My phone has been doing the same thing. Got mine on Friday morning (10/14) and noticed it the next morning. It was plugged in all night long (wall-plug, not USB), but when I woke up and first checked, it was down to about 96% or so. I unplugged it and plugged it back in and it went up to 100% (over several minutes).
I thought it might just be that the new phone needed to have its battery indicator calibrated, so I drained the battery down to the point where it shut itself off (which took most of the day as I used the phone normally until drained), and then plugged it in and left it plugged in overnight again. The next morning, it was at 100% while plugged in. BUT after I opened my podcasting app and began downloading podcasts, I noticed it dropping to 99% and then 98% after another minute or so. This is normal for un-plugged iPhone battery drain, but my phone was still plugged in and still showing the charging indicator.
I un-plugged, re-plugged and it went back up to 100%. I again drained the battery down (this time to only about 20% or so) before charging again. Long story short, this pattern persists. It will charge up to 100%, and then it seems to stop drawing power from the charger, even though the indicators show charging status.
This is my first iPhone, but my iPad 2 remains at 100% while plugged in, no matter how long, or what I do with it while it is plugged in. So this battery draining while plugged in for my iPhone 4S seemed odd to me. I've been waiting to see what others had to say about it, so here I am sharing my own experience.
I'm guessing it's a "feature" or perhaps unintended mistake in terms of how the 4S communicates with the charger, rather than anything specific to iOS 5. A co-worker of mine has an iPhone 4 running iOS 5 and I spoke to him about this. He keeps his iPhone 4 plugged in (via USB) most of the day and it never drops below 100% while plugged in.
I'm eager to hear what other 4S owners have to say. Is this a "feature", software glitch, or hardware issue?
Message was edited by: ascii-T - type-o correction
Alright, so I went to the Genius bar and explained to them my issue. The tech ran diagnostics on my phone and found that the system applications were crashing and immediately reopening, he also told me that the battery passed all the tests successfully. He offered to restore my phone since he said that if the apps were crashing and reopening while on the charger, the phone would draw more power than the charger put out. I let him do that and took it home.
I put it on the charger last night before I went to bed and woke up to find that there was no more discharging, but the battery meter stopped at 96%. Naturally I called the store and asked for the tech I dealt with last night. Luckily he was in, and he told me that might be battery meter calibration, to give it a few cycles to see if it works out before I get it replaced.
So for now I'm hanging tight and will run the battery down a few times. Since I have a year warranty if the issue persists I will get it swapped out. One tremendous upside from the restore they did in the store is that so far today my battery life is MUCH improved. I don't know if it fixed those apps or not, but I'm getting much better battery life so far.
I'm going to leave this discussion open until I can determine the problem is actually fixed entirely.
Thanks for the update Maxxavier. It does make some sense - the opening of apps that keep crashing repeatedly over and over. Odd that there would be corrupt system files right out of the gate like that, but things happen.
Interestingly, today I've noticed my battery draining fasterthan normal while using and not using it. The percentage meter was creeping down at a fairly brisk pace while just typing a couple of paragraphs in the stock Notes app. I lost 5% in approx. 10 minutes of justtyping in "Notes". I might expect that while using a data service, such as web browsing, maps, or downloading apps/podcasts, but while just typing, without other apps open in the background - that seemed odd to me.
Until today, I've been getting outstanding battery life (at least compared to my last smart phone, which was not an iPhone). Don't have too many apps installed yet,either. My process monitor app showed just the usual system processes running - nothing "new-app" related running in the background or anything. I'm not using any geo-location based reminders or location services today (aside from checking the weather earlier). I can't help but wonder if I'm also experiencing crashing system apps that keep re-launching and consequently causing the battery to drain faster.
Yesterday, I woke up to find my iPhone completely charged to 100%. I was hoping the issue had corrected itself. This morning, it was at 99% after being on the charger over night (about 6 hours duration without interruption). I wonder if that percentage drop while charging is indicative of the problem that iscausing faster battery drain today.
I wish there was some kind of way to run a self-diagnosticon the device. I’d much prefer to beable to diagnose potential issues without having to take time out of my day todrive to the nearest Apple store (which is about a half hour drive from home).
