Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

iKoopa

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 5, 2011
60
33
The Bronx, New York
Happy New Year, everyone. Long time lurker shaking off some dust!

I know we talk a lot about batteries; however, I have some questions about what I'm gonna call "The iPad falloff."

I've had an iPad 4th Generation for literally a decade now. I don't use it as my daily driver anymore, but it still gets some use as a music streamer, remote and alarm clock. The battery even after a decade is still holding up really well. The standby time is legendary. I charge it around once a month. When I made the upgrade to an iPad Air 4, I was expecting to be blown away, but alas, I am not.

iPad 4 drains around 1% per day.
iPad Air 4 drains around 1% every couple of hours.

So every time I read battery threads, the automatic thing people say is "turn this off, turn that off" and it shouldn't be that way. I haven't turned anything off on my iPad 4 since 2012. (Wifi is always on, email fetch is on, Bluetooth is on, Hell even background refresh is on.) Battery life isso damn good, I didn't have to turn anything off. Even the generational jumps from iOS 6 to iOS 10.3.4, just amazing.

The next argument is "iOS 10 is ancient, iPad OS 14-15 has way more features" This is a gray area depending on how you perceive ancient. There's still some decent support for app updates. iOS 10 itself was no slouch. There was way more going on in iOS 10 versus iOS 6, yet... battery hasn't taken a hit, like at all. Let's not pretend that iOS 10 doesn't have some of the same core features as iPad OS 15.

Moving on to the iPad Air 4. My expectation was really high, and after my first night with it, I was confused. A 5% drop overnight is a lot compared to a 1% drop for an entire day. I always update to the latest OS whenever possible, especially for a new device, so I chalked it up to extra background processes because of the update. I wait a week. Same thing.


The next argument is "The A 14 Bionic is way more powerful than the A6X". True, but after a decade, shouldn't power optimization gains play a role as well? A 14 Bionic has a 4 x 4 (Power x Efficiency cores) the A6X just has two cores. No fancy Firestorm or Icestorm magic.
I guess my expectations on those Icestorm cores were way too high.

Then comes iPad OS 15. Low Power Mode. First time ever on an iPad. So a newer iPad + newer OS + Low Power Mode can surely beat out a decade old iPad with none of this stuff, right? Low Power Mode took drain from 5% down to 3% with the same settings as my 4th gen.

Not bad, but spending the amount of money I did, I was expecting so much more.

The next group of people are the "just charge it" crowds. The whole point of this thread is I barely ever had to charge it in the past. lol.
Now I have to do it once a week, roughly. That's terrible for an "iPad", especially considering it's just sitting in standby most of the time.
And it's only gonna get worse as the device ages.

I will say, on screen time is decent. For people like me who like to hold on to devices as long as possible, standby is even more important. The better the standby, the less I have to charge, which equates to less wear on battery, which equates to a device I don't have to replace for the next decade to come.

Gonna close the post with these questions. "What the F happened?" What is going on in iPad OS behind the scenes that just killed off the former standby behemoth?
 

saudor

macrumors 68000
Jul 18, 2011
1,508
2,086
On macOS, insane amounts of CPU time is consumed by medianalysisd and photoanalysid that keeps on going as it analyzes faces and stuff. I have to move the library to an external to get it to shut up. No iCloud photos. I bet something similar happens with iOS devices too as they have the same feature - especially if you keep a lot of photos on-device. Apps like facebook are also notorious for killing battery

If you just got the Air4, you also have to wait a bit as it finishes the indexing and whatnot. That being said, my iPad 2 on iOS9 still has much better standby time than the M1 despite it being a decade old
 

sracer

macrumors G4
Apr 9, 2010
10,318
13,092
where hip is spoken
My iPad 9th gen still maintains that legendary standby time.
shrug.gif
But it is on iPad OS 15.6.1
 

ericwn

macrumors G4
Apr 24, 2016
11,880
10,486
I haven’t experienced any long standby time with iPads in recent years but I also don’t spend much time measuring that or caring about that metric. I connect the devices to the charger way more frequently than once a month and so be it. The vast majority of the charging scenarios in my house happen when a device isn’t being actively needed or used.
 

FeliApple

macrumors 68040
Apr 8, 2015
3,562
1,998
I think iPadOS happened. It runs a lot more in the background, and the iPad 4’s battery is larger. Add those two factors, and you get a mediocre standby time on any and every version of iPadOS.

I have the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It’s on iOS 12 after Apple forced it out of iOS 9. Standby time is amazing. It’s better, I think, than my Air 5 running its original version of iPadOS (iPadOS 15). The latter isn’t bad, but the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is better. There have been many complaints about standby time on older models (including the 9.7-inch iPad Pro) starting with iPadOS 13 (the first version of iPadOS).

