Awful battery performance - 3GS

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by biscuits99, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. biscuits99 macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2009

    I have a 3GS which I've had for just under 24 months.
    Recently the battery life has become very poor, and loses about 15% overnight with no use. And it would lose around 50% during the day with very little use.

    Could anyone recommend ways to see if I can improve the battery life.

    The settings are:

    Version: 4.3

    - Wifi On
    - 3G Off
    - Bluetooth Off
    - Low Brightness
    - No apps running in background
    - Location Off
    - Notifications Off
    - Restrictions On (Ping is off)

    Thanks for any pointers
  2. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    The battery doesn't sound terrible, but turning off WiFi probably would make a substantial difference.
  3. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Honestly, that's too much loss for any of these little things. This is like using a tin can to bail out a sinking ship.

    If your battery really is near the end of its life, it may be time to replace it. I got a new one for my 3G by sending it to at the 1.5 year mark and it made a huge difference.

    So that's my real suggestion. Before you do that, though, it's worth backing it up and then restoring it from the backup. Sometimes something goes wrong in the OS and a restore may fix it. It's worth trying that first.

    But if that doesn't do it, just get a new battery. It sound to me like that's the case.

    (And after you do get a new battery, my general tips are: Always leave 3G on, Turn Wifi on when you have it and off when you don't, and leave location services on all the time.)

    EDIT: I also notice that iResQ throws in a 'free new battery' with many of their other repairs. I recall now that this is what I did. I paid for a new plastic back and got the battery for free. Might be worth doing something like that if you need it.
  4. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    How did your replacement plastic back look? iResq claims that its bigger than the original :eek:
  5. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Huh. Dunno if they changed how they do things, but when I did it in early 2010 I got my phone back with what seemed to be an identical back plate.

    I mean, it even had all the printing on it and seemed genuine. I'd assumed they got it off a phone that had been damaged on the front, or something.

    Perhaps Apple's sued them since then and forced them to come up with one slightly different than Apple's own version? I dunno! I just know that in 2010 they didn't have such language on their site so I guess something changed!
  6. iApples macrumors 65816


    Mar 24, 2011
    Before making any purchases I would recommend a restore. Sometimes restoring helps. You could potentially have something that's killing the battery even though it may not seem like it. But your numbers aren't that bad. Assuming you sleep 9 hours.. your battery is only losing 1.67% per hour. Not much in my mind.
  7. Ashin macrumors 6502a


    Jun 19, 2010
    Most of the issues come from buggy push connections.

    Try this, works for me -

    Go into settings, log out of "Store".
    Open the phone app, then kill it in multitasking.
    If you have Gmail set up, enable email, notes and calender syncing, then open each app so they all fully sync (wait till the loading wheel completely stops) then kill each one, and re-toggle which ones you want (eg, just email, and turn notes and calender back off).

    Using NetStat, after doing this I have "No TCP connections", meaning everything is nice and quiet.

    Without doing this, my battery was draining very fast, and using data on its own, also the "usage" was going up in standby without touching it (would 100% charge, leave overnight and it'd have 30 minutes usage...)

    After, my battery is really nice again, get 30-40 minutes from the first 1% on wi-fi browsing :) Then between 7-9 hours usage.
  8. Polydactyl macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2009
    I had this problem start rather abruptly, possibly after one of the recent iOS updates. Reset/restore helped some. After that, killing all open apps helped a lot more. Last night with no open apps it went from 100% to 99% in 5 hours of standby.

    I don't find manually killing apps after I close them to be a practical solution.

    I don't mind a background tasks/push notifications bleeding a little power, but at times I've had my phone lose 10-15% in a hour of standby. Other than an excruciating trial-and-error process, there doesn't seem to be a way to figure out which apps are the offenders.

    Are there any good non-jailbreak apps that can monitor cpu use/network access on a per-app basis? I'm pretty sure I read that iOS prevents apps from access this type of system information.
  9. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    $80 bucks at the apple store and they swap it out with a new one, I just did that. but yeah, first try restoring.
  10. biscuits99 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2009
    Thanks very much for these pointers. I'll give them a go.
    For reference I am UK based.
  11. Cully411 macrumors member

    Feb 7, 2011
    I brought mine back when i was experiencing issues like yours. My handset was roughly 12 months old.

    I brought it back to Apple and they restored the firmware, then sat for 10 minutes and showed them that the battery was deteriorating very fast.

    They replaced it with no problems and i restored my backup from itunes. :)
  12. BlindMellon macrumors 65816


    Apr 4, 2011
    Was looking at a white back replacement until I read this:

  13. jhsc macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2011
    I have solved the iPhone battery problem!

    I have solved the iPhone battery problem!

