Horrible iPhone 4S Battery Life Is Caused By Software Not Hardware, Here’s The Proof

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Photo: Apple

The iPhone 4S has some bodacious battery life problems and no one seems to know what’s going on. Apple themselves have released an iOS update, iOS 5.0.1, to fix the problems, to no avail. Meanwhile, some iPhone 4S owners find their batteries draining at a rate of 10% every ten minutes, while luckier customers can only report the same excellent battery life the iPhone 4 was known for.

What the heck is going on? Are some iPhone 4Ses just defective? Will Apple have to initiate a recall?

Thankfully, no. Although no one knows what the problem exactly is, it has at least been proven to be a software problem… not a hardware problem.

ZDNet had a clever idea. Let’s take two iPhones 4Ses — one that has battery life issues, and one that doesn’t — and give them to an app developer to test them out. Both phones were bought at the same time, both ran iOS 5.0.1 and were AT&T models. In theory, they should both have the same battery drain problems, but only one did. Why?

After getting the two iPhones, the app developer decided to see if it was a hardware issue, so he backed up both iPhone 4Ses and then factory reset them. No dice.

Tthen he had a clever idea: what if I restored the iPhone 4S with battery drain issues using the backup of the one with no battery problems, and vice versa? If the battery drain issue was a hardware problem, the same phone that had the battery issue before should have problems even with a restore of another iPhone’s backup.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, when the iPhone 4Ses were restored with the other iPhone’s backup, the battery drain issues made a jump from between phones!

While this is only a one test case study, it does seem to conclusively prove that battery drain issues under the iPhone 4S are caused by bad software, not by bad hardware. It also seems to explain why some users have reported that complete wipes of their iPhone 4S without restoring from a backup after sometimes solve the problem.

In other words? This problem is something Apple should be able to fix through an iOS update. So when are you going to do so, Cupertino?