Apple looks at iPhone 4S battery problems

The battery on many smartphones is often a cause of complaint, with Apple being the latest company to be dealing with this particularly thorny issue. But with talk of dramatic drops in battery life (compared to previous models), Apple is taking a more vigorous approach to the problem than you might expect.

According to The Guardian, the company's engineers are contacting some owners to find the root of the problem. One owner has told the newspaper that Apple contacted him directly and asked him to install a monitoring program on the phone to try to diagnose the problem.

Speaking about it, the owner, who had suffered a 10% drop in standby each hour, said: 'I then got a call from a senior [Apple] engineer who said he had read my post and was 'reaching out' to users for data and admitted this was an issue (and that they aren't close to finding a fix!) and asked lots of questions about my usage and then asked if he could install the file below and that he would call back the day after to retrieve the info. I extracted the file from my Mac after a sync and emailed it to him. He was incredibly helpful and apologetic in the typical Apple way!'

So what exactly is the problem? Well, it could be down to location-based services. A number of people have found that the 'Setting Time Zone' element of the Systems Services within the broader Location Services product seems to be operating even when there is no chance that the user would have moved to a different location or time zone. An icon beside the setting suggests that it is running repeatedly to access the phone's location even when there is no reason to do so.

These services can drain the battery significantly, as they use a combination of the Wi-Fi network name, where available, plus mobile mast data and GPS sensor input, to calculate the phone's position. According to Oliver Haslam of iDownloadBlog: 'Switching it off may mean that your iPhone will no longer set its own time zone when you travel, but that's a small price to pay for having your iPhone last more than 12 hours on a full charge'.

So if you have the problem – and it is a genuine problem for you – that is perhaps your first port of call. Although if you are in any doubt at all, give Apple a call first. They should be able to offer advice and talk you through the process of changing the setting. After all, you don't want to take any risks with such a large financial investment.

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