It may not be the battery

iPhone charged

I recently wrote about the battery problems I have been having with my iPhone. A recent incident and a chat in a restaurant has made me rethink the issue. It may not be the age of the battery which is the problem, but the recent iOS software update.

So there I was in the restaurant having taken some photographs of my food (as one does) and the battery life was very low on 5%, so in order to conserve battery life and ensure the phone counted my steps on the way back from the restaurant I turned the phone off. When I turned it back on the battery life was back up to 29% even though I hadn’t charged the phone in between.

So I think in future if I find my battery apparently draining fast, I am going to turn it off and then back on again.

I need the power

glasgow airport

On a recent trip to Glasgow I realised how poor the battery life on my iPhone has become since I got it a couple of years ago. I got my iPhone in October 2015, so is two years old. Generally the battery is okay, but I usually top up the charge at work so don’t notice how poor the battery life is.

iPhone charged

Flying to Glasgow for an afternoon conference, I first drove to the airport and I though I left with a 100% battery charge, I then streamed a podcast over Bluetooth to the car audio system. This has a detrimental impact on battery life that I usually forget about, or more usually I have the iPhone plugged into the car on charge.

Waiting for the call for the gate I did use the phone and then on the flight itself watched a previously downloaded video, whilst the phone was in flight mode. By the time I arrived at Glasgow, the charge was down to 34%.

I was lucky in that the airport bus had USB ports and this allowed me on the trip into the heart of Glasgow get the charge back up to 59%.

As I write this on the iPad with just a 6% charge left on that I can see the phone has dropped back to down to 33% which was probably a combination of using the Maps app for directions, uploading a few photographs to Flickr and the problems with the 4G connection.

I guess the “solution” is to get the battery replaced. In the interim I am now carrying a “power bank” which was a conference freebie.

Retiring

iPhone 3GS

After many years good service I have decided to retire my iPhone 3GS. It was the first iPhone I had purchased, though I had been using an 3G for work for about a year. When I got it I was totally impressed compared to the 3G and it did so much more and much better than the Nokia N95 it replaced (which was in itself a replacement for the LG Viewty I had that was an awful phone and was “broken” from when I got it). The Nokia N95 is, or was a great phone, it still has one of the best cameras in any phone I have used, and there are features of the Symbian operating system that seem to work much better than the same features on iOS. There were a few apps that I used on the N95 which I really liked and again haven’t been really surpassed on iOS.

I used JoikuSpot for many years to tether my laptop to the internet. This was a great app and very reliable, though it did kill the battery. The Nokia N95 was one of the first phones to have 3G and WiFi. I have never been that impressed with tethering on the iPhone and as a result rarely use it, much preferring to use Android on a Google Nexus One for tethering.

The other app I liked was Shozu which made it really simple when taking a photograph to upload automatically to Flickr or my blog. As it linked into the phone operating system, this meant you could use the standard camera app. Due to Apple limitations with how apps work with iOS, you can automatically upload images to iCloud, but not to other places. You can have an app that automatically uploads when you take a photograph, but you need to be using that app when taking the images. I have tried Shozu on iOS, but it isn’t as smooth as it was on the Nokia N95.

Despite my reservations on those two aspects of iOS, the rest of the features of the 3GS were very impressive. The key ones that stand out to me were the way it handled text messages, once I got the 3GS, was when I started to use SMS and texting. I really never got the hang of it on other phones, but with the “real” on screen keyboard I found I could handle that and I did a fair bit of texting compared to before. The camera was certainly a big improvement on the 3G, but still not as good as the N95. One aspect of the improved camera was that the iPhone could now more easily read QR Codes. The big difference really though was how easy it was to buy and install apps. Getting apps through the iTunes ecosystem made it very simple to get them. With previous smartphones you would need to go to different developers to buy apps and install them in different ways. If you needed to reset the phone you would need to ensure you had backups. With the iPhone you could get software from a range of developers from just one place. As a result I got hundreds of apps over the last few years for iOS. At least with Google Play today, you can have a similar experience with Android.

The main downside of the 3GS was the battery life, with careful conservation you could make the battery last a day, but if you did anything too power hungry then you would find, as I did, that the battery would run out in the afternoon. In the end I bought a case with an integrated additional battery. This did work well and ensured when I was using the phone intensively it would at least last the day.

The real tricky part of retiring the iPhone though was cancelling my contract with O2! I was out of “contract” on my pay monthly account, so there was no termination fee, but cancelling was very difficult, even when you eventually worked out that you had to “speak” to an adviser, all they tried to do was to keep you as a customer, can’t blame them I guess, but it was annoying. It also seemed to take ages…

Turn off the wifi

Following my previous post about the Nexus One battery life I received some useful suggestions from Gia and Dan.

If the Nexus One is searching for wifi access points then as Dan pointed out, this will drain the battery quite rapidly. This is not unique to the Nexus One, I have had similar issues with the iPhone 3GS and the Nokia N95. I had hoped that the issues would have been resolved with newer phones.

It’s interesting though to see the impact of wifi and the power requirements are still an issue.

It is the constant searching that has such a hit on the battery life, if the Nexus One is connected to a wireless access point then this has a lot less of an impact on the battery. That’s the reason why when using wifi on my iPad I don’t have similar battery issues as I am connected to wifi. Likewise when using the portable wifi hotspot on the Nexus One I find that I don’t have the battery problems either. Interestingly you don’t need to have the wifi turned on to use the portable wifi hotspot, the phone will turn on the wifi transmitter when you turn on the hotspot and turn it off when you turn the hotspot off.

I did find turning off the wifi did make a big difference to battery life on the Nexus One, so it is remaining off. Apart from having to turn it back on when I am using the phone at home, it hasn’t been such a big deal and hasn’t been annoying, whereas the lack of battery life was much more annoying. Still may follow Gia’s suggestions and get a new battery and use my old one as a spare.

Nexus to Nothing

One of the things I have noticed about using the Google Nexus One for more stuff is how awful the battery life is! I can barely get it to last the day, especially if I am using applications. As a phone and a portable wifi hotspot, it seems to be okay, but as soon as I start using Twitter or Foursquare then this seems to kill the battery life.

Yes if I turn off wifi, 3G and GPS then the phone battery does last a fair bit of time, but if I do that I might as well get a cheap Nokia phone which is just a phone!

My iPhone 3GS to be honest also has a pretty poor battery and as it gets close to its second birthday, the battery life appears to be getting worse! What is different though with the 3GS is that I have an external case which includes a battery, so I can usually ensure (even with heavy usage) that the 3GS lasts all day.

However the Nexus One has trouble doing even that!

My solution would be to buy a battery case as I have for my iPhone, but buying accessories for the Nexus One is not easy. Another option would be a spare battery, and I have considered that. I use to do that with an older phone I had a few years back.

My current solution is to carry the charger with me and I also have a car charger in the car too. As the Nexus One has a mini-USB port that does make life a little easier.