Anyway, I really appreciate your sharing how things have gone for you so far. It’s been helpful. I’m going to continue monitoring battery performance closely and watch for any patterns with the draining while charged issue on my phone. Like you pointed out, we’ve got a year warranty on this, so there’s plenty of time to work with. Even if I do have to go back to the Apple Store, at least I’ve never had anything shortof *outstanding* customer care there. Good to know they do support their products and actually seem to care about the customer experience.
Please continue to update us if you discover new information or have something useful to add. I love my iPhone 4S and would really like to get any bugs worked out so the experiencecan (hopefully) be the smooth sailing that my iPad 2 has been.
I'm having this exact same issue. Got my 64gb iPhone 4S on Oct 14, and until about a week ago, it was working perfectly. Now, every morning, I wake up to find my phone charged to 96%, 97%, and sometimes even to 99%. I'm loathe to wipe my phone clear for one reason: Angry Birds. I've worked hard to get 3 stars in each level and I'll be darned if I have to lose that! But what I have tried is this:
- Restore from backup
- Battery drain
- Different cables and docks
Nothing works. I consistently get the batter failing to fully charge. But also like everyone else, a quick unplug and re-plug solves the issue in about 10 minutes. However, my greater fear is that there's an underlying defect with the battery.
And every thread on this topic ends with someone going to the Genius Bar, promising to report their findings... But they never do. The rest of us forever left hanging.
I want resolution!
CongressDJ - I'm pretty sure your iPhone *is* charging all the way to 100%, but then dropping down again before you look at it for the first time following its charge.
The pattern I've noticed is that when my iPhone 4S reaches 100%, the battery icon (in the upper-corner, not the large one on the lock screen) goes from the charge-bolt to a plug icon. I was mistaking that initially to mean "charging", but I believe it to mean simply "plugged in", whereas the bolt represents active "charging".
I don't think anything is wrong with your battery, or mine, or anyone else's who's having this issue. I've found many threads scattered about addressing this same concern.
At this point, I believe what is happening is the active charge cycle simply stops once the battery has reached full charge. The phone recognizes that is it still plugged in, hence the plug icon in the battery, but is no longer charging. Because it is no longer actively charging, or drawing any power from the charger at all (or so it seems), the phone's operations begin to wear down the battery again. The difference between waking up to a battery that is 100% charged (if charging overnight) and waking up to a battery with only a 95% charge, is based on when the battery reached full charge (perhaps several hours before checking it for the first time) and how much juice the phone needed to continue operation. If your phone is set to download podcasts at certain times, or checking email, has location based services running, sending usage data to Apple, etc., the battery will run down some extent, just like it was *not* plugged in.
I'm pretty convinced at this point that this is by design and not a defect. It may be undesirable, but based on all the information I've been able to gather in my own observations and what I've read in various threads here and other forums, it just seems like that's how it's been made to work now, with intent.
The question I have is does this somehow improve the phone's battery life, in terms of total battery life span and its ability to deliver maximum charge, cycle after cycle? Or does it somehow offer some kind of benefit to the device, as opposed to continuous drawing of power while plugged in, even after the battery is 100%? I really can only guess at why it has been made to operate this way, but I do believe it is intentional at this point. It may be something that a future update patches up, if the decision makers at Apple do so wish.
For now, I am ok with things as they are because I'm pretty certain it's by design and not a malfunction or glitch. Apple tends to be quiet on their reasoning for doing things, so I'm not sure if we'll see a "fix" for this in an update, or if Apple does choose to address why this "feature" has been chosen operate as such. If it *does* prolong the lifespan of my hardware, than I'm all for it. If not, I'd appreciate an update that allows my phone to continue to draw power for system operations while plugged in, even when the battery is at 100%.
For what it's worth, you *can* power-down your iPhone AFTER plugging it in, to have a fully 100% charged battery each and every time. The down-side is, of course, the phone is not operational during this time, so alarms, reminders, phone calls, etc. are not going to work. But if you don't use alarms or anything while charging overnight, consider plugging it in first, then powering down. When you wake up, power-up, and in 30 seconds, you've got a fully booted, fully charged iPhone.
