• Solving the iPhone 5 battery drain issues

    Some of you may have noticed you're having issues with the battery on your phones draining particularly quickly while others may be wondering what all the fuss is about because you're experiencing perfect battery life. There has been speculation from a number of people on what the issue is, and at this point I suspect its a battery calibration issue or a rogue setting which is maintain through the upgrade because most of the issues seem to be pointed at those users who did a "restore from backup" when they set up their phones rather than setting up as a brand new phone. The reality is contrary to what a lot of people are saying, you don't have to turn off wifi, LTE and a number of other features just to have your phone last through one work day, as some tests have already shown.

    Having checked into a number of potential solutions for the problem, I can point to this solution as being the most likely to solve the problem. We've tested this across 3 devices in the last 48 hours and it works on all 3 and has resolved all the battery issues.

    The fix

    Step 1 - Go to Settings - General - Reset - Reset all Settings

    Follow the prompts including inserting your pin and wait for your phone to restart. This will prompt you for your pin code and will reset a number of system settings but you will not lose data in your apps or on your phone. I.e. you photo gallery will still be there. The things you will lose are your wifi settings, your photo on your home/lock screen and a number of other minor items that should be replaceable. All your apps will still be there.


    Step 2 - Run your battery flat, completely flat. NOT 1%, completely flat until it actually switches off.

    Step 3 - Recharge it completely, preferably for 2 hrs minimum to be on the safe side.

    Enjoy.

    You do not need to set it up as a new phone and reinstall your apps or turn off LTE, Wifi and Location services as some people have suggested.

    Here is a samples on the battery life after doing the above on two of the phones:

    Phone 1 (light user) - Not used too much during the day. Note battery life remaining and usage. No charges occurred after unplugging.


    Phone 2 (heavy user) - Used extensively during the day. Made more than 20 lengthy phone calls. Lots of email and web browsing. FaceTime calls etc.


    Conclusion

    Tests have shown that this doesn't seem to be a fault with the battery itself. There could be a small number with battery issues, but its highly likely that it's software related and with 10,000,000 phones sold in the first week, even if 0.001% had issues, that's still 10,000 of them. If it's upgrade related, I don't think Apple could have tested it on all upgrade scenarios as the secrecy surround the iPhone 5 release would limit wide scale testing of this type of scenario.

    About the author

    Athol Hill is the Practice Lead for Stonebridge Systems , an SAP & OpenText implementation partner specialising in web and content management implementations and strategy.

    He is a certified SAP and Project Management Professional with a large number of implementations spanning the globe including Australasia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. When he isn't kitesurfing or spending time with his family, Athol writes part time for Mactalk on a range of subjects including iOS/OSX in the workplace, bleeding edge, product reviews and anything Mac. If you have something new and exciting to review, feel free to get in touch. He can be contacted via twitter on @themissionman or email on athol.hill@mactalk.com.au. Opinions noted here are Athol's own and aren't any official policy of position of his employer.
    Comments 48 Comments
    1. bennyling's Avatar
      bennyling -
      Worth noting Apple has unofficially acknowledged excessive battery drain as an issue due to restoring from an older phone's backup i.e. from the iPhone 4/4S.

      The reset all settings advice is also what they're advising to customers over the phone.
    1. Peter Wells's Avatar
      Peter Wells -
      Thanks for writing this up Athol. I've seen a few people say "let the battery run down" and "do a hard reset", here and elsewhere, but that's the best guide so far. I'm going to reset all settings now then let the battery run down (that shouldn't be an issue ) right now.
    1. Sekelani's Avatar
      Sekelani -
      Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
      I just reset all my setting and I'm still getting horrible battery life
    1. andyrb's Avatar
      andyrb -
      Quote Originally Posted by bennyling View Post
      Worth noting Apple has unofficially acknowledged excessive battery drain as an issue due to restoring from an older phone's backup i.e. from the iPhone 4/4S.

      The reset all settings advice is also what they're advising to customers over the phone.
      I set up as a new phone, and still experience battery issues. Regardless, I'll try the fix mentioned.
    1. scar68's Avatar
      scar68 -
      Thank you for the write up. Will do it tonight.

      Cheers.
    1. MissionMan's Avatar
      MissionMan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sekelani View Post
      I just reset all my setting and I'm still getting horrible battery life
      You managed to reset the settings, drain the battery and recharge it completely in under 2 hours? Or did you not follow the instructions about draining the battery until it switches off and recharging it again?
    1. paronga's Avatar
      paronga -
      most of the issues seem to be pointed at those users who upgraded their phones through an iTunes update of their phone rather than setting up as a new phone.
      how can one upgrade an iPhone 5 from a previous version of iOS?
      i think you want to say "restore from backup"?
    1. ajbeardy's Avatar
      ajbeardy -
      Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
      I did this last night and let the iPhone shut down overnight and recharged this morning to full around 8:00AM. I have been using the phone most of the day and I am currently at 81%. That is the best I have by far since I have been using it.
    1. MissionMan's Avatar
      MissionMan -
      Quote Originally Posted by paronga View Post
      how can one upgrade an iPhone 5 from a previous version of iOS?
      i think you want to say "restore from backup"?
      Yup. Restore from backup. Will correct it so its clear in the article.
    1. Sekelani's Avatar
      Sekelani -
      Okay guys. Honey talk. This restore stuff has not HELPED my iPhone 5 at all
    1. MissionMan's Avatar
      MissionMan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sekelani View Post
      Okay guys. Honey talk. This restore stuff has not HELPED my iPhone 5 at all
      Second suggestion. Have you tried turning off bookmark syncing?
    1. Laneyy's Avatar
      Laneyy -
      Have you tried turning it off and on again?
    1. Sekelani's Avatar
      Sekelani -
      Quote Originally Posted by Laneyy View Post
      Have you tried turning it off and on again?
      Yep. Thing is I'm on my phone a lot.
    1. Ads1969's Avatar
      Ads1969 -
      Thanks heaps MissionMan!
    1. Peter Wells's Avatar
      Peter Wells -
      You're a champ Athol! I'm already seeing much better battery life.
    1. mwot's Avatar
      mwot -
      I followed these instructions to the tee, but I'm yet to see an increase in battery life
    1. icant's Avatar
      icant -
      Someone’s experience with rogue Safari bookmarks. Includes Reset All Settings part:

      TidBITS Problem Solving: Solving iOS 6 Battery Drain Problems
    1. MissionMan's Avatar
      MissionMan -
      Quote Originally Posted by icant View Post
      Someone’s experience with rogue Safari bookmarks. Includes Reset All Settings part:

      TidBITS Problem Solving: Solving iOS 6 Battery Drain Problems
      Yup. Heard this from some people as well although it wasn't a hassle on any of the phones I checked. I'm assuming none of them were using bookmark syncing which may explain the discrepancy or why it's only certain users affected by this. I've also heard its easy to identify because the moment you open safari the battery starts draining but haven't had the problem so I can't verify this.
    1. rlowe's Avatar
      rlowe -
      Hmm, seems like I was right to wait for the 5S or so.
    1. MissionMan's Avatar
      MissionMan -
      Quote Originally Posted by rlowe View Post
      Hmm, seems like I was right to wait for the 5S or so.
      iOS7 will be out and could have just as many issues. Simple solution would be just to wait a couple of months after the release of the 5/5s/6 etc and get it then.
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