It goes without saying that my iPhone is a major part of my day as it’s constantly in my hand, pinging, ringing and responding to the messages and comments on my social media profiles from my 2.2million followers. So when my battery started to drain within an hour I started to became alarmed that maybe I’d been overusing my phone or that leaving it on charge overnight when I go to bed may have damaged its ability to hold battery anymore but it seems I’m not the only one experiencing problems.
My phone started out draining from fully charged to empty in about 3-4hrs with moderate use. I had no problem taking phonecalls or using my social media before whilst out of the house but over a few months it started draining within an hour and so I switched my phone to constant battery saving mode even if it had 100% charge because I knew it wouldn’t remain for long. My phone battery now dies in low power mode with just 4mins of shooting video or several minutes on a call when unplugged and at 100% charge but it seems the phone shuts down unexpectedly anywhere between 50% battery and below without being empty. It’s like driving a car with a full tank of petrol out of the station and then breaking down without fuel when you reach the end of the road – I know that it doesn’t add up and it’s not in sync with my usage.
My phone is an iPhone6 which I’ve had since my upgrade for about a year and a few months and I get my handset changed every 2yrs. Since doing the latest software update to iOS 10.2 a few weeks ago my battery life has become a zillion times worse going from bad to horrendous and I carry a phone charger with me everywhere I go along with a car charger and external battery. I looked into getting a battery phone case so that I have a double charge when out and about but I’ve seen so many complaints online about the high price tag, clumsy large size of the uncustomisable (I think that’s a word?) battery cases, inability to plug in headphones and general moaning about turning a sleek expensive phone into a chunky brick when it should do its job properly in the first place.
Ways To Reduce Your Battery Usage
-Wait two days after installing an update before altering any settings
-Use Airplane Mode in bad service areas
-Switch off wifi when not connected
-Close all background apps
-Switch off Location Services in settings > privacy
-Restart the phone
So after visiting my local Apple store after an eye check appointment in Milton Keynes last week during the December shopper madness I spent 20mins spontaneously queuing to speak to a member of staff located oddly under a glass staircase with some queuing ropes only to be told that they were fully booked and I’d have to return in around five hours time if they had a cancellation or go home and contact online support. After hearing everybody ahead of me in the queue complain about poor battery life and looking at the twenty-or-so customers still waiting behind me I dropped my jaw in dismay. It’s clearly an issue for Apple and they should have better means of dealing with this battery epidemic considering it’s one of the most expensive phones on the market.
Out of desperation for my dwindling battery life which had already reduced from 100% to 30% on low power mode since I left the safety of my car charger to come and queue with a load of moody shoppers I asked if I could instead buy a replacement battery from the store. If I didn’t fit into the magical iPhone6 automatic battery replacement bracket I’d heard about and there was a wait as long as my Christmas list to see a technician then surely purchasing a new battery there and then from my ever shrinking festive pockets would put an end to this battery torment that that been shackling me to plug sockets for far too long, but alas I was told they don’t sell batteries and I’d need a diagnostics check online so I hurried back to my car like a hermit to preserve my final 28% and falling.
Once home I visited Apple Support Online after putting my two children to bed and waited eagerly to speak to an advisor via the iPhone > battery, power & charging > unexpected shutdown or restart option on their website. It then prompted me with a message that an iOS restore is likely to resolve the issue which sounded slightly off-topic but nonetheless I used the chat option to give my specific details to an Apple employee to ensure that it was relevant to me and make sure that I was doing everything properly because I’m pretty rubbish with technology. I told the support advisor Kath that my phone drains rapidly even without use, that I live tied to my charger in low power mode and have an iWatch that I can’t ever use because my phone battery can’t sustain bluetooth. She could see via an online diagnostics that my phone had been cutting out, draining too fast and sending fault reports to Apple and then suggested I backup and restore my iPhone as new to test if the battery is back to normal when wiped as this will determine if it’s a software issue if it works or a hardware issue if it continues to shutdown for no reason. It’s quite likely that the battery will fix itself and then I can restore my content and carry on with my life as normal minus the mains – hoorah!
