iOS 5.1 solves battery issues, or does it?

A few days ago Apple released its latest mobile operating system, iOS 5.1, and one of the many things that an awful lot of people hoped to see was a big improvement on battery performance. However we’ve been taking a look at what people have to say so far and it’s a very mixed bag, with both positive and negative responses. So does iOS 5.1 solve battery issues, or not?

The more we look into this, frankly the more confused we become and we’d like to hear from readers who’ve successfully downloaded the iOS 5.1 update. Of course we do know that plenty of people haven’t yet managed to update but that’s a whole other story (see here) that has provoked a huge amount of comments. If you have though, have you noticed a significant improvement in the battery life of your iOS device, or maybe your battery is draining quicker than a spider down a plughole?

Taking a look at the Apple Support forums it seems that plenty of people are seeing major differences in the battery life of their iPhones and iPads but the opinions are completely conflicting. There are those who say their battery life is far worse than before but also others saying they are seeing big improvements. Heading to the MacRumor forums another thread discussing battery issues also comes up with a very mixed reception to the iOS 5.1 update as far as the effect on battery life goes. For example one iOS 5.1 user says “I have noticed significant battery drain issues since updating to 5.1. In the past 23 minutes of use I have fallen from 93% to 79% with limited use.” Another user though says, “It has not drained my battery after one hour of use. Really pleased with that!” As you can see then, there are some very pleased iOS users about but there are also plenty more who are pretty disgruntled.

We’ve also uncovered some information that may add to this saga, or even partially explain the mixed comments as this article tells how battery power is being inaccurately reported. Apparently some people have noted that the battery power remains the same with plenty of use so looks pretty impressive, but then suddenly drops down. For example one user watched a one-and-a-half hour video on their iPhone 4S, starting with 100% charge. After watching the video in full they were delighted to see it had only dropped to 93%. However, shortly afterwards the battery indicator dropped suddenly to 50%.

Could it be then that some people who have initially been pleased at a seemingly improved battery life have been misled by their battery meters and have now been disillusioned? Of course some may have a genuine improvement too. We’re really interested to hear the effect that iOS 5.1 has had on the battery performance of your iOS device so do let us have your comments on this, that is always assuming you’ve managed the update at all! Would you say your iOS device battery life is better, worse, or about the same?


34 thoughts on “iOS 5.1 solves battery issues, or does it?”

  1. Heyitsbenny says:

    I’ve had worse battery life since I’ve updated to iOS 5.1 I’m think of going back to iOS 5.0.1. I had WAY better betters life. Not to happy with the new update…

    Ben Lienhard

    1. Test says:

      Insanely terrible.  It didn’t think 5.0.1 was too bad. 5.1 is RIDICULOUS! went from 79% to my current 19% in 3 hours without using it.  I’m turning off Siri to see if that’s it.  How do I downgrade to 5.0.1???? 

      1. Killhippie says:

         I had good battery before and good battery since, with wifi on 24/7 and a few calls a couple of picture messages and some  texting and browsing I have hit 3 Days and 17 hours with 4Hours 46 minutes useage and 27% Battery left. Using 5.1

  2. Tomldtx says:

    After the iOS5.1 download I don’t even get 8 hours of standby time.  And this is after making all adjustments recommended to extend battery life.  It seems some iphone 4s’s are affected and other aren’t.  Since Apple doesn’t warranty any of its software provided on the phone all those of us impacted can do is wait for them to figure out a fix…well once they admit there is a problem, which could be awhile.  Rethinking weather next phone will be an iphone if this nonsense keeps up.

  3. Sllion301 says:

    It depends I think some apps got location services activated after the iOS 5.1 downloads and when I went inane deactivated the ones I dont need it’s much much improved battery life.

  4. Movieman says:

    My battery life is good now that I realized I had a dozen or so apps running in the background, my location service was on and ooops, I left my wi-fi on too ! And what about that brightness control ? And let’s not forget that some batteries are created MORE equal than others !!!

  5. Hodgesj says:

    My battery life is much better on my iPhone 4S since the software update.  It was lasting less than 24 hours until the update so much so that I had booked an appointment to visit the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store to have the hardware checked.  I charged my phone on Thursday evening after installing the update.  It was still on 40% today (Sunday), so I am very happy with iOS 5.1.

  6. Ralf says:

    iPhone 4 with no battery problems before iOS 5.1, since update to iOS 5.1 my battery dies within 4-5 hours (same usage as before, same services active, non active). charged it in the meantime 3-4 times fully, a few over night. 

  7. brin says:

    I had no issues with my battery prior to the 5.1 update.  if charged to 100% i could go almost 24 hours before needing to plug it in.  I went to bed last night at 2am phone had been plugged in and was at about 85%  when i woke at 6:30 the battery was completely dead. My alarm did not go off at 6am as I expected.   I was late for work and had to plug it in for about 5 to 10 minutes to just get it to a state where I could turn it on and email my boss that i was going to be late. So, basically it drained from 80% to 0% when not being used!!!! 

    Prior to the update, I could have “forgotten” to plug it in and went to be with it at 20% and it would have still alarmed me 6 hours later.  obviously i would need to charge it before using it, but This was the first time ever the battery had been so low it shut itself off!

  8. green_giraffe says:

    My experience is that iOS 5.1 has really improved battery life; Previously using  iOS5.0.1;   typical 24 hr standby, 4 hour usage for a single battery charge  (location services off), based on 4-5 weeks experience. Typically this represented 4 days light usage before a recharge was needed, with phone on only during work hours iOS 5.1, dowloaded over WiFi directly onto the phone then caused awful battery problems -  loss of entire charge in about 8 hours, most of that on standby…….but Since doing a complete reset/restore via iTUnes, I now have great battery performance -  I don’t have stats just yet, because I still haven’t gone through a complete cycle, but after 2 days use, I’m still on  78% charge -  much better than I was experiencing under 5.0.1.   Those users with problems still might like to try the iTunes restore route….?

