14 Replies Latest reply: May 3, 2012 8:11 AM by Stevenrb
Richard Tench Level 1 Level 1 (130 points)

Hi. Beginning a little over a week ago my battery life suddenly reduced by about half. My iPhone is warmer now, even when it's not in use. It wasn't coincident with anything I noticed, e.g. no new iOS release, no change in application use. I've reviewed my Location Services, no unexpected grey GPS symbols (and no purple of course). Does anyone have any ideas as to what might cause this?

iMac 27, Mac OS X (10.6.8), iOS 4 and iTunes both up-to-date
  • Lawrence Finch Level 7 Level 7 (33,405 points)
  • Richard Tench Level 1 Level 1 (130 points)

    Hi Lawrence. I understand there were a slew of battery problems with iPhone 4S, iOS 5, and even iOS 5.0.1. My problem is tied to none of them, as I upgraded to 5.0.1 weeks earlier than when the problem started. (I should have pointed out in my post, it's an iPhone 4, not 4S).


    That said, I've reviewed each of your posts, and came up dry still. I do appreciate you pulling together the list, though, and expect that others will benefit from the summary.


    Anyone else have more recent problems, not coincident with the release of 5.0.1 or the 4S, or thoughts on what might have caused the sudden issue?

  • Lawrence Finch Level 7 Level 7 (33,405 points)

    Most of the problems that occur when you upgrade can also happen betwen upgrades (as they did for you), but because there is no associated action people don't think of it as the same problem. It is, however. Rapid battery drain is almost always caused by an app that is sending data or trying to and failing, and continually retrying. You have to find the app. Probably 90% of the time it is the email app, especially if you have an Exchange server account. If you do delete the account, reboot, and add it back. Another that frequently works is to run the battery all the way down until the phone shuts off, then charge for 4 hours with the wall charger.


    The other solutions are similar; battery drain is a symptom, not a problem; you need to find the app that is causing the problem.

  • anafromfunchal Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm sorry ....


    I don't need to discovery any app working bad!!!!


    I bought then and they must work on the phone ... properly!!!!   if not, it competes to apple to solve the problem ...


    Any way ....  as the engineers of apple are sleeping, I made a full restaure and did not install ANNY THING!!! not even phone contacts!!!! and I droped the battery to zero and charged it completely !!!!


    This proves that the problem is with the IOS 5 or with the hardware. I owned the 3G, the 3GS and now the 4 (without S).

    The last phone because of whatever is the problem IS A PEACE OF SHEET ...... at the moment.


    Is this is the kind of things that destroy a brand.  I fill pitty of steve and apple.  Bye , bye ...

  • Richard Tench Level 1 Level 1 (130 points)

    Thanks Lawrence. I will give those a try.


    FYI, I use Exchange 3 ways: 2 gmail accounts (my personal ones), and one work account (our corporate Exchange server). I mention this in case this triggers a further observation.


    Again, much appreciated.

  • Lawrence Finch Level 7 Level 7 (33,405 points)

    I'm pretty sure it is one of the Exchange accounts, then. There is a failure mode in the ActiveSync protocol where the phone keeps trying to use a stale connection even though a new connection has been opened. This is usually caused by something interrupting a data transfer, such as losing the connection during the transfer. You have to kill the stale connections. Sometimes it works to run the battery down until the phone shuts off, which kills all background processes. More often you need to either delete the account as I described and reboot, then add it back, or turn it off (Settings/Mal,Contacts,Calendar, tap the account and turn off the 3 switches), back out of settings, open Mail, then Contacts, then Calendar to clear the queues, reboot the phone, then turn the switches back on.


    This problem is not unique the the iPhone. I have also seen it with WinMob and Android phones if they use ActiveSync.

