The Ultimate Guide To Solving iOS Battery Drain

The best tip here is to get rid of the Facebook iPhone app.1 I struggle with this one all the time.

Also, this one about regularly quitting apps – which people STILL do in 2014.

By closing the app, you take the app out of the phone’s RAM . While you think this may be what you want to do, it’s not. When you open that same app again the next time you need it, your device has to load it back into memory all over again. All of that loading and unloading puts more stress on your device than just leaving it alone. Plus, iOS closes apps automatically as it needs more memory, so you’re doing something your device is already doing for you. You are meant to be the user of your device, not the janitor.


  1. Ok – he says to disable background updates for the Facebook app. 

“New lease on life or death sentence? iOS 7 on the iPhone 4”

I’m afraid of my dad upgrading his iPhone 4 to iOS7 and then complaining that it’s too slow, and then having to explain that there’s no going back. This is just how it is now.

Ars attributes some of that slowness to animations that are too long, but slow is slow no matter if it’s because of hardware or software.

Inside a (fake) iPhone charger

This is a technical look of iPhone cheapo iPhone charges that explode.

At $20 a charger1 it’s not difficult to see why cheap USB chargers exist, and I do wonder if USB chargers like the ones I’ve written about are safe.


  1. A 5W USB power adapter from Apple is $19.99. Doesn’t include a cable. 

iPhone 5 Button Issues

Khoi Vinh:

Thankfully, my iPhone 5’s home button has been working without a hitch, but sadly the same can’t be said of its power button. That piece recently started losing responsiveness, just like the iPhone 4’s home button used to, often requiring two or three hard presses to turn the unit on or off. For me, just one person, that’s frustrating. But from anecdotal evidence, lots of folks with iPhone 5s of similar vintage have been experiencing the same troubles, which leads me to believe this is a common hardware defect.

Both of these things have happened to me: an unresponsive iPhone 4 home button and, now, a finicky iPhone 5 power button.

If I press the button more on the left it works. If I press it dead center it doesn’t work. If I press it on the right it doesn’t work.

Oftentimes I’m buying new hardware thinking that they probably resolved that other issue. But lately it’s been like whack-a-mole. If I lived near an Apple Store I’d just take it in, but it hasn’t been a big enough deal for me to be without a phone for a 4-5 days.

Yet.

(Also, this is my THIRD iPhone 5 replaced under warranty. I bought Applecare this time around.)

What’s the story behind the iPhone’s default “Marimba” ringtone?

It had never occurred to me the crossover between iPhone ringtones and Apple’s Emagic acquisition.

Speculation within, but I wouldn’t doubt it:

In the very long list of Software instruments is the high quality Orchestra Marimba. This GarageBand / Logic Pro Software instrument marimba is nearly identical to what has become the famous iPhone marimba ringtone. So much so that there are versions that were faithfully reproduced in GarageBand where one could not distinguish a difference with the correct filters and effects. Thus I and a number of people, some inside of Apple, have concluded that Dr. Lengeling may have directly or indirectly created the marimba iPhone ringtone on a Mac using GarageBand / Logic Pro. However this is not apparently officially discussed or otherwise revealed.

Vibrate on silent – OFF

Vibrate On Silent - OFF

I think we’ve reached the point where the FFBBBBBBB sound from vibrating phones is actually more annoying than ringtones.

Here’s the thing. If I don’t want to be disturbed I put my phone in Silent mode. But you still get disturbed because you feel the phone in your pocket.

I didn’t know you could switch that off. This may be the best setting ever.

iOS Upgrades as a Trojan Horse

I’ve been trying to use cell phones like cars: buy them and use them until they just don’t work anymore. For a car that may mean something like a duration of ownership of 10 years or so. But it’s different for an iPhone.

The 3GS runs iOS6, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. On the surface this is a welcome benefit: people running 2009’s iPhone get the 2012 software. How nice of them.

I like listening to Roderick On The Line. There was a recent episode where Merlin and John were talking about John’s recent upgrade to an iPhone 5. He had been using a 3GS, but ever since he installed iOS6 the phone had become a pain to use. It felt slow, the camera would take forever to load, contacts wouldn’t sync properly. The guy isn’t doing heavy-duty stuff—he’s making phone calls, taking pictures, and checking email. Of course, he buys an iPhone 5 and it’s night and day. Things work the way he expects them to.

