would charge overnight and be flat by 7pm (same, push location etc etc)

    Some of it is probably related to iOS5. My iPhone 4 battery seems to be about 10%-15% lower at the end of the day since upgrading.

      Yep me too.

      iOS5 definitely "seems" to flatten the battery a bit faster than iOS4.

    These questions are hard to answer as its always so subjective. Particularly if you get a new phone and you can't stop playing with it.

    Surely it's been out long enough for some review sites to do some battery rundown tests?

    As the novelty of a brand new phone wears off and I'm using it less the battery seems to last longer. Funny that.

      Must try that one day, then I can get away from my computer where I'm endlessly charging my phone and complaining about it! Thanks for the tip.


      I don't doubt that there's people with battery issues, but if you've spent an hour trying out new things, it's probably got internet-related features and therefore the drain will be more again.

      Spot on Tristan - amazing how that battery life gets better after the first few days...

    I noticed that with iPhone 4 if you do a clean install it's battery life is a lot better than an upgrade. I found it even respond faster too.

    That's just me.

    I got mine on a Friday, and the novelty had worn off by, well, Friday night. There aren't exactly a ton of new features to play with once the device has been set up. In 21 minutes, my battery dropped from 51% to 45%. The only thing I did in those 21 min was unlock the screen and check a setting, and see if I could get to the camera from the lock screen. I didn't take a picture, and all Location services (and most services) are off. So, really it just sat there, and bled off power pretty quickly.

    Anyway, it seems to drain off VERY quickly, even with just about every service turned off.

      I noticed that after I'd set a geofenced reminder the Location arrow in the status bar (near the battery meter) stayed on.

      Obviously if you want it to alert you when you're in the vicinity of something the GPS has to be on regularly, and as such this spanked the battery quite hard.

    I'd say Horrendous to... quite Horrendous. This user loses 3-5% every 5-10 min of routine use. Yes - awful but more importantly, impractical. Common recommendations are to disable the most standard features of a smartphone, which defeats the purpose of owning the device at all. I will try a 'restore' and see if that solves the problem. Otherwise I'll just switch out for a non-iphone. Hundreds of dollars for devices that are amazing and coincidentally DON'T WORK.

    By the way, lost 5% in the 3 minutes it took to submit my post. stupid.

    Deleting my exchange based account and doing a Reset Network Settings (which also reboots the phone) before re-adding the account has made a big difference for me.

      I think it's an iOS 5 bug. my dad had this problem with his when he upgraded. deleted and recreated it and his battery life is back to normal.

    Seems a lot of publications running with this story today. Here's one of the "testing" sites:


    It's showing that 3G and media usage, though moreso 3G, is causing the iPhone 4S to discharge faster than the iPhone 4.

    What is also worth noting is that there are 3 separate models of 4S in the USA. The AT&T, Verizon and Sprint models. They obviously all have different parts inside and do things a little differently, including possible bloat-ware, meaning that talk times can vary widely.

      Actually, all 3 carriers in the US have the same device now. The internals are designed to work with CDMA and GSM.

      Also, carrier bloat ware doesn't exist on iPhones.

      While the different bands do take different amounts of battery usage for their respective "3G" browsing, the devices are all the same.

        So why is that then?

    As reported by Don McAllister (the screencastsonline guy) doing a full restore does the trick. See his blog...


      I did a full restore with no better performance. Also, I made an appt at the Apple Store, and they replaced the phone with a new one, while agreeing that it may make no difference. I think I was one of the first at that location to voice a complaint. I assume a week from now they'll try to avoid doing replacements.

      I had a call with Apple today. This follows my appointment at the store where they replaced the phone (no improvement). On the phone, they referred me back to the store to perform battery diagnostics, and possibly replace the batter (again, that's not going to fix the problem).

      They don't seem to be interested in coming out and saying that the battery performance is bad, and you're just going to have to recharge every day. Its a shame, because (if we're scoring it) that really cancels out the CPU performance improvement.

    Mine seems fine, first few days the % wasnt correct but meh... Maybe you guys have your brightness all the way up ?

    Seems to be the trend with phones now days.

    At first, it was pretty bad; 40% drop in a couple of hours, but that's to be expected. After a few charge cycles, it's now holding a pretty decent charge.

    For me, the charge is longer than my 3GS was, so I'm happy.

    Turn of Siri's "Raise to speak" option to save massive amounts of battery. When I first got my 4S it would lose it would go from 100% down to less than 50% in about 4 hours. In settings> General > Siri > turn off Raise to Speak.

      Great tip, thanks Mitchandmacs. I have been very disappointed with the battery life on the 4S so hopefully this will rectify that. Testing now!

    Is it just me or does your Iphone 4s not charge with old docking stations??

    Out of the box my 4S battery performance is definitely worse than my iPhone 4. However from memory the iPhone 4 battery was nothing impressive out of the box either, and took numerous charging cycles to reach maximum performance.

    I have found that it is about the same as my 3Gs. Which means I get through most of the day. I do poke at it a lot, and get a lot of push emails in a day. Plus I watch shows using GoodPlayer for 40-50 minutes in the morning and afternoon. So I either had good 3GS battery life, or poor iPhone 4S batter life.

    its not very good :( i dont want to turn everything off just to get through the day, why should i have to do that when the phone is supposed to do so much more?

    I found that turning off the automatic send option in Settings > General > About > Diagnostics & Usage made a huge difference - especially with all the iOS5 betas.

    This is my first iPhone (the 4S), so I don't have much to compare it with. But the battery life is slightly underwhelming.

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