iPhone Phone weak signal eats up 25%+ of battery ???

Racineur

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 11, 2013
298
60
Montréal, Québec
Hello, is that something to be concerned with? When I check my iPhone's battery statistics, I read "Phone weak signal" at the second place of the apps that take most juice from the battery, the first being (of course) Safari. Is it normal that Phone weak signal drains the battery that much? LTE signal is usually at 2-4 dots. Better if I set the 5s to 3G?
Thanks again.
R.
 

Mlrollin91

macrumors G5
Nov 20, 2008
13,481
8,690
Ventura County
Hello, is that something to be concerned with? When I check my iPhone's battery statistics, I read "Phone weak signal" at the second place of the apps that take most juice from the battery, the first being (of course) Safari. Is it normal that Phone weak signal drains the battery that much? LTE signal is usually at 2-4 dots. Better if I set the 5s to 3G?
Thanks again.
R.
Yes, low service will kill your battery. Anything less than 3 dots starts draining battery because your device is looking for a stronger network connection.
 

whsbuss

macrumors 68040
May 4, 2010
3,521
591
SE Penna.
Hello, is that something to be concerned with? When I check my iPhone's battery statistics, I read "Phone weak signal" at the second place of the apps that take most juice from the battery, the first being (of course) Safari. Is it normal that Phone weak signal drains the battery that much? LTE signal is usually at 2-4 dots. Better if I set the 5s to 3G?
Thanks again.
R.
Strange but I keep my phone near to my door in the family room when watching TV. I get 3-4 dots. But when its across the room I only get 2 and the battery takes a hit.
 

decafjava

macrumors 68040
Feb 7, 2011
3,156
2,584
Geneva
Yes, low service will kill your battery. Anything less than 3 dots starts draining battery because your device is looking for a stronger network connection.
Yup, pretty sure that's the most likely reason my iPhone 6's battery was wasted. We moved offices in January 2015 and where I got 4 - 5 dots 4G before to going to 1-2, and sometimes 2-3 on 3G. Office wifi is pretty good though - AM works fine through it. Now that I have a replacement I am putting it in airplane mode and wifi, transferring calls to my office phone/or using Facetime/Viber whatever.
 

slenpree

macrumors 6502a
Apr 13, 2010
692
157
UK
I noticed that wifi calling can save battery. If you're indoors with poor mobile signal but good wifi the phone won't try as hard to maintain the mobile signal. I've actually just seen my phone say "EE WiFi Call" in top left with no mobile signal a few times but if you disable wifi (simulation/test) the phone will try and restore the mobile signal to 1-2 bars. This is a good software implementation of wifi calling and it's also very useful on the London Underground; because of the free WiFi that uses SIM authentication along with EE wifi calling the phone doesn't try and hunt for an impossible to find signal. Prior to this I used to have to use airplane mode if I'm on the underground for a few stops to prevent excessive battery drain. Have to hand it for Apple and EE for this combination.
 

RichP74

macrumors regular
Dec 16, 2012
136
14
Yeah - if I'm on a train or long distance drive in the middle of nowhere, I always put my phone in airline mode so it doesn't destroy the battery. I learned this the hard way going into Chicago from the Michigan City train once, arriving in Chicago to find my battery down like 40%. Tough day.
 
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XTheLancerX

macrumors 68000
Aug 20, 2014
1,908
781
NY, USA
Weird, my whole house is 1-2 bars of LTE (-114dbm to -100dbm) and low signal barely ever shows up in my battery usage unless I use personal hotspot extensively because my internet goes out.

Everybody's situation is different I guess. If you're on T-Mobile, you can use wifi calling in airplane mode to save a lot of battery. If you aren't on T-Mobile, then you can't. iPhone 6 and up.

If you are in absolute no service or barely one bar of 2G or 1x (depending on carrier) THAT will tank your battery. I had my phone drain 100% to 61% overnight because of that sort of signal. Usually it is 100% to 98% or so. Or like 50% to 45%ish, even with the signal at my house that I described above.
 

zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
5,558
6,521
Florida, USA
Think of it as talking to a person standing next to you, vs talking to a person 50 meters away.

You're going to have to yell to the person that's far away. Same thing with your phone, it has to yell to reach a tower that's far away or if there's a lot of interference. This wastes battery.
 
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XTheLancerX

macrumors 68000
Aug 20, 2014
1,908
781
NY, USA
Think of it as talking to a person standing next to you, vs talking to a person 50 meters away.

You're going to have to yell to the person that's far away. Same thing with your phone, it has to yell to reach a tower that's far away or if there's a lot of interference. This wastes battery.
That is one thing it could be, interference. Uncommon for it to be that bad but it could contribute to drain as the phone will have to work harder for a signal. I've seen good -85dbm readings translate to 2 bars for LTE because of signal noise I'm assuming. Weird.
 

Racineur

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 11, 2013
298
60
Montréal, Québec
Hi and thanks so much for the precious information. I get the thing now. Last question, is 4G and LTE the same thing? Cause I can't see the way to force my 5s in 4G There is no option to do that. As you know, there is only 2G, 3G and LTE.
 

XTheLancerX

macrumors 68000
Aug 20, 2014
1,908
781
NY, USA
Hi and thanks so much for the precious information. I get the thing now. Last question, is 4G and LTE the same thing? Cause I can't see the way to force my 5s in 4G There is no option to do that. As you know, there is only 2G, 3G and LTE.
No 4G and LTE are not the same thing.

