Solved: iPod Touch iOS 4.0 & 4.1 Battery Drain Issue

by Michael W. Lind on December 31, 2010

iPod Screenshot

I can finally report that the battery drain issue that my iPod Touch second generation had been having with iOS 4.0 & 4.1 is solved! I had previously worked around the issue by using airplane mode, but I wanted a permanent fix. Using advice found in the Apple Support Discussions forum, an article on cnet and some helpful commenting from Sean Sullivan, I was able to fix the iPod Touch iOS 4.0 & 4.1 battery drain issue.

Here is the procedure that worked for me:

  1. Connect your iPod Touch to a USB 2.0 port on your computer, rather than through a USB hub. I had always used a hub in the past. This time iTunes ground to a halt when using a hub and was only happy with a direct connection.
  2. Make a note of all of your important settings because you are going to need them later. [Update 1 Jan 2011: As Bill points out in the comments, some app data may not be able to be restored, so be sure to verify that it is possible to save and restore your app data before the attempting a factory restore of your iPod in step 3.]
  3. Do a factory restore of your iPod Touch. Even though iTunes saves a backup of your iPod’s data and settings, do NOT restore the backup of your data. I did multiple factory & data restores and none of them worked. Avoiding the automatic restore is painful, but it turned out to be the critical step for me. [Update 3 Feb 2011: Apple has instructions for doing a restore. Be sure to only restore the OS, not your data.]
  4. Load your applications and data back on to the iPod Touch. I was able to load all of my applications at once without issue.
  5. Make sure push notifications are turned off on all of your applications. I had turned mine off before running this procedure, but forgot to turn them off on one application after the procedure.

I only needed to do this procedure once when I upgraded the iPod Touch from iOS 4.0 to iOS 4.1. The upgrade from iOS 4.1 to 4.2 worked without issue and my iPod Touch is working as well as it did on iOS 3.1.3!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ohiotex December 31, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Thanks, some follow up questions/comments…

1- noteworthy point on USB hub.thanks

4- how did you re load your apps back ( app store re download? iTunes synch? iTunes back up restore? other?) likewise how did you “add data back” (manual settings re entry? iTunes restore?, other?)

5- push. Are you saying post this procedure you have disabled (and no longer use) any and all push notifications? If so, did you try this before the reset procedure? Ie could one avoid the whole reset / app add back and just turn off all push notifications and get same result?

If after doing the whole reset procedure you describe and you still must manually disable all push notification functionality.. Is this really a solve or just a workaround?

Reply

Michael W. Lind December 31, 2010 at 10:17 AM

Thanks for the feedback, Ohiotex!

4. I reloaded my apps, music, videos & photos using an iTunes sync.

Definitely don’t do restore from a backup. I tried that a couple of times, hoping that it would save me some pain, but it didn’t.

5. I actually had push notification disabled before I tried the factory restore and didn’t have any luck with it.

Doing the factory restore did fix the issue I was having after my upgrade from 3.1.3 to 4.0 (and later 4.1). I would call disabling push notifications an additional workaround. You might want to try tweaking push notifications on individual apps. I found that the Facebook app was a huge drain on the battery.

Reply

James Schipper December 31, 2010 at 9:26 AM

I have done this procedure. But I had already figured out that turning off app notifications is what was killing my battery (back on page 24 of that thread).

I figured that out before trying the full restore. Doing the restore changed nothing for me. Turning the app notifications back off kept the battery from automatically draining.

The only fix here is the workaround of turning off the app notifications. You can do that without doing the restore. Save yourself the trouble of the restore if you can and try that first.

At least it worked that way on my 3rd Gen.

Reply

Michael W. Lind December 31, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Thanks for reading & for your feedback, James!

I already had the app notifications turned off on my 2nd gen iPod Touch. I also tried other recommendations on the Apple Discussion forum thread and put off the factory restore because of the time it would take. No other option worked, so I was stuck with the restore. It was time consuming, but survivable.

I agree , though, that you should turn off those app notifications first!

Reply

Bill December 31, 2010 at 11:24 PM

“Load your applications and data back on to the iPod Touch.”

I’m wondering how do you load the data back to your iTouch without using a backup? With “data” I mean application data, such as journal data, gas/mileage tracker data, etc. I find these are impossible to load back unless you restore them from the backup.

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Michael W. Lind January 1, 2011 at 7:10 AM

Good point, Bill. If you have app data that can’t be loaded from iTunes, exported to a file from the app, or quickly written down, this procedure will be extremely painful.

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OhioTex January 6, 2011 at 11:20 AM

I posted a longer update on the original apple thread, about what notifications i turned off to get around the battery drain and still have wifi on (big culprits were, facebook, email and calendar). see this thread for more details
http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=12878711#12878711

I avoided the restore (b/c of time and potential to loose app data) . but i can see the benefit in starting with a clean slate.

Michael – you mentioned facebook was a drain and you tried turning off notifications before the restore, did you also try turning off/disabling calendar and email before ?, perhaps you had turned on something like calendar or email before your restore that you did not repeat after, giving the impression it was restore that was the fix, vs just turning off all possible ‘background talking apps’? i had some caldev calendar subscriptions that unless manually turned inactive, where not turning off . perhaps similar with you? did you test that ?

Reply

Michael W. Lind January 6, 2011 at 11:36 AM

OhioTex,

Good questions & nice summary on the Apple Discussions thread. I have always had email push turned off and fetching set to manual (on 3.1.3 & 4.x). I was not pulling any calendar data on 3.1.3. I have used it on all 4.x releases to sync with my Yahoo calendar. I did not try turning off calendar sync before the restore. Since doing the restore I have not had any reason to try to turn it off.

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