My sister has a 3GS and it’s been a similar story. Ever since she installed iOS6 she complains that her phone has slowed down. She’s not complaining that she’s missing out on the new features of iOS6. She’s complaining that the features she already uses don’t work as well as they used to. Why did she upgrade? Because she was prompted to do so.

I recently upgraded to an iPhone 5 – partly because I needed to escape that home button problem that began rearing it’s ugly head. And yes, the hardware is better on the iPhone 5. Clicks feel clickier on the home button and volume buttons. The battery lasts longer (I’ve had my iPhone 4 for over 2 years). But what really demonstrated the difference was the music app.

I’ve been using iTunes Match on the iPhone 4 ever since iOS 5 last year. It was almost always a pain. The promise of having all my music everywhere was met with crashes and delays waiting for the library to update from iCloud.

The worst was when I would place the phone down and it would enter Coverflow mode. I’d need to wait for all the artwork to load before I could, say, actually play music.

iTunes Match on the iPhone 5 feels like all my music is local. The interface flows way better and music loads faster. It’s what I always wanted iTunes Match to feel like (minus the problem with play counts and last played dates).

I wonder if Apple’s generosity towards free software upgrades for previous phones is really a ploy to make you so frustrated with your phone that you’ll upgrade to new hardware. You could say this about nearly all OS upgrades. On the other hand, if Apple didn’t provide the upgrade they’d be accused of withholding software just to make people upgrade to new hardware.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Don’t feel bad for using an iPhone Case

Shawn Blanc after scratching his iPhone 5:

After snapping a few photos of our sleeping boy, I turn the phone around so Anna can see the screen and browse the images I’ve just captured. I think to myself how it’s unfortunate my iPhone is no longer mint. And yet I wouldn’t trade that scrape for a case or a cover, and certainly not for a lesser device where scratches seem less intrusive.

Seems to me that the people who are against iPhone cases are VERY different than ones who value them.

For example, this week I’ve been out of the office setting up a tradeshow booth. I do this kind of thing only a few times a year. Before I left I put on the free iPhone case I received after antenna-gate. Trips like this are the only time I use that case.

But some people at my work do this kind of thing every day. They do it much better than I do. They also use iPhones. And, sure as shit, they use cases.

In their line of work there’s heavy, metallic stuff. They work from high heights. Things get dropped. Accidents happen. It’s easy to see how something can get scuffed even while it’s in your pocket.

I don’t like iPhone cases either, but everyone talking about how iPhone cases are unnecessary lack perspective. They work desk jobs. They are writers, artists, lawyers…knowledge workers. The most dangerous thing that could happen to their phones is if they accidentally knock them off their desks when reaching for their Starbucks quad venti non-fat latte.

Near iOS 6 Photos Upgrade Disaster

—INT. NIGHT—

PHONE RINGS

Me: Hello?
My sister: I AM NEVER UPGRADING ANYTHING EVER AGAIN!
Me: …what’s wrong?
My sister: ALL MY PHOTOS ARE GONE!!
Me: All your photos?
My sister: My photos! My videos! EVERYTHING FROM THE WEDDING! It’s ALLLLL GONE!
Me: You didn’t back-up your photos?
My sister: …
Me: You lost them all in the upgrade?
My sister: I went to search for them, and they’re not there! THIS IS STUPID!
Me: That doesn’t make sense. I didn’t lose all mine. Did you turn Photo Stream on?
My sister: I skipped that part. I’m looking at my photos and they’re all gone. WHAT DO I DO?!
Me: I don’t know what to tell you. You didn’t back them up. You didn’t put them on your computer. So yeah, sounds like they’re all gone.
My sister: BUT WHY?!
Me: I don’t know why. That didn’t happen to me.
My sister: STUPID APPLE! You know, I NEVER upgrade anything, but this ONE time, just this once, I tried it, and it bites me in the ass! I will never—oh, wait…
Me: What?
My sister: It says “restoring”.

And they all lived happily ever after.

If you’re cleaning your home button with rubbing alcohol you’re doing it wrong, I’m told

One of the suggestions for revitalizing a dead home button on an iPhone 4 is to use rubbing alcohol. Turn off your iPhone, put a few drops on the button, and press the button rapidly to let the alcohol go in and get rid of gunk and stuff.