So I plugged my iPhone into my MacBook, opened up iTunes and began backing up my 64gb phone to my laptop. Seeing as I hadn’t performed a backup for some time I knew it would take an hour or so so she very kindly emailed me over a full step-by-step guide to perform the recovery and battery check once my backup was complete. After updating my iTunes to the most recent version I followed these steps as advised:
How To Backup & Restore An iPhone To Test The Battery
(As Instructed By Kath @ AppleCare)
Be sure to update your backup so that we can avoid unnecessary data losses. Here’s how to create or update your phone’s backup.
— > https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203977 — Backup
After completing the backup.
Put device into recovery mode by pressing and holding both the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons for at least 45 seconds, don’t stop when you see the Apple logo, keep holding until you see the iTunes screen on your iPhone. And then one’s the pop-up appears on your computer, choose Restore.
You can also check this article out for steps to follow.
— > https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201252 — Restore using iTunes
After doing that step, when you are on the Apps and Data page, be sure to set up your iPhone as new.
We will want to restore the iPhone as new first so that the software can come in the phone as fresh and for us to confirm if the issue is phone’s hardware or software. Observe for 24-48hours and check if the phone will still shutdown on its own automatically even if it set up as new. Though if the phone will still shutdown on its own even when set up as new, it means that it could already be a hardware issue and we’ll have to get the phone checked by one of our hardware specialists.
If the problem is fixed [after the restore and setting it up as new], then great! You will now be able to restore the backup you have to restore your contents. If it happens again, I’m afraid that means that the issue is most likely a hardware issue. [Offer service options.
Then after that, follow this step to restore your phone’s data and information.
— > https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204184 — > Restore your backup files and information :))
It was all going pretty well, my backup took about an hour and a half whilst I wrapped some Christmas presents and I actually had the free space that I needed on my laptop for once. I put my phone into recovery mode and then pushed restore and watched my phone go from crazily cluttered to totally empty as the screen welcomed me to my new iPhone. I set it up as new as advised so that I could test the battery life for shutdowns from fully charged and within a few minutes of video it cut out so I could rule out a software problem. Returning to my iTunes I attempted to restore my backup from a couple of hours ago only to find that there was a little padlock icon next to the backup that I required. I clicked on it and was prompted for a password which I presumed would be my apple ID/password but neither worked, so I tried my laptop admin, email, phone unlock code and even pin number and nothing worked. I tried every password I’d ever had or could ever remember and came up with absolutely nothing – my backup was encrypted with no key!
I’ve had an iPhone for years now and have done dozens of backups in that time, all to my MacBook without any problems and I’ve never lost my content or been locked out. In order to enable the encryption you have to click a custom option and create and confirm a new password, it can’t happen accidentally and I 100% didn’t do any of it, I just hit the standard settings as usual to backup to my computer. I’d also purchased additional cloud storage in order to backup my phone via wifi but now I have nothing anywhere. My cloud is somehow completely empty, my phone is empty and my battery is still shockingly bad despite restoring my iPhone as advised. The thought of losing all of my contacts, pictures, apps and videos of my children as babies absolutely broke my heart with the worst part of of being the precious photos of my Nan who passed away at easter. All of those memories, moments and connections lost forever and I cried like an absolute baby.
It goes to show how much we rely on our phones, how final text messages, special voicemails and precious photos are so entirely priceless and important. And when you think that you’re safe because you’ve got it all backed up you’re still in danger of losing it all. I had it on the cloud my laptop and phone and still lost it all. It made me feel sick, robbed and incredibly frustrated that it had happened when all I wanted was to purchase a new battery for my stupidly expensive phone that should have worked properly in the first place. I spent the following day feeling sorry for myself, my heart heavy with loss as I tried to download the majority of apps that I could remember having. I had to reset pretty much all of my passwords because I couldn’t remember them as I was logged out of everything and nothing was stored to memory anymore. I reset my fingerprints, my privacy settings, my wallpaper, alarms, everything you forget about when starting over.
I also posted a status on my Facebook saying that my phone had totalled and I’d lost every contact but my number was the same so if anybody wanted to get hold of me or had been waiting to hear from me they should drop me a text first so that I can save their number and respond. To be fair I got a few funny texts taking the p*ss which made me laugh but it’s hard to explain the hole it leaves when you lose everything you care about. In the grand scheme of things nobody had got hurt, I still had my family and retrieved access to my accounts but it was just the bare bones as the meat had been stripped away.
