Shortly after upgrading my iPhone 4 to the new iOS 5 operating system, I noticed the phone’s battery was draining at a much faster clip than under iOS 4. I’m not sure exactly what the cause of this issue is, but my guess is that it’s a combination of new background processes, activity from existing apps not yet optimized for iOS 5, and some buggy system-level code.
Assuming Apple and third-parties will release updates that correct the problem over the coming weeks, here are a few tips to mitigate the iOS 5 battery issue, at least in the short term.
1. Reset Network Settings: This is a tried-and-true method of decreasing battery drain after upgrading to a new iOS. And it’s relatively painless.
From the Home screen, tap Settings > General > Reset, and then select Reset Network Settings. This will wipe out the stored settings for your carrier’s wireless network, along with other network settings like Wi-Fi networks. You won’t have to do anything to get back up and running on your carrier’s wireless network, but you will have to set up Wi-Fi networks again, along with VPN if you use it. This does not affect apps, music, photos, or any other aspect of the phone. For whatever reason, this tends to help with battery life issues.
Be sure that you have your Wi-Fi and/or VPN networks’ settings written down before proceeding so that you can reconfigure them easily.
2. Turn Off Unneeded Notifications: iOS 5 has some new notification features, but even the legacy functions can be a drain on battery life. Go into Settings > Notifications and disable any notifications you don’t need. You may be surprised just how many apps are notification enabled, and how many are generally are useless. This is a good idea even if you have no battery issues.
3. Limit, Turn Off iCloud: Apple’s new iCloud service can, depending on how you use your phone, be a real behind-the-scenes busybody. Turn off the iCloud services you don’t need (Settings > iCloud), or disable the service altogether if you don’t care to use it. If you have your contacts, calendar and email already backed-up in the Cloud, on Google or Windows Live, for example, you may not even need it.
4. Turn Off Bluetooth: If you don’t use it – or use it much – kill Bluetooth (Settings > General > Bluetooth).
5. Wipe (Restore) and Reconfigure: Just as with a Mac or PC, doing an in-place upgrade of an iPhone or iPad to a new OS version can cause malfunctions large and small; it’s always better – though much more time consuming – to start fresh with the new OS and manually put things back the way you want them.
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