iPhone 4S’ woeful battery life is the new ‘Antennagate’

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It drains on you even when it's not being used.  It shuts down your smartphone when you need it the most. And its woeful endurance, far from what had been advertised, has amassed a digital army of disgruntled users.

It's the battery life of your brand new iPhone 4S, the latest bug tied to a successful iPhone launch that has many recalling 2010's 'Antennagate.'

Steve Jobs believed the controversy, coined with a tech tribute to the Watergate scandal, was a smear campaign from rivals at Motorola and Google.

Those who bought an iPhone 4 last July were enraged as the smartphone seemed to lose signal when held a certain way. This time it's the battery that has users churning out online complaints.

The iPhone 4S is said to provide up to eight hours of talk time and as much as six hours of Internet use on 3G, but the battery's tendency to run out of gas when not being used has infuriated users. And we're not entirely sure if the phone is to blame.

"I have an iPhone 4 and since putting iOS 5 on it the battery life has been really bad," shares  Apple user Cripinuk in the company's support forum. "It drops at a ridiculous rate even when I'm not using it where as it would barely drop any charge when it was in standby."

Jordan Crook from TechCrunch highlights a couple of potential bugs in the iOS 5 that could be sucking the life from your iPhone's battery.

"Basically, when your calendar app is turned on in the Notifications Center, events are 're-ordering themselves near-constantly,' which sucks the life straight out of the phone," explains Crook in the TechCrunch story, referring the the calendar bug reported in Apple forums. "The only fix as of now, unfortunately, seems to be disabling the calendar app within the Notifications center."

The Time Zone bug, another reported blood sucker, can be resolved but requires disabling a few key settings.

"Oliver Haslam over at iDownloadBlog noticed, like many of us, that iOS 5 was sucking his iPhone 4 battery dry," said Crook. "He realized that by going into Settings > Location Services > System Services (all the way at the bottom) > Setting Time Zone, and toggling off the location services, his battery life nearly doubled. According to Haslam, iOS 5 probably has a bug that constantly pings the servers to update location, and thus update time zone settings."

If that doesn't help, here are a few quick things to consider when scrounging to extra battery life:

The Basics

Tricks such s turning off your WiFi and Bluetooth when they're not needed, turning down the screen brightness and keeping your phone out of the heat can keep a little green in that battery bar. If you're riding the subway or hanging out where the signal is weak, try switching your phone to Airplane mode. This will prevent your phone from working hard to establish that connection, saving some juice for the more cellphone-friendly locations.

Location Services

These features are surely to blame for the bulk of your battery drainage. They allow apps to ping for your location and in many cases, they're unnecessary. Simply access your Location Services via Settings, browse through the apps you can do without and turn them off (if the option is available).

System Services

Just like you would with the Location Services, browse through and disable anything you don't need. For example, you can likely do without Diagnostics & Usage, a feature that simply sends information about your iPhone use back to Apple. Anything trivial to your daily iPhone use should be turned off (if applicable).


Apple's playful digital assistant uses quite a lot of juice but many would justify keeping her around. Siri was one of the big draws for the iPhone 4S and even if you do not require a voice-activated mobile assistant, she sure is fun to talk to.

Unfortunately, this is an issue where a quick fix doesn't seem to exist. There could be quite a few things draining the life from your battery and until Apple unveils an update to iOS 5, it's up to the user to sift through their preferred apps and features.

(Photos: Screengrabs TechCrunch)