How's Your Battery Life With iPhone OS 2.2.1?

There were complaints about battery life with iPhone OS 2.1, but many on the various internet channels seemed to think OS 2.2 fixed that up rather nicely. Reports since iPhone OS 2.2.1 have varied more widely. Some seem to think it's fine while others, including well know tech pundit Leo Laporte, keep saying they're getting worse battery life since the last update.

What's happening with your iPhone? The same? Better? Worse? Can you make it through a day? And what's with the up and down between firmware? Is Apple playing some high-stakes balancing game between battery life and signal reception?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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How's Your Battery Life With iPhone OS 2.2.1?


Mine is... inconsistent. Sometimes I'll leave it unplugged over night, starting at 100%, and have it down to 80 by morning. Sometimes even worse and it'll be closer to 50. Other times just a few percent to 97 or so. As far I'm aware, the only thing running is my alarm.

It's kinda mixed for me. Some days I'll go without using any apps and when I get home, the 20% warning pops up. Then there's days where I'll be using my phone quite a bit and the battery won't even be near the half way mark.

I have not accepted the update.. it does not apply to what i do most with my iphone but i have noticed a few things that will extend battery life. turn the screen brightness to the lowest setting, turn off the wifi connection,use the 3G network or edge whenever possible, use headset instead of bluetooth, refrain from using speakerphone, turn off the push feature for email recovery,
I manage to listen to music and books on tape all day and talk on the phone and twitter and email with about 45% power at the end of a 10 hour day.. pretty good I think. Also I run my battery down completely about once a month and charge it fully then run it down again and charge it fully. I am using the original iphone 16G

Seems to be a bug in 2.2.1 that causes PUSH enable email on Exchange to consume LOTS of power. I didn't have problems before 2.2.1, but now if I enable push my phone is all but dead by the time I get home from work, if I have it set to fetch 15min my battery is nearly full still at the end of the day. This is even if I get only a few emails, turing push on causes noticable drain even over a 2 hr period if time.

Honestly I think it's just a bug that happens when updating any version firmware to any other version. I had a big problem when I went upgraded to 2.1 (maybe 2.2, I forget now) where my battery would drain when on idle usage. I did a full restore to original settings (no backup, thanks bad ash) and everything was fine again.
So, No, I don't think it has anything to do with 2.2.1, but just the fact that a firmware upgrade has taken place.

It's definitely gotten noticeably worse. I've actually had my phone die on me in a single day, something that only ever happens when I play on my phone non-stop before 2.2.1.

mine is the same. however i always connect my phone to my car stereo, which it charges through, so its not a problem either way. But that aside i haven't noticed any variations.
also the fact that we never put our phones down makes a huge difference :]

I have an iPod touch and I think it's not lasting as long as it used to. I usually listen to songs in the car while driving to work; can see the battery drop a level when I reach the office.

I only recently bought the iPhone, battery life is not great compared to other phones I've had, in fact it's lousy really, and depends on being plugged into my mac on a daily basis or else a recharge evening or morning - yeah it lasts about a day, thats if you don't do any seriously heavy work on it, like re-organising all my contacts which became seriously muddled after loading on from the old sim card. Not Great!

I'm on my phone constantly throughout the day.
I'd say only once a month or 2 that I will get the "20% low-battery" warning.
I'd say thats very VERY good.

I have an iPhone 3g 8GB on the ROgers network, and have seen no change in battery life, going from 2.2 to 2.2.1.
For the record:

  • push is off
  • fetch is off
  • wifi enabled (90+% of my internet usage is via wifi and not 3g)
  • screen brightness slider in the middle

Anecdotally, I suppose, my situation would be consistent with #9 David's observations.

I'm not sure. I turned off push and set the email check to manual, however I left 3G on. I'll test it tomorrow with push and email check at 30 mins. I would say it's better on just 3G alone. I've left it on wifi over night and had enough battery for the next day. Just on text , some browsing and very few calls.

