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iPhone Battery Drain

Q:

My iPhone 4S gets much worse battery life than my iPhone 4 did. I need to charge it by midafternoon, whereas the prior model easily lasted all day. Do you know why and what can be done about it?

A:

Apple says it has found some bugs in its new iPhone and iPad operating system, called iOS 5, which adversely affect battery life for some users. It is promising to release a new version that addresses the problem in a few weeks.

I have heard from several users of the new iPhone 4S and from others who upgraded their older models to the new operating system that their battery lives have degraded.

However, in my own tests and experience, I have seen no reduction in battery life on my upgraded iPhone 4, which still comfortably lasts a full day. And the iPhone 4S Apple lent me for testing also made it through a whole day, every day.

If you can’t wait for Apple’s fix, some websites have reported major improvements by changing a simple setting. You go to Location Services, then System Services, and turn off “Setting Time Zone.” I haven’t tested this and don’t know if it works.

Q:

What is the cheapest device you would recommend to be able to do Skype or any other way of doing video chat?

A:

I’d consider the $199 iPod Touch, which has a front camera, can run several different video chat apps, and requires no monthly cellular service payments.

Another option would be the least expensive Windows laptop or netbook with a built-in webcam. You could also do this with a smartphone, but then you’d likely be paying a monthly bill. Another option is a tablet capable of video chatting, but most cost more than $199.

Q:

How do I sync my new Android phone with my Mac?

A:

Android is generally designed to sync things like contacts and calendar items with online services, especially Google’s, but not with local data on either PCs or Macs.

I have generally found in testing Android phones that you can drag over large files like songs and photos from a Mac by just plugging in the phone via a USB cable and dragging over the files manually.

However, there’s a $40 program called The Missing Sync for Android that claims to facilitate syncing Android phones with both PCs and Macs. I haven’t tested it.


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