The following day I had a followup call from Apple and despite the cheery foreign man on the other end of the phone wishing me a Merry Christmas I found it hard to chat along to the scripted call checking for my feedback on service. I explained how the restore and setting up my phone as new had caused my iTunes to lock me out of my backup and how Kath couldn’t help me and my battery was still draining and unusable when not attached to a charger but I’d booked in to my local genius bar for the 29th of December so would hold out for another week until finally they might fix my battery. The man introduced himself as Pablo and told me that he was a single father with two children and understood how much baby photos and memories mean, he then asked if he could perform a remote assist of my laptop once more to see if there was anything he could do. I thought he was very sweet for reassuring me but had already checked online forums and comments saying that there’s no hope for retrieving encrypted backups and even Apple don’t have access.
But I know he was just doing his job and trying every troubleshooting option so I halfheartedly gave him the benefit of the doubt so that he could finish his call and I could carry on with my day. Literally within five minutes he’d unlocked my encrypted password – that was electronically set to around 300 characters and definitely not my doing – and had me jumping around my lounge like a sea lion clapping my hands and squealing with joy. I saw the thousands of people online who were in the exact same position after losing their backup and knew that what he’d just done for me will be so incredibly helpful to others so I asked him to walk me through it again step by step so that I could write it all down and share the instructions here.
How To Retrieve An Encrypted iTunes Backup Password On A Mac
(As Instructed By Pablo @ AppleCare)
Open up finder > applications > utilities > keychain access > into the search bar type ‘backup’ > double click the locked backup file and enter the laptops admin password > click ‘see password’ to display the password > copy and paste into iTunes to retrieve the encrypted backup!
Seeing as my phone will take a couple of hours to restore my backup I’m going to leave it empty until my appointment at the genius bar on the 29th December so if they need to run any tests or remove everything again then it can be pretty immediate rather than taking all day. Best case scenario it would be nice for them to switch my undamaged handset for another that works, worst case scenario every guarantee, warranty, JCB and KGB will have expired and I’ll have to purchase a hardware repair/battery replacement for my contract phone. I think I’m several months away from my upgrade anyway when I’ll be getting the iPhone7 so I don’t want to spend money on making my phone work at Christmas when it’s a known fault affecting thousands of people. But equally I can’t live shackled to a mains charger anymore because my phone is as useful as a chocolate teapot right now and smoke signals on the mountains would be more effective.
So I guess it all rests on what the geniuses say on the 29th! In the meantime I’ll be enjoying Christmas with my family, using my phone a whole lot less and living in the moment for once without technology. If you’re experiencing battery problems I suggest you do the same. I’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I’ll see you on the flip side and update you with my progress. A quick search regarding Apple’s battery replacement policy is enough to put Scrooge in a bad mood!
Ho ho ho No no no Apple!
We’ll test your iPhone to see if it has a battery issue or a different power issue. Your repair fees depend on the diagnosis and if the issue is covered under warranty, AppleCare+, or consumer law. Your coverage begins on the original purchase date of your iPhone.
Our warranty covers a defective battery, but it doesn’t cover wear from normal use.
- If you’re covered under warranty, AppleCare+ or consumer law, we’ll replace your battery at no charge if it retains less than 80 percent of its original capacity.
- If your iPhone needs battery replacement and it’s not covered, the service fee is from £76.44.
- If your iPhone has another power issue, we’ll give you the repair price after we determine the cause.
UPDATE: 27/12/16 Apple Watford Genuis Bar
So Christmas Day and Boxing Day my battery decided to cut off completely and refused to hold any charge or turn on. After trying my charger at 1hr intervals, holding down the power button, reset and waiting for the phone to go cold I’d managed to get about 30mins of use from a whole day. At one point it stayed off for 6hrs straight refusing to power up and each time I connected the charger it showed the red flashing battery screen but wouldn’t load to the Apple startup or let me unlock.