Message was edited by: ascii-T - word corrections
As much as I'd like to tell myself this is by design and not a defect, I cannot agree as it does NOT happen to the vast majority of iPhone users. If it was by design it would happen to everyone. I've also noticed that mine does not do it every night. It is very inconsistent which tell me that the phone is doing something differently. It is not acceptable either, because I can't expect to wake up and have to replug my phone in to go from 90-100% before leaving for work. My battery life is terrible enough as is.
We don't know if it's happening to everyone or not - just those who have been vocal in about it. It may very well just be a small percentage of us experiencing this issue, but there's no way to really tell for certain. I know a lot of people who never really fully charge their phones - they just charge here and there, a little at a time, so they may not notice it if charging in small bursts like that. A guy at work does that with his iPhone 4 (which doesn't have this issue, but just making note of people's differing charging habits).
I, too, have had my phone be at 100% sometimes when I first check in the morning, and sometimes not. It's gone down as far as 92% when I first check in the morning. I know that on days when I get up later (weekends) that it seems to not be at 100% when I check for the first time. This would support the theory of the battery reaching 100% charge hours before, and then loosing charge as it continues normal operation over time. Most of the time on work days, when I get up much earlier, the battery *is* at 100% when I first check (most, but not all the time).
Again, this is just a theory I have. It's definitely logical and fits the patterns I've noticed personally with my own phone usage. Logical or not, it's just my "best guess", because I really don't have enough other data to go by.
I don't like that it doesn't hold its charge while plugged in, but I'm not too bothered by it for now. We've got a 1-year warranty on these things and if it *does* turn out to be a malfunction rather than by design, I'm pretty sure we'll be able to swap our phones without a problem, within the warranty time. For now, I'm just waiting it out and continuing to read what others are saying.
After a lot of thought about having my iPhone 4S be future proof, with enough growing room for the next two years, I decided to take my Verizon iPhone 32 GB model back and pay the extra for the 64 GB model yesterday. Unfortunately, it resulted in my first bad Apple Store experience, but this thread is not the time or place for that discussion (a quick note on that: The first employee lied to me about what I had to do to make the exchange and sent me away on a wild goose chase. The second employee gave me the classic smooth, enjoyable experience an hour and a half later after having to make several phone calls and spinning my wheels while following the total BS the first guy fed me - at least there was a happy ending).
On to the issue of not remaining charged while plugged in. I made sure to run the battery completely down on my new pone yesterday, so I could begin battery meter calibration. The phone was plugged into a wall charger at roughly 11:30 PM. At roughly 4 AM, I checked the phone and the battery had charged to 100%. At this point, the battery icon (upper-right corner) had the plug icon in it, rather than the bolt icon, indicating active charging had completed (unknown for how long). I left it plugged in and went back to sleep. I got up just before 8 AM and checked the phone again. It had dropped to 96% charge, while still plugged in. I removed the cable from the phone, and plugged it back in to achieve 100% charge several minutes later.
For me, that's two phones with the same exact charging pattern we've been discussing with concern here. This seems to indicate that it is by design (or perhaps design error), rather than a malfunction. In other words, it seems plausible that if this is a result of the phone's firmware coding, then it may be changed/corrected in a future update to maintain full charge (draw operational power from the cable power source rather than the battery while still plugged in).
A co-worker of mine also has an iPhone 4S (different guy than the previously mentioned iPhone 4 co-worker). I've spoken to him about the battery loosing charge while plugged in issue a few times. He is one of those people who charges frequently, not always waiting to reach 100% before unplugging. He did however, indicate that since I first spoke to him about the issue, he's been paying closer attention to his. He told me that he's observed his phone *maintaining* 100% charge, while being actively used on and off for durations of at least, if not longer than an hour. His is an AT&T iPhone 4S 64 GB.
If his observations are true, I wonder if there are slight firmware differences between phones of different carriers (aside from the obvious cell-tower communications chipset programming). If not differences in carrier firmware (that might affect charging and battery usage while charged), perhaps just differences in the firmware of phones produced in different batches.