Regarding screen-on time, it’s a shame: after Apple forced it out of iOS 9, battery life plummeted from about 14 hours to about 10.5 hours. But standby time remained amazing. This forced update happened a couple of days before iPadOS 13, and looking at the glass half-full (because I would love it if Apple hadn’t forced it out of iOS 9), I’m glad I can have iOS 12 instead of iPadOS 13, both the screen-on time and standby time reports aren’t good. If an updated iPad defeats an original version iPad, then there’s no other explanation: the OS version is exclusively at fault (as far as screen-on time is concerned, the Air 5 blows the 9.7-inch iPad Pro out of the water, though).

So yeah, in conclusion, iPadOS 13 onwards hasn’t been great in terms of standby time: even if you can explain your result with the size of the iPad 4’s battery, the fact that the far smaller battery in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro retains good standby time on iOS 12; that coupled with the fact that the reports of iPadOS 13 onwards aren’t good allows us to conclude, I think, that battery size is not enough to explain it, and that the OS plays a part.
 

rui no onna

Contributor
Oct 25, 2013
14,618
12,748
Happy New Year, everyone. Long time lurker shaking off some dust!

I know we talk a lot about batteries; however, I have some questions about what I'm gonna call "The iPad falloff."

I've had an iPad 4th Generation for literally a decade now. I don't use it as my daily driver anymore, but it still gets some use as a music streamer, remote and alarm clock. The battery even after a decade is still holding up really well. The standby time is legendary. I charge it around once a month. When I made the upgrade to an iPad Air 4, I was expecting to be blown away, but alas, I am not.

iPad 4 drains around 1% per day.
iPad Air 4 drains around 1% every couple of hours.

So every time I read battery threads, the automatic thing people say is "turn this off, turn that off" and it shouldn't be that way. I haven't turned anything off on my iPad 4 since 2012. (Wifi is always on, email fetch is on, Bluetooth is on, Hell even background refresh is on.) Battery life isso damn good, I didn't have to turn anything off. Even the generational jumps from iOS 6 to iOS 10.3.4, just amazing.

The next argument is "iOS 10 is ancient, iPad OS 14-15 has way more features" This is a gray area depending on how you perceive ancient. There's still some decent support for app updates. iOS 10 itself was no slouch. There was way more going on in iOS 10 versus iOS 6, yet... battery hasn't taken a hit, like at all. Let's not pretend that iOS 10 doesn't have some of the same core features as iPad OS 15.

Moving on to the iPad Air 4. My expectation was really high, and after my first night with it, I was confused. A 5% drop overnight is a lot compared to a 1% drop for an entire day. I always update to the latest OS whenever possible, especially for a new device, so I chalked it up to extra background processes because of the update. I wait a week. Same thing.


The next argument is "The A 14 Bionic is way more powerful than the A6X". True, but after a decade, shouldn't power optimization gains play a role as well? A 14 Bionic has a 4 x 4 (Power x Efficiency cores) the A6X just has two cores. No fancy Firestorm or Icestorm magic.
I guess my expectations on those Icestorm cores were way too high.

Then comes iPad OS 15. Low Power Mode. First time ever on an iPad. So a newer iPad + newer OS + Low Power Mode can surely beat out a decade old iPad with none of this stuff, right? Low Power Mode took drain from 5% down to 3% with the same settings as my 4th gen.

Not bad, but spending the amount of money I did, I was expecting so much more.

The next group of people are the "just charge it" crowds. The whole point of this thread is I barely ever had to charge it in the past. lol.
Now I have to do it once a week, roughly. That's terrible for an "iPad", especially considering it's just sitting in standby most of the time.
And it's only gonna get worse as the device ages.

I will say, on screen time is decent. For people like me who like to hold on to devices as long as possible, standby is even more important. The better the standby, the less I have to charge, which equates to less wear on battery, which equates to a device I don't have to replace for the next decade to come.

Gonna close the post with these questions. "What the F happened?" What is going on in iPad OS behind the scenes that just killed off the former standby behemoth?

Honestly, iPad standby time hasn't been all that good for me since iOS 12 (probably 11, too but I skipped that upgrade).

Too much ET phone home and background system stuff going on.

That said, as long as it's not dropping 15% or more overnight (like my old Pro 10.5), I don't really mind since I'd be charging fairly frequently anyway since I use my iPads quite heavily (hours of daily onscreen time).

Also, do consider that the iPad 4 has a 42Wh battery while the iPad Air 4 barely has like 28Wh, iirc. A lot of the power optimizations went to making the device smaller or lighter.
 
Last edited:

brig2221

macrumors 6502
Jan 18, 2010
396
184
My old 11” 2018 iPad Pro‘s standby was awesome, battery didn’t move at all as long as it was off, and that was all the way through most of the year after ~4 years of use.

