I recently bought an iPod when I was in America, and have been very happy with it since – it’s proved its worth on many an occasion, including long car journeys. However, when I upgraded to the latest version of the firmware, which offered various significant new features, there was a drastic drop in battery life. Before upgrading, I could expect to get around eleven hours of play. Now, I’d be lucky to get a few hours.

Unsurprisingly, no-one was happy with this on the Apple iPod discussion boards. With Apple staying characteristically tight-lipped about the unacknowledged problem (they generally don’t comment on such things until they have a solution) the users set to work trying to figure out the cause of the problem.

Through a bit of experimentation and a few dozen user reports, the current theory is that the introduction of a clock and alarm feature in the new firmware is responsible for the bad battery performance; I found that after performing a hard reset of the iPod and then turning the alarm off, my battery life was back to normal.

I don’t think it has anything to do with the clock, myself; the iPod has always had a clock, only it’s never been visible before. The alarms however are new, and if having alarms switched on requires the iPod to regularly check the current time against any alarms set (even if you have no alarms set) then it’s very possible that this is the cause of the problem. As for the hard reset, I have no idea whether this is useful or not – I only mention it because some people have turned the alarms off and they still have bad battery performance – perhaps resetting the iPod is necessary to get battery life back up again.