Is Your iPhone 5’s Battery Failing Unexpectedly?

Technology evolves quickly, but I expect Apple mobile devices to be working in great condition for two years, and for computers about five years. The iPhone 5 is just over a year old, and it has started to act up, which is consequently a bit alarming based on the time frame. At first I thought it was just my iPhone 5, but a chat with a few of my iPhone toting friends, and a perusal of Apple’s support forums show that it’s a relatively common issue. The problem with the iPhone 5 is that the battery isn’t lasting nearly as long as it used to. There are the obvious factors of simply age, iOS 7, running locating tracking apps, background processes, etc, but it’s more problematic than that.
It turns out that a number of iPhone 5’s have batteries that are failing unexpectedly. It seems that the operating system isn’t tracking the battery life properly as one minute you’re looking at your device with a battery that is just under half full, and the next minute it shuts off. The 20%, and 10% warnings don’t appear, and the battery indicator doesn’t even show that the device is in the red. It seems the device is either losing the last 33% in an instant, or iOS isn’t properly gauging the actually battery life of a year old iPhone 5. Also, the instant you plug the device back in to power up, it shows 30% remaining battery life immediately, which means the battery wasn’t empty when the device shut off. It’s not exactly clear what the issue is, but having your device die is problematic enough, but having it die unexpectedly is much worse since you aren’t prepared. Once you get that 20% warning, you understand it could die soon, and you try to purposefully cut down on using it, while closing open applications. You’re not given the chance, when you still think you have plenty of charge.

Hopefully this is a problem that can be fixed in a 7.0.5 update, but it’s also an indicator that the iPhone 5 battery life is dropping considerably in iOS 7, just over a year after its release. Should an iPhone’s battery have significant less battery life, after just a year of everyday use? Battery life is the most important part of an mobile product, because it doesn’t matter what it can do if it doesn’t hold a charge. Apple needs to focus on battery life, rather than making the iPhone any thinner in the next version. Hopefully the iPhone 6 can hold a charge in year two better than the iPhone 5 currently can. In the interim, the only fixes are to go into the Settings app to check out which apps are using location services, if Bluetooth is used, which apps are using a lot of cellular data, and try to minimize each factor. You can also try a battery back-up case.

The iPhone 5 is, but one example, and again it’s not just that battery life is less, it’s that the system can’t even correctly calculate the battery life. There’s also a nasty bug in causing the device to shut off unexpectedly when battery life still remains.


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6 Comments on "Is Your iPhone 5’s Battery Failing Unexpectedly?"

  1. Marathon5150 December 10, 2013 at 1:16 PM -

    I recently had the same thing happen to me. I went out for a run with the phone at 75% battery life. It died after running 6.5 miles and I was confused as to what happened since it used only 70% when I ran 30 miles the weekend before. I went to charge it and it shot up from 0% back to around 60%.

  2. Jeff December 10, 2013 at 1:17 PM -

    This is happening to my wife’s iphone 5 also.

  3. stenro December 10, 2013 at 5:45 PM -

    I got the iPhone 5 on day one. Got a replacement a few days later because of a radio problem in the phone. Then a month or two later I had to get in yet a new phone because of that same type of battery problem where it wasn’t calculating correctly. I guess my point is that what is mentioned in this article was happening on iOS 6 with the iPhone 5 when it first came out. Having said that iOS 7.0.4 is definitely caused more battery drain then before that update.

  4. green December 16, 2013 at 4:02 PM -

    having this exact same issue with my iphone 5 since I updated to ios7… went to apple store and was told my battery is failing and I need to replace it and of course it’s not under guarantee anymore. I dont think my battery is failing though

  5. Taco June 2, 2014 at 1:06 PM -

    I have seen this on many chat pages and it sounds like this problem is being fixed by manually calibrating the battery meter. The next time your phone shuts down, plug it in only until it turns back on. (Maybe a minute or so) Then hold down on the power and home buttons simultaneously until the apple logo comes up. Now let the battery drain all the way. I have read that often people have to do it twice.

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