“Time Zone” bug may be responsible for poor iPhone 4S battery performance

Tue, Nov 1, 2011


Apple, more so than most companies, spends an inordinate amount of resources towards increasing a device’s battery life. From larger battery units to low power chips, Apple understands that a device, as incredible as it might be, is ultimately useless if the battery life proves to be more trouble than its worth.

In light of that, some iPhone 4S users have been surprised to experience subpar battery life that doesn’t even come close to matching the battery life Apple touts on its website. Specifically, an iPhone 4S should yield up to 200 hours of standby time, 8 hours of 3G talktime, 6 hours of 3G Internet browsing and up to 9 hours of Wi-Fi Internet browsing.

Unfortunately, some users are finding their battery life being zapped even after mild use, with some noting that their battery goes down even in standby mode.

To help remedy the problem, Apple has reportedly reached out to iPhone 4S users to help them pinpoint the source of the problem. One iPhone 4S user informed the Guardian that Apple even had him install a monitoring app on his phone so that they could better ascertain what was causing seemingly inexplicable battery drainage.

One owner who was contacted by Apple told the Guardian: “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.

Apple has acknowledged that there are some iPhone 4S battery issues and some Apple support forums are overflowing with complaints. Some have suggested that affected iPhone users should fully charge their device and then let it drain all the way back down to zero before re-charging. This has worked for some, but hasn’t helped most.

The Guardian has since followed up their report with news that they may have found the culprit. As it turns out, it appears that the “Setting Time Zone” option for some users continues to run even when there is no possibility that a user has moved to a different time zone.

On iDownloadBlog, Oliver Haslam suggests: “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.”

Not everyone is reporting that this solution has helped them, but it’s certainly worth a try if you happen to be experiencing less than stellar batter performance on your device.

To turn of the Time Zone settings, go to the Settings app. From there, go to “Location Services.” Following that, scroll all the way to the bottom of the screen to the “System Services” setting and there you should see a toggle for the “Setting Time Zone” option. Slide it to off and hopefully you’ll be good to go!



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