Phones Review

iPhone 5 vs. 4S battery life, drain on iOS 7 fixed

Under: Hand-On Reviews, iOS, Software
Date: June 17th, 2013

Last week you might have seen our article taking a hands-on look at the iPhone 5 vs. 4S battery life with the latest iOS 7 beta. During this test with iOS 7 it was the iPhone 4S battery life that raised a few questions, and this handset suffered bad battery drain after installing the latest software.

You can see our findings in the previous article, but in a nutshell the iPhone 5 performed almost perfectly for battery life while the iPhone 4S drained extremely fast. Our article received a lot of feedback from iPhone 5 and 4S users experiencing battery drain problems on iOS 6, and after we looked into the iOS 7 issues it became evident how to fix the loss of battery life.

Fixing battery life once new software installed – after spending many hours with the first iOS 7 beta on both iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S, our tests revealed a massive difference in battery performance. This is something we experienced previously after installing iOS 6 for the first time last year, and feedback from our readers shows this is an issue for many iPhone users.

It became obvious that in most cases this is not a hardware problem and happens a lot after installing an iOS 6 update, or in our case a major update with iOS 7 beta 1.

Our tests revealed battery drain on an iPhone 4S and our iPhone 5 installed iOS 7 with no battery life problems at all, although we expect this was more luck that a difference in hardware. Our tests showed that the issue could happen randomly depending on install conditions, although there’s a simple way to make sure you can install iOS 7 without battery life drain.

Installing iOS 7 on iPhone 5, 4S without battery drain – the way we fixed the major battery life problems experienced initially on two of our development iPhones was quite simple, but shouldn’t have to happen if Apple manages to fix this issue at some point.

We performed a backup of our iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, and then we performed a clean install of iOS 6 by entering iTunes in DFU Mode. This is achieved by holding down the Sleep/Wake button and Home button, then once the Apple logo appears you keep hold of the Home button only until iTunes pops up with a message about an iPhone in recovery mode.

Once we installed a fresh copy of iOS 6, then we install iOS 7 beta and after this the settings and data were restored from a backup. It is worth noting you can downgrade to iOS 6 from iOS 7, but you need to have a backup of your phone in iTunes with iOS 6.

Bottom-line: our iPhone 4S battery life drain was major and drained completely in just a few hours, but this was fixed after a clean install and then restoring the backup. There’s no doubt that battery life drain happens in most cases thanks to restoring backups without a clean install first.

Do you have battery life problems on your iPhone 5 or 4S? Have you tried to perform a clean install first before upgrading iOS? Just make sure you have everything backed up before wiping any data. One way to tell it’s definitely software and not hardware causing battery issues would be with a clean install and test the battery life before restoring a backup.

iPhone-5-and-4S-Battery-Drain-Fixed

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  • Denis Robert

    I’ve had iOS 7 on my iPhone 4s for about 24 hours now and drainage appears to be the same as it was with iOS 6.1.3. What a nice OS ! Thanks Apple.

    • Black Doug

      Will the iPhone 4s have the moving wallpapper?

      • Jayvee Bonus

        Didn’t you die XD
        I just installed iOS 7 on my 4S (developer) and yes there will be moving wallpaper. It only shows two though. They are very similar. Hopefully Apple can add more in the following weeks preceding Fall.

        • FelixTheMatt

          What fanboys :P Android has had this Even Old 2005 Nokia phones had Dynamic Wallpapers.. FYI I am an iPhone user.

          • yenigga

            android has had it for a while but as someone who works in telecom i’ve used several devices and will tell you the moving backgrounds DESTROY your battery life on any top android.

            using ios 7 for a few days now i haven’t noticed a change in battery life on my iPhone 5.

      • neverdecaf

        yes it does

  • Andre

    Was the Backup taken on iOS 6 Or ios7?
    So summarize:
    1. backup with ios6 or ios7
    2. Enter dfu mode
    3. Clean ios6 without backup
    4. Clean ios7 without backup
    5. Test the battery life
    6. Restore from th backup, which was taken under 1.

    Is is right?

  • Danyael Sugawara

    i’ve reinstalled iOS 6.14. That is to say a clean install. And then installed iOS 7. The battery drainage is still there…

  • Maarten

    i’ve restored my 4S with DFU to 6.1.3 clean + clean ios7 + restore backup of 6.1.3 .. Battery drains at random, very fast.. need a power source like every 2 hours to make sure i don’t run of of juice .. exponentially worse then on 6.1.3.. Besides that, i like iOS7 though.