Two differences that I quickly noticed in my 64 GB iPhone 4S from my 32 GB version were Siri's voice sounded different, and "Settings" menu navigation was noticeably slower on my 64 GB phone. Keep in mind I am very acutely aware of minute differences in load times, animation glitches, and other subtle things - my brain is just kind of hard-wired like that.
What is different about Siri's voice? In my 32 GB iPhone, she had more of a sharper sound, with more emphasis on the higher tones - kind of more crisp sounding. On my 64 GB iPhone, she's a little smoother sounding, slightly more robot-like, less distinct treble/upper-range tone emphasis. Which Siri voice sounded better is debatable, but the point here is that there *is* a noticeable difference and I picked up on it immediately. While looking for settings to adjust her voice, I didn't find any, BUT I did find that I now had a choice of 5 different language settings. I'm almost positive that wasn't there with my 32 GB iPhone 4S. BTW - I happen to like the sound of Australian Siri's voice the best, but can't use it as it doesn't recognize my own speech as well and does not work with location based services.
The point I'm making is that it seems there is indeed some kind of difference in this phone's firmware from my last one. I doubt the differences are hardware-based.
What does this mean? In context of the mysterious loosing charge while plugged in issue we're experiencing, while others *might* not be (and my co-worker has insisted he is not experiencing it), if there are indeed different firmware variations out there - that might explain why some people are reporting this issue and others are not.
Bad news for me, but potentially good news for everyone else (who may be following this thread), my brand spanking new iPhone 4S is showing signs of image sensor pixel glitches - mainly, what appears to be malfunctioning pixels in the image sensor (or processing there of). I noticed this while watching a short video I took on our 42" TV. It was not present in video shot with my previous 32 GB iPhone 4S. It's completely invisible on the iPhone screen (not enough image resolution to show single pixels), but noticeable on our 1080p 42" LCD TV. It's something most people might not even catch, but my eyes were immediately drawn to it. My wife commented "It's just a couple of dots - what's the big deal?" My comment - I paid way too much to just settle for a defective image sensor, especially when the camera and video capabilities of the phone were a huge deciding factor. Anyway, I'll soon be swapping my phone again (after researching the issue a bit more first), which will offer me a unique hands-on with a *third* iPhone to compare the loosing charge while plugged in issue with.
On a side note, between the BS "we can't help you" guy I had the mis-pleasure of dealing with at the Apple Store yesterday and my current image sensor issues, I deeply regret ever returning my 32 GB iPhone 4S for the 64 GB model. Now I'm spending more time just trying to make sure everything is 100% with my new, expensive device rather than simply **enjoying** it.
I bought 2 iPhone 4s phones on 10/14/11 on opening day.i had to get black because the white ones I pre ordered were not available.i noticed on both of the iPhones the battery life is horrible and over the last 2 days Ive gotten up and had my phone plugged I over night and left it plugged it to check my Facebook for a few minutes and close the app then close it running in the back ground and when the home screen pops up I noticed my battery percentage was at 96% while still plugged in.its happened 2 days in a row and I got my wives phone to do it also.im glad Im not the only one with this issue!the battery life is similar to the life I had on my 3GS iPhone so it's terrible compared to the iPhone 4.i have ran the battery doctor app and it seemed to actually help some but it's not like it should be!is apple working on a fix for this?
Keep in mind that we're running iOS 5.0, the first release of an entirely new OS for iDevices. Even though the bulk of bugs and issues were ironed out during the beta releases, it's very likely that there are many more yet to work out. I'm sure that people at Apple are watching what people are saying, identifying real issues from "user error" and "opinion", and taking measures to fix things they feel should be corrected/updated.
Whether the battery not remaining at 100% charge while plugged in is deemed an issue remains to be seen. Based on how every other iOS device behaves (as in remaining 100% charged while plugged in), I'm *guessing* they do address this in an update.
Sit tight and try to remain patient. We've got new devices with a new OS. I'm sure there will be many issues addressed in the months to come.