first_imgOver the past couple of weeks, there has been a growing murmur surrounding a mysterious battery drain that is supposedly affecting some iPhone 4S owners. At least one user even reported that Apple contacted him to help them gather more data on the problem. Memories of 2010’s iPhone 4 Antennagate fiasco resurfaced. Is this really something to take into account when considering an iPhone 4S purchase, or is this one big nothing arising from a few isolated incidents?Sascha Segan and the folks over at PCMag attempted to answer that question with some good old fashioned testing. While it’s only a small sampling, it doesn’t use completely new handsets, and it tests entirely with the screens on, the analysis is thorough enough that the issue would have likely reared its head if it were actually both extreme and universal. As you can see in the video below, the problem may not be with the iPhone 4S at all, but with iOS 5:The iPhone 4S in this test lasted over half an hour longer than an iPhone 4 on iOS 5. It was outpaced by an iOS 4-running iPhone 4 by a couple of minutes. Our own testing has yielded similar results to PCMag’s, with uptime not being much different from that of the iPhone 4. With all of these results not showing any huge problems, just how widespread is this issue?Despite the results of these tests, some users swear up and down that they’re experiencing uncommon battery drain. A thread on Apple’s support forums has 186 pages of complaints from 4S owners, along with some suggested solutions that seem to only be providing mixed results. Some even go to extremes of turning off iCloud, Siri, and just about everything else that would make their iPhone fun to use in the first place. They reported that even these measures didn’t drastically change anything.One solution that could be worth looking into relates to a bug with the iOS time zone settings. It could be that some iOS 5 iPhones just never stop trying to set the correct location for the clock, and are constantly accessing the phone’s GPS. If you’re one of the 4S owners experiencing the mysterious drain, you can try it out for yourself by turning off the time zone setting on your iPhone (under Settings > Location Services > System Services, turn off “Setting Time Zone”). It may or may not help, but either way, you’ll need to turn this back on to have your clock automatically change when traveling.So is iOS 5 the real culprit here? It would make sense if iCloud were using some extra juice. After all, frequently connecting to Apple’s servers to sync system and app data would logically lead to some extra consumption. That could be, but this would only be a subtle change.With testing not showing anything dramatic, that leaves us all to wonder just what is going on with the group of phones that are apparently having problems. Apparently Apple is pondering the same question, as their hardware and software engineers are reportedly investigating (with their typical level of secrecy). We’ll stay on top of the story, but at this point, it looks like the time zone fix is as likely a culprit as anything.last_img read more