  • MarcoIac Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Dear Lawrence,

    I found this thread while investigating about my sudden battery draining problems. I have had an iPhone4 for about a year with no problems whatsoever. I use all sorts of notifications, locations services, and things that typically use up the battery, like 3G data download. Always had between seven and eight hours of phone usage, and on average had to recharge it every other day (this oviously depended also on how much I used the phone). I set it up to wi-fi sync with itunes when system 5.0 came out, updated to 5.01 (or whatever) with no problems and no change in battery usage. Suddenly, few days ago I noticed the drainage. I know it could be many things and decided to simply restore and backup from restore. It is unclear what it did, because the day after I was on a trip and used the iphone a lot, in one day I had pretty much seven-eight hours of usage time on 3G. That heavy usage might have masked a battery drainage. One easily notices an abnormal drainage whan one does NOT use the phone. At any rate, the following day (back home) the problem was clearly visible. It's possible that restoring from backup did re-create the problem. Maybe.

    When I read this thread I also went to the first link you provide, and that link sent me to another one. I noticed that my console app was having lots of messages from usbmuxd regarding attaching and detaching the iphone (and ipad too though, and the ipad does not seem to have the battery drainage problem, although it is more difficult to say, because you do not get the stats you get for the iphone, and the ipad battery lasts a lot). Anyway, I decided to do two things. Delete three of my four email accounts, and turn off the wifi syncing with itunes. rebooted and quit itunes.

    battery went back to its previous good performance. then i added again the three emails account. battery still strong. then i re-started the wifi syncing yesterday. battery still strong. today i also restarted wifi syncing for the ipad. suddenly i got battery drainage (on the iphone!) again. since i don't believe in magic, i think this is purely coincidental. consider also that i had wifi syncs on both iphone and ipad since 5.0 came out with no issues until last week this battery drainage appeared.

    the fact that the battery drainage came out again in a few days is concerning. it's possible that deleting the email accounts again might fix the problem, but how is it possible that i never had these problems for a year, and suddenly it happened two or perhaps three times in less than two weeks? (it is unclear if my battery went temporarily back to its previous performance after the restore, because of the confound of the trip and its related change in iphone usage).

    some suggest a reset network settings, but i don't see how that can help. after all, until few hours ago, my iphone battery was going strong with those network settings.

    the other thing that puzzles me is why the process that drains the battery does not stop when you reboot. rebooting is of no help at all. how could that be? i thought that rebooting would kill any process on the phone.

    i don't like to do things that do not have a rationale. until few hours ago i thought that my problem was a new problem linked to wifi syncing. i now think it's more what you say, associated with emails. but what puzzles me is that after i solved it, it came out again in a couple of days.

    any tip?


    (and my apologies if this is too long, or too confusing, or most likely both)

  • Lawrence Finch Level 7 Level 7 (33,405 points)

    Marcolac, Wow, a good, thoughtful analysis. I think one of the causes of sudden battery drain is queued messages that cannot be sent, but the app continues to try to resend them. I have done some analysis from the server end of an Exchange email account, and noticed that when my battery drain is abnormally high there are a number of open connections between the Exchange server and the phone, but only one actually exchanging data. The first time this happened (almost 4 years ago) I had the Exchange admin reboot the server and the problem went away. (The only reason he cooperated was he had a lot of iPhones with multiple open connections.)


    Queued messages survive a reboot, so that is possibly a reason that rebooting doesn't solve the problem. Deleting the email accounts DOES remove queued messages for email, contacts and calendar (for Exchange and iCloud accounts) so that might be why it works. It's interesting that your problem was not associated with an update; many people think that it is the version updated to that causes the problem. I am convinced it is not, but that possibly the update process can trigger the condition if there were queued messages before the update that were interrupted by the update. And like you, I have experienced the problem of sudden, unexplained battery drain not associated with a recent update.


    An alternative to deleting email accounts that I have used successfully is just to turn the account off in Settings, open Mail, Contacts and Calendar so they "know" the account is off, rebooting and turning the accounts back on.


    It isn't always email, however (it is for me); there have also been reports that turning off other data-using apps (like the Store apps, Game Center, Ping, etc) somes the battery problem for some users. I think the issue is the same; queued messages from these apps that get "stuck".


