iOS 5.0.1 update worsens iPhone battery woes, say users

Rapid power loss still plagues many after Apple promised update would fix problem

Apple's iOS 5 update this week did not solve the quick-draining battery issues for many users, according to reports posted on the company's own support forum.

"No change for me after update," said someone identified as "SRS89" on the longest-running support thread yesterday.

"Still have the same issue," said "sam81."

Apple delivered iOS 5.0.1, which the company claimed "Fixes bugs affecting battery life," on Thursday morning.

The rapid battery exhaustion problem was reported almost immediately after the Oct. 14 launch of the iPhone 4S when owners said the phone's battery was draining at a prodigious rate. Some claimed that they were losing 1% of their power every few minutes.

The largest thread in Apple's support forum now stretches nearly 300 pages, includes more than 4,400 messages and has been viewed more than 315,000 times.

On that thread and others, iPhone owners not only continued to report significant battery losses but in some cases said that iOS 5.0.1 actually exacerbated the problem.

"After update my 4S is the same if not worse," said "B737800" in a message early Friday. "We know now this is definitely a hardware issue. This phone is just not practical for everyday use."

"5.0.1 is worst!!! [sic]" ranted Alessis. "My battery life is ridiculously short. Without using the iPhone I'm loosing 10% per hour... if I use it... 1% to 2% per minute."

The iPhone 4S is not the only device involved, according to the support forums. Users of the iPhone 4 as well as the iPad and iPad 2 also reported blazingly-fast battery drain.

Support forums are notoriously slanted toward complaints -- relatively few bother to report everything is working as expected -- but some people did note that iOS 5.0.1 seemed to slow or stop the power slide, or at least didn't make it worse.

"No battery issues iPhone 4S before or after iOS [5.0.1] update," said "jojo bean" today.

"My battery life seems to have improved after 5.0.1," said "abhishekg616" on Friday.

Earlier this week, Consumer Reports magazine, which added the iPhone 4S to its recommended smartphone list, was not able to confirm a battery hitch in the new model, saying that testing put it on par with last year's iPhone 4.

But the general tenor of Apple's support forum was frustration that mounted as fast as the iPhone's battery dropped to zero.

"My concern is this: Nov. 14th is coming up very soon -- the last day I can return the phone for a refund," said Brendan Averett today. " If this is an inherent problem with the 4S and Apple is unable to fix the battery problem, I don't want to be stuck with a phone that inherently has a horrible battery life for the next two years."

"What the heck is going on?" asked Macbeutling.

Apple did not reply to a request for comment on the continuing reports of what some wags have already dubbed "Batterygate."

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

See more articles by Gregg Keizer.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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