Definitely worse for me.
Strange thing happened also: once i first installed the new firmware, the next usage of my phone led to me having my phone actually completely die [never happened before and i use it a lot.] Possibly partly to me not charging obviously, but nevertheless it has never happened before. anyway, after that, i had phone on charge all day on laptop and from plug socket at different times and it said my battery was completely wasn't until i reset the phone that it restored its battery symbol to fully charged.
Never had this before and seems a bit like too much of a coincidence that it happened and now many people experience battery life problems.
if apple are playing around with signal reception then they should turn it back because my phone has been fine before!
sidebar: i never comment on here, but always read and take this chance to say thanks for the great blog!

Push exchange kills my battery so fast I finally just turned it off last week. I would guesstimate my battery last 35% longer now. Interestingly, push yahoo for beehive doesn't affect the battery much at all.

I went up to 2 days on 2.2 to back to barely making 1 day on 2.2.1. I'd downgrade if I could

I haven't had a problem at all. I do however turn off my wifi throughout the day. On day 2 and still have 75% left. Which I think is good considering I listen to music all day

My battery life has remained the same since the update, I JUST make it through the day.
Still love it!

I run mine completely down then charge to 100% once a month. Battery life is consistently good. Although this routine is well documented, and is repeated several times by users, people just continue to ignore it. Oh well. Don't know what else to say.

Battery life is the same for me after 2.2.1 update. For those whose battery life is worse, have you reset (not power off) and done a full discharge/recharge to recalibrate the battery meter?

Worse for me. I had 3G, Push, etc. all enabled, never had a problem. Even had it on silent/buzz at work for eight hours. Recharge at night before bed, make it through a full day down to about 25% by bed time.
Now after 2.2.1 by lunch I'm down nearly 50%. By the time I get home 10%. It can't even make it to bed with the same settings. If I dumb it down, turn off 3G, drop Push, leave it off silent, then it can squeeze by.
I've tried the reset with no success. It's definitely 2.2.1 and I'm not too happy. I hope Apple releases 2.2.2 REAL fast.

I have to agree with the 2.2.1 Push Exchange Issue killing the battery. If i leave my phone near a speaker, i can hear the phone constantly "talking" to something. if I go into settings and change Exchange Mail to FETCH, the "talking" essentially stops.
MobileMe Push doesn't seem to have the problem, it briefly communicates, and receives Mail as it should - it's definitely the Exchange Push thats causing the battery drain for me.

Worse, yeah, worse. If I turn off push, and fetch, except for Manual, seems to be fine. I think they monkeyed with the push fetch timing and power. As for push, hasn't worked since 2.2.1 anyway. Getting a bit tired of features working in one release and not the next.

My battery life is fine, I charge once per day.
Its ALL turned on.
I use Fetch mail on a 30 minute cycle from two accounts
I use Google Push for calendar.
I use the web two dozen times a day, a few calls, and use a few apps, and maybe listen to some music.
I always close apps and return to the spring board before sleeping the phone.
Lots of people are under the mistaken impression that since no App can run in the background that they are also shut down when you sleep the phone. That's not true, and if you leave an app on the screen when you sleep the phone it continues to run.
Use the home button Luke!!!

@John: Quote: If i leave my phone near a speaker, i can hear the phone constantly “talking” to something.
This says your push is not working properly, or your email account has way too much activity to use push.
You should hear about 12 MINUTES OF CHATTER FREE silence (other than the occasional gsm tower log in) followed by a brief spurt of noise.
When mail arrives you should hear noise as it downloads, followed by the mail arrival noise.
Its possible that your mail server is not set up correctly too. (Short timeouts).

Mine is much worse. I can't last the day, before the updates I had no issues with lasting a day. I went to the Apple store to talk to them, told them it was after the updates and they had no issue with replacing my phone, no questions asked. It lends me to believe that they are aware of this. Can it be due to the "carrier update"?

