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As iPhone 4S battery suckage spreads, fixes appear

But not from Apple

Reducing security risks from open source software

Ever since the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 were released earlier this month, early adopters have flooded the web with complaints about reduced battery life and overheating handsets. But now a few solutions have emerged from multiple sources – but not from Apple, unfortunately.

"So... is this going to be considered 'Battery-gate' or 'Suck-gate'?" asked one commenter to Chris Breen's Macworld article, "Troubleshooting a battery-sucking iPhone 4S".

Breen recounts a tale of woe and intrigue in which his brand new iPhone 4S quickly lost battery life and became unnaturally hot. With the help of the 99¢ System Activity Monitor from Recession Apps, he was able to discover that the processes dataaccessd and CrashReport were spiking processor usage.

"The iPhone appeared to be in a crashing loop – where dataaccessd attempted to do something, blew up, tried again, blew up, and on and on," Breen writes. "And this was killing the battery."

It should be noted, however, that this crash-loop problem isn't limited to the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 – it had been reported on Apple's support discussion boards as occurring on an iPhone 4 running iOS 4.2.1, as well.

But Breen's problem seemed to be related to iCloud syncing – which, of course, wasn't available in iOS 4.2.1.

And so he, like others, suspected a corrupted contact, which would repeatedly seek info from the cloud, fail, and so on. As one commenter wrote: "I work on iPhones and I have heard of this a lot. ... Every single time I've had this happen, I deleted all the contacts on said phones and then the problem was solved, so I'm guessing it's an iCloud contact issue."

"Guessing" is the operative term here. The Reg has contacted Apple for clarification, comments, or help, but has not heard back from them.

Other iPhone 4S owners with hot, battery-sucking phones have found other solutions. Oliver Haslam at iDownloadBlog blames a bug in iOS 5 that makes Location Tracking constantly update your coordinates. The fix is easy: go to Settings > Location Services > System Services and toggle off Setting Time Zone.

However, as Haslam writes, "There appears to be no rhyme or reason as to why some handsets seem to have the issue, with not all iOS 5 installations apparently causing the bug to manifest itself in the same way."

We're back to guessing again – informed guessing, to be sure, but guessing nonetheless.

Other users have had Apple replace their iPhone with a new one, and the problem went away. Some have simply wiped and restored their new shiny-shiny, and all was copacetic.

Still others claim the turning off Sync With This iPhone Over Wi-Fi in iTunes's iPhone Summary pane will do the trick, or stopping error reports from being sent to Apple by going to Settings > General > Usage > About > Diagnostics & Usage and choosing Don't Send rather than Automatically Send. Location-based reminders have been reported to be a battery-sucking culprit, as well.

The discussion continues on Apple's support forums, with one thread having well over 1,100 entries. Knock yourself out.

And should Apple ever get back in touch with us, we'll update this article – but don't hold your breath. ®

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