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iPhone 4S losing charge plugged in

76577 Views 87 Replies Latest reply: Jul 8, 2013 2:57 AM by MaKemm RSS
  • jonfromsouthend Calculating status...
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    Oct 30, 2011 1:32 AM (in response to Maxxavier)

    Found this thread after noticing this issue on my new 4S. Woke this morning to level at 92% and plug icon. It dropped to 91% while I read this thread and then, without unplugging, it changed to thunderbolt icon and is currently going up (96% at the mo) so it does look to me like a design feature. Would love an official response from Apple so we know how best to charge it.

     

    Hope this helps.

  • jonfromsouthend Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Oct 30, 2011 1:41 AM (in response to jonfromsouthend)

    Just to add. If I'd woken half-hour later it would have been on 100%. It's up to 99% and still charging so definitely looks like it charges, then drains 10%, then charges again, etc.

     

    Must be a design feature to improve long term performance?

  • ascii-T Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Oct 30, 2011 6:19 AM (in response to jonfromsouthend)

    Thanks for sharing that, jonfromsouthend.  That is indeed very helpful information.  That does support that "by design" theory, which seems more reality than theory now.  That might also explain why sometimes I wake up to a phone that is 100% charged and sometimes it has dropped a little.

     

    For me, this morning at about 4 AM, my iPhone 4S was at 100% charge, showing the plug icon, not the bolt.  When I got up for the day at around 8 AM, it was still at 100% with the plug, whereas yesterday, at the same times, it had dropped to 96% by 8 AM while still plugged in.  The drop in charge seems based on how much power the phone is consuming while checking mail, sending stats to Apple, other various services people may be running.  Whether or not we find a 100% charged phone or 9_% is all about timing.  If it drops to 91%, as you observed, it will apparently recharge itself again.  If it has not dropped down that far, or perhaps there was minimal power consumption between reaching 100% charge and being checked for the first time, then there may be little to no drop from 100%.

     

    I'm pretty convinced this is a design choice, so I'm really not concerned about it anymore.  I'd still prefer the maintaining 100% charge thing, though... *unless* that is, if this design choice has been shown to prolong the battery and/or phone's lifespan.  If this saves on "wear and tear", then I'm all for it.  It *would* be very nice for some official word from Apple on this, though.  A FAQ for those of us who sit better *knowing* why the phone is behaving the way it does would be most appreciated.

  • John.Orban.who.lives.in.USA Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Oct 30, 2011 6:23 AM (in response to Maxxavier)

    Just to add my voice to this discussion, I, too, have this issue. I'm in the habit of running my phone down to about 10% or less and then charging it overnight. My iPhone 4 was always at 100% in the morning. My 64GB iPhone 4S is anywhere from 91% to 96% when I wake up.

     

    That said, I can usually get two full days out of the phone before I have to charge it. I probably should turn off the little power drains like constantly searching for wireless networks and such, but haven't as of yet.

     

    I manage a network of some 200 Apple mobile devices and battery life is always a concern, but I have to say in the two+ years we've switched to Apple, batteries have not been a concern at all. in a laptop, for example, battery reporting issues seem to be fixed with an SMC reset. Therefore, I'm thinking this is a software/firmware based "feature". Battery cycles, according to Apple are based on a theoretical full discharge and recharge, so, for example, if a battery goes from 95% to 100%, it could do that 20 times and still be considered one cycle.

     

    Their suggestions on battery maintenance warns against leaving laptops plugged in all the time, so, perhaps, this is related to that. Knowing that their users will keep their devices plugged in (I know my users do), they figure this is one way to recycle the batteries.

     

    Who the heck knows? I'm just glad to know I'm not the only one. I thought it might have been the charger being different in the 4S (I'm still using the one from my 4). Apparently not.

  • Lewis Patterson Calculating status...
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    Oct 30, 2011 9:17 AM (in response to Maxxavier)

    My iphone4s has the same issue....it will charge to 100%' then, while still plugged in, gradually lose charge. I assume this will be fixed in a software update. Curiously, though, I left for Europe the day after getting my 4S, and in the 10 days in Europe, didn't have this problem at all, it's only begun since I got home.