I use mine all the time and I think that using fetch at 15 minutes (which for me is as good as push) helps tremendously. 2.2.1 was definitely worth it for me because safari used to crash all the time and now it never does. I'm happy with 2.2.1 but I also live in an EDGE only area so my opinion may be skewed. However, when I visit my parent in a 3g area I haven't noticed much of a problem.

Marginally worse me too. I miss the days of charging my Blackberry once a week. And I used that a heck of alot more than my iphone.

Never posted before but when this post came I realized how right you are!! :O
My I got my iPhone from eBay no contract and I jailbroke and unlocked it on 2.2 for about 2 days. Used AT&T still. Then I upgraded and I only had my iPhone for like 2 days since that but the battery is horrid compared to my uncle's 4GB, my grandfather's 3G 8GB(which is just a tich better than mine).

I had horrible with push on until I went to settings -> general -> reset -> reset all
I had to reset mail, network, icons on the pages, but power went from less than 8 hrs back to the normal usage as before the update. Something was really messed up at first though

Did you ever consider that it might just be normal aging of the battery and have essentially nothing to do with the firmware?

I have substantially worse battery life after 2.2.1 when it gets down to about 50% or half the battery meter it really starts draining. if i am texting or listening to music on the phone it lasts maybe an extra hour or so. the power management i hope gets better in the next update.

After my unfortunate restore via iTunes which bumped me to 2.2.1 (and my re-jailbreak) i can say that battery life is about the same... however, i noticed some call dropage... consistently in the same spots, with 5 bars of 3g signal always... anyone else get this issue?

I agree with iPwnologis, Call drops are become more consistent, almost positive its with the firmware, i didnt have this problem with 2.2. Also data speeds seem to have dropped in my opinion. Right when Im watching a Video on Youtube, Downloading a song off of dTunes, or anything that requires data, reception drops dramatically.
From perfect 3G to 2-3 bars edge. Anyone else Noticing these kinds of things? Also, I might as well switch back to 2.2. 2.2.1 has nothing much more to offer than 2.2

My batery life is good at all perspectives, and I didn't changed anything of the way I use it.. For me it's good (almost two days)

2.2.1 is awful for me i made a custom 2.2.1 jb firmware it is slower, battery dies really fast even with the radios off since i took out the sim card to use in my new nokia so even as an ipod the battery was draining really really fast. I made two different firmwares same results i went back to my old 2.2 firmware battery dies a lottttt slower and phone is more responsive for me and i have more ram available. Im skipping any new firmware unless the next one blows us all away.

Damn. Reading all these comments has made me decide to not upgrade (although I really wish I things like safari and apps, jb and not jb, would be stable).

I picked up the latest 3G 8GB after my Treo 650 began disintegrating after 5 years of faithful service and made it impossible to use for my business.
I could use the Treo for several days without recharging and using Internet and phone calls. Even into it's last days and even with the original battery fatiguing I could still get scads of battery life out of it.
The iPhone's battery life is nowhere near what my Treo was. I have to constantly recharge it and keep it plugged in at my office and in my car. I use all the functions and go draconion when it gets to 40% charge.
Battery life aside I'm significantly more productive with the iPhone than with my Treo. I can live with the imperfections for the results.

I get about 3.5 days on mine. Don't use 3g (actually have my data off most of the time, usually switch to wifi if I need to). My battery usage doesn't seem to make a huge difference whether I have my wifi on or not, provided I don't browse or get mail all the time. Screen brightness set to half with auto off. Obviously if I watch a movie it drains it. Its simple the cumulative effect of the large screen, screen brightness, radios and multimedia will drain it, simple.
I can only watch 1 full movie on my macbook pro too.

At first it was much worse- then I reset my iPhone settings to the default settings and it seems to have solved the problem. Now I slowly readjusting settings to my preferences and evaluating as I do.

Definitely worse performance for me. Battery life has significantly decreased after the last firmware update with no changes in how I am using the phone.

