Like many folks, I rely heavily on my iPhone and iPad for many day-to-day tasks. How frustrating it is, then, when your go-to device is on its last 10% of juice and it’s only 9:45am!
There’s been a lot of critical backlash about iOS7 and its heavy use of battery. Apple really packed in the features with the latest update, but many of them put extra drain on the battery. Most people don’t need these features (or realize they exist), and turning them off can really improve battery life. After fiddling with all these settings, I can go several days without charging my iPhone with normal use (responding to texts, emails, short phone calls, checking Facebook every so often). On the iPad it’s even longer, depending on my usage.
Here’s how to get the most out of your iPhone’s battery:
Background App Refresh
This feature lets apps running in the background actively refresh data and access WiFi or cellular data. Sounds pretty intense, and it is for your battery. Fortunately for most users, it’s also unnecessary. Simply go into Settings and scroll down to Background App Refresh and tap the slider to turn it off. The cool thing is that iOS7 lets you choose which applications use background refresh, so if you think you’ll just die without having Facebook constantly updated in real time, you can opt to leave it on.
This isn’t a new feature per se, but it has seen a few new updates that are worth mentioning. Location tracking lets your phone use your current location for things like Google Maps, Yelp searches, and many other things. Tracking your location using GPS, WiFi, and cellular signals takes extra juice, so turning it off can save some power. However, this feature is really useful for certain apps, so you can choose which ones can use your location data. Access it by going into Settings, Privacy, Location Services.
Some new features added are the Popular Near Me and Frequent Locations options. The first option shows you popular applications near your location. Whoopdie-doo. The second one tracks your location on a daily basis and uses that information in Maps to offer information about how long it might take to get to your next destination in the notification center. Neither of these features is worth the battery drain to most, so go into Settings, Privacy, Locations Services, and scroll down to the bottom to the System Services option to turn off those features. You can also turn off Diaganostics & Usage, Location-Based iAds, and Setting Time Zone for an extra battery boost. I personally have everything turned off except Cell Network Search, Traffic, and WiFi Networking.
Spotlight is really cool. It’s like a mini-Google for your iPad. It lets you quickly search for applications, contacts, music, podcasts, videos, audiobooks, notes, events, mail, voice memos, reminders, messages – almost anything that lives on your iPad! The downside is that it is always indexing the data on your iPad, sucking away its precious mojo.
Tap Settings > General > Spotlight Search > And uncheck the options you think you might not need to search for on a regular basis. If you never use Spotlight, you can turn everything off.
Auto-brightness is pretty nifty, and some people might not want to do without. There is a small sensor on the front of the phone that detects light levels to adjust the screen brightness accordingly. But because that sensor is constantly being accessed to check the surrounding light, it puts more strain on the battery. I turn it off and use the control center (swipe up from the bottom of the screen) to adjust my brightness. Go into Settings, Wallpapers and Brightness, and turn off Auto-Brightness by tapping the slider switch.
Air Drop is a feature they carried over from the Mac to iOS7. It lets you wirelessly share photos, videos, and documents between iOS7 devices (sadly, it doesn’t interface with Mac yet). Problem is that it always stays on searching for other Air Drop devices to connect with. Fortunately, it’s very easy to turn on and off for when you actually need it. Simply swipe up from the bottom of your screen to access the control center, tap the Air Drop icon at the bottom, and select the ‘Off’ option.
Parallax is a fancy way of saying the background of your phone moves around slightly when you tilt the device. It does absolutely nothing outside of that, and the motion has actually been reported to make some people motion sick. The parrallax is based off the motion sensor, which requires processing and battery power, so unless you just gotta have that slight tilt for your phone’s background, turn it off to save some juice. It’s buried in a weird place, but you can find it by going to Settings, General, Accessibility, Reduce Motion, and tap the toggle switch. Why they chose to hide this feature is beyond me, but turning it off will help save precious battery power.
In a nutshell, push mail basically keeps your mail constantly updated in real time in the background. This is great if you rely heavily on time-sensitive email communication, but if you haven’t guessed it already, it kills your battery. While this feature can be useful, I stopped using it because Mail will update whenever it’s opened. I check my email only when I need to, so I have no use for it to run in the background. Turn it of by going to Setting, Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Fetch New Data, and turn Push off.
If you want to customize these settings for each email account you have, you can do that from this menu. Fetch will let Mail pull emails on a predetermined schedule, but I keep it on manual (which updates it only when I open mail) to save as much battery as possible.
Turn off Bluetooth, Cellular, WiFi
This is pretty basic, but it’s worth mentioning. Make sure you turn off you Bluetooth, Cellular, or Wireless features if you aren’t using them. I do this often if I need to write and don’t want to get distracted or if my iPad is not going to be used for awhile, and it saves me a ton of battery power.
Close Out Apps and Restart
This isn’t a setting you control, but rather a good practice to get in the habit of doing. Going in to the multitasking screen and closing out apps will reduce the resources being used and keep your phone running optimally and efficiently. Press the home button twice to access multitasking, and swipe up on any of the icons or windows to close them all the way.
Every once in awhile, you should also turn your phone off all the way – a restart. Just hold the lock button down for a few seconds and swipe across the screen to turn it off. Let it power down, then turn it back on to reset system processes.
Those are the best ways that I know to really get the most out of your iPhone and iPad battery. You can pick and choose what works for you based on your personal usage, but I have seen a big improvement on my battery usage by implementing all of these changes. If you happen to know of any tips and tricks to get even more juice out of these devices, please let me know!