I picked up a 12.9” M1 iPad Pro a few months ago, love it, but I immediately noticed the battery drain issue. I was VERY significant at first, and improved dramatically post 16.2. That said, it will lose 5-7% batter in 24 hours with no use, which is crazy to me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BigMcGuire

Unami

macrumors 65816
Jul 27, 2010
1,364
1,570
Austria
The battery on my ipad 1 was phenomenal. It was pretty underpowered in every other regard and already quite unuseable when I got an ipad air 2 4 years later, but even back then the air 2‘s battery under ios 8 was a disappointment and it has probably gotten even worse on my air 3.
 

Starfia

macrumors 6502a
Apr 11, 2011
950
664
Good observation, both of your iPads and when noting Apple's lack of continued emphasis on it.

I haven't even thought to test this with my iPads since I've probably always been a "just charge it" person and I seldom leave my iPads lying around for a full day at a time.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: AlexMac89

TechRunner

macrumors 65816
Oct 28, 2016
1,291
2,205
SW Florida, US
I use my 7th gen an hour or two daily, and to be honest, I don't concern myself with when it needs to be charged. I use it until it's down to between 30 and 40%, and I plug it in. Not sure what full-to-drained standby time would look like, as I use it every day.
 
Last edited:

Bogstandard

macrumors regular
Aug 24, 2018
195
220
Mid West
I still have the first retina display model.
It would see the charger maybe once a week.
The 12.9 gen 2and 3 in my possession see the charger every other day , especially the gen3 which has had middling battery life since new.
Lots of power hungry processes in the latter iOS, and quite a bit of useless fluff that we have been convinced that we need.
 

blkjedi954

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2012
396
306
Florida
Happy New Year, everyone. Long time lurker shaking off some dust!

I know we talk a lot about batteries; however, I have some questions about what I'm gonna call "The iPad falloff."

I've had an iPad 4th Generation for literally a decade now. I don't use it as my daily driver anymore, but it still gets some use as a music streamer, remote and alarm clock. The battery even after a decade is still holding up really well. The standby time is legendary. I charge it around once a month. When I made the upgrade to an iPad Air 4, I was expecting to be blown away, but alas, I am not.

iPad 4 drains around 1% per day.
iPad Air 4 drains around 1% every couple of hours.

So every time I read battery threads, the automatic thing people say is "turn this off, turn that off" and it shouldn't be that way. I haven't turned anything off on my iPad 4 since 2012. (Wifi is always on, email fetch is on, Bluetooth is on, Hell even background refresh is on.) Battery life isso damn good, I didn't have to turn anything off. Even the generational jumps from iOS 6 to iOS 10.3.4, just amazing.

The next argument is "iOS 10 is ancient, iPad OS 14-15 has way more features" This is a gray area depending on how you perceive ancient. There's still some decent support for app updates. iOS 10 itself was no slouch. There was way more going on in iOS 10 versus iOS 6, yet... battery hasn't taken a hit, like at all. Let's not pretend that iOS 10 doesn't have some of the same core features as iPad OS 15.

Moving on to the iPad Air 4. My expectation was really high, and after my first night with it, I was confused. A 5% drop overnight is a lot compared to a 1% drop for an entire day. I always update to the latest OS whenever possible, especially for a new device, so I chalked it up to extra background processes because of the update. I wait a week. Same thing.


The next argument is "The A 14 Bionic is way more powerful than the A6X". True, but after a decade, shouldn't power optimization gains play a role as well? A 14 Bionic has a 4 x 4 (Power x Efficiency cores) the A6X just has two cores. No fancy Firestorm or Icestorm magic.
I guess my expectations on those Icestorm cores were way too high.

Then comes iPad OS 15. Low Power Mode. First time ever on an iPad. So a newer iPad + newer OS + Low Power Mode can surely beat out a decade old iPad with none of this stuff, right? Low Power Mode took drain from 5% down to 3% with the same settings as my 4th gen.

Not bad, but spending the amount of money I did, I was expecting so much more.

The next group of people are the "just charge it" crowds. The whole point of this thread is I barely ever had to charge it in the past. lol.
Now I have to do it once a week, roughly. That's terrible for an "iPad", especially considering it's just sitting in standby most of the time.
And it's only gonna get worse as the device ages.

I will say, on screen time is decent. For people like me who like to hold on to devices as long as possible, standby is even more important. The better the standby, the less I have to charge, which equates to less wear on battery, which equates to a device I don't have to replace for the next decade to come.