For Verizon and Sprint, there is:
1x (1xrtt has a theoretical max speed of 144kbps, 1x EVDO can reach 600kbps)
3G (theoretical max speed of around 2-3mbps)
LTE (Theoretical max of 150mbps through a single channel but something called Carrier Aggregation allows for the use of multiple channels, or bands, at once, allows for speeds of 300mbps and beyond. LTE Advanced or LTE-A involves the use of carrier aggregation. If you hear about XLTE, that's just Verizon's name for high capacity LTE which can reach 150mbps, XLTE isn't an official term)

For T-Mobile and AT&T there is:
GPRS (theoretical max speed of 171kbps)
E (EDGE. Theoretical max speed of 384kbps)
3G (UMTS. Theoretical max speed of about 2-3mbps)
4G (HSPA/HSPA+. Theoretical max speed of 42mbps)
LTE (same as LTE description above)

I believe on iPhones, UMTS, HPSA, and HSPA+ are ALL shown as 4G even though UMTS is a 3G technology. EDGE/2G are often referred to as the same thing but I don't think they are technically. 2G is technically GSM and that only can get to about 10kbps.
 

slenpree

macrumors 6502a
Apr 13, 2010
692
157
UK
No 4G and LTE are not the same thing.

For Verizon and Sprint, there is:
1x (1xrtt has a theoretical max speed of 144kbps, 1x EVDO can reach 600kbps)
3G (theoretical max speed of around 2-3mbps)
LTE (Theoretical max of 150mbps through a single channel but something called Carrier Aggregation allows for the use of multiple channels, or bands, at once, allows for speeds of 300mbps and beyond. LTE Advanced or LTE-A involves the use of carrier aggregation. If you hear about XLTE, that's just Verizon's name for high capacity LTE which can reach 150mbps, XLTE isn't an official term)

For T-Mobile and AT&T there is:
GPRS (theoretical max speed of 171kbps)
E (EDGE. Theoretical max speed of 384kbps)
3G (UMTS. Theoretical max speed of about 2-3mbps)
4G (HSPA/HSPA+. Theoretical max speed of 42mbps)
LTE (same as LTE description above)

I believe on iPhones, UMTS, HPSA, and HSPA+ are ALL shown as 4G even though UMTS is a 3G technology. EDGE/2G are often referred to as the same thing but I don't think they are technically. 2G is technically GSM and that only can get to about 10kbps.
In Europe, LTE, DC-HSPDA+, and WiMAX were the main candidates for "4G". LTE was then selected to be 4G and all carriers in Europe refer to LTE as 4G.
 

slenpree

macrumors 6502a
Apr 13, 2010
692
157
UK
True, what I said is true of how stuff is classified in the US though.

Hoping that op is in the US and not Europe now hahah.
True I suspected it was different in the US. I remember apple releasing a specific firmware for the 4S when on AT&T HSPA+ that made it say 4G in the top left.
 

GP-SE

macrumors 6502
Feb 27, 2013
316
43
Everybody's situation is different I guess. If you're on T-Mobile, you can use wifi calling in airplane mode to save a lot of battery. If you aren't on T-Mobile, then you can't. iPhone 6 and up.
Not true, I can put my phone into airplane mode and then toggle WiFi On, I will get WiFi calling. I tried it on an iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s
Rogers in Canada is my carrier.
 

XTheLancerX

macrumors 68000
Aug 20, 2014
1,908
781
NY, USA
Not true, I can put my phone into airplane mode and then toggle WiFi On, I will get WiFi calling. I tried it on an iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s
Rogers in Canada is my carrier.
When I said "You can't" I was talking about the availability of Wi-Fi Calling as a whole. If OP is on an iPhone 5s on T-Mobile, they can use Wi-Fi Calling. However if OP is on an iPhone 5s on Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T, they can't use Wi-Fi Calling at all. I don't know how this works with non-US carriers though.

With any of these you can use Airplane Mode + Wi-Fi Calling to save battery life. Sorry my wording was a little weird in my post you responded to.
 

Racineur

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 11, 2013
298
60
Montréal, Québec
Hi. I'm in Montréal with Fido/Rogers. I can use Wi-Fi calling, I checked. Thing is since I put the 5s on 3G, battery life has improved a lot and I don't have the "Weak signal" message coming in second after Safari-the-battery-bulimic. Strange but true: seems that 5s get stuck in a loop finding the proper LTE "channel" if I can say it like this.
 

WaruiKoohii

macrumors 6502
Oct 4, 2015
353
348
Boston
If you're on T-Mobile, you can use wifi calling in airplane mode to save a lot of battery. If you aren't on T-Mobile, then you can't. iPhone 6 and up.
This also works on AT&T. Enable WiFi calling, turn on airplane mode, turn on WiFi, WiFi Calling turns on a few seconds later.
 

XTheLancerX

macrumors 68000
Aug 20, 2014
1,908
781
NY, USA
This also works on AT&T. Enable WiFi calling, turn on airplane mode, turn on WiFi, WiFi Calling turns on a few seconds later.
Yeah it works on my Verizon 6, too. I wasn't saying it doesn't work on any carrier besides T-Mobile, I meant it works on T-Mobile if you have a 5S and up, but if you are NOT on T-Mobile, you need a 6 or later to do it. Works the same across all though as long as you have a phone that supports it, that's what varies across carriers.