    The key element is that rapid battery drain is a symptom, not the root cause, and that it has many possible causes. Which is why no one solution will work for everyone. And some users really have no problem beyond unrealistic expectations of what the battery life of a very powerful pocket computer should be. Clearly not you, however.

  • MarcoIac Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    I agree with your analysis. In my case it seems to be one (or both) the Gmail accounts. I stopped the battery draining again after posting my message by deleting the Gmail accounts (actually deleted one and switched off the other after i noticed your comment about switching them off; it seems to me that switching them off and clearing the queue should suffice, no reason to delete the account and then reenter the data). (btw, i need to keep them separate, which doesn't necessarily help, but it's the way it is...)

    i also have now a potential explanation as to why it never happened before to me and it happened at least a couple of times in a few days. i was unhappy with the fact that some emails sent from my mac mail app were not visible on my iOS devices. i started changing mailbox behavior/settings and experimenting. and since i have four different email accounts (two gmail, my university IMAP, and the mobileme/icloud), i decided to uniformly use the same settings for all of them (it was getting too confusing to test various settings if each account also had a different setting). the bottom line is that i did recently change my mail settings. it is possible that my previous settings did not make it likely to have these queueing problems, and the current ones do. i frankly don't even remember my previous settings, but if the problem happens again, it may be worth for me to try to go back to the previous settings (if i am able to reconstruct them).

    with regard to batteries, you are also correct. it's one of those fields were progress has been very difficult, and there is no sight of a magic solution that will make batteries last forever. i was talking to a group of high level electro-engineering profs that also work in my university for a project on brain-computer interface, and they resolutely told me that. we can make nano stuff, and will make a lot of progress on many fronts in the near future, but with batteries we are not moving forward too fast.

  • JMLong4 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi, I just caught up on this discussion and I have been having the same problems.

    Everything was  working fine and then massive battery drain (went to bed with 100% charge woke up 15%) charge. I've done several things from turning off location services, to resetting the device to factory settings to resetting the network settings. (I just discovered this thread about deleting email accounts, I have two gmail accounts.) I have yet to try this solution.

    However, the thing that confuses me is my Usage v standby time. As of right now I'm at 6 hrs 52 mins of usage and 7 hrs 41 mins on standby from my last full charge which was about 7am and my battery is at 46%.

    The confusing part is I do not believe I have been using my iPhone for 6hrs and 52 mins. I would use it to check things here and there but was not constatnly on the device. (email is set to push) Any apps I use I usually sign out of them.

    Any ideas what is causing the battery drain and usage v standby time problem?

    I have a feeling the battery drain could be contributed to whatever is causing the usage time to be so high.


  • MarcoIac Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    It's the usage time that explains the battery drain. It shows that some process is going on even when you are not using the phone. When that happens to me, I go to settings, turn off the gmail accounts (it's invariably them, in my case), then open mail, so that mail app knows that those accounts are shut down. Then I reboot. It generally works. That means that somehow mail.app was working in the background continuously. Not sure why it happens, but it's the most likely explanation of what's going on, at least in my case.

  • Gerrythek Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    After going several months just fine, suddenly my phone and my wife's phone started having serious battery life issues.  We would have to charge them several times a day.  In tried all the tips listed on literally hundreds of help pages to no avail.  Finally I solved the problem for us at least.  I started deleting apps one at a time and found the problem - an song-recognition app called "Sound Hound".  After deleting this app we've gone several DAYS without needing to recharge our 4S iPhones.


    First leson is to delete Sound Hound or any sililar app.  The second takeaway is that there may be innocent-looking apps that cause a battery drain.

  • JMLong4 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I've deleted the gmail accounts and have done reset. I'm still losing battery power at an alarming rate (so I think) I'm going to let the battery drain, charge it and see how it performs. If not I dont know what to do besides slowly deleteing apps.

    Is there any other way to determine which app is causing my drain?

  • Stevenrb Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Thank you Lawrence! Ive been having this battery drain issue for about 2 weeks and after deleting and re-adding the exchange account ive been getting a big improvement in battery life... And the phone does not get as warm as it use too! Thank you!