Battery draining on iPhone 4S, iOS 5 or new features

By Peter Chubb - Oct 17, 2011

When Apple started to take pre-orders for the iPhone 4S I was a little excited, as were hundreds of thousands of others, and that joy continued when our new handsets were delivered by courier. However, after now spending a few days with the new smartphone there are a few issues, but the biggest is the battery draining at an alarming rate.

Now it’s hard to know why this is, we had assumed that it needed a full recharge cycle, but that never solved the issue. We then proceeded to turn off iTunes Wi-Fi syncing, again, still draining fast. Our next step was to turn iCloud off; again this still did not help with how fast the battery would go into the red.

We then decided to do a little digging, and we have learned that it could now be one of two things; the first is that it might be Siri. Even though you are not using the new voice commanded assistant, it’s still there ready and waiting at a moments notice.

So far we have not tried turning this new feature off, but it might have to be our next step. We will try it later and then update this post to inform you off the results. However, it could be none of these things, and more down to iOS 5 itself. We would like to know if you have the previous model and are experiencing battery issues since updating to the latest version of Apple’s mobile OS? We do know that there has been reports of this update bricking peoples iPhone’s.

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Also See: WWDC 2018 event dated early for iOS 12, new iPad Pro?

  • Renee Mineart

    I made the changes suggested by GoodSamaritan, and they worked a charm. My battery is now easily lasting two days or longer with normal use. I can play games and do other things on it without noticing significant drain. That certainly seems to be the trick.

    • Nuffsaid66

      I have a 3GS – Fine with IOS 5 now upgraded to 5.1 and gone from 100% to 9% in under 3 hours – Wasn’t even using the phone it was in my pocket. Seems to take a lot longer to charge up as well
      Due an upgrade think it will be a Samsung or HTC……

  • Sfichten

    Oh… I forgot to emtion. Thinf were fine at 10 PM but had gone well into the red by midnight. And I was not using it!

  • Sfichten

    I have 3GS – same problem. Battery is draining fast!


  • Cjasia08

    I have a 4g iPod and iPhone. Battery draining much quicker now with ios5

    I think it might be IMessage. I shut it off on the iPod. Now not draining as fast.

    Darn it! I like the iMessage since I don’t have text.

    Anyone else test this?

  • Renee Mineart


    I have an iPhone, recently upgraded to OS5, and am having the same problem. Can barely get through a day on a single charge, and of course I don’t have Siri to contend with. It seems to be getting worse as time goes on. I’ve tried turning off bluetooth, but that hasn’t made a difference. Going to try some of the suggestions in the comments below.


  • Msjrn509

    I have had my Iphone 4s for about just 4 days.The battery is terrible.I charged it 100% and it was down to 2% in over 1.5 hrs.I tried turning off location,notification,mail,siri and it did not help at all.I was on hold with apple for 32 min and made reservation to exam phone.

  • Deboschkemper

    3Gs and I’m having the same battery life issues!!!

  • GoodSamaritan

    There seems to be a bug in IOS5.  It does affect everyone but check your settings.

    Settings -> Location Services -> System Services (at the bottom).

    If there is a purple arrow next to “Setting Timezone” then turn this setting off.  The purple arrow means that your phone is using GPS right now.

    Lastly, scroll to the bottom and turn “Status Bar Icon” to “On”.  This allows you to keep track of whether your phone is activating GPS or not.

    • Susan Ferguson

      Good Samaritan, I would love to try what you suggested with my new 4S that just keeps draining. However, when I click settings, I do not see Location Settings. Where is it?

      • GoodSamaritan

        It’s moved in iOS6.

        Settings -> Privacy -> Location services-> system services

  • Guest

    Is there a Microsoft Exchange account set up on your phone?  I had no problems with my battery all weekend, then on monday, I began having major issues.  I had to fully charge my phone twice per day.  I went to bed with my phone at 35% and woke up with a dead phone.  Fully charged again and went to a 2.5 hour meeting.  When I checked my phone, was down to 55% power from 100%.  Tried all the battery saving tricks and none worked.  Then I read on a message board that Microsoft Exchange was causing issues for people and realized that my problems started after setting up my work email (Exchange account) on Monday morning.  I disabled my work e-mail on my phone yesterday and now have a normally operating battery.

  • Hakush

    Hi Guys

    I had it since last Friday and did not have an issue until this morning. Last night left it fully charged at midnight and this morning 730 AM its red. Only difference I can think of was I turned the mail notification on yesterday. Everything else was on and didnt seem to affect the battery all week.

  • Jalex_85

    Turn off Wi-Fi Sync.

    I did it and voilá!

    It seems that iPhone is constantly looking for an iTunes and tries to connect to it permanently. In fact If I had WI-FI Sync on, iPhone would appear on iTunes for a couple of seconds and then disappear.

    To turn it off just plug your iPhone to your computer, open iTunes, click on your iPhone on the left bar and uncheck Wi-Fi Sync.

    Good luck!

  • Geodesy

    My iPhone 4S is getting significantly poorer battery life than my 4 also running iOS5. At least twice as fast with identical settings.

