iPhone 3GS iOS 4 Update Causing Battery Issues for Some

Reports are showing that those who updated their iPhone 3GS to iOS 4 have been suffering with a shorter batter life when compared to iOS 3.1.3.

A Norwegian journalist asked Steve Jobs by email if any deterioration should happen when iOS 4 is installed to which Steve simply replied “Nope”.

Over on the Apple forums a thread has started with a number of people (26 pages worth of people) reporting that they are also having problems with battery life with iOS 4 on their 3GS.

It isn’t clear if there is a problem that a software fix can fix. Ideas on the forum include closing out multi-tasking apps that are still running as well as lowering screen brightness and disabling push notifications. It isn’t clear if those will fix it enough to return to 3.1.3 levels and it isn’t clear if all users are experiencing a drop in battery life.

Hopefully something gets worked out for 3GS owners (and I suspect 3G owners suffer the same too) as a lower battery life from what already was quite bad on the 3GS must make switching back to 3.1.3 more desirable although you cant officially do that as Apple [AAPL] lock you in to the latest update once installed.

Let us know if you have any problems with the 3GS. We haven’t tested iOS 4 on our 3GS just yet, but will be doing after reading this to see if we can offer up any advice on what we think the problem is.


  1. thecolor says

    this is exactly why Apple has been able to report high battery usage times (cause the previous models were so crippled they were hardly using any juice).
    Now that they are “a bit” more capable… of course they are going to use more juice.

    And that goes for the new or older devices if you are using the new software. With more activity, comes the need for more FOOOOOD!

  2. Lesco Rogers says

    I recently update 3GS software, I’m experiencing
    a 30% reduction in battery performance.
    It seems Apple is now adopting the mediocre performance of

    Droid is looking pretty good to this life long Apple user!

  3. Bobartist says

    Today I plugged in my I Phone 3GS to my PC basically to charge it and synch a few bits and pieces. The I Tunes page invited me to upgrade the software to (I think) IOS 4 which I did without thinking as I’ve upgraded various Apps this way already.

    For my trouble the phone is now what I believe is known as ‘bricked’ and doesn’t work at all, The I Tunes page tells me it cannot link with the phone as it’s in recovery mode and needs to be reset. However, it won’t reset as a message comes up with Unknown Error 21.

    I was on the phone for over an hour to a Vodaphone techie (my service provider) who was extremely helpful but who cursed Apple for as he said VF were getting slaughtered and they had no control and as usual Apple were blaming everyone but themselves.

    We’ve uninstalled and re-installed I Tunes twice – version 9.2 – temporarily disabled all of my security systems and I’ve tried loading an ‘old’ OS version only to get a message that it’s incompatible. Any calls to my phone tell me it’s switched off and there is life via the apple logo but sod all else.

    Any ideas folks but apart from that, DON’T upgrade to IOS4 or whatever if you don’t need it.

    PS: Does this mean my phone’s had it and/or any ideas how I might stand for a replacement via Apple or Vodaphone ?

  4. Nicki Weinberg says

    I upgraded my 3GS to IOS4 and my battery keeps going down to 19% and lower when I am barely using it. I didn’t even notice that it had happened after the installation. I have another problem and wonder if anyone noticed this. My podcasts download with times, and are okay. But every time I sync to iTunes, the podcasts revert to having –:– instead of times. It shows 00:00_______00:00 when it’s playing a podcast, and goes back to the beginning if paused, with no opportunity to slide across the scrubbing bar, back or forward.

  5. I have a 3G, and updated to iOS 4.0 and battery life is almost nil – about 2 1/2 hours with NO USE – this stinks! I would recommend against this upgrade until this is fixed!

  6. On another note, I also somehow during the update process got into “recovery” mode and lost all of my pictures, music, etc, and somehow my backup got deleted or corrupted.

    My experience was very similar to Bobartist – in the past I never hesitated to upgrade, and do this upgrade without giving it much thought – and now I’m VERY SORRY!

  7. I just got a brand new iphone 3GS 32gb. My other iphone had an issue with the mute button so i was given a brand new iphone. After updating it to the newest software iOS4, the battery last around 10-12 hours on standby- when i went to bed it was on 89% next morning after sleeping 7 hours it was under 20%. Now i have to bring my charger with at all times… not a good upgrade.. let me know if you guys have a solution 🙂

    kind regards

    • Check if you have any push notifications running for facebook, email and any other apps (listed in settings). If push notifications are running it can use up battery life quite quickly. Might want to switch Bluetooth and wireless off if not using them also.

  8. Own a 3GS, as with others I got the upgrade notice and didn’t think twice. Since “upgrading” to iOS4 my battery drops from full charge to under 20% over night. With very little use it drops to under half a charge in about 3 or 4 hours. Pre iOS4, I was having NO problems. I do not have PUSH enabled, I do not have facebook or any other social media software on this phone.
    Very frustrating to have to keep plugging in my phone several times a day even with very little use 🙁
    Very unhappy iPhone customer.


    My 3Gs is behaving very funny after i upgraded it with this ios4.1software. you watch in dis brief as the battery go down while on stand by,:- @ 2% per minute that is less than two hrs. please help before we lose the taste of the whole thing.

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