NY Times: "Why Apple Wants to Bust Your iPhone"


What a click-bait piece of shoddy journalism. The article does nothing to substantiate the claim made in the headline, and simply meanders over a stream of consciousness pondering what cosmic forces would cause battery life to be worse on older, used phones. The answer is not some great mystery, it’s simply wear and tear on your device. This affects all devices, Apple, Android, your car, and so on.

It’s the same for older computers, especially after they get bogged down with heavy use. Wipe and reformat the devices and watch your battery life increase on clean installs.


I’ve always had this theory… you should really only be running system software that came out within a year or so of your computer or device… not a solid rule obviously, but newer systems have more whistles and bells that older machines weren’t built for.

right now I’m debating upgrading to osx “mavericks” from 10.6.8. I had to uninstall lion (not easy) because my computer became unusably slow… But I’ve been doing quite well, thank you with the old system. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it maybe??

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In theory, Mavericks will increase your battery life because of the new optimizations and features such as “app nap.” Check out the Ars Technica articles on it.

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Joke heard in China:

“If you don’t want your husband to stay out late, buy him a 4S.”

It does seem that iPhone 4S users are tethered to an outlet. Meanwhile, my cheap android phone goes days between charges. Or I can swap batteries/reboot in 3 minutes if I forget to recharge.


Lithium ion batteries have a limited life span of 2-5 years typical. It is shorter if the battery is maintained near 100% charge.

Here’s a page with some useful info on how the cell capacity drops as a function of charge cycle count, charge end voltage and discharge depth. Sobering stuff.
Battery University


I noticed the same thing with my old android HTC Incredible after a few OTA updates. I suspect it’s just a “happy” coincidence that as they add features and increase the overhead, older phones can’t handle the strain or run into bugs because the new OS wasn’t designed for them.

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Must say I’ve never understood the problems people have with modern phones’ battery life, iPhones or otherwise. Unless you’re travelling, the chances are there’s a computer or wall socket within a few metres you can plug into for half an hour. And if not, that cat video can probably wait 'til you get home.

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Mavericks won’t help iOS users much tough. iOS 7 seems to be a much bigger battery hog than iOS 6, at least in my experience. I went from getting a day and a half out of a charge to being lucky when it lasts till evening on my 4s. I think the much more extensive background processing system in iOS 7 is to blame.

Battery time stayed the same for me. There was some major drain in the early betas, but those went away with the Golden Master.

In my observation, a new gadget or a new OS for a gadget will provoke increased usage, at least in the beginning, which leads to more battery drain.

If you’re not having major memory problems (large numbers of swaps, or free mem consistently down in the 10s of MB), stay on Snow Leopard. From under-the-hood changes like dropping OpenTransport compatibility and even more Finder funnies (“Frickin’ Finder, now with Tabs!”), to annoyances like no more grabber hand in Preview, the iWork file format debacle, and iTunes 11.1.2 being the new minimum version, Mavericks is worth every penny… (source: Mac user since 1985)

Man, the fanboys will always muster apologies/rationalizations for anything Apple does.

So fun to watch from the periphery.
(I’m referring more to the article than comments here… but still)

Battery life on devices is notoriously hard to discuss using anecdotes, since my impression is that the range of different battery capacities in different devices is dwarfed by the range of different usage habits.

I’m in the solar energy biz, and the same problem comes up with homes - people ask “how much energy does a 2000 sq. ft. home use?” Answer, anything from almost none to an incredible amount, based on the people in it, and what their habits are.

I have an iPhone 4S and use it for days without recharging. Of course, I don’t watch videos, and am usually on WiFi. People with heavy usage habits/needs will probably drain ANY phone quickly, regardless of OS or manufacturer.

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Whether or not Apple intentionally made older models slower, it’s happening and not just on the 4 generation. I’m on the 5 and apps open slower and often lock up for a few seconds once opened. As far as I can tell, the new OS doesn’t offer much new that should be eating up that much processing power or making things glitchy. Either way, I can tell you I won’t be buying a new iPhone that has a glitchy operating system. The iPhone’s smooth OS was the main thing keeping me on Apple. Unless Apple dramatically fixes things with this OS, it’s Android for me next time around.

Well, I can say, I just went from Mountain Lion to Mavericks, and aside from a longer than estimated upgrade time (honestly, it went from 42 minutes to 45 minutes over a period of ten minutes), it’s working fine for me. I’m not missing anything, nothing I use everyday (or even in often) has broken. I prefer the look of Calendar over iCal any day of the week (though I still can’t get Notes to sync right, but that’s been an ongoing issue).

I’d prefer a thick phone that runs all day without needing a recharge, than a thin, lightweight phone that you have to put in a thick case to protect anyway.

I wouldn’t care if my laptop were 3" thick and weighed 15lbs, if I knew it would survive being dropped down a flight of concrete stairs. A MacBook Air would last me a week, 10 days tops.

So despite the fact that I LOVE their products, despite the fact that I’m willing to pay a premium for them, despite the fact that for what I do (mostly music), they outperform every other system, they’ve lost my business because how thin they can make their hardware is pretty near the bottom of my priority list, and seems to be all that’s left of theirs.

Just sayin’.

iOS 7 on my iPhone 5 really did hurt battery life. Then I got a 5s, and battery life was also not great. And then I upgraded to 7.0.3, and things seem MUCH better.

I’ve used every single iPhone since the original model, about a year per model. My brother then gets my hand-me-down and uses it for another year. I have used every single release of iOS since it came out. So I feel I’m on pretty solid ground when I say the following: Almost every major iOS point-oh release has hurt the battery life of older phones, and it usually takes the second or third update before it goes back to being more “normal” again. So none of this is new, at all.

Also, you have to know how to tweak features that can drain batteries disproportionately. Background app updates? Every single last location service? Automatic app downloads/installs? All sorts of things can be tuned to max battery life.

Finally – just get a freaking external USB charger already, and be done with it. You can get them as nice cases, or little cylinders from places like nomorerack.com for as cheap as $12, and they make life on the road as a modern smartphone user MUCH MUCH better. As in, you’ll wonder why the hell you didn’t get a stupid little $12 USB charger much earlier. I have a small one, and a larger one, and they are life savers. I don’t mind carrying one around at all, they weigh almost nothing.

Here’s a good refutation of the NYTimes piece:

A) Utter bollocks.
B) You have screwed your registration/log-in system up yet again
C) Really, who thought it was good UXD to have to click to see ‘the whole article’ and then again to see comments?It’s not even close to rocket science to get this right. Yet first BB and then Slate have done the unthinkably stupid.