iPhone not holding a charge – potential fix

A week or two ago my coworker had a problem with his iPhone 3G: it wouldn’t hold a charge and would constantly just get warm (almost hot). It would hold a charge for less than a day and then die.

My phone, an iPhone 4, started having the same problem on the bus ride over to the Tahoe offsite. I was going down a percent of charge every 4 minutes or so… That’s 15% an hour. It might’ve been even more. I was going from power outlet to power outlet. The. Like John’s phone it was also getting hot.

Whenever you get to a problem you have to start eliminating possible causes.

Since it was getting hot it probably wasn’t the battery. Something was dissipating the heat. Most batteries degrade over time, not kinda work. If the battery had an internal short it likely would explode.

The next thing I tried was quitting the background applications. This seemed to solve the problem for a short while then it would come back in a little bit. The only app I knew of that would do that is the mail app. My hypothesis is that the mail app was causing some issue.

To test it I deleted my two mail accounts: my home Gmail and my work Exchange.

It stopped dropping charge!

It was something with the email app that was causing the problem.

Of course I need email so this wasn’t a good state to be in.

First I added the Gmail account. Things were still good. Next I added the Exchange account. Things were still fine.

The thing I’m guessing is that the configuration for one of the accounts went insane and it was constantly checking for mail.

If you’re having the same problem, this is something to try out… You might fix your phone without any real work!

Update: Before all this I tried to do a power cycle and a hard-power-off/on cycle. Neither worked. My co-worker John even tried multiple restores and it didn’t help.

Location:Squaw Peak Rd,Squaw Valley,United States

11 comments… add one

  • hey thanks, i’m having the same problem with my iPhone 4 and will try this out.

    Reply
  • Same issue: I deleted my Outlook Work Email, the phone quickly started charging again normally. I later discovered that my work email required a change in password and was causing the phone to check for new email constantly, wearing the battery out! Thanks for the great comments that helped solve the issue

    Reply
  • I’m having the same problem. I just deleted my email account from the phone and turned it off. We’ll see soon if this fixes it. Thanks for the advice! I hope it works. :)

    Reply
    • How do you delete the email account off the phone. I tried holding it down for a could of seconds until they all start shaking and I couldn’t literally just delete the app??

      Reply
      • You can’t delete the app, but you can delete your account from the settings.

        Go to Settings -> Mail, Contact, Calendars. Select your account and on the bottom of the account page you have a big red “Delete Account” button.

        Before you delete it it might be convenient to copy down the information because you’ll have to re-enter all that after you delete the account.

        Reply
    • Did it work for your phone? I also am having this same problem. So I am trying it. Just wondering if you got positive results?

      Reply
  • I tried this on my iPhone 4S and it worked! Mystery solved! Thank you!

    Reply
  • I just had this happen to my phone, reset the email accounts and all seems to be well. Why couldn’t apple care or phone carrier help me with this??? THANK YOU!

    Reply
  • I also have this problem, fingers crossed this works!

    Reply
  • You are right, when issues occur, first thing to think is: “What has changed recently?”
    When I was having the battery loss problem on my year old 3GS I didn’t think of email as a potential cause but changing email providers had resulted settings that use more battery.
    I dug into my e-mail (and iCloud) settings and turned the ‘Fetch New Data’ setting to off. I also turned ‘Push’ to off and Fetch settings to ‘Manually’ and in Advanced set all to ‘Manual’.

    Reply
  • I think this resolved my issue too! YOu’re a genius! Thanks for the help. This saved me from having to spend several hours in the Apple store.

    Reply

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