The iPhone is undoubtedly an extremely powerful handset, but one of the main weaknesses of modern devices is the lack of battery life, and the iPhone is no exception.
Apple itself has provided some useful tips and tricks on how to squeeze more battery life out of your iPhone, but we want to further expand on that and hopefully give you a better understanding of how you can keep your phone humming along.
Depending on your familiarity with iOS and smartphones, some of these might seem like common sense, while some seem like a great new idea. As long as it helps, we’re happy. This guide is written for iOS 7, but most of it will apply to previous versions of iOS too.
First we should understand the scenarios in which you would need to extend your battery life. They would be:
1. General day to day use.
2. Your battery life is hovering around 30-40% and you aren’t sure if your phone is going to make it till the next charge.
3. You’re in a situation where you absolutely must have your phone alive, but there is minimal battery power left, probably 1-20%.
As you can see, those are entirely different situations, so it only makes sense that you take different measures depending on the severity of the situation.
Disclaimer about battery life
In general, conserving battery life is about cutting back on features. The tips below will definitely help you extend the battery life of your iPhone to varying degrees, but you may or may not be willing use all of them. Pick the ones that you find are useful and are willing to do. Every little bit helps.
General day to day use
Reduce the brightness of your display. The backlight of your phone’s display is one of the main reasons its battery depletes fast so reducing the brightness goes a long way to extend battery life. Swipe up from the bottom to bring up Control Center and adjust the brightness level.
Connect to a Wi-Fi network. If you’re in an area that has a Wi-Fi connection, connect to it. Connecting to the Internet over a Wi-Fi connection isn’t just helpful to your battery life, it also doesn’t consume your mobile data quota.
Turn off push email
Unless you’re an email junkie, chances are that you don’t need to be notified immediately when you receive an email. Aside from the fact that there are many productivity tricks and benefits to checking your email less, reducing the frequency which your phone automatically checks for email is great for battery life. Depending on your lifestyle, adjust the intervals between automatic downloads of emails, or switch to have your phone manually download your emails when you launch the app.
Turn off background app refresh
Background app refresh is a useful feature introduced in iOS 7 to allow apps to update their content (such as news articles) when your phone is idle. Of course, the downside of this is increased battery usage. Turning it off will help preserve battery power, but you’ll go back to having to wait a few seconds for your app to refresh its content when you first open it.
Pay attention to location services
If your apps don’t require location services at all (which is highly unlikely), then you can just turn off location services entirely. If not, you’ll need to do some trial and error by disabling location services for some apps and see if there is any noticeable improvement to battery life.
Take note of the location services icon next to the services. A purple icon indicates an service that recently used your location; a grey icon appears next to a service that has used your location in the last 24 hours; an outlined icon indicates a service that is using a geofence.
Turn off push notifications
Push notifications by itself seems pretty harmless, but it’s worth noting that every time that your phone receives a notification, the display will turn on. So turn off notifications for spammy apps.
Pay attention if your phone gets too warm. Heat is always an enemy to your battery life, so try to keep your phone out of the sun, which usually happens when left on the dashboard of your car.
Aside from that, heat can also be a good indicator that your phone is overworking itself. If your phone is just in your pocket and it starts to get warm, it’s best to check if there is a battery intensive app that is actively running and consuming battery power.
There are ample studies (pdf link) that were done on various types of batteries, but basically all are sensitive to heat, which is particularly challenging in a tight and sealed environment, next to a hot processor and hot display…
Ensure your iPhone display doesn’t take too long to turn off
The default is 1 minute, but if you’ve increased the time to auto-lock your phone, it increases the time the phone’s display is on, depleting battery power.
Turn off background motion (parallax)
iOS 7 introduced a feature called background motion, sometimes referred to as the parallax effect. It can be controversial as some folks claim it causes motion sickness, but more importantly you’ll get a little more time with your phone if you turn it off.
Don’t use dynamic backgrounds
Turn off the moving wallpapers if you’re not overly attached to them.
Don’t let your phone vibrate unnecessarily
Vibration is great if your phone is on silent and you’re in a meeting, but if your phone ringer is on, you might want to skip the vibration.
Your battery life is hovering around 40% and you aren’t sure if your phone is going to make it till the next charge.
Turn off LTE. Staying connected to an LTE connection is more battery intensive than 3G. Turning it off will help your phone get through the day.
Turn off Wi-Fi. This only applies if you’re on the road without a Wi-Fi hotspot. If you can’t connect to any Wi-Fi network, turning off the Wi-Fi will help. Pull up Control Center and turn it off.
Turn off location services
Turn it off and don’t use your GPS services like Waze or TomTom.
You’re in a situation where you absolutely must have your phone alive, but there is minimal battery power left, probably 1-10%.
Turn off your mobile data
You’ll be surprised how power intensive maintaining a data connection is. Turning off mobile data will give you a big boost in battery life, though it also means that data-related services such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Safari, and more, won’t work.
Turn on airplane mode. This is similar to turning off your mobile data, but it conveniently also turns off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, making it an effective data and wireless kill switch. Turning all those things back on will be easy too. Just disable airplane mode. Pull up Control Center and turn it off.
Turn off your phone. This is the obvious but drastic solution, but if it’s 3pm and you need your phone to be able to receive an important call at 7pm, you might want to turn off your phone between those times.
Hopefully this guide will help you enjoy your iPhone for longer periods of time. If you still have any questions regarding battery life on the iPhone, feel free to let us know in the comments section. As a parting tip, you might also want to take note that quitting iOS apps might not always help prolong battery life.
Plug: I also wrote another iPhone tutorial that shows you how to block unwanted callers or texters from your iPhone.