Gonna close the post with these questions. "What the F happened?" What is going on in iPad OS behind the scenes that just killed off the former standby behemoth?
Well you know how “Back to the Future” had our “actual” future all WRONG? Not their fault but that is a common theme in past books, cartoons and movies. The writers don’t fully understand how things move forward. Multiple industries requiring different disciplines have to make similar leaps in innovations as the other. Unfortunately some leaps are harder to make due to physics or creativity. In the case of the iPad the battery industry has fallen woefully behind the semi conductor industry when it comes to innovation. Again, no fault of their. Materials engineering is much more restrictive for battery innovation hence the underwhelming battery performance despite transistor processes progression. That disparity in breakthroughs in Both of the aforementioned industries is partly why you’re experiencing such a difference in standby performance.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ndouglas

Jeven Stobs

Suspended
Apr 8, 2022
224
226
Well, iOS 10 still has less going on in the background, especially on a secondary device.
I suppose you have an iPhone as well, at least an iCloud account, maybe some iCloud sync enabled on the newer model. So that sips away.
Other than and despite that, I fully understand you. We have an iPad 2 lying around, although not connected to the internet, that too still has outstanding battery life. Not comparable to more recent models I get to witness.
 

Isamilis

macrumors 68020
Apr 3, 2012
2,075
974
It’s understandable. iCloud, background app refresh, notification and Siri / AI are some battery drainer. They are very limited in the old iOS / iPadOS version. My iPad in iPadOS 15 always go airplane mode every night (through scheduler / shortcut) to maintain 1-2 times charge a week.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MrAperture

schneeland

macrumors regular
May 22, 2017
232
759
Darmstadt, Germany
I thought about the same a while ago. I used to get even multiple weeks of standby use out of my iPads if I didn't use the heavily (mostly talking about two iPad Pro 2020 devices here; the iPad Mini is something I use every day, so hard to tell if it's also affected). But these days, it's typically only a couple of days (it's not a huge problem, but it was definitely more convenient before).
I tend to support @FeliApple's hypothesis that it started with the introduction of iPadOS, though I had the feeling that it only started later (somewhere in the iPadOS 15 cycle).
 

Digitalguy

macrumors 601
Apr 15, 2019
4,384
4,146
As someone with dozens of iPads of many generations and many IOS version, let me tell you, the reason has nothing to do with hardware, it's purely software.
More powerful chips have nothing to do with it, since power has been offset by efficiency.
Devices with IOS 9 or 10 have amazing stand-by time, even with a somewhat degraded battery, and better than any other device including those with new and/or bigger batteries.
Who is to blame only Apple knows for sure. The battery setting blames find my and siri, even in devices where both have been completely turned off. But who knows what else in iPadOS is to blame. Magic keyboards probably play some (minor) role too.
 

Richard8655

macrumors 68000
Mar 11, 2009
1,885
1,334
Chicago suburbs
Good commentary about legendary standby time.

My approach has been to buy 2 less expensive base iPads (really satisfies all needs) and keep them in charge rotation. One charging overnight and the other in active use during the day.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: rui no onna

headlessmike

macrumors 65816
May 16, 2017
1,283
2,570
My 10.5” iPad Pro from 2017, running the latest iPadOS version 16.2, still gets about a three or four weeks of battery life when on standby and I haven’t disabled anything. It rings whenever my phone rings, notifies me about various things, and syncs photos etc., but doesn’t get used as much anymore since I got my iPad mini. The battery life isn’t what it used to be when I actively use it, but the battery is more than five years old. I can’t see what the problem is on my end.
 

FeliApple

macrumors 68040
Apr 8, 2015
3,562
1,998
I thought about the same a while ago. I used to get even multiple weeks of standby use out of my iPads if I didn't use the heavily (mostly talking about two iPad Pro 2020 devices here; the iPad Mini is something I use every day, so hard to tell if it's also affected). But these days, it's typically only a couple of days (it's not a huge problem, but it was definitely more convenient before).
I tend to support @FeliApple's hypothesis that it started with the introduction of iPadOS, though I had the feeling that it only started later (somewhere in the iPadOS 15 cycle).
It might have started with iPadOS 15. I’m going on other people’s experiences here when I say iPadOS 13: like I said, I had my 9.7-inch iPad Pro on iOS 9 and never updated it willingly (nor did I intend to, ever), but was forced to go to iOS 12 after the infamous A9 on iOS 9 activation bug hit (Devices with that combination would be deactivated and they would be forced to update). This happened three days before the release of iPadOS 13. Fearing it wouldn’t be a good version due to new features, and with time pressing me (this happened three days before the release of iPadOS 13. Even though Apple signs the previous major version for a little while, I wouldn’t ever risk it) I spent two days of pledging for help to everyone I could think of, and failed, so I updated one day before the iPadOS 13 release.

That device is still on iOS 12, and I only gained access to a new version when I bought my iPad Air 5, which is (and hopefully will be, forever) on iPadOS 15. That’s when I realized that even with processor improvements, iPadOS is worse on standby. But I can’t tell you what happened in every iOS version since 9: I only ever used iOS 9, 12, and iPadOS 15.
 
  • Like
Reactions: schneeland
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.