Yes, Apple has pretty much done it again. Some of the changes incorporated into the latest release of their mobile operating system, iOS 6, might have resulted in the last two editions of the iPhone and also, the iPad, behave very badly. Known around Apple’s own discussion threads as the iPhone battery and Wi-Fi bug, these problems concern millions of users (iPhone 5/4S, iPad 3 affected) and violate the standards on which Steve Jobs founded the company back in the ages: quality.

The following problems do not affect all users. Sadly, the pattern is yet to be identified, so that we could know exactly what segment of the market should fear, and mostly, how can these iOS 6 battery and Wi-Fi issues can be fixed. Speaking of fixes, there isn’t very much to be done at this point, besides following a handful of procedures to turn several settings off, but these addresses the way that the device consumes battery, and not how iOS 6 performs in general. The best solution from our point of view is a handy-dandy Apple update. iOS 6.1 anyone?


iOS 6 and its battery problems

After a thorough scouting around the web, we’ve found that generally, the iOS 6 battery drain bug affects users of the iPhone 5, the iPad 3 and even those who have updated the iPhone 4 firmware. The first trace of misconception is the Apple presentation itself, where the showman stated that the battery life has improved in iPhone 5. Putting it simple, the iPhone 5 should have supplied around eight hours of full 3G and LTE browsing, the same amount being applied to 3G talks. In plain Wi-Fi or while playing videos, the device should have withstood around 10 hours, 40 hours for those listening to music and around 225 if the phone is put in standby.


The reality differs greatly. A study performed by iLounge concluded with five hours under Verizon’s LTE network, and four over AT&T’s. Another source tried the sixth generation Apple phone under constant Wi-Fi use and only squeezed seven hours and 13 minutes. Quite the difference, isn’t it?

As for those testing the products themselves, we’ve discovered that the battery, under iOS 6 use, drains very fast. Several cases exist on the web where battery life was dead awful, surviving only two hours and a half on an intensive use for a newly bought iPhone 5. Others even claim that while hardly using the device at all, the battery percentage dropped to 21% after just eight hours. Here’s a list of the most awkward situations:

  • While texting, even with the Wi-Fi turned off, the battery life dropped 10% every 15 minutes.
  • Over the night, with the device in stand-by mode with no apps running, wireless and Bluetooth turned off, 40% of the battery was missing.
  • After upgrading the iPhone 4S to iOS 6, one person said that the battery dropped almost to half after two hours of doing nothing.
  • Also on the iPhone 4S, one user managed to lose around 56% in 2 hours and 20 minutes of reading a book without Wi-Fi turned ON.
  • Another case depleted the whole iPhone 5 battery after five hours and a half (see the picture on top) of playing games, downloading applications and uploading pictures. Basically, surfing the web and playing video content.

We’ve summed up the cases and we have reached an average of affected users up to a full third. Moreover, it seems that issues mainly affect iPhone 5 users that didn’t set the device as new, and relied on an iPhone 4S backup. But although the nasty road of starting from scratch worked for some users, this does not justify the cases encountered on the iPhone 4S, nor on the latest iPad. Issues are so bad that some even consider abandoning Apple’s line:

Definitely got me thinking. I just want a phone that lasts a day.

Researchers also found the battery status behaving badly, discovering that after the first use, the mark dropped from full to 89% and then back up to 92%, in just 15 minutes. Although the severe drop may be accounted on longevity-preserving technique, which makes sure that the charge is not full in order to protect the battery, the sudden increase is more than weird.

Well, maybe Apple will make use of the future transistor technology, and everything bad will vanish, right?

Wi-Fi is also affected in iOS 6

Wi-Fi use has diminished greatly with iOS 6, many people encountering connectivity issues on plenty router models. It seems that with the latest operating system version, Apple has tweaked the protocol and introduced a part of code which is not supported by up-to-date routers. In most cases, downgrading the firmware of the router worked, because that explicit part of code is not being handled correctly by the latest update of the router software. Also, downgrading the Modem Firmware of the Apple device has worked:

Yes there are BIG issues. Downgrading my router firmware was the thing that finally got me back on line again. Steve Jobs would have fired people!

Also, issues were seen when installing certain apps in combination with iOS 6, on the new iPad. The application in case was Filemaker Go, which caused the Wi-Fi connection to disappear completely. After a swift reboot, the connection was restored but the app remained unstable. All of these problems were not noticed when running the same device, on iOS 5.

Had this problem on 5 Apple Items, 2 x iPhone 4, 2 x iPad 2, and the new iPhone 5, all after upgrading to IOS6. Why is it only after a iOS6 upgrade this problem started, whereas it was working all good before upgrade. Apple has to admit its a iOS 6 problem, they don’t have to blame it on router manufacturer or ISP.

Update: Another weird Wi-Fi related issue plaguing iOS 6 users is with the Wi-Fi switching off when the device goes to sleep or standby mode. A discussion thread on Apple’s forum has several users complain about this. It’s not sure if this is a bug or a deliberate change in iOS 6, as some users think that Apple has added this ‘feature’ to save the battery. Remember! Microsoft has drawn a lot of flak for trying to enhance battery life by switching off the Wi-Fi on sleep in Windows Phone 7.

Some users point towards OTA as the cause of these issues, and suggest manual restore via iTunes to resolve the issue. But I doubt if that’s a proper fix as I myself had manually restored to iOS 6, but still have these issues currently.


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Feature Writer

Alex holds an engineering degree in Telecommunications and has been covering technology as a writer since 2009. Customization is his middle name and he doesn’t like to own stock model gadgets. When he’s away from the keyboard, simpler things like hiking, mountain climbing and having a cold drink make his day.