  9. Robertthebruce says:

    Upgraded to 5.1 then did a reset/restore via iTunes. A full charge then gave me 7 hours usage and 3.5 days standby. Yesterday I ran the battery right down to zero and since then have had 23 hours standby and one hour use for just 10% (battery now at 90%)

    I suggest reset/restore (after backup) followed by a complete discharge and recharge to 100% will fix many problems.

    My only remaining problem is the antenna sucks (since version 5.0). My wife’s old Nokia pulls a good signal in our house but the iPhone 4S cannot on 2 different networks. After losing the signal it will go into SOS mode and often fails to regain the signal, even in good signal areas. I then have to switch it to manual network selection to get it back on my network.

  10. Me says:

     I had no issues under 5.0.1, but since updating to 5.1 The phone has dropped down to 48% after 5 hours use!  Before the update I would get a full 20+ hours before hitting that point.  Really disappointed with this update!

  11. MVMNT says:

    I have a theory that they have changed the ratio of percentage to actual charge.

    Much like they did to “fix” the antenna issues where they changed the values for signal attenuation and how many bars that represented 

  12. Joe says:

    upgraded on Monday March 12. iphone battery life has gotten worse. Unfortunately the phone was purchased through verizon and they were useless, offering to replace the device when the OS upgrade was the trigger to poor battery performance. why can’t apple get this right? what type of testing did they do? They knew this was a problem and rushed a fix without adequate testing. argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Really, for the price of these units they can’t get the battery right?

  13. Dreamer says:

    I updated my iPod Touch to 5.1 and now I cannot get a full charge on my battery.  I had it charging overnight and it shows 1/2 charged.  The previous time I charged the battery it stopped at about 90%.  Not sure if it’s a reporting problem or not yet.

  14. FK says:

    i updated to 5.1 on my iPhone 4 and its killed my battery life all together.. Take 2 nights ago as an example; I charged my iphone all night long and woke up at 7am and charged it again at 11am as battery was on 40% yh and at 5pm it was at 25% when I did a video call for 31mins on Skype it died on me all of a sudden.. From 25% to 0% in 31mins on skype.. Wasnt this bad at all with the 5.0.1..

  15. Ian Bower says:

    My phone 4 lost 40% in four hours after installing 5.1 and that was with 10 minutes on Facebook and two text meesages. Rest of the time in standby. Dreadful.

  16. Jawillia11 says:

    I know it’s not the metering. Before the upgrade with my typical usage I could go about a day and a half without charging. Now, if I go to bed with a full charge, my battery is so dead my phone won’t even come on in the morning. This is the third upgrade that has trashed one of my devices – my iPad once and the iPhone twice. They say restore from new – and that has worked, but seriously I how often should I have to do that?

  17. kcspelunker says:

    Updated my Iphone 4s on AT&T from 5.0 to 5.1. Battery life is significantly worse. Also, some apps open briefly and then close on first use but work ok if reopened.

  18. Asoldier100 says:

    Battery life is about 6 hours, previously I only had to charge every other day now I cahrge two or three times a day. Apple can not do anything right I will never buy another of their products.

  19. Bpoxy says:

    seems like its been draining faster then usual,kinda pissed, hope this gets fixed soon bad enough its drains at school to 80%from 100% within 15 minutes. feel bad for everyone who has to put up with this   

  20. LostThatLovinFeelin says:

    I have an iPhone 4 (not S) and until 5.1 I could leave my phone sit idle all day with a battery decrease of less than 15%.  Since the update, every day it drops 50-75% without use.  Since the update I have come back to it dead at least three times.  That had happened to me only three times in the previous two years.  Something is different and I am hoping to find how to reverse this.

  21. Jamiescrase says:

    I got my upgrade to an iPhone 4S yesterday, it was on IOS 5.0.1 Had trouble getting rid of the excess battery life which was only 45% I finally got rid of the battery life then charged to 100%. Installed IOS 5.1 via wifi I mite add, after it was complete and installed all my apps, music ect. After all that I saw a big decrease in battery. It dropped to 68% within 2 Hours of non use. Knowing I only had this phone just over 18 hours I thought I would seek advice from the apple store, they checked my iPhone over and saw thier was a problem with the IOS software, They said it could have been the wifi dropping for a split second which messed up the IOS software install, so they did a restore and now it works fine. I still got to train the battery over the next week or so but it should all be good in the end. I hope everyone with the battery drainage problem gets it sorted

  22. Well, it’s early days really, given that I’ve only had iOS 5.1 on my
    iPhone for a few hours. However, given that I noticed the initial
    battery bug within hours of installing iOS 5, and then I quickly
    realized that iOS 5.0.1 didn’t fix the problem a few hours after
    installing it. You don’t need to spend a long time with iOS updates to
    have a pretty good idea of how they affect battery life.

  23. Mossyy05 says:

    Ever since the new iOS software has been installed in my iPods my battery life has been draining very quickly. So it’s made battery life worse of for me. I have the old version of the ipod and the new one and it’s does the same for both. What a waste of resources, Can I revert? Of isn’t his apples way to make us change our iPods faster. not happy.

  24. Ai Fone Sacks says:

    Iphone sucks nowadays…..so much headaches for what?…to talk over the phone and have access to internet? seriously?!!! i spend more time updating and upgrading-downgrading software ….im done !!! bye bye

  25. FatmanM says:

    Big problems, battery drains on standby.. Didnt use to be like this and if anything, im using it less and more battery aware! Samsung starting to look tempting as I cant go on like this 🙁

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