WiFi tethering and the iPhone: Battery life?

John Brownlee at CoM:

“It seems likely, then, that as soon as the Verizon iPhone comes out, Apple will pump an official iOS update for all devices down the pipeline, bringing the Hotspot app to all devices, including iPads. Naturally, the carriers probably have some control over how a subscriber can use that Hotspot app on their existing plans, but it seems pretty likely that all iPhone owners will be able to tether their devices to their 3G connection via WiFi soon enough.”

Phone companies do have ways of spotting people tethering, the easiest being massive spikes in data usage. But some Android users have had tethering built-in for a while (notably on the stock Nexus One), and I’ve yet to hear of anyone having problems.

What I’ve found using tethering occasionally on my Nexus One, though, is that it reduces the battery life massively: an hour of use, and it’s gone. By comparison, a dedicated device like the 3 MiFi 2 gives me several hours, easily.

Given that Apple focuses hard on battery life, and making sure that no app drains the battery too much, it will be interesting to see what its done to stop WiFi sharing killing your battery in record time.

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  • Anonymous

    “Given that Apple focuses hard on battery life, and making sure that no app drains the battery too much, it will be interesting to see what its done to stop WiFi sharing killing your battery in record time.”

    Or alternatively Apple has give up and just started to match the feature tick box that the geeks find so appealing. “We don’t care how it works, give it to us!”

  • Anonymous

    Not to mention that draining a battery that fast can damage it or at least drastically shorten its life. I would like to know how much battery life people with Android phones are getting on a full charge after using it for a WiFi hotspot for several months.

    Ian, how long and how often are you using your N1 as a WiFi hotspot and have you noticed a decrease in battery life on a full-charge?

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    LOL I hope not!

  • http://www.technovia.co.uk Ian Betteridge

    I use the N1 very, very rarely because most times if I’m out and about with my MacBook Air I’ll also have the MiFi with me. The first time I used it, I basically let it run down the battery to see how long it took – and that was just under an hour, iirc. Since then, I’ve kept it to emergency use only, and tended to use it for a few minutes (say, to pick up a document via email or Dropbox) rather than for long stretched.

    So no, I haven’t seen any battery life degradation as I don’t think I’ve used it enough. You really notice it getting warm, though :)