For me this usually works fine, but within a few days my home button problems start coming back.

This has been a thorn in the side of many an iPhone user. Some have gone as far to even try applying some WD-40 to their home buttons. This might be a bad idea.

But if the problem is that the iPhone home button degrades over time, why does my button go through periods of unresponsiveness, followed by a week of “OH I LOVE MY PHONE AGAIN! IT’S WORKING THE WAY IT’S SUPPOSED TO!”?

My brother, who repairs electronics equipment from time-to-time, recommends a different approach. Don’t use rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol will dry out the contacts of the home button and something something. I stopped paying attention. He said to try some De-Ox-Id. It has a lubricant and blah blah blah I stopped paying attention.

I tried it and now my home button seems to have a firm click feeling. But that could be from the part of my brain that tells me Safari gets faster with every point release.

Maybe De-Ox-Id is a bad idea too, but if your home button is screwed and your last resort is upgrading to a brand new phone, it may not be such a bad thing to try.

Something’s Gobbling Up Those (AT&)T Cells!

I’ve been using iOS 6 on my iPhone 4 since beta 4 and had nothing but problems with 3G service.

Let me clarify.

I’m near wifi spots nearly all the time, so I have the 200meg data plan, the absolute minimum data plan I can get with AT&T. But since installing iOS 6 I’ve gotten 2 texts from AT&T that I’ve been going over my data limits. Since then I’ve been disabling cellular data, enabling it here and there when I want to check something real quick: maps, messages, Twitter. I’ve been operating this way for about a month.

It’s a pain in the butt. Something is gobbling up all my data and I don’t know what it is. I need Little Snitch for my phone.

Today I figured I’d start doing detective work. While out and about I double-checked all my settings in my apps: whatever I can turn off cellular data for I turn off. I restrict everything I can to wifi-only. I switched cellular data back on for maybe 15-20 seconds. I checked the usage page.

1.3 megs downloaded..

I turned it off. I open the multi-task tray and close EVERYTHING, thinking that it would eliminate any background processes.

I try again. 20 seconds later I’m up to about 4.5 megs downloaded.

So WTF?

I don’t know what the culprit is. I suspect it’s iTunes Match, but I explicitly set that so it doesn’t use cellular data. I’m on the iOS 6 GM that was released last week, so maybe that’s it, but from what I can tell the build numbers are the same.

Right now I’m doing a clean sweep and reinstall from iTunes. I don’t even think I’ll restore from a backup. I’m going to do a fresh install as if this is my first iPhone and see what happens.

No Stars For Web Views

Brent Simmons on the new Scrabble iPhone app.

I’ve never seen an app go so dramatically bad as the latest update of Scrabble for iPhone. (Don’t get it; don’t update if you have an earlier version.)

It got a graphics update. It looks fine. But it feels sluggish, jumpy, and horrible.

Isn’t this what Facebook discovered? Companies try to reduce development times by using HTML5, but it’s really hard to make a native feeling‘ app using HTML5. Rdio did the same thing and it feels SLOW compared to Spotify.

Related: That Words With Friends vs. Scrabble piece that glosses over some things about how poor the Scrabble app is compared to Words With Friends. Not only is Scrabble for iPad STILL not retina ready, but it also doesn’t even support EA’s own matchmaking service. Basically, Zynga is evil, but they know mobile software development better than Electronic Arts does.

As long as they’re putting this guy in their ads here’s the perfect dialogue

[John Malkovich sitting in the living room, talking to Siri on his iPhone]

John Malkovich: Malkovich. Malkovich malkovich malkovich, malkovich?
Siri: Malkovich malkovich malkovich. Malkovich malkovich?
John Malkovich: Malkovich. Malkovich malkovich.

[John Malkovich looks up at his ceiling]

John Malkovich: Malkovich malkovich?
Siri: Malkovich malkovich malkovich.
John Malkovich: Malkvovich! Malkovich malkovich malkovich.
Siri: Malkovich malkovich.

[Apple logo displayed on white full screen]

Voiceover

John Malkovich: Malkovich…Malkovich.

[Fade out]


Surely this has already been done.