I let my phone settle and have been using it as normal without messing with the settings at all. Minimal features on.
Always Good cellular signal
LTE safari browsing : 1% every 2 minutes (Phone got hot with just that 2 minutes...)
4G safari browsing: 1% every 3 minutes.
WIFI safari browsing: 1% every 3 1/2 minutes.
What is constantly sending and receiving cellular data when everything is closed but cellular is on? I don't understand that. It's so much data! I deleted my iCloud earlier in one of my "experiments" and that data stopped. So I just don't get it. Is all that sending and receiving normal if iCloud is enabled? Mail is on fetch. iCloud back up is not enabled. Only contacts, calendars, and mail. I am under the impression that this is really not the norm and most people aren't having these problems but how do you explain replacement after replacement with the same exact issues. I never restore from back up. I always manually set up my iPhones. Always have. I just set up iCloud for mail, contacts, and calendars. Anyway that's where I'm currently at.
1% drop in battery for every 2-3 minutes of use is a signifier of a problem.
Replacing phone after phone (I'm on my 3rd) doesn't fix it, yet many people are 'reporting' it works fine. It makes the case for a piece of hardware being faulty even more likely. If say 10 out of 30 units are sold with bad hardware, only half of the people could/would even notice it.....out of those people, only some actually report it (the others just live with it and say nothing)...only people who know better and/or are paying attention are complaining. Not looking good.
So as you guys might or might not have remembered me, my first iphone had crazy battery drain and I went to Apple and got a 2nd replacement which didnt fare any better after the first amazing charge. I decided to leave it alone and use the phone as is and went through one full discharge and this morning I left my house at 10:45AM, LTE on came to work, browsed safari, texted, took this message and read and replied to a few emails, I got to work around 12:30 and just put on WIFI and here's the crazy thing
Mind you I was on wifi for only 5 minutes. It's still at 100% after 30 minutes which it has never done before.
If you are losing battery life quickly, while in AIRPLANE MODE, you have a bad handset. Just show that fact at an APPLE Store and you'll be given a new phone.
Agreed, if your battery life is terrible in anything outside of cellular data usage you probably have a bad battery.
I've held off on making a fully detailed post about my IP5 experiences because I was still testing it in various ways, but I think I'll go ahead and do it now. Summary at the end for people who don't want to read all the details. I've also included all the glitches I've experienced even though it's slightly off topic (I've largely done this because I believe they support my theory of a slightly buggy OS and firmware/driver combo).
My unit is a launch day black AT&T 32GB from the online Apple pre-orders. I set it up as a new phone (I always do this with a new model, just prefer to start clean) with iCloud services off, location "system services" off, BT off, LTE off (no LTE in my area), mail set to manual. I generally turn all of the extraneous features off at the start and only enable them as I need them. I did not sync the device with iTunes until about 10 days after receiving the phone, and only synced music.
Going to describe my battery drain rates in the same categories the claims are broken into now.
Cellular Data (3G):
In line with most of the disappointing numbers posted here (and anandtech's 3G usage tests). I can extrapolate from my usage that I would get about 4-5 hours if I used the phone's full charge for constant 3G browsing. I've had a chance to go back and read anandtech's battery life conclusions more carefully since I posted that link, and I think they've basically hit on the issue. 3G service in my area is poor at best; while my signal is always in the 4+ bar range, the actual data speeds I get are terrible (1mbps or even less), which means that loading a single page often takes a good bit of time. I often find myself clicking to the next page before the data usage indicator stops spinning. This means that my radio is on almost constantly while I'm using it, constantly asking the tower to send more data and then receiving a slow trickle it has to keep listening for. I can see how having a faster connection would mean significantly less battery usage here.
Is it worse than the 4S? It certainly seems to be, but to be honest I didn't use cellular data as much as I do now with my 4S. I tried a direct comparison to a 4 the other day, and the 5 definitely drained battery faster doing the same browsing tasks (the 4 was also notably slower at loading pages). I'm not sure I can make any useful conclusions from this unfortunately.
On a slightly different note, I have experienced an issue I've seen posted on these forums: My 3G sometimes cuts out entirely. The 3G (well, 4G because AT&T is terrible) icon stays but no data comes through. To correct this I have to toggle airplane mode. This could easily be an issue with AT&T (the tower could assign a bad IP or bad DNS or something, no way to tell) and might resolve itself naturally if I moved and switched towers -- I'll make sure to try this next time it happens instead of toggling airplane mode to get a new connection.
I can get an extrapolated 8-11 hours of wifi browsing. Like my cellular data numbers, there's a lot of variance because I'm not using a standardized testing method; I can increase the time by spending more time on each page, or decrease it by quickly loading a number of pages. Either way these numbers are within the range I'd expect, so I don't really have any complaints about wifi performance. I should mention that generally my wifi usage involves being fairly close to the router.