  • Alastair

    my iphone 4 running IOS 5 drains it battery at an alarming rate. today it lost 15% with me just playing songs for 30 mins. after that it was unused all day for 6hr on stand by. looked at it again and it had only 30% charge. this from being 100% when i woke up 🙁 there is some issue with IOS 5

  • Jbw7577

    I have updated my iphone 4 to the ios 5. Not noticing much battery drain during the day but every morning my phone has been totally flat, even though I have been showing a full battery before going to bed. Obviously nothing I am doing is draining the phone so something at some point during the night (GMT) is completely draining the phone.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve had the same problem since I got my 4s Fri the 14th. Here’s what I’ve done to improve my battery life:

    – Leave Siri on, but turn off “Raise to Speak”
    – If possible (if you can regularly back up through iTunes) turn off iCloud sync. There have been a lot of issues on the internet about it and it’s a battery drainer. 
    – Location services. Turn them off for most of the apps you use. 
    – Auto-Lock. (this should be obvious, but there are tons of people who have no idea about it)
    – iCould – pick and choose important things to update. I currently update calendars, contacts and photos. Reminders are suspected to be a big problem. 
    – Remove stuff from the “Notification Center”. (the top swipe down notification center for all of your apps). Particularly Stocks and Weather. 

    • So: to make your brand new “works-out-of-the-box” iPhone with IOS5 run properly, you have to tinker with dozens of default settings and turn off almost every IOS5 cloud feature.

  • KathrynJaneway47

    My new iPhone 4s’s battery is draining at about the same rate as my 3gs with a corroded battery (from being dropped in a toilet). The main reason I upgraded was so I didn’t have to be teathered to a power cord anymore….

  • Gerald

    I still have my iPhone 4 running without network connection, but WiFi only and it seems to be really nursing its battery charge, So I don’t know if I would say it is the IOS5 on its own that is draining the battery

  • Kreennn

    I got the Iphone 4S on friday and the battery is worst than my old Iphone 3G !! which use to last me more than 24 hours … the 4S had last me only 12 hours … I do believe it’s because of IOS5 .. my girlfriend who has a 3GS has the same problem ! we are gonna have to wait patiently for the IOS 5.1 …

  • Guyisbusy

    I upgraded from 3G to 4S and the battery stinks. Updating my IPAD2 to OS 5.0 has also drastically increased the battery drain rate. I lost 20% just overnight on both OS devices. This is definitely unacceptable and Apple better correct it or I will not be upgrading the rest of by family’s iphones.

  • Andrevanharen

    My iPhone 4 on iOS 5 has a very long battery life, after using it about 8 hours, there is still 92 left. I have location and icloud on all the time.

  • Rsoles2

    I upgraded to an iPhone 4S on Friday after using an original iPhone since it came out.  So far, the battery sucks!!!  Very minimal use, and drains in no time.  I thought it might be from apps I had once opened running in the background, but I have turned them all off, as well as wifi, and most location services.

    My original iPhone would last at least an entire day with heavy phone use and texting.  The battery on this new one sucks so far.  I hope it is something I am doing wrong, but from what I am reading all over this morning, I am not alone.  I hope a fix or some advice on what I am doing wrong is coming soon!

    On another note, I am sure glad I read all the reviews about Lion before making that upgrade mistake.

  • the battery of my iPhone 4 seemed draining fast also. every minute 1 percent of the battery is being consumed… it was not like that before until i upgraded to OS5

  • New 4S owner

    The battery drain is a problem! 

  • No

    It isn’t Siri, battery life on the iPhone 4 is drastically decreased as well.

  • Bob Matthews

    Mine is doing the same. At first I thought it was because I was using it a lot, as it’s new. I’ve done a power down and overnight with no usage it went from 65% to zero in six hours!

    • Rsoles2

      After turning most apps off and charging to 100%, I unplugged it about 10 pm last night to see how much it would drain from just sitting all night. It did not go down that much overnight.  I used it plugged in a bit this morning and left home with a 100% charge and very few apps running.  It is now at 96%  (maybe 2 hours after leaving home).

  • Stuart Morton

    My iPhone had been working great but is now stuck at 4% battery, won’t charge and im seriously worried that IOS5 has screwed it up….

  • Archer Koch

    My 4S battery is definitely draining considerably faster than my 4 ever did. It’s my only disappointment so far, but it’s a significant one.

    • Archer Koch

      It seems that there are many possible causes and solutions to the battery drain. Here’s mine:

      I eventually noticed that the location services icon on the top status bar was staying purple (presumably, it should only light up momentarily while your location is being determined by an app). When I went to location services under settings, it was apparent that the offending app was Siri (the icon was lit up right beside the “switch”). I powered-cycled my iPhone thinking that would clear it up, but surprisingly it didn’t. So I reluctantly proceeded to turn location services off for Siri. My battery promptly rejoiced, as did I. I later turned the setting back on and thankfully it’s been behaving now for a few days straight. It was clearly hung up for some reason, which would understandably cause a serious drain.

      If you don’t have the location services icon turned on, you may want to do that by going into Settings » Location Services » scroll to the bottom » System Services » scroll to the bottom » enable Status Bar Icon.

      Never mind the skeptics and the naysayers. Meanwhile, I hope this information proves helpful to you! Let me know.

  • Not noticed any draining on my iPhone 4S. Seem pretty good tbh. Even with using Siri and iCloud.
    It maybe because its a new handset and people are playing with it more then they would normally to get used to it

  • Rebeccaelliston

    My iPhone 4 is draining horribly fast now!! It used to be brilliant

  • Techn3rd

    Battery drain is same as always.. iPhone 4 and 3gs has actually improved speed!

    • June13 Kat

      I believe it has to do with your mail accounts and if you sync with an exchange account. If you do and you sync calendar and contacts turn them off for a few hours and then back on. That worked for me.

      • Techn3rd

        I managed to improve battery life significantly by restoring to default factory settings.. I didnt have a exchange account. I now have every feature turned on and minimal drain.. I can leave it on standby for about a hour and not lose a single %