UPDATED 06:05 EDT / OCTOBER 31 2011

iPhone 4S Lacks Juice, from Yellowgate to Batterygate

So here’s the deal: You get the new iPhone 4S and you noticed that the screen is yellowish.  You don’t make a fuss about it, thinking the yellow tint will eventually clear up just like in the iPhone 3G.  But as you get used to the yellow haze, you noticed another problem: it seems like your new iPhone 4S lacks juice.  Now you start to think, is the iPhone 4S really worth it?

So what’s with the new iPhone 4S and its battery power?

Some Apple users noticed that the iPhone 4S’ battery easily gets drained.  One iPhone 4S user was directly contacted by Apple after he wrote a blog post telling his woes about the iPhone 4S’ poor battery life.  He was asked to install a monitoring app, though no explanation was given why the device has poor battery life.

In an interview with the Guardian, the informer stated: “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. I switched off all the new features including Siri and location services, but it was still really poor. I also tried setting up a clean phone with no apps but it is still really poor.

“I then got a call from a senior [Apple] engineer who said he had read my post and was ‘reaching out’ to users for data and admitted this was an issue (and that they aren’t close to finding a fix!) and asked lots of questions about my usage and then asked if he could install the file below and that he would call back the day after to retrieve the info. I extracted the file from my Mac after a sync and emailed it to him. He was incredibly helpful and apologetic in the typical Apple way!”

The iPhone 4S has significant lower battery life compared to other versions of the iPhone; even the original iPhone has a longer battery life compared to the 4S.  The curious thing about the situation is that no one seems to know what’s causing this.  The user who complained about the situation did everything suggested to solve the issue, like turning off all the unnecessary features running in the background, and even uninstalled all apps.  But it didn’t make a difference, his phone still kept losing 10% of power every hour, even on standby.

Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller talked about the iPhone’s battery life, but didn’t mention anything about losing battery life during standby.

“You would think if you put a processor that powerful inside a super-thin phone, one of the things you’re going trade off is battery life – but the hardware and software teams have worked really hard to get industry-leading battery life as well,” Schiller stated.

And now more iPhone 4S users are being contacted by Apple.  Some are speculating that the battery life is getting drained because of either a location services bug or because of the iOS 5.  This new iPhone issue has been dubbed as ‘Batterygate.’

According to Oliver Haslam of the iDownloadBlog, “it appears that iOS 5′s GM release introduced a bug that causes the Setting Time Zone function to keep the location tracking circuitry running constantly, draining battery power considerably. Switching it off may mean that your iPhone will no longer set its own time zone when you travel, but that’s a small price to pay for having your iPhone last more than 12 hours on a full charge… We have tested this method on 4 different iPhone 4s handsets, including an iPhone 4 and an iPhone 3GS. All have reported drastically improved battery life after switching ‘Setting Time Zone’ off.”

More users are taking out their rage on Apple’s support page.  What’s your iPhone 4S experience been so far?


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