Stuff & Nonsense product and website design


I doubt it’ll come as much of a surprise to learn that I love my iPhone 4S. It was a major upgrade from the 3G I swapped my original iPhone for last September, but I’ve been less impressed with its battery life. Now I think I’ve found the culprit. Foursquare

Sometimes I’d watch the iPhone’s battery drop a couple of percent in just a few minutes of web browsing, photo uploading or email checking. At a concert last Thursday night, my battery went from 100% to less than 20% in under three hours.

I decided to experiment with changing a few settings, in particular disabling notifications and location services. Battery life improved immediately but crippling the phone that way isn’t exactly a long term solution, especially as I need location services for apps like Foursquare.

Turning location services back on for Foursquare alone, I noticed that the purple GPS arrow stayed lit even when the app itself wasn’t running. It turns out that Foursquare’s Radar feature keeps monitoring your location so that it can suggest things around you. I must have turned it on at some point in the past without realising the implications.

Foursquare claim that:

We’ve spent months optimizing Radar so that there is minimal impact on your battery life.

But that hasn’t been my experience at all. Turning off Radar means a massive increase in battery life.

One other thing. Although I don’t make a habit of data roaming while abroad, if I’m travelling to Europe for a day or two and spending most of my time on planes, trains and in hotels, I’m happy to pay a little extra for data on the go. A couple of weeks ago I went to Germany for two days of private training. Before I got on the plane to come home I’d already received an SMS from O2 warning me I was hitting my standard data limit.

Before my iPhone 4S and Foursquare, this never happened. I’ll be checking my next bill, but I already suspect that as well as raiding my battery, Foursquare’s Radar has raided my pocket too. I’ll be keeping it switched off from now on.

Written by Andy Clarke who tagged this with iphone, apple

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