Seeing that the soonest appointment I could get locally was 29th Dec I decided I couldn’t be without a phone entirely until then because I need it for work and taking pictures of my children and family over Christmas so I booked in for the genius bar at Watford today because it was the next nearest store that had an appointment. I took my phone in at 10:05 as was scheduled and they said that my appointment had been cancelled when I arrived but was in the scrap pile so they could reinstate it and I could still be seen. They asked if I had cancelled it which I certainly didn’t, and then I watched them say the exact same thing to the next three customers who came in behind me so I guess their system was playing up today.
I had to wait several minutes over my appointment time because they were running behind and then a cheery lady in a red Apple shirt came and took a seat at the table next to me where a group of very moody customers were also waiting in the Christmas rush. Seeing as my phone wouldn’t switch on she had to remove my phone case to see the code on the back of my phone in order to book in my repair. Using the store charger my phone finally turned on (my home phone chargers are also Apple but my car charger is universal) and she asked me to turn off ‘Find My iPhone’ so that she could run a diagnostics just as they had online. She confirmed that it was a hardware issue meaning my battery needed repairing because it was only charging to half capacity but reading as 100%, yet when she said they’d ‘repair’ the battery it would actually be changed for a new battery and not fixed up as the title suggests. If I’d have taken my phone to a generic phone shop it would have voided all Apple warranty and she tested for water damage in the sim and any marks for wear and tear to my phone. I was then asked to sign my consent on the iPad and come back about 90mins later to collect my phone along with photo ID to prove my identity.
So I went shopping and returned as advised to collect my phone just after lunch. As my case had been removed my phone looked so slim and fresh, yet I immediately noticed they’d removed my screen protector. I’ve had the misfortune of breaking a few phone screens over the year so I’d invested in an expensive glass screen protector which is basically a double screen for the phone and is impossible to break. I asked why they’d taken away my protector and this time the guy serving me said that the screen had to be removed to get to the battery inside so the suction pulled it off and it was thrown away. I told him I didn’t want to leave my phone unprotected and never asked for it to be removed so he said he’d put another one on and took my phone away again. A few minutes later he came back with my phone and a new protector which was thicker than a standard freebie but not half as big or strong as the glass one I’d had on it. It doesn’t cover the entire screen as it leaves about a 5mm border around the edges which leaves them open to chipping but after a morning of entertaining my unenthusiastic daughter in post-Christmas crowds of shoppers waiting for my phone repair I reluctantly accepted it.
I was asked to pay £69.00 for my phone repair as I’ve had my handset for over a year and the battery wasn’t covered by Apple warrantee/guarentee. I was told that my battery had failed through overuse yet I got my first mobile phone around around 17yrs ago and have never had a battery fail me on a phone, I’ve even given my old phones to friends and family who continue to use them without fault. But seeing as I’m not due my 24month phone upgrade via my network provider o2 until March 2017 I’ll have to go through them for until my contact ends. I currently have my phone on contract for £24.99 a month phone and £24.99 network which makes my bill £50.00 per month sometimes £60.00 if I go over. They suggested at my renewal I buy the iPhone7 outright and get a sim only plan with my network provider which I know a few of my friends have told me about before, this way I’ll get the same amount of minutes and data but save myself a few hundred pounds a year without being tied into a contract which sounds appealing.
So I returned home to restore my un-encrypted data onto my newly repaired phone only to discover that my camera and front speaker no longer work! It’s literally one thing after another with my phone and it’s so frustrating. My back camera is fine but my front camera doesn’t respond at all I just have a black screen so all of my Facebook Live feeds and social media content is basically squashed until I can get it working again and if I want to hear phone calls I have to put my phone onto speakerphone so everyone around me can also hear. I called to inform the Watford store just a couple of hours after I’d had my appointment when I realised the camera and speaker no longer worked and they apologised and told me to come back at anytime and get it fixed as I wouldn’t need an appointment because I’m a ‘looper’ i.e. somebody that has already booked, paid and has a problem with a repair. Seeing as Watford isn’t at all local to me and I don’t fancy another couple of hours on a road trip I’m now keeping my original appointment in Milton Keynes on Dec 29th and this time taking my camera and speaker to be fixed! Grr all of this hassle, travelling, losing content and inconvenience of holding up my work is certainly not what I was expecting when my battery started playing up months ago and to make matters worse my phone now gets ridiculously hot when charging and it’s taken hours to get up to just 30% so I think it’ll have to be switched again. Does anybody have a brick wall that I can just bang my head against please? Watch this space!