  • Bill37 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Oct 30, 2011 9:43 AM (in response to ascii-T)

    Designing an iPhone, or any lithium battery device, that gives less than a full charge would not be something Apple would do. There hasn't been and won't be an explaination forthcoming from Apple about how they designed the 4S to not always be at 100% after being charged. It's a flaw -- one that I hope can be fixed with a software update.

     

    My iPhone 4S is one of those that either doesn't fully charge, or charges and then starts to discharge. Whatever the cause, my iPhone 4S frequently isn't at full power even after having been charged for 8, 10 or 12 hours.

     

    An iPhone that's been in a charger overnight should be at 100% battery power. I don't want to start my day with an iPhone 4S that's only partially charged, especially when that iPhone eats battery power faster than my kids eat their Halloween candy.

     

     

    --original message--

     

    "That does support that 'by design' theory, which seems more reality than theory now.  That might also explain why sometimes I wake up to a phone that is 100% charged and sometimes it has dropped a little."

  • jonfromsouthend Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Oct 30, 2011 10:06 AM (in response to Bill37)

    I think there may be some slight misunderstandings.

     

    I've no link with Apple, and would really like to see a response from them to clarify, but from what I have noticed, it DOES fully charge the 4S but, once charged, it switches to running from the battery. The battery then goes down as you would expect and then, when it reaches 90%, it begins charging again back to 100%, then switches back to battery again, and so it continues.

     

    This makes perfect sense from the viewpoint of battery performance. I agree it's frustrating if you unplug the iPhone when it's at it's 91% state, and I would certainly rather (and did expect) it to stay at 100% while plugged in, but I appreciate the reasoning behind it (if I have indeed got the right theory).

     

    If I am right then expect their other products to start behaving in the same way! (iPad, Macbook, etc.)

  • ascii-T Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 30, 2011 10:33 AM (in response to Bill37)

    Bill37 wrote:

     

    Designing an iPhone, or any lithium battery device, that gives less than a full charge would not be something Apple would do.


    I agree, Bill37.  Maybe we'll never be let in on *why* Apple chooses to do the things they do, but it is very clear that Apple's goal is always to deliver the best user experience with seamless integration of hardware and software.

     

    It's more than likely that your iPhone 4S *is* reaching 100% charge when plugged in, and that by the time you've checked it, it has already lost some charge as it has gone from active charge mode (indicated by the bolt icon) to no longer drawing any current from the charger (indicated by the plug icon), at which time, it seems, the phone's regular operation will slowly use up battery life.

     

    I think what you're observing is the same thing we're all describing and not happy with.  I'm certain it can be corrected/changed in a software update and that it is not hard-coded into the device itself (99% certain, anyway).  Whether Apple adjusts this in the first update of iOS 5 or not, remains to be seen.

     

    If you have some kind of morning routine when you leave your home every day, you might consider just unplugging your iPhone and plugging it back in about 15-20 minutes before leaving.  That *should* be enough time to reach 100% charge again, allowing you to leave with a full 100% charge.  You shouldn't *need* to take measures like this, but until something is done about it, it might be helpful.  If you're worried you might forget to unplug, re-plug the morning, maybe ask Siri to remind you at a set time.  Reminders has been a life-saver for me!  Used them all the time on my previous phone (not an iPhone) and I use them even more now that they're the much easier to set up.  Just a thought.

  • Bill37 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 30, 2011 11:05 AM (in response to ascii-T)

    Lithium batteries, such as the ones in the iPhone 4S have finite number of charge-discharge cycles that they can go through before the battery fails (http://www.apple.com/batteries/).

     

    An iPhone 4S that regularly discharges 5% or 10% in the charger (and that may be happening multiple times a day, too), will have a shorter life span than one that is behaving normally, and not discarging in the charger. Every ten 10% discharge is equivalent to one full discharge.

     

    In other words, the not-charging/discharging problem is reducing the life span of the iPhone 4S' battery.

  • jonfromsouthend Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Oct 30, 2011 11:10 AM (in response to Bill37)

    That would worrying. I was 'assuming' Apple know best!

     

    We definitely need to hear from them about this and perhaps make it become optional.