    My devices
    iPhone 4
    Originally came with OS 4.2.1
    Factory Unlocked
    Jailbroken – Greenpois0n RC6.1

    iPhone 3Gs
    Originally came with OS 3.0
    Upgraded to OS 3.0.1, 3.1.2 & 4.2.1
    Factory Unlocked
    Old bootrom
    Jailbroken Redsn0w 0.9.6rc4

    Windows XP desktop PC

    Windows XP notebook Acer

    (Ahem, jailbreaking is legal by the way)


    In December 2010, I upgraded my iPhone3Gs to OS 4.2.1 and jailbroke with Redsn0w. After a few weeks, my iPhone3Gs has started feeling warm and when I checked, I noticed similar usage and standby times (Settings, General, Usage). The battery was starting to drain very quickly and was dead within half a day. This is not the first time I am facing this problem. When I first got my 3Gs in July 2009, the same thing happened.

    The problem last time
    In July 2009, when my 3Gs was still not jailbroken and running OS 3.0, the problem was quite easy to diagnose because I had not many apps installed. I had setup my yahoo email account through the mail app. A search on google shows everyone saying turn off push. I turned off push but the battery drain was still there.

    I deleted the email account and re-added it and the problem was still there. I figured out that there was something wrong with the iPhone push programming because although I turned push off, I believe the push was actually still on as I was still getting emails. Even after deleting the email and re-adding it, the problem was still there.

    I had to Restore my 3Gs for the problem to go away. And when adding the yahoo mail account again, I immediately turned off the push and changed it to fetch. The problem never came back again, until now.

    The Current Problem

    Initially I thought the problem was the same. Little did I know it was different, very different.

    This time, when I noticed my 3Gs having this problem, I checked my iPhone4. It was also having the same problem. The iPhone4 has a better battery life therefore I didn’t notice it as easily as my 3Gs.

    I figured out the problem is I sync both phones to my notebook iTunes using the same account. Therfore there must be something wrong.

    Other Solutions & Suggestions Found on the Internet
    Doing a google search I found the following solutions which all did not work for me:

    1) Delete the email accounts and re-add.
    2) Turn off push
    3) Turn off notifications
    4) Turn off Bluetooth
    5) Turn off Location Services (GPS)
    6) Lower the screen brightness
    7) Discharge and fully recharge
    8) Allow to continue charging even after reaching 100% (trickle charge)
    9) Use less data
    10) Turn off fetch
    11) Turn off wifi
    12) Minimise use of apps
    13) Use airplane mode in low coverage areas
    14) Turn off equalizer
    15) Let your phone breathe by changing your phone carrying case
    16) Lock your phone
    17) Turn off 3G.

    Blady ****, the list was looking like I had to turn everything off. Why buy an iPhone in the first place?

    Its like buying a BMW then the dealer tells you, that to save petrol, don’t drive at night, don’t drive in the rain, don’t drive when its too hot, only have 1 person in the car, the person in the car should exercise and lose weight to save petrol, minimize the use of car lights, radio, CD player and brakes…. Like.. what the ****???

    18) Change your default password from “Alpine” to something else
    19) Download Push Checker (note : not applicable for me as my phones are factory unlocked not relying on ultrasnow)
    20) Problem with push on email synchronization
    21) Problem with push on contacts synchronization especially with the contacts with pictures (yup tried this by deleting all my contact pictures – regret it like **** now)
    22) Problem with push on calenders synchronization especially when emails are received for setup of appointments and meetings (I honestly thought this was my problem and went on to delete all the received appointments in my Outlook)
    23) Problem with synchronization with Microsoft ActiveSync server. (believable as apple and Microsoft are not exactly friends)
    24) Download System Activity Monitor to check if there are any programs running in the background (useless app by the way)
    25) Hard reset the phone (Hold down the Power & Home button until the the screen goes black) – this will remove the Usage & Standby time completely until you fully charge your phone again which is when you will notice the problem is still there.
    26) Double click the home button to pull up the “Recently Used Apps” bar and close them one-by-one.
    27) Open the Mail App then hold down the Sleep button until you see the “Slide to Power Off” then release the sleep button and hold down the home button until the Mail App closes. Repeat this for the Calendar App and Contacts.
    28) Sign out of the AppStore.
    29) Sign out of the Game Center.
    30) Reboot the phone – duhh..
    31) There is something wrong with Greenpois0n wait for the next jailbreaking tool to be released.
    32) Go to the Apple store and replace your phone for a new one – EVEN THIS WILL NOT HELP!!! It’s a software problem not a hardware problem. Many people (check google) have got replacements for their phone and still have this problem.
    33) Finally, the one that works (temporarily) – Restore the phone as a “new iPhone”.

    There were people without this problem trying to help with solutions but there was one person in particular who was in many forums – Lawrence Finch. He was NOT helpful, actually USELESS and yet he behaved all high and mighty. He can go suck his own balls.

    What I have Done

    I started by deleting my email accounts one-by-one as I had gmail, hotmail, yahoo & my company email on my iphone. I did the standard reboot after removing each account. It didn’t work. Tried re-adding the accounts, also didn’t work.

    Perhaps it was not the email. I started deleting my apps one-by-one. Rebooting after each removal. Sometimes waiting a day & recharging. Also tried hard resets (explained above). It didn’t work.

