By Quentin Fottrell
The new iPhone appears to have a shorter lifespan than its predecessors, at least where its battery is concerned.
Frustrated customers have taken to message boards to vent about the apparently faster-draining battery, and though Apple has so far been mum, some speculate that a bug in the new operating system may be partly to blame. The Guardian reports that Apple engineers are quietly contacting some iPhone 4S owners to try to solve the problem after some customers saw “dramatic drops” in battery life; Apple asked one customer to install a “monitoring program” to help diagnose the problem.
One possible cause may be that power-hungry location services run in the background even when they shouldn’t, leading some to suggest shutting off the feature for “setting time zone.”
Siri – the voice-activated feature on the iPhone 4S – has a soothing voice, but proved unhelpful in addressing the power drain. When Pay Dirt asked Siri, “How can I conserve battery life?” she responded, “I found 12 battery sellers: 11 are fairly close to you.” Asked “why is my battery draining so fast?” – she suggested, “Would you like to search the web for: ‘Why is my battery draining so fast?’” (Apple did not respond to requests for comment.)
The company downplayed the shorter battery life when it unveiled all the new phone’s bells and whistles earlier this month. The standby time for the iPhone 4S is 200 hours versus 300 for the iPhone 4 and 250 hours for the vintage iPhone that was launched in 2007.
One iPhone 4S customer told the Guardian: “My battery life was extremely poor: 10% drop in standby every hour. I noticed that the usage figure was roughly half that of standby, even when the phone was not being used, so I assumed something was crashing or running in the background.”
Corrupted contacts may also contribute to the problem: Those imported from Apple’s MobileMe or iCloud services, or from Google’s Contacts list. The Guardian recommends deleting and then reinstalling them sometimes seems to fix the problem.
Other solutions to conserve battery life: reduce screen brightness, turn off applications like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, and location services to applications such as Google Maps, Facebook and Skype.