UPDATE 29/12/16 Apple Store Milton Keynes
Finally today I got to Milton Keynes to visit the Apple store after what feels like an absolute lifetime of struggling on with my phone. As advised I told the member of staff who greeted me at the door that I was a ‘looper’ sent over from a repair at Watford and they led me straight to the genius bar upstairs despite my actual appointment being in 5hrs time which was great as I had just finished an eye check with my optician and had to be in early anyway. Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling very good, had just been in a car crash a couple of hours ago because of the icy roads and finished a bodybuilding session rushing around without eating so my blood sugar was low and I went hot and faint standing up with the other customers in the busy store. Usually there are stools under the tables for people to sit whilst waiting to be seen but there wasn’t a single one in the Milton Keynes store so a kind member of staff got me a stool from the side room and a glass of cold water as the colour drained from my face and I came over all hot and shaky putting my head between my legs. Yet my day was literally about to go from bad to worse!
After several minutes and the second member of staff speaking to a manager on my behalf I was passed to a lady this time who took my details, the third person I’d spoken to and explained my position once again. I had to fill out my information on an iPad and re-confirm that my battery had been replaced in Watford which caused my front camera and speaker to stop working. I was asked to remove my case and they took it out the back whilst I waited on my little stool feeling like death. About 10-15mins later the man that I’d first seen came back with my phone to tell me the bad news that when they opened my phone they found I’d had a third party repair to change my screen which wasn’t done by Apple. Thinking back I was pretty sure that it was my iPhone 5 screen that I’d cracked and had replaced at a local phone shop which was equally as expensive as Apple but was done whilst I waited and didn’t mean having to be without a phone, sending it off or driving for hours on end to get to an Apple store. It was also when I purchased my very expensive tempered glass protective screen to prevent any future screen cracks if I dropped it which is somewhere in a dumpster in Watford right now thanks to Apple removing it when doing my repair. The member of staff confirmed that my replacement screen repair was done very well with A-grade quality parts but as it wasn’t performed by Apple I’d voided my warranty which had already expired anyway which prevented me from being able to have my handset switched for another iPhone6 and my existing phone was therefore now classified as ‘damaged’ which meant the buy back fee from Apple would be just £50 in value if I chose to part exchange it against a new handset. If I chose to keep my phone and have my front camera and speaker repaired at the store it would cost me £120 to fix my phone as a set standard repair fee because for all they knew the third party screen repair could have caused my camera and speaker to have been broken for months and I could have been trying to pull a fast one and get a free repair – which I would never do as I’m as honest as the day is long and never even claim on my insurance!
Lucky I had an email about my previous repair stating there was no damage to my camera or speaker when checking my phone in and had also taken a selfie on my phone the morning before my battery repair at the Watford branch for which I had proof with a time stamp that my camera was indeed damaged by Apple when removing my screen and I wasn’t trying to rip Apple off, I showed the staff myself drunk in a Christmas party hat but it didn’t change the red tape and regulations – it did however prove my innocence and love of mulled wine but oddly tagged me in a random country when I was infact in England? That’s technology for you! So if I wanted my iPhone6 to work it would cost me a further £120 in repairs to be absolutely no further forwards. I would however have an iPhone6 with a £190 bill for a battery, camera and speaker repair for which I didn’t cause any of it – I wouldn’t have minded so much if I’d have dropped my phone down a toilet, accidentally broken it or treated it badly but it’s my pride and joy and I literally treat it as preciously as I do my own children and couldn’t be without it. Seeing as my phone secondhand was only worth £55 to Apple I couldn’t justify spending almost four times its value just to have it working properly again when I’ve only had it 21 months. It was worthless as a damaged phone to part exchange, costs four times its value to repair and utterly useless to me as is and as a social influencer and journalist I need it desperately for my work. My only option was to purchase a new handset outright which I’d planned to do in three months time anyway when my upgrade was due via my network provider. The staff were lovely and very helpful and the store was rammed, it wasn’t their fault that my phone had caused me so much grief, nor that I’d just spent a small fortune on Christmas, it was just the luck of the draw and I’d had a bad run with my handset. Sometimes life bends you over and you just have to take it with a smile on your face and be thankful that it wasn’t any worse because sh*t happens as they say!
