Tips and How To's: Post-2.2 Battery Woes

Like most iPhone users out there, I'm always excited about firmware upgrades because you EXPECT things to be BETTER afterward, right? I just so happened to be up late, writing, on the night that the 2.2 firmware update hit, and wasted no time in downloading it to my precious iPhone 3G. Once completed, everything was fine and much improved!  Or...   was it?

It wasn't long until I realized that my iPhone was heating up excessively and I couldn't keep it close enough to a charger. If my phone was topped off when I went to bed, and left unplugged, it was dead by morning. How could this be? Even a reset didn't help. There had to be some app running in the background that was chewing up my battery faster than Pac-man on a steroid/speed cocktail. Are YOU having the same problem since the 2.2 update? If so, read on. This tip may apply to you!

Does this picture look familiar? It's what I was looking at after only mere hours off the charger. The only thing I could think of was that an app was running in the background, draining my battery even when my iPhone was only in standby and unused.

I closed any apps that could be the culprit - I logged off of my IM app. Since the 2.2 update, I had changed nothing, so I assumed the update made some kind of change that resulted in something on my iPhone being 'always on' and, likely, using data at a voracious rate. I reset my Safari to make sure it wasn't the culprit. What could it be?

The only other app on my phone to use data was Mail. I have Exchange set up on my iPhone so that I can get my company mail, contacts, and appointments in as close to 'real-time' as possible. Could the update somehow have affected my Exchange settings and made everything wonky? It was time to experiment.

One thing I've learned through painful experience is that, in most cases, a problem can be fixed by starting with the simple things. I've learned this when diagnosing car problems. If the car doesn't start, why? Does it turn over when you turn the ignition? Nothing at all? Could be the alternator, right? Oh wait! What about the battery? It's a lot cheaper to check the battery and replace it before digging under the hood and replacing an alternator.

With this start-with-simple approach, I deleted my Exchange email account and then set it up again from scratch. Guess what? It worked. For some reason, the update did not play nice with existing Exchange settings and email. Once the update ran, my Exchange was locked into a constant 'on' state and was endlessly searching for mail that wasn't there, rather than waiting for the mail to be 'pushed'. No wonder my iPhone was like carrying a hot coal in my pocket! A simple deletion and setup of my Exchange mail account resolved the problem and my battery life has been normal ever since.

If you use Exchange on your iPhone, I recommend deleting and reinstalling your mail account after all future iPhone updates. Then, you'll avoid the distress I went through when I couldn't get 5 hours out of my iPhone after a full charge.

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There are 33 comments. Add yours.

iairmanshirk says:

hmmm... background processes have come!! :]

frog says:

I don't use push on my iPhone. My battery life has improved since 2.2!

iDutch says:

Thanks for the post, i will try this with my yahoo push too, because i find that my batter is draining a little faster than before 2.2.

Rene Ritchie says:

Round Robin took my iPhone away, but during the brief time I had with it to review 2.2, I had no battery issues with either Exchange or MobileMe both pushing constantly. If anything 2.2 ran the smoothest for me yet.
Still, if you have problems, Brian will fix you up!

tom says:

2.2 battery has definately decreased. Also I found many other bugs. Typing on the keyboard and some keys don't enlarge when you touch them even though they are recognized and typed. App updates that dissappear even though I haven't installed them it says my apps are up to date. Clicking on apps in the app update screen only for it to tell me I have installed the update so I have to select update all so it will actually download. Safari crashing less but still crashes and often QuickTime player will now crash in landscape when watching videos where it used to be stable. There are slot of fresh bugs I think I had found more new ones but I can't remember them all now

dlp says:

I had this same problem on a 1st gen phone previously. I would have the phone charger and go to bed at 11pm and by 6am the phone was in red. Mine was ATT though. When they adjust something, say I was getting a lot of failed loading web pages, and they would fix it they messed up something on their end that caused my phone not to connect to mobile me mail and it would check all the time thus running down battery.

3guser says:

I have had this happen more often. I have found when clicking on the web app it appears google is trying to load. So I assume the the web is running in the background draining the battery. Everytime I restart the phone I hit the web app to make sure nothing is loading and all seems to work.....so far. Yes I have exchange.

Ganda says:

After searching a large number of forums regarding this battery issue with 2.2, I've decided to restore my iPhone using the option "restore as a new phone" followed by another restore with a previous backup. Since then, the battery life of my phone more than doubled (from ~8 hr standby time with 4 hrs use, to more than 22 hrs with approximately the same usage time).

tom says:

I am on rogers and I also get websites that fail to load when I never did before.

Deathscaller says:

im using yahoo push and i havent noticed a change in battery life at all. possibly slightly better?

tom says:

You probobly jjust haven't noticed because I definatwluy see a decrease and am also on yahoo push

miked says:

I have Exchange from work and have not encountered this problem.

Steve says:

I run my battery completely dead about twice a month and have great battery performance. Some will say that it makes no difference (cycles are cycles, regardless), but I figure as long as I'm happy with my batter life, I'll keep doing it.

DAvid says:

My iphone battery life has improved a lot with this update!

Matt Sawyers says:

@ Tom #5: I am having the same issues.

