Observations on the iPhone 4S battery life

When I first got my iPhone 4S last week I was, as you can imagine, delighted to have my new Apple toy. I was really happy with everything about it. Apart from just one thing: the battery.

From the outset I was noticing that the battery was draining significantly faster than I experienced with my iPhone 4.

As you do, I started to search around on Twitter and Google and quickly discovered that I wasn’t alone with this issue.

There were numerous suggestions for ways to reduce the speed of the battery drain. My issue with this though was that nearly all of them were suggestions to switch off things like push updates, location services, and notifications. I don’t want to have a phone with loads of amazing features but then have to switch them all off to get decent battery life!

I then came across one suggestion of doing a full restore of the iPhone. This meant plugging my phone into iTunes, choosing the ‘Restore’ option, waiting for the operating system to download afresh from Apple, installing that, and then restoring my iPhone from my backup.

And you know what? It did make a difference. It wasn’t quite as dramatic as my first impressions had hoped for, but the battery life was and is noticeably better as result. But, to be clear, it was still not on a par with what I was getting with the iPhone 4.

I kept my eye on Twitter for any other suggestions being shared and one popped up which talked about ‘calibrating’ the battery. This basically means charging the battery to 100% and then letting it completely drain to nothing before charging it again. (Incidentally, Apple recommends you do this once a month.)

I did this yesterday and this too has definitely led to another noticeable boost in battery life. And whilst my iPhone 4S is probably still not quite as good as the iPhone 4, I do think it is now pretty close.

Now clearly I shouldn’t have to do this at all. And for most users, they’re going to never know how to do this or have the inclination to do it. I suspect Apple may release a software update to address the issues meaning that these steps I’ve taken won’t be necessary. But if you are having battery issues and can’t wait for an update from Apple, then I can vouch for the above two steps making a significant difference.

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