iPhone 5 Battery Woes and Improvements

battery

In September 2013, following the release of the iPhone 5s, there were claims that Apple had programmed previous iPhone models to crap out once that year’s new device was released. In October I began encountering symptoms similar to those claimed on my wonderful Darth Vader device.

Several months went by and battery life became complete untenable. On February 11th, I left my house for work at around 730am on a full charge. I listened to approximately 25 minutes of episode 51 of ATP on the drive in, and I used Tweetbot for 5 minutes or so. I  scrolled through my feed a few times, no more than 20 minutes of use through the hours of 930am and 100pm. When I finally sat down at my desk that afternoon around 100pm I was at 45% charge.

To be clear, I did not use the device during those hours, no messaging, no streaming video, bluetooth was off, background app refresh was completely off, and parallax was turned off. I only allow Apple apps and Tweetbot to use cell data. In less than 5 hours I had dropped more than half my battery life and had done very, very little on the phone.

Out of complete frustration at the lack of battery health, I made an appointment at my local Genius Bar. The Apple Store Employee plugged my 5 into his device, did some stuff, and informed me that the iPhone 5’s battery has 4 “cells”. He went on to say that two of the cells in my battery were good, two were not. He said I should make a backup and do a fresh install, then restore from the backup. If the backup and restore did not work, I could replace my phone for a couple hundred dollars.

There are many problems with this diagnosis, I know, but I rolled with it.

After the appointment, battery life became even worse. Nearly at my wits end, I spoke to a  friend who has direct access to extremely well-informed and accurate information regarding the 5. He urged me to do a fresh install, as painful as that may be, start fresh and see what happens. I bit the bullet, made a complete backup of the device, made a separate backup of my pictures and stored those separate from the full backup, and I did a fresh install of 7.0.3.

In descending order of size, the apps that were installed prior to my fresh install on February 11th.

iPhoto
SuperPro Snowboarding
Temple Run 2
Angry Star Wars II
Advanced English Dictionary & Thesaurus
PolyFauna
NBC Sports Live Extra
Subway Surfers
Pocket Trains
Nike+ Running
Nike+ Basketball
Languages
Pocket Frogs
Scanner Pro
Temple Run
eBay
Instapaper
NBA Game Time 2013-2014
Ember
Kindle
Pocket Planes
VSCO Cam
WhatsApp
Dropbox
Kayak
Calcbot
Day One
Starbucks
Write for iPhone
Fantastical 2
Team Stream
SoundCloud
Tweetbot 2
Netbot
Chase Mobile
n-Track Tuner
Hangouts
Speedtest.net
SnappyCam Pro
Gmail
Moves
Podcasts
Chaatz
Watch TNT
Twitterific
Twitter
Tweetbot 3
Pastebot
Reeder 2
Reeder
Check the Weather
Apple Store
Dark Sky
Parcel
Weightbot
Convertbot
myAT&T
Articles for iPhone
Simplenote
Letterpress
Vesper
Cartoon HD
Flappy Bird
Data Usage

When I restored the phone and setup as a new phone, I only reinstalled the following:

Tweetbot 3
Dropbox
Simplenote
Articles
Podcasts
Nike+ Running
Hangouts

I setup 2 iCloud email accounts and did not setup my work email. I disabled push and set everything to manual fetch. I charged the phone on the evening of the 11th and took it off the charge at 830am on the 12th. The following day I used the phone as little as I possibly could. I sent very few iMessages, used Mobile Safari much less frequently, and I stayed completely off Twitter and Tweetbot. I did not have to charge my phone again until February 13th at around 630pm. I immediately saw 36 hours of battery life on a device that is nearly 17 months old and has seen daily, frequent, very often very heavy use. I would conservatively estimate that 60% of the time I have had this phone, I end up with less than 20% battery by the end of the day. I am comfortable with this and have grown to expect it as an iPhone user. To go from that type of usage to 60% gone in 6 hours was unacceptable.

Since that 36 hour period I have resumed more normal daily usage, but have limited myself as to the number of apps installed. This has also cut my usage back considerably.

I have since reinstalled
Advanced English Dictionary & Thesaurus
Fantastical 2
eBay
myAT&T
NBA Game Time
Nike+ Basketball
Dark Sky
Team Stream
Day One
Vesper

The next few weeks will prove interesting. I’m eager to see if any of these apps are the culprit of the spectacular battery I was experiencing.