iPhone 4S battery drain: We're not at 'death grip' levels yet

The iPhone 4S has a battery drain problem, according to some users. But one blogger has suggested an easy fix.

iPhone 4S users are reportedly losing battery life, very quickly. Here, employees at the Apple store in Manhattan.

Last year, Apple released the iPhone 4, and instead of talking about the processing power on the new gadget, or the sleek new design, the tech world spent a couple of weeks reciting the words "death grip," over and over again, in increasingly anxious tones. (Eventually, Apple offered free cases to the masses, which pretty much solved the death grip issue, and sated the anxiety.)

This year, the major gripe is battery drain, a phenomenon apparently affecting Apple users, who have flocked to the official support forums, to share stories of rapidly draining battery life on the iPhone 4S. The complaints kicked off on October 15, with a user named Scarface. Scarface noted that he seemed to be losing battery life at a rapid clip, and sought assistance from his fellow iPhone fanatics.

"My iPhone 4s battery seems terrible!" he wrote. "Almost equivalent to my 3GS and it's terrible battery life. When I got my iPhone yesterday and restored from backup I noticed nothing really changed with minimal usage and standby! Is this normal or should I consider setting it up as a new phone because maybe something is running in the background that's causing it to drop a percentage every few minutes under light usage? Input would be great!"

To date, roughly 2,500 replies have been posted to the Apple forum, many of them echoing Scarface's complaint. "My battery just about lasts for one (working) day, but I can see it draining even if I don't use it," a user wrote today. "Done the 'reset all settings' and disable setting time zones, but so far I cannot see an improvement."

Thus far, Apple has not issued an official statement on the battery drain issue – 2,500 complaints across more than 4 million iPhone 4S units isn't a huge percentage, but it's no question a frustration for those affected.

Plenty of tech bloggers have suggested their own solutions, chief among them Oliver Haslam of the iDownload blog. Haslam's solution is a simple one: turn off the "Setting Time Zone" function, which is accessible by visiting Settings, and then Location Services, and then System services.

"[I]t appears that iOS 5′s GM" – Golden Master, i.e. official – "release introduced a bug that causes the Setting Time Zone function to keep the location tracking circuitry running constantly, draining battery power considerably," Haslam writes. "Switching it off may mean that your iPhone will no longer set its own time zone when you travel, but that’s a small price to pay for having your iPhone last more than 12 hours on a full charge."

Early reception indicates Haslam's fix is a good one. So we may not be at "death grip" mania levels just yet.

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