    Finally I had removed everything on my iPhone. No apps, no mail.

    I knew it was not the Jailbreaking because people who have never jailbroken their phones were reporting the same problem. Additionally, I had two phones with my iPhone4 being jailbroken using Greenpois0n and my 3Gs being jailbroken using Redsn0w. Both were facing the problem so it was unlikely that both Greenpois0n and Redsn0w were giving similar problems (although there was a possibility as the jailbreaking community is small and they share resources).

    It came the time to Restore my phone as new. The problem went away. I re-added everything. After 3 days, the problem returned.

    I tried again, Restored my phone as new. I started adding email accounts one at a time always remembering to turn off push and put on fetch instead. My battery was back to normal. I started adding apps then after a week, the problem came back. ****. Must have been one of the apps?

    I tried again, this time adding only a few popular apps comparing with my friends who were also using theiPhone4. My email accounts were added back but only yahoo, gmail and hotmail. After 3 days the problem returned.
    I tried again, Restored my phone as new, this time not jailbreaking. Added my email & apps. The problem returned.

    Trying again, I installed all my apps with no email accounts. The problem went away. I was so convinced it was a problem with the Mail, Contacts & Calendars then suddenly the problem returned after 2 weeks.

    That’s it. It must have been my notebook computer which I was Syncing to. I switched to my desktop. Installed iTunes there, re-downloaded all my programs from the App Store. Restored the phone from my desktop. The problem went away initially. Then again, battery drainage restarted after a week.

    To make things worse, Apple released the 4.3.0 & 4.3.1 and stopped signing the 4.2.1. I had to use TinyUmbrella to Restore my phone as I was still trying to figure out the battery drain on the 4.2.1. Fortunately Cydia had my shsh.

    All in all, I must have restored my phone at least 20 times in the last 3 months. I have been searching the web for answers and found many, many suggested solutions but nothing worked. All this headache is making me wonder if I will still be getting the iPhone5 in June.

    My Solution

    Finally I found it! Apple take note.

    It is not the email accounts as there are no email accounts installed on my phone.

    It is one of the downloaded apps from the App store. But which particular app I am unsure.

    All this while, when using my iPhone 3Gs and iPhone4, I have not used my 3G data because I have been using WiFi at home and WiFi in the office and WiFi everywhere.

    One of the programs using Notifications or Push has been requesting data through the Cellular Data.

    The program somehow does not want to use your WiFi.

    The program is running in the background and even when you reset your phone, the program will still come on and try to use your Cellular Data. All you have to do, is turn on your cellular data (assuming you have a data plan)

    (Settings, General, Network, Cellular Data ---> ON)

    Then after 1 minute, turn it off again. – The problem is solved.
    (This is assuming you have a cellular data plan)

    No need to Restore your phone. No need to hard reset your phone. No need to reboot your phone.

    Oh my gosh.. after 4 months, the solution is so simple. No wonder Apple says there is no problem. They probably have Cellular Data and WiFi in their testing environment.

    Come to think of it, that’s why people going overseas (and turn off their cellular data) complain of this poor battery life.

    Apple : You can test this out yourself – Take an iPhone4 disable the Cellular Data – add the normal Email accounts and standard apps from the AppStore. Use the phone for a month – I am quite sure you will face a similar problem. Check for similar Usage & Standby times.

    You may want to check out Bump, Facebook, Foursquare, Palringo, Talkbox, Tango, Viber but I suspect its Facebook.


    Thank you all for reading my post. I have spent many days, weeks and sleepless nights trying to solve this problem. If my post has been useful and solved your battery drain problem you can make a contribution for all my effort to my paypal account at

    Note to Apple
    Dear Apple, if you are reading this I just have to add, I just purchased a new Windows 7 notebook with the second generation Intel i5 Core – arrived yesterday. I actually really really wanted to get the MacBook Pro, but because Apple couldn’t solve my iPhone battery problem, I was forced to purchase a Windows. Perhaps in 3 years time, I will reconsider switching to a Mac.

    Fix the problem fast and stop blaming Microsoft ActiveSync for a bug.

    Search Keywords

    Usage = Standby similar time Battery Drain 4.2.1 iPhone Push Netstat 5223 Notifications hot warm bug amazonaws synchronization Microsoft ActiveSync protocol server calendar System Activity Monitor App Rogue program jailbreak
  14. nukem170 macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2011
    I'm actually surprised you were able to use it for that long. My 3GS only lasted 16 months on it's original battery. Then the phone started turning off after percentage goes down to like 70%. I bought a new OEM battery on eBay for $15 and changed it myself. Been pretty good now for about 7 months or so.
  15. biscuits99, Apr 9, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2011

    biscuits99 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2009
    Disabling cellular data does make a big difference to the battery life for me. I'm just not sure what app is using it so heavily.

    I've removed all my apps so it must be one that comes with the iPhone? I have 4.3.1 now.

    Hmmmm - maybe its the mobileMe account?

    I'm going to check this as well:

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