I therefore bit the bullet and asked to purchase the iPhone7 as a matching 64gb for which I was told that they no longer produce a 64gb just a 32gb or 128gb – gah x2! 32gb was too small for memory on my iPhone5 hence why I got my iPhone6 in the 64gb, but to double the storage would cost me hundreds more for the iPhone7 handset. I needed my phone back, some breakfast at 2:30pm and to return home to a cool dark room to lay down and sleep because I was draining faster than my old battery and as white as a ghost. So I laughed at the hilarity of my bad luck and purchased the 128gb in matte black with a red silicone case (and 5p Apple carrier bag) costing £734.05 in total. To cut a long story short I’ve kept my cameraless speakerless iPhone6 as a backup handset should my battery die on this one (I really need to stop with the jokes, it’s just asking for trouble!) and I’m going to restore my old encrypted data onto my new iPhone7 when I get home. I don’t want to jinx myself by suggesting the data recovery will fail to unlock the encryption password from my laptop backup but I wouldn’t be surprised anymore if it did! FML what a day!!! I’m just looking forward to having a phone that finally does what it’s supposed to. I’ll keep you posted on how I get on and hope you’ve all had far more luck with your phones than I have with mine. Merry Christmas!
UPDATE: 31/12/16 Using My New iPhone7
I really shouldn’t have jinxed myself because I knew this would happen! When I plugged in my iPhone7 to my mac and selected the encrypted backup fine that I’d finally got the password for it said that I couldn’t restore my backup until the software on my phone was up to date which required setting my iPhone7 up as a new first. I followed the steps advised on screen by my iTunes, connected my new phone to wifi and ran the update for the latest software, but when I went to restore the backup it was gone!
There were other backups after the encrypted file that I needed but none showing the padlock so I tried the oldest one on there which was listed as unlocked but weirdly enough also needed a password. I used the password Pedro helped me to find but it didn’t work, so I followed the steps he’d given me to retrieve it but there were no passwords to show so I’m back to square one again! FML I could headbutt all of the walls in my village right now and it still wouldn’t be enough for how frustrated I feel over my phone. But in hindsight maybe this was the declutter that I needed? Out with the old and in with the new and I guess starting over puts into perspective the people and things that you use and interact with the most.
Other than that may iPhone7 is pretty similar to my 6. It asked me to set up my voice for siri to recognise when I’m asking questions, the home button is now solid-state which doesn’t need to be clicked but is set to your favoured vibration, the iPhone7 can be immersed in water for 30mins and take photos underwater as well as being dust resistant. Part of being waterproof means that it now has inbuilt stereo speakers instead of a headphone jack which is twice the volume of the iPhone6 and can still be used with wireless headphones or via the lightening port for newer products on the market as it includes Apple EarPods to replace the usual earphones. The screen is the same size as the iPhone6 but has 25% brighter and much richer colours and is eager to see outdoors in bright sunlight thanks to the less reflective screen. The new A10 fusion chip run twice as fast as the iPhone6 at one fifth of the power which is great for video editing apps and games. It also has twice the RAM of the 6 allowing apps to open back up in their last position rather than restarting and Safari tabs don’t freeze or reload either.
The 12megapixel camera makes the photos brighter, sharper, colourful and more steady even in low light with twice as many bulbs for a new True Tone flash system. The 7megapixel front facing camera makes taking selfies far clearer than the 1.2megapixel of the 6 and using the screen for a flash it’s also 50% brighter too – great for a social influencer like me trying to find a good light! The battery life of 7 is far better than my 6 which towards the end of its 21month short life could only hold 100% charge for 4mins on video. I became shackled to my mains charger for the past few months just to use my phone and now I can go the majority of the day with moderate use and only have to charge in the evening. Overall the iPhone7 is a fun bit of kit that makes life a blogger and social influencer more convenient and I’m loving the fact my camera roll doesn’t warn me that it’s full whenever I fire of 20 pictures in a row – the extra storage is well worth it!
Please feel free to leave your comments, thoughts and feedback in the box below and share you battery woes with us all!