    • http://www.product-reviews.net/ Daniel Chubb

      Did the battery drain before restoring the backup? This is worth checking, as it shouldn’t drain on a clean install and seems to be related to restoring some backups on iOS 6 and iOS 7.

      • Maarten

        I’ll check that because it is just not working for my primary comm device.. i’m happy running beta’s that are still flawed in some way but i need the phone function :-)

  • a sad iphone owner

    when I followed the steps & clean installed ios 6 then 7, it said I was not a developers account & I was stuck. I had ios 7 already. what do i do?

    • Zach

      Hi, sorry that you haven’t been getting responses. Take your ios 7 file hit shift then left click on CHECK FOR UPDATES. Then you should be good

      • Zach

        After check for updates hit your ios 7 file

  • Oh well…

    Installed iOS7 fresh and reinstalled all apps. Random battery drain issue still appeared after a day of use. My iPhone 5 battery was dead within a few hours. Looking into the logs it could have been caused by location services or facebook calendar syncing but it was hard to say. I restored back to iOS6 until the issue is solved. None of the steps in the above article worked and I’ll be the battery drain issue will reappear for them too.

  • Travis

    Here’s what I have done:
    1. Backed up my iphone in 6.1.4
    2. Restored to the iOS 7 that i downloaded
    3. Restored the phone from the backup that I created in step 1.
    4. From the time i left for work at 10:00 to 1:30 my battery life was at 30%, by 4:30 my phone had died.
    5. I got home and restored the iphone to 6.1.4 by entering DFU mode.
    6. Set the iphone up as a new phone and activated it with my apple ID
    7. Cancelled all syncs that itunes tried to initiate.
    8. Ran through all the intro screens.
    9. Once the phone had been set up as brand new I then restored the phone to iOS7.
    10. Set the iPhone up as new, ran through the intro screens.
    11. Cancelled all syncs that itunes initiated.
    12. Battery life seemed normal.
    13. Restored from the backup that I created in step 1.
    14. I think it’s been about 1.5 hours since it’s been off the charger and i think all is well so far. im at 91%

  • Jiggly wisdom

    Hey all! Thanks to a YouTube user I was able to fix the drain and overheating issue on my iPhone (5) without installing or reloading software. Apple is introducing new background locations services that are most likely being run at full force to gather data on usage and battery life. So we’re the test tube. If you don’t want to wait until these new services are optimized do the following

    Settings > Privacy > Location Services > *scroll to bottom* > System Services > you can turn off everything here. Don’t worry these are all nonessential services. Turn off the switches to fix the issue.

    I kept the usage and statistics reporting on because I want apple to make ios7 as awesome as possible. But my phone battery is lasting as normal and not heating up while sleeping like it was yesterday!

    Hope it works for you too!

  • Rui

    Hi, I followed your tips in order to install with a clean 6.1 and then a 7.0 beta3 and the results are: last night, at 1200am, I unplugged it at 100%. this morning went running for 1h, using mapmyride with GPS and music, made 3 calls, and have been, since last night, always on 3G.and some 1 h with wifi. Today, at 1230 pm it was at 28%. No overheating and no trouble with apps.
    Do you think it’s a good benchmark?

  • Fabian

    My iphone 4s battery has drained 18% in 25 minutes on wifi while running this beta.. :(

  • Pj

    With ios7 beta I have notice this battery life problem. I turn my iPhone completely off for 10-12 hours when I am asleep and in the morning turn it back on. It’s also helps to go from 0% to 100% battery life.
    Hopes this helps.

  • mullz

    i cant even restore from my backup now, thanks a lot

  • Betsy

    I upgraded by suggestion IOS7 and I lost
    99% of my apps!!! I need them back. :(

  • Tommy in Love

    My iPhone 4s drain on ios 7.0.3 with 7.0 and 7.0.2 drains a littele but not so mutch as now. on batt the cpu temp can i feal on de the apple logo of the back… iOS7 so mutch a bug edition :(
    I see so literally drains battery, approximately every 10min I get the iPhone out of my pocket and see that there is minus 10% off

    i hope dat iOS 7.0.4 the drain solves…

    Also Apple has already damaged my confidence and I eagerly awaits the jailbreak to go back iOS 6.1.3 or 5.1.1.

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