iOS 5.1 unlikely to be battery-fixing magic bullet

A lot of people have complained about the lacklustre battery life in iOS 5. Apple then released an update to fix the problem in iOS 5.0.1 but for most users the issues persisted, and in some cases worsened.

What can be causing this ongoing fracas? With iOS 5.1 in beta, many iPhone users are hoping for a magic bullet, some “uh-huh, we identified a specific problem” type fix, but it won’t likely come. According to Ars Technica, with the newest beta in closed circulation, some are choosing to speak out about their experience, and for the most part the run time of their iPhones is unchanged.

Michael Morgan, a mobile expert with ABI Research, puts it straight: “iOS 5 may simply be using more data transmission or running more background processes to support its new features. There is also some potential impact of iCloud services.” While iOS is considered to be a relatively closed, sandboxed system, Apple itself has never set limits on its own services for background updates, only that of third-party apps. We know that iCloud, if used, syncs constantly with Apple’s servers, pushing and pulling emails, contacts and, most bandwidth-intensive of all, photos.

But even turning off location-aware servies such as Auto Time-Zone adjustment, or disabling features such as Siri, have not seemed to solve the problem for many people. Indeed, my own iPhone 4S experiences some days of extremely poor battery life followed by a few of “normal,” all-day usage.

The hope is that as iOS 5 matures and more testing is done to narrow down what is using up battery the most, Apple will be able to put into place new safeguards to turn off background updates when the battery dips below a certain point. At the same time, as Android users have learned the hard way, with increased “openness” and the potential for third-party apps plugging into more APIs, usage patterns are unlikely to keep up with improved battery technology.

Either way, let’s hope Apple can find that magic bullet, otherwise it’s going to have a lot of upset customers on its hands when iOS 5.1 is released.

Source: Ars Technica