Tom says:

My battery life hasnt changed since the update, but the iPhone's battery has never been exactly good ; )

K.James says:

I have noticed that some keys don't enlarged since someone mentioned it. I wouldn't have never even noticed if I didn't look. I type so fast I don't have time to watch the keys enlarge. Sometimes they do , sometimes they don't. The ' I ' , ' k ' , ' j ' tend to be culprets. Also, must be a slight coincidence that they are close together.
With 2.2 , I've noticed significant improvement in battery life. The time of day that I would usually end up charging my phone) , I would have more battery life than I usually would.
I also use yahoo push services and I haven't seen much decrease in battery life with it constantly pushing data.
Hopefully apple keeps on with this and by macworld 09, they can brag about squeezing a few more hours into the phone use.
But I think if they can improve the battery life , they could also improve the quality of the camera as well.

Mak89 says:

I have recently updated to 2.2, and i have noticed a significant decrease in battery life, i find myself always reaching for the charger, however i am not using push, and i do not have an exchange account. Still working on a solution, i think it may have an effect to the amount of apps you have, but that is just a guess for now...

gegy says:

I have this Problem also in 2.1. This is not because your update.
But its not everytime. Bad, if you have set up an alarm clock and your Phone battery is empty next morning :(

hotrod says:

I had this exact problem also. So far, just once. I've tried it two times since then and I have not been able to reproduce it.
I restored my phone when I updated so I had to set up my phone as new. So it is not a situation of old exchange settings. Something else caused the battery drain.
I've been on Exchange Push with my 3g since I got it in July. I never notice this problem, since my normal routine is to plug my phone into the wall at the end of the day. Perhaps it may have been doing it randomly since the beginning. It's really scary. You think that when you turn it off, it should be off, but obviously something was doing something and eating up the battery.

nparrott says:

Since the 2.2 update I havent had any problems with anything battery related. I use push an a frequent basis, also if anything the life of battery has improved I think!

firesign3000 says:

luckily, i don't use any exchange stuff on my 3g. for me battery life seems to actually be better. i have 4 pages of apps, location services on, wifi on, 3g on, mail check every 30 minutes. still plenty of battery after more than 8 hours off the charger with pretty active use.

Marc says:

I also have the problem with some keys not enlarging while typing, it doesnt seem to have any rhyme or reason , but it is kind of annoying, cause i will tend to think i havent hit the key but when i look up i did. Battery life seems improved, no exchange setup.

wendy smith says:

I am updated to 2.2 and deleted my exchange account. Now I cannot get my Exchange to set up! I have put in the correct info, checked a 100 times. The only area I suspect is Server: I've tried with http://...I've tried without...etc. any hints?

Nico Mwai says:

I knew something was wrong with battery life. My phone is almost dead when I get back from work - something that didn't happen before. Also, it's been here in New York so the warming up of the phone in my pocket has been obvious.

Rafael says:

Thanks man! I was about to return my iPhone to the cell provider to get it fixed. My battery was dying in less than 3 hours (just in standby) and got super hot. Anyways, tried deleting Exchange and BINGO problem solved; my phone is been up since Friday, no recharge needed. I haven't tried re-installing Exchange again but I will this week.
Thanks again!

David says:

Thanks for this. I'm going to try it and report back...

David says:

Worked perfectly, problem solved.

Jack says:

Battery life on my 2G has been declining- will check this-- Also just got the coolest accessory- iPowerJacket- it's a Leather Case with Built in Battery- found it at www.iPhonebattery3G.com
Costs less than the Mophie & has an on/off switch and is a more powerful oem quality battery.

George says:

Mr. Hart, you sir, are brilliant. I was a little late to jump on the 2.2 bandwagon, but as soon as I did I had the very same issues. Phone heating up for no reason, battery dead within 4-5 hours of being off the charger. I went overboard and deleted all my mail accounts, and re-added them. Recharged, and I've been off the charger for 22 hours now with still half the battery life left. THANK YOU! I don't know that I would have ever figured this out, let alone the genius at the apple store.

Michael says:

I have a lot of battery issues also. I don't use exchange, just Gmail though but it is set to push the email and I use AIM and internet a lot, but it seems to drain very quickly. I've taken to keeping it plugged in at work all day when I am at my desk. Not sure if the battery will be affected if it is left constantly plugged in all day, or not.
Hopefully someone will come out with a better aftermarket battery like they did with the Ipod, and a way to replace it.
I am having a lot of crashes too on the browser, and issues where when I am typingm, the keys slow down, so they come up verrry slowly one by one as I type until I reset the phone and it fixes it. Apple told me it is because the phones processer isn't as powerful as a regular computer and when I swap through multiple programs, it slows it down. But this is the reason I purchased the phone in the 1st place. I shouldnt have to constantly restart it, or deal with multiple crashes. Then I have to relog into whatever I was using since it doesnt save the password hardly ever for websites after it crashes.
3G coverage has been spotty, I was in thr MIDDLE of Washington DC last night, sitting in my car waiting for someone, it kept going to Edge, then back to 3G , but with only 1 small bar, then back to Edge and then 3G with full bars, but then it said I had no internert connection..even though I had 3G full bars. I dont think the Bars and status is 100% true.

PR says:

Thank you for the information! I ended up finding this blog after experiencing my own phone's terrible battery life after the upgrade. I noticed that it turned my Push notification back on, so I just turned it off and am going to experiment with that for a day or so before deciding if I should delete my e-mail and re-input the data.

Rob says:

Wow, thank you so much for this article! This problem still seems to exist in 3.0.1. Although I probably brought it upon myself with a jailbreak app, I was suddenly getting terrible battery life and the usage tab always showed usage = time since last charge. Deleted exchange account, readded it and now usage !- time since last charge. Hopefully battery life will be increased accordingly.