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Apple iOS 5.0.1 update apparently causing problems

By: 14 November 2011 4 Comments

Thanks a lot, Apple.

Shortly after Apple released the iPhone 4S on Oct. 14, users started complaining that “the most amazing iPhone yet” was plagued with battery drain issues.

While the 4S has gotten a clean bill of health on its antenna (remember the “antennagate” controversy over the iPhone 4’s tendency to drop calls when the phone was held wrong?), 4S consumers have expressed concern over the phone’s battery life. USA Today reported Apple has acknowledged the problem, hinting that it is related to iOS 5 and extends to other devices using that operating system — iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone 3GS and 4. Apple released iOS 5.0.1 last week in an attempt to correct what the company has identified as a bug in its new operating system, and some have reported the fix worked as intended.

On the other hand, PCWorld reports that some iPhone users are complaining the update didn’t solve the battery drain problems and, in fact, introduced more troubles such as Wi-Fi signal loss, microphone failures and cellular network “issues.” To get a good handle on the problems users are reporting, head on over to the Apple Support Forums, grab a cup of coffee and have a look at the comments. It seems some users are very concerned about declining battery life and report that the problem isn’t confined to the 4S — people who own, say, iPhone 4’s and had no problem with iOS 5 are reporting significantly decreased battery life with the new update.

To complicate matters, the 5.0.1 update is the first “over the air” one, meaning a lot of us who don’t want the new upgrade got it anyway and have been informed it has been downloaded and is ready to install. In fact, I got one of those notification screens earlier on my iPhone 4 and have a constant reminder in my settings that the update is on my phone and ready to be installed. Great.

What’s one to do when approaching the question of whether to update or not? Here are a few tips that might help:

* As the old saying goes — if it aint’ broke, don’t fix it. If your device working fine now? If you’re not suffering from any battery drain issues, what’s the harm in putting off this update and seeing if Apple addresses the concerns raised?

* If you’re determined to update, have a look at the aforementioned forums first. It’s always good to know what risks might be inherent in the update and what symptoms your device might exhibit if something goes wrong, right?

* If you do update and have troubles, have a look at the aforementioned forums. That Apple support bunch is active as can be and the chances are good that other users have had the problems you have experienced, have raised them in the forum and have found help.

* Remember — the over-the-air update shouldn’t install unless you specifically authorize it to do so. Sure, your phone may have downloaded it without your really wanting it to and you can’t unbreak a glass, but you don’t have to install the thing. If you’d feel comfortable waiting to update, then why not wait?

It’s worth mentioning that there has been a lot of hubbub over the battery issue, but that’s to be expected — when you own a company that smugly asserts all of its products “just work,” you deserve what’s coming to you when a device doesn’t perform as advertised. It does seem unusual that Apple would be dealing with such trouble as the reports of problems have not been uniform — some people are reporting difficulty, while others are having no trouble at all. Given Apple’s obsessive control over the hardware and software that go into their products, it would seem that either most users would be affected by such troubles or they would not. The uniformity of the software/hardware would suggest an “all or nothing” environment when it comes to problems, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here. What gives?

Finally, bear in mind that Apple isn’t alone in dealing with such nagging problems. Nothing is perfect in the Android or Blackberry world, either.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email =


  • Tom said:

    What you fail to take into account is that the usage of the iPhone for various purposes causes widely different drain on the battery.

    So what one person see as short battery life vs. others who say their battery life is “just fine”, can often be attributes to the fact that watching videos, playing interactive games, downloading, taking, and editing photos, etc., takes a lot more out of your battery than making a few phone calls, listing to music with the screen dark, and sending a few texts.

  • Ethan C. Nobles (author) said:

    Tom — that defense had been floated out there, but it fails. We’re talking about a problem that Apple has acknowledged and had tried to fix. We’re also talking about users claiming they had no battery drain issues with 5, but had to deal with their devices losing charges rapidly under 5.0.1. Then, of course, you’ve got the other issues I mentioned that people are reporting with 5.0.1.

    However, my ultimate point in writing that is, simply, to hold off updating those phones that (like mine) are working fine under iOS 5. Do you disagree with that?

  • Josh said:

    My music app freezes sti and my battery seems drain more when I’m on stuff then usual… :/

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