Apple Taps Customers for iPhone 4S Battery Life Data

| News

Apple has reportedly been reaching out to some of its customers looking for more data on the battery life of the iPhone 4S in the wake of many users reporting poor battery performance in the new devices. The Guardian UK reported that Apple has contacted some customers and asked them to install an app on their iPhone 4Ses that collects data on their power use and battery performance.

iPhone Battery Drain?

A thread on Apple’s support forum began on October 15th titled “iPhone 4s [sic] Batter Life?” Since then, there have been more than 1,430 replies (with 25 added while we composed this article) and more than 102,600 views of the thread as users traded anecdotes of their own poor battery life and theories as to what could be causing the problem.

When Apple first released the iPhone 4S, the company said it had increased 3G talk time to eight hours, while standby time clocked in at 200 hours. Many users are experiencing phenomenon like 25% battery depletion in three hours with minimal usage during that time.

An iPhone 4S owner in the UK who claimed he was contacted by Apple after a blog post about his poor battery life told The Guardian that he was experiencing a 10% drain in battery life every hour in standby mode.

“I assumed something was crashing or running in the background,” the unnamed owner said. “I switched off all the new features including Siri and location services, but it was still really poor. I also tried setting up a clean phone with no apps but it is still really poor.”

His story mirrors many of those in Apple’s support threads who have experimented with resetting their phone or data in an effort to find the problem on their own, but to no avail.

“I then got a call from a senior [Apple] engineer who said he had read my post and was ‘reaching out’ to users for data,” the unnamed man told the newspaper. “[He] admitted this was an issue (and that they aren’t close to finding a fix!), and asked lots of questions about my usage and then asked if he could install the file below and that he would call back the day after to retrieve the info. I extracted the file from my Mac after a sync and emailed it to him. He was incredibly helpful and apologetic in the typical Apple way!”

There were many new factors introduced with the iPhone 4S launch. There’s the dual-core A5 processor, a brand new operating system (iOS 5), the Siri personal assistant, and iCloud, which itself overlaps MobileMe for many users. Hopefully, the user data Apple is collecting will assist the company in coming up with a rapid solution.

Popular TMO Stories



Isn?t this strange? Apple was much later than usual with this iOS update. Did it not test the iPhone models that could be undated, thoroughly? Doesn?t sound like a shining example of Apple?s best effort.

Lee Dronick

Another great graphic Bryan.

Bryan Chaffin

Thanks, Lee. smile

mhikl: My understanding is that those with problems are a small subset of all owners. Should that be the case, and with so much going on, some kind of weird problem cropping up without being found aead of time is certainly possible.

Now, throw in the relatively small number of prototypes that get tested before release, and it’s even more likely that some things go unnoticed until after release.

Plus, it could be a bad batch of components causing the problem.


Which isn’t an excuse for Apple. Battery drains are super frustrating to those experiencing them and I’m hoping the company can get it fixed, and soon.


I and my wife are both looking very forward to a 5.0.1 update.  We both upgraded on launch day and battery life on the new 4S is horrible.  On a 10 minute commute I will lose 5-7% of my battery just listening to a podcast on the iPhones built in speaker.  I’ve done a full factory restore and still the same result.  I have faith that the fix is coming soon, but the wait is killing me…well, it’s killing my battery.

Daniel Neal

It’s not just the iPhone 4S’s that are experiencing the problem. I along with several of my friends with iPhone 4s have also had lousy battery life since updating to IOS 5.

I hope Apple comes out with a patch or workaround soon.


Good to hear I’m not alone. My iPhone 4 used about 20% of battery in a day on just standby, and with the iPhone 4S it seems to be more like 40%. That’s dramatic.


I too am having terrible battery life.  Even after letting it drain completely 3 days in a row, that did nothing to help.  Called Apple after the first day and their solution was to restore the phone.  That seemed ridiculous to me that I should do that to a phone that was less then 24 hours old.  Before the 4s, I had a 3GS that was used and repaired twice (I had not bought myself a new phone in 6 years).  That 3GS worked perfectly fine until I did the 5.0 update and that is what prompted me to finally treat myself to the 4s.  You can imagine my frustration when I get the 4s and had the battery problem.  Also have apps that are constantly quitting.  This also happens on my iPad which has been updated as well. With the phone and the iPad I used the devices exactly the same way I did before the update and feel that I shouldn’t have to take a step backwards with updates.  I shouldn’t have to turn off features that are the reason I bought the device in the first place.  One thing that seemed to sort of help, was changing my auto lock from 5 minutes to one minute.  Seems odd that that would help at all, but it did.  Not significantly, but it did a little.  Again, shouldn’t have to set things a way that I really don’t want.  Why have options if you can’t even use them.  Isn’t Apples motto…IT JUST WORKS?  Well it isn’t and it is frustrating.  What really irks me is that co-workers that got the phone the same time, are not having as many problems as I am. I really hope they find a fix soon, as I am totally bummed about the whole situation and if a day comes that I don’t have access to electricity for a long period of time, it could be disastrous!!!  We all have become dependent on this technology and quite frankly I am embarrassed since I am ALWAYS telling the Apple non believers in my life they should switch to Apple devices…right now, I can’t say that because I have lost a little faith in them myself.

Daniel Neal

I’ve always used a 1500ma Mophie Juice Pack Air for times when I’d have to wait to recharge my phone on trips or in poor reception areas.

With the problems since IOS 5, I’m wishing I had it’s big brother, the 2000ma Juice Pack Plus.



Like Lee above (I do miss the ‘Sir Harry’ moniker), I agree, great graphic.

I have followed the chatter in the Twitter-verse, as well as key sites (TMO among them) regarding reduced battery life, sluggish performance, download hiccups (most of which just seemed to be busy server-related), etc.

I have to say, that even from my remote location with the dodgy internet connections and power outages, I had virtually no trouble in downloading iOS5, and have found that it has made my venerable 3GS snappier in performance (unless it requires a download - but that’s a separate issue), and, unless it’s my imagination, the screen just a little brighter (reminiscent of migrating from Tiger to Leopard on OS X).

From where I am, I have seen no performance hit on battery life, and wonder whether this is related to consistent interrogation from location services in areas with better internet access (which does not describe my situation at the moment).

I plan on doing a side-by-side comparison on battery life between my new 4S and my wife’s 4, when I get home in late November. Until then, iOS5 is like having a(n almost) new communicator.

Lee Dronick
Like Lee above (do miss the ?Sir Harrymoniker), I agreegreat graphic 

I decided that if I was going to comment it would be under my real name and not a nom de blog. Speaking of anonymity my wife and I saw the movie Anomynous, I highly recommend it even if you are not a Shakspeare fan.

We are still waiting for our iPhones 4S to arrive. Hopefully we will not get one with a battery problem.


Speaking of anonymity my wife and I saw the movie Anomynous, I highly recommend it even if you are not a Shakspeare fan.

Understood. Still, I miss the moniker.

I think I know enough about Shakespeare (and am a fan) that the movie would offend me. The hypothesis puts me off.

Perhaps I’ll give it audience when it hits iTunes.

Lee Dronick

Yes the movie doesn’t paint Shakespeare in a good light, implies that he murdered Kit Marlowe. However, the period costumes and set are excellent.

On the other hand the movie Coriolanus is soon going to open. Set in modern day Italy, but with the original Elizibethean language that Shakespeare wrote the play.

I need to soon be getting to bed. You all have a good night, or good day depending on the time zone that you may be in.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account