iPhone 3GS battery life comes up short: is it the software

Some users are reporting that the battery life on their brand new iPhone 3GS is not as long as they expected

Another week, and yet another iPhone issue. Only this time, it's not overheating. Some users are reporting that the battery life on their brand new iPhone 3GS is not as long as they expected. And this time, it doesn't look like it's a hardware problem.

When Apple launched the iPhone 3GS last month, the company claimed better battery life next to the speed improvements the new device was bringing. But an increasing number of users are reporting on Apple's support forums and across the Internet that the iPhone 3GS' battery is not living up to their expectations.

"My charge did not last from morning to evening with a very moderate usage of checking mails just 5 times in a day and 10 minutes of YouTube video. All this was on WiFi with 3G turned off," says npshenoy2 on Apple's support forums. Others have joined the fray with complaints about the iPhone 3GS battery life also, with Wired receiving another 36 similar reports.

A possible explanation of this phenomenon comes from Wired 's Brian X. Chen, who says that it's likely the iPhone 3GS units with the reported battery life problems are defective. But an interesting explanation comes from the Examiner 's Daniel Nations, who says this is a software problem related to the 3.0 software update rather than defective iPhone 3GS units.

Daniel Nation's explanation makes sense -- he tracks back to the root of the problem, two days before the iPhone 3GS launch, when the 3.0 software update for iPhone 3G users was released and the first reports of overly short battery life surfaced. The reason behind this could be the new Push Notifications feature in the 3.0 update, he says, which keeps an Internet connection open at all times, draining some of the battery.

For those affected by a short battery lifespan either on the iPhone 3G or the iPhone 3GS, in order to conserve some energy, Push Notifications can be turned off from the Setting menu. Turning off Bluetooh (Settings>General) and Wi-Fi can also help with that. As a last resort, 3G connectivity can be turned off from Settings>General>Network. But is crippling your phone's connectivity really the best way to longer battery life?

We know now that Apple is testing a 3.1 software update for the iPhone, so perhaps the company is working on a fix for the battery life issues as well. Here's for hoping!

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Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
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