Why is my iPhone 4S battery running down extremely fast and what can I do?

Mark O'Neill March 31, 2012
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I recently bought an iPhone 4S and while I am extremely happy with it, I am noticing with some concern that the life of the battery charge totally sucks.

After some online research, I proceeded to do the following :

1. Switch off Location Services, with the exception of “Find my iPhone”
2. Lowered the brightness of the screen & switched on auto-brightness.
3. Turned off the weather forecast feature as apparently it is a big battery drain.
4. Made sure Bluetooth was off.
5. Turned off all push notifications with the exception of missed phone calls, missed text messages and reminders.

But despite these measures, battery life is still declining rapidly. 10% of the battery can be gone in as little as 30 minutes.

Any ideas what the issue could be? Have I forgotten to switch something else off?

  1. Gunnar
    October 22, 2012 at 8:38 am

    IPhone 4S with many nice apps and other features, and we can not use them because it is killing the battery???
    OK, kill the stupid phone and my a android..

  2. G Hazel
    April 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I had this right after I got my 4S back when it was "just out" but firmware updates fixed it.  I can use the phone quite a bit and get 10 hours of use now. Before it was 2 hours with doing nothing.

  3. Danmart513
    April 3, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Have you looked into GPS which is always on and it is hungry

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm

       GPS is mostly off.  I turn it on when I am out so the "find my iPhone" app will work if someone steals my phone (God forbid). But when I am home, it gets switched off again.

  4. M.S. Smith
    April 1, 2012 at 5:32 am

    This is certainly not normal and you should not need to turn off those things to have good battery life.

    First recommendation is to make sure all software is up to date, including iOS.Second recommendation is to completely discharge and re-charge the battery. You may have a digital battery gauge calibration issue.If that does not work, contact Apple support. It's always possible you received a bum battery 

  5. Smayonak
    March 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    My knowledge of the iPhone 4S is tragically obsolete, so I'm subbing in things learned while tinkering with Android.

    Have you tried calibrating your battery? Your symptoms sound like an extreme case of a poorly calibrated battery.

    Here's what google had to say about the iPhone 4S's calibration issues:


    • Smayonak
      March 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      Here's a better link:


      The most interesting part of the article comes toward the bottom - there's a bug in iOS 5 causing incorrect battery life measurements. There's a firmware update available. Good luck!

      • Mark O'Neill
        April 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm

        This seems to have made a bit of an improvement. I ran the battery right down and then recharged it back up to 100%. Now it seems to be lasting for a bit longer. Maybe about 12 hours if I'm lucky.

        Thanks for your help.  Much obliged.

        • Smayonak
          April 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm

          You're welcome. Thanks for letting me know it was effective.

          It sounds as if you are suffering from a second issue. Given what you've already articulated, it is likely that the 3G connection is the culprit (you may be on the edge of data reception). In my case, simply turning off my 3G flipped 8 hours of battery life into about a week of standby.


          However, the 4S's design may prevent disabling of its data connection, even though it would substantially help battery life. Apparently, carriers love gathering metrics on their customers, at all hours of the day/night - but confirmation isn't possible without owning an iPhone.

        • Mark O'Neill
          April 5, 2012 at 5:26 pm

          It's funny you should mention this. I spoke to my mobile phone company last week about the 3G. They said that it only switches on when I leave my home and therefore away from my wi-fi coverage.

          As long as I stay within my wi-fi coverage, then the 3G stays off, on standby.  Once I leave my home and away from my wi-fi, 3G kicks in.  I tested that, and it seems to be the case.

        • Smayonak
          April 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm

          Battery life skyrockets when you turn off both 3G and WiFi. Is that even possible on the 4S?

          Anyway, as explained to me, WiFi in sleep mode (instead of being turned off) still drains at least some power. Plus, it periodically wakes itself up to check if there's a WiFi connection available, which further drains power (unless it's using geolocation). Turning it off is more efficient - on my phone it can be done in two finger presses from the default screen, but that's after modding it.Also, I'm not sure what kind of GPS the iPhone uses, but on my Android device, turning off 3G and WiFi also disables GPS (using triangulation?).

          Additionally, it seems that the number of apps installed contributes to battery drain. Whenever there's a data connection available, a lot of apps will start themselves up to access it. This also drains power.

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