iOS 5.0 battery life

The jury is still out on whether battery life under iOS 5.0 is the same, worse or better than in previous builds of the iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch software.

In the meantime, if you are experiencing much faster battery drain, there are a number of things you can try.

Firstly, makes sure you only have notifications set for the apps that you really want notifications for. Sounds obvious I know but notifications are generally set for way more apps than you will typically want or need notifications from.

The same can be said for location services. You will find a lot of apps with location services turned on. Go through them and turn off anything you don’t want to use location. At the bottom of the location services settings screen tap on System Services and turn on Status Bar Icon. This will show the location services arrow in the status bar whenever one of the system services is using location. This will give you an idea of which system service is potentially draining your battery. I found that the time zone setting was the biggest culprit here and have since turned it off.

Finally, and I’d actually recommend doing this first, carry out a full charge cycle of your device. All that means is run the devices battery flat, to the point that the device turns off. Then charge it back to 100%, ideally without interruption to the charging.

Why charge cycle the device? After such a large update to the operating system software, it often needs to re-learn the extremities of the battery charge (it’s lowest and highest charge levels). The software learns this by depleting the battery fully and then charging it back to full.

I reported an issue with the battery draining rapidly on my own 3GS. Take a look at the screen grab below of the battery usage settings screen.  Pretty dire eh?

Despite turning a lot of the notifications and location services off, 9-10 hours was the most I could get out of it.  However, after giving the battery a full discharge, followed by a full, uninterrupted charge to 100% I am happy to report that battery life is back to where it was prior to the update.

So, first port of call, should you be experiencing poor battery life after updating to iOS 5.0, is to charge cycle your device.

I am @iCraigt on Twitter and you can find me on Google+ here.



Kensington Travel Battery Pack & Charger for iPhone

It’s arrived!

So, a couple of first impressions.  I will update the post again after I’ve had chance to charge it and the iPhone.

So first off, I was surprised how small it was.  Although I looked at the dimensions before buying it, for some reason I didn’t picture it quite this compact.  That’s a good thing as it will travel with my other gadgetry in my *cough* man-bag *cough*.  It’s also incredibly light.

The specifications are as follows:

Battery Composition: Lithium Polymer
Input: 0.5A @ 5V
Output: 1A @ 5V
Capacity: 5.5 Wh
Length: 95.5mm
Width: 37mm
Depth: 20mm
Weight: 95g

The output (1A @ 5V) equates to that of the (for the 3GS at least) wall charger supplied with the phone so I anticipate (obviously) a similar charge time.

As for the design, I have to admit to a momentary scratch of the head when I looked at the oddly shaped cover over the iPhone connector. A brief play revealed the reason for the odd shape.  The cover folds back through 90 degrees and acts as a stand, supporting the charger and phone at an angle (see below).  The face of the lid that the charger rests on has a rubber pad to prevent slippage.

At the other end of the charger is the USB connector for plugging into your computer to charge the internal Lithium Polymer battery.  The connector stows away in the body of the charger until needed, flicking out for connection to the computer.  I found the retrieval of the USB connector a little fiddly as there’s no tab or similar aid with which to pull the connector from the body of the charger.  It requires the use of a nail, picking at the moulded housing to tease it out.  That said it does rotate out of the housing through 180 degrees, which is a good thing as the sockets on my netbook require the connector retracted fully through all 180 degrees (see below).

Another point to note is that, fully retracted, as I have it in the photo above, the connector feels as though it’s meeting a little resistance, as though it’s straining the internal cable connection.  This may not be the case, it may just be the housing, but time will tell.  Having been on many a design team making devices like this, I put faith in the knowledge that these things are scrutinised and tested very thoroughly.

The device has a single push button and a bank of 5 blue LEDs.  The push button gives an indication, via the blue LEDs of the charge remaining in the device.  The above photo shows the location of both of these.

On the rear side of the device there are the usual array of product regulatory markings, in this case the FCC mark for the US, CE for Europe and the C-Tick for Australia, along with a recycle mark and the WEEE mark.  The device is “Designed in California” and “Made in China”.

So, charge tests to follow (likely to take a couple of days to get a good feel for it).  I will post an update accordingly.

Price: £19.99 from Amazon

Update 26-Aug: Initial results

Ok, this is based on the first charge of the iPhone, from flat.  I am not sure if the Kensington charger was itself fully charged so am reserving judgement until I’ve done a couple more thorough tests.  However, the iPhone charged to 74% on this initial test, easily enough to get you through a few more hours.  I’m happy with that at this stage but am hoping that the next couple of charges yield better results.

The Kensington charger is now charging (one note here… the user manual gives absolutely no clue as to when the charger has itself finished charging… I’m guessing it’s when the blue LEDs stop flashing but it would be nice if this were stated somewhere).

More thorough results to follow.

Update 01-Sep: Initial results

After a few more tests I can confirm that the Kensington Travel Battery Pack & Charger for iPhone is averaging an 80% charge of the iPhone.  This is based on only 4 tests so I will update as I conduct further testing.  I think that’s a reasonable charge level given how compact the device is and certainly provides enough charge for my typical “heavy use” day.

If anyone has any insight, feel free to drop a comment.