  • iNfAMOSO70702 Calculating status...
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    Oct 30, 2011 12:12 PM (in response to Maxxavier)

    a full cycle charge is what helped me improve my battery...i still get the same 96% charge "problems" as most of you but battery was improved nonetheless...the funny thing is that when i was purposely trying to drain my battery i found it rather difficult haha..coming from android after a 2 year hiatus from iOS i am more than pleased with the battery life on my 32GB white 4S

  • ascii-T Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 30, 2011 12:46 PM (in response to iNfAMOSO70702)

    I agree, iNfAMOSO70702.  Doing a couple of full-cycle battery drain to full charge does improve battery life... or more accurately, improves the battery life *meter*.  Yep draining it down to that last 1% seems to take an extra long time!  That's the battery meter not being well calibrated yet.

     

    Also coming from an Android phone (HTC Eris) for two years, I'm LOVING the battery life on my 4S!  I've never been able to get through the work day without multiple charges before (on my Eris).  Now I leave work with ~60% remaining, and that's without charging at all and similar usage as on my Eris (actually MORE usage because my Eris was so darn slow and buggy, I got to the point where I stopped using several features because it became too frustrating).

  • slyguy_28 Level 2 Level 2 (165 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 30, 2011 12:58 PM (in response to Maxxavier)

    I can only speak from my experience, but this "feature" sounds quite normal. I long ago disabled the percentage reporting of my battery on my iPhone 4. It made me nervous to see the battery drop a percentage point every time I looked at it which led to looking at it more often and seeing it fall faster and looking more often etc,etc,etc.

     

    Secondly, with my Macbook Air and iPad 1, after reading how the batteries (MBA is amazing), charger and software work together it made sense. I learned that my iDevices and computer all charge to 100%, then they stop charging. If, after plugged in and charged to full capacity, if left plugged in and after reaching a predetermined point of discharge, they will start charging again. Gives the battery and charger a break.

     

    I think this is a GREAT idea.

    Sly

  • Bradley28173 Calculating status...
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    Oct 31, 2011 1:21 PM (in response to jonfromsouthend)

    I have the same issue with my new 4s I will plug it in right before bed, then when I wake up about 8 hours later it's at anywhere from 95% - 98%. I called apple and they said 9 times out of 10 its the software in the phone so I first reset the phone and all it's settings. The same issue began to occur so when I called back they said from itunes you can reset the software along with the settings. I backed up all my information, then reloaded ios 5.0, and the same thing happened when I woke up. It's one of those things that just bothers me and I dont feel like taking the time to go to the apple store. If anyone comes up with a solution let me know, and I will do the same.

  • ascii-T Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 31, 2011 3:01 PM (in response to Bradley28173)

    Bradley28173 wrote:

     

    I have the same issue with my new 4s I will plug it in right before bed, then when I wake up about 8 hours later it's at anywhere from 95% - 98%. I called apple and they said 9 times out of 10 its the software in the phone so I first reset the phone and all it's settings. The same issue began to occur so when I called back they said from itunes you can reset the software along with the settings. I backed up all my information, then reloaded ios 5.0, and the same thing happened when I woke up. It's one of those things that just bothers me and I dont feel like taking the time to go to the apple store. If anyone comes up with a solution let me know, and I will do the same.

     

    Based on what I've experienced and read (in other people's posts), I'm fairly certain it *is* a software thing, and was done intentionally (either for a reason, or as an oversight).  I wouldn't bother with the Genious Bar or continued resetting of your phone - it's doing the same thing all of ours is doing and it very unlikely it is a hardware defect or corrupt file or anything.

     

    If it is deemed an error or oversight on Apple's part, I'm sure a fix will come in a patch update.  If it is an intentional thing Apple did, perhaps to prolong the overall lifespan of the battery and/or phone hardware, then perhaps they may address that in some kind of FAQ - just to put everyone at ease and make it clear that it is not a defect or anything.

     

    I wouldn't worry about it, even though it may not be desirable.

     

    If you *don't* use your phone at all during the night (such as an alarm, clock, etc.), then consider powering it down *after* plugging it in.  If you power it down, it will reach 100% charge and remain at 100% without dropping until after being powered up and used for a while.  In other words - it will be at 100% when first powered up, as opposed to 95-98%.  I've started doing this with my phone for now, because I do not use it as an alarm.  It's not a big deal because in just about 30 seconds - it's fully booted and ready to roll.

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