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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 21, 2011
Ever since day one of owning my 4S, my battery life on AT&T's 4G/3G/whatever network has always been absolutely terrible compared to wireless. Is this normal?

I get double the time on my battery using my home wireless network than I do with data. Doing average work with my battery, I get about 9 or 10 hours on wifi total, 4 or 5 max using cell service total.

An hour of lite to moderate usage including sending a few emails and texts, checking Twitter and briefly surfing the web on my wireless drains my battery to about 93%. The exact same lite to moderate usage of texts, email, web browsing and Twitter with wireless turned off drains my battery to about 80%. Two hours of using my iPhone with AT&T and my battery's down to around 65%. ... Rediculous? Furthermore, you can't turn 3G off using AT&T, but even so, the drain in battery using cell service as compared to wireless just seems incredible to me. Is there something wrong with my phone or more likely, my phone service or connection that's causing such a dramatic drain in battery use when wireless is turned off? Is this normal? I'm using a factory unlocked 4S that I bought straight from Apple, and again I don't have any problems with my battery when connected to wireless or when on standby.


macrumors 601
Jul 24, 2008
Pacific Northwest, US
Probably the biggest effect on what you're seeing is the strength of the cellular signal. That determines how much "power" your phone needs to make and maintain a cellular connection. But it sounds like the behavior may be different than a previous iPhone (in same locations)? If so a genius appt. might confirm / debunk any hardware issues.


macrumors 601
Feb 9, 2011
All normal (using your carrier's network will consume more power than equivalent usage on WiFi) and, as stated above, poor coverage will also negatively impact battery life. All has been discussed in prior threads on battery life.

Two hours of using my iPhone with AT&T and my battery's down to around 65%. ... Rediculous?
Expecting something for nothing is ridiculous. Depending on your usage that's to be expected. The data connection, screen and whatever resources your app(s) use all require power.

If you suspect something's wrong then reset/wipe and use your device stock to see if battery life improves. Then slowly add the stuff you had until you determine the culprit. Standard troubleshooting.


macrumors 65816
May 14, 2010
South FL
Like mentioned doesn't seem unusual, cellular use will always be worse than WifI, just b/c AT&T is available doesn't mean it's going to be the best. A weak signal is a battery drainer forcing the radios to search and lock on harder. But cellular use will always be worse than WiFi, why would you think different?
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