Finally upgraded yesterday. Today it was fine, until this evening when I talked on the phone for 2 hours. Before starting, it was at 90% or so, and afterwards it was at 15%. I've never seen a drop like that before. Dammit.

My iPhone's battery life has become worse too. However, after analyzing my recent usage, I've come to the conclusion that it's most probably not because of the 2.2.1 update but rather the Google Calendar Sync that I configured recently. I have a strong feeling GCS is using Push a lot, and that's the reason for the battery depleting this quickly. I have temporarily removed the GCS Exchange account but left Push on, will observe for a couple of days to see whether that improves battery life.

Definitely worse. Since the upgrade, I've noticed several times where I thought my phone should be charged more since I just had it at 100%. It's happened enough where I've gone out to check the web to look for others having the same issue.

Worse. I wish I hadn't upgraded to the newer version of the software, but I mistakenly thought that Apple wouldn't put an update our there unless it was tested. WRONG.

terrible since the update. battery runs down in < 3 hours, where previously lasted all day on same usage pattern. Shut off push because exchange email account was trying to update about every 15 secs. Seems better today.

My iPhone 3G lasts me a full day with 3g turned on, push turned on, and I'm always listening to music.. I've had 3 iPhones now and this is the only 1 that has had good battery life but mine came with the updates already on it. It's simple = turn 3g off and turn push off and bring your brightness down oh and a real battery killer is location services trust me keep that off... Hopefully apple will bring a firmware out that doesn't screw peoples batterys over.. LOL

My battery life sucks..I went to the apple store and the woman told me if i didnt upgrade my phone that the battery wood continue to not charge...i upgrade it..and my iphone crashed and it still doesnt charge.

My battery life is horrible since 2.2.1, and nothing on my phone (settings, etc.) has changed. Push is off, fetch is set to manual, I don't lock the phone with Safari (or any other program other than music) in the foreground. I have auto-brightness on, but it was on before the update too.
I used to be able to use my phone pretty heavily throughout the day (I'm a student, so I kill time between classes on Twitter, the web, my RSS reader, listening to music on and off all day, watching a video here and there, maybe I'll make 1-2 phone calls a day, but usually less) and still have about half battery when I got done mid-afternoon, if not more.
Now? My phone died yesterday at 12:30pm with light usage. It's ridiculous.

I also experienced that dramatic battery drain after upgrading to firmware 2.2.1 (I use a "regular" iPhone with the German T-Mobile). Also: My phone got hot, some apps appeared to respond slow. After deactivating the location service, battery consumption is back to normal. But: before the upgrade I had location always on, as many apps I use need that, and my battery would last at least one busy day. To me that looks like an annoying software bug with the location service. Turn that off, and the battery should last as long as under 2.2. Can anyone confirm that?

Upgraded to 2.2.1 and battery life is terrible to say the least. I hope Apple addresses this soon, as I can barely get one work day out of normal usage. It is less than half the life of 2.2

The new update actually halfed my normal battery life! It was so bad, that I actually thought that I had accidently left my "fetch" option on, or was accidently turning the phone on in my pocket. But now that I think about it, it started as soon as I updated. Hey Apple, FIX it!!!! This sucks. My phone is dead by 4pm, wether I use it or not!!!

My phone doesn't even last a day now. My usage remains fairly constant but I'm tethered to a charger or I'm going to lose my charge. It's died on me twice since the New Year at very inopportune times. Both while out of town, lost, and trying to find friends. It wasn't fun. The change was sudden and dramatic.

I am on my phone continuously. Text email ect and it has died completely in 4.5 hrs on the regular! So 2.2 and 2.2.1 havent cut in for me.