I do have one concern though, which is similar to the cellular data issue I mentioned above and has been discussed in these forums. I occasionally drop to ~1mbps on wifi. When this happens my pings also get much higher. It usually doesn't last very long, but I know that it's not my home connection causing it (30mbps, never get drops like that from any other device). To be honest it feels like it's dropped to 3G when this happens (the pings and data rates match those I get from the towers around here). Unfortunately I wasn't smart enough to check my before and after cellular data or my IP last time it happened, but I'll try to do it next time. I wonder if this might be less of a wifi issue and more of an issue with iOS6's hidden (not removed apparently, based on that story about Verizon data waste on wifi) "drop to cellular from wifi" feature.
My standby times are good. At home where my cell signal is usually 3 bars, sometimes 4, I get an (again extrapolated, I didn't leave the phone for 200 hours) average of about 200 hours. Sometimes an overnight % loss suggests only 180 hours, sometimes it points to something more like 220. I believe the variance is entirely due to maintaining my cellular data connection.
And to test this I've left the phone on airplane mode (with wifi enabled) for the past 23 hours. During this time I did not use the phone, except to occasionally check the battery %. At the moment it's still showing 100% with 23 minutes of usage (which should mostly be its usual background usage). I'm going to end this test at this point because I'd like to be able to make phone calls, but it did occur to me that the test would have been more interesting if I'd started at a lower % (since it tends to stick at 100% for quite a while).
I haven't really done the math on other usage (call time, music playback) so I don't want to comment here. I feel like the 3 usage types above are the ones that really matter here.
I do have one other glitch to mention here. One time only I experienced the "static lines" bug on the keyboard when entering a password. If you've seen it then you know it's concerning. It's very unlikely this is a software rendering bug, like messing up the rendering of an icon or button, and far more likely that it's an error with the GPU or display itself -- hopefully a driver issue. Anyone who's ever overclocked a GPU on their desktop or used bad beta rendering drivers may be familiar with this type of display glitch.
Settling vs Tweaking
I've left mine mostly alone since I set it up. Never done a restore of any type, no settings resets, and very little messing around in the settings panel in general. I do agree that all these DFU restores and different reset strategies are probably not helpful, but I also haven't noticed any improvement over time leaving it alone. My general impression is that wifi started out good and has stayed that way, and 3G started out disappointing and has stayed that way. However to be 100% honest I didn't record hard usage numbers from my first few days to compare against so I can't be certain.
My 3G battery life is poor, and seems to be worse than previous devices, though not by as much as I thought when first trying it (watching at % drop so quickly is concerning, and I think that's what's really started this whole thread).
On the other hand, my non-cellular usage seems to be good. If not good than at least... in line with Apple's claims (whether or not those numbers are good is another issue entirely). I feel like this solidly rules out a battery issue in my case, as an actual defective battery would show equally poor numbers in non-cellular applications. I want to mention again that, as Jameson said above, this doesn't mean there are not bad batteries out there. If you're getting bad battery life on non-cellular usage you might want to take it in.
I believe anandtech has the answer and that most of us aren't going to like it: The device is capable of using significantly more power than the 4 or 4S. Its battery life is based on the existance of aggressive software and hardware power consumption controls. The problem is that these sorts of power regulation methods are very complex, and real world usage scenarios can essentially break them. For example, slow 3G data connections (I assume Apple tested on a microcell or dedicated tower that has massive bandwidth behind it) result in the radio chipset and antennas being powered on nearly constantly, resulting in massive power waste.
It could go farther than that too; there are potentially interactions between different power-managing systems. If you've ever watched your CPU clock rise and fall on your desktop or laptop with every tiny thing you do, you know that dynamic CPU clocking is a tricky thing to get right. For all we know when the 3G radio comes on it also clocks up the CPU, possibly more than it really needs to. These are the kinds of issues that can only be solved at the firmware and software level after lots of testing and tweaking, and even then will never be perfect.
So I guess my perspective is that I'm hoping for future iOS updates to improve the performance of these power management system through software and firmware/drivers. At this time I plan to keep my phone, though I still have a few days left to make that decision firm. I'm also not going to be trying to get a replacement from Apple at this point, as I don't believe there are any phones out there performing significantly better than mine. I am going to continue to watch the discussion in case more evidence of an actual hardware defect appears.
As far as if 4.5 hours of usage on cellular data is an acceptable design for a smartphone in 2012... that's probably a personal decision to make. I'm not thrilled with it, but it's also not made me return the device. I think that battery life remains a big hurdle that these devices haven't figured out how to get over, and probably won't until someone invents an even more dense energy storage medium or the thinness wars end.