Definitely worse since 2.2.1 Called Apple tech support got nowhere with it. I have turned everything off i can think of and still dead before an 8 hour period. Apple needs to do something about this!!!! It's killing me HELP!!!!!!

since 2.2.1 my battery life is horrible! it goes from 100% to dead from the time i go to bed until when i wake up the next day. i turn off 3g (never on) and it dies all the time. somethin has to be up with this release

Worse with 2.2.1
I did notice that it seems to be related (at least for me) to the sleep function on the screen. I've noticed that after locking the phone, where the screen would normally turn off after 60 seconds, it now goes BLACK, you can see the grey edge around the screen with a clear black screen instead of it being off.
If i push the lock botton again, it turns off.

My battery life appears to be a lot worse which is why I came to google and ended up here. I'll put it on my dresser when it's got 20% battery left at night around 11pm and in the morning it will be dead.

Battery life is worse for me. I have to charge it twice during the day now. I get about 8 hours battery life with light usage (wifi off, no push email, and bluetooth off).
Wiped the phone and reinstalled everything. Completely drained the battery, and the battery life was still getting worse.
So it's going back to Apple to see if it's a hardware fault.

My battery life is much worse. I have 4-5 hrs of calls a day. I am on web maybe 30min a day. Push is turned off. I am fully charging my phone three times per day. I was getting by with one charge prior to update.

Definiely worse since 2.2.1, used to get through a day at work listening to music and through the evening before having to charge over night, now it's almost dead by the time I leave work...

Battery life is far worse with 2.2.1. 2.2 improved it significantly. Now, the battery is down to 20% by the end of the business day - making the phone almost unusable without a mid-day recharge. I hope this issue is fixed in 3.0!
I review the iPhone for my company's executives. At this time, with this issue, and the calendar issues it is not suitable for enterprise use. I would love to see this get fixed.

Battery life is worse since upgrading to 2.2.1. Anyone heard of firmware upgrade 3.0 correcting this? I've looked on the web but could not find anything yet.

Bettery Life has really suffered since I upgraded to 2.2.1. For the very first time in a year it went down to 10%. Last night I kept in without charging (as I always do) and by morning it went almjost 0% which has never happened before. Is there a way we can downgrade to 2.2 ?

That's why I found myself here. Battery life has gotten worse recently, but I don't recall when I upgraded. The phone gets pretty hot too, even when it's sitting on the desk or in my pocket.

Running 2.2.1 and latest iTunes on PC. All of the sudden this week, I have noticed that my iPhone 3G battery is starting to run down to 80% overnight - no music, alarm or anything. After a full day of minimual usage it's at 70%. Before I could run almost 2 days on a charge and still have about 40%-50% left. Obviously I'm not a heavy user. I've not added any apps or anything in some time. It just started this on it's own. Also, a friend called me yesterday wanting to know why HIS iPhone battery is not lasting as long as before. He is a heavy phone user, but not many apps. He's charging overnight and then again after lunch. Just does not last any more. Overall, it sounds like iTunes has done something to our phones during a recent sync. Don't you just love the way Apple-things work in mysterious ways?

I too have experienced a sudden drop in my battery life. My usage has remained the same - very little talking, mainly internet usage (mails, RSS, news). I have always kept wifi, BT and GPS ON. With these setings, it used to last me almost 2 days, but now it reaches '20% battery' warning within 12-16 hours. I get about 3 hours of 'usage'. This is all of a sudden! Installing apps and sync'ing to itunes have been a part of my routine. I bought my iphone 3g on the day of the launch, so its almost been a year now.
I'm not sure what changed suddenly, anyone experiencing something similar? Any solutions?

OK, I'm having the same battery problem. I upgraded a long time ago to 2.2.1 but the battery issue started just within the last week. I've turned everything off - PUSH (it was always set to 'manual' anyways), WiFi, and G3. I'm finding that it goes from 100% overnight to about 70-80% just sitting on my table. 2 weeks ago I could go 2 full days without recharging and not even hit the 20% warning with a good deal of use.

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my iphone 3g 8gb has a short battery life and i put a new battery in it last week with no change after full charge it will last about 4 hours while on the phone but 2 hours if im not on it is there a fault with the board or just a dodgey new battery please can someone help