Apple’s iPhone consistently ranks at the very top of smartphones in almost every category including battery life. I myself, use my phone all day long for numerous things such as:
- twitter, facebook
- web surfing
- running with Nike Plus App
- Controlling my Apple TV
- Controlling my Nest Thermostat
- watching video
- running an endless number of other applications
- and even updating this site and more.
Just before my head hits the pillow, I am normally between 15% and 25% battery life remaining and I charge my iPhone when I go to bed. Others have told me upon getting their iPhone they are barely using it and getting far less than a full days charge. This is unacceptable, but usually has to do with how the phone is set up, or (though less likely) is an issue with the actual phone itself. (If this is the case, Apple will give you a new one)
The first thing many people do is turn off LTE, or Wi-Fi, or do other things that simply reduces the usefulness of the iPhone. This is completely unnecessary! (One caveat, if LTE is very weak in your area, 1 to 2 bars, or constantly switching off as it cannot hold a signal then it may make sense to turn it off, as searching for an LTE site may use more battery). Apple waited to add LTE because they knew they wanted to get the chips and battery to a point that it would not kill the battery in a few hours like so many Android phones on the market today do. Now granted, the Android phone manufacturers are trying to compensate for this shortcoming by making their phones obnoxiously oversized and hideous looking in order to cram in more battery. (The consumer is supposed to believe these bulky, two hands required, awkward-to-use devices are all about the big screen, but we know the bigger screen is just the cover on top of a lot of flaws in the software and poorly designed hardware.)
There is a basic step-by-step process I always go through with friends and family to maximize their battery life. Instead of constantly repeating myself, I thought I would do a quick write up of what I do. This has made a significant difference in every instance where I have adjusted the following settings.
Here are my steps for maximizing your battery life:
Get used to this little iCon. We will be visiting it a few times. In Blue are the instructions without the commentary.
Brightness: This is the number one cause of a rapidly draining battery. The iPhone has a built in Auto Brightness setting that will adjust the screen’s brightness based on the ambient lighting of the environment you are using the iPhone. I highly suggest you use it, but also make sure it is set up correctly. DO THIS: Go to Settings – Brightness and Wallpaper. In a fairly dark room of the house, (a room without windows is ideal) make sure Auto Brightness is turned on. Then slide the brightness slider to the left as far as possible to the level of your liking. In a darker room this should have the slider almost entirely to the left. That is it. As you move to brighter rooms or outside in much brighter light, the phone will raise the brightness automatically to adjust the screen to your preset liking.
Notifications (Notification Center) – Another big difference between Android users and iPhone users, is us iPhone users have thousands of awesome Apps and we actually use them. With that in mind, we also have downloaded a ton of Apps that want to notify us of every single thing. This is NOT needed in most cases, and many are unaware all of this is turned on by default. DO THIS: Go to the Settings App – Notifications – Scroll to “In Notification Center” (this is the feature that allows you to swipe down on the screen from the clock at the top of the screen and quickly access recent notifications – go ahead try it) First and foremost, TURN OFF THE STOCK and WEATHER WIDGET.
(Do you really need these two services constantly updating? No, you likely have better Apps to handle these services for you.) Also make sure you only have the apps in the Notification Center that you require the convenience of the quick “swipe to access” feature. Mine for example would be: Phone, Messages, Mail, Twitter, Reminders, Calendar, Passbook, and Find Friends. Simply select the individual Application not needed here, and then toggle the OFF switch in the Notification Center setting. The Notification center should really be just the essential Apps in my opinion. You can also change the order of them by hitting “Edit”.
Notifications – Now this is where you will really take control of what is going on with your Applications.
Just below “In Notification Center” is the list of Apps “Not in Notification Center”. This list all of your Apps that would like to notify you of the services the Apps offer. For instance when there is breaking news on a news App, it may Spin a banner, make a sound, put a little number badge on the App iCon etc. DO THIS: Select each Application and decide if you really need it to be notifying you and if so how it should do so. In most cases you likely need no notifications from the App and so you can simply turn off all these different notifications. As indicated in the picture above, right underneath the App, it will tell you all the notifications you are allowing the App to have. The more of these things that are turned on, the more services that will be using your battery to check for new notifications. Choose wisely. (I see this most often on parents iPhones who have numerous games for their kids to play, and all kinds of alerts are turned on)
Wi-Fi - Wi-Fi is a great way to save on cellular data usage AND save battery when it is available. DO THIS: Whenever possible connect to Wi-Fi. In most cases this will be at your home, work, or at friends home, or hotel etc. But one thing that is both annoying and will use up battery, is the “Ask to Join Networks” feature. This is where you will get an alert every time your iPhone finds a Wi-Fi network to connect to. Go to Settings – Wi-Fi and I suggest turning this off. Your iPhone will still connect to known networks you have joined in the past and if you want to connect to a new Wi-Fi network or see if one is available simply go here and see what is available to select. No need to have the iPhone constantly looking for them and asking if you would like to join.
Bluetooth – Go To Settings – Bluetooth. Unless you are needing to connect to Bluetooth in the car or a wireless headset, turn this off.
Siri – Go To Settings – General- Siri and Turn off “Raise to Speak” This feature is probably already turned off, but if not, every time you the raise the phone to your head, sensors will activate Siri. This can be convenient for some, but for most it will be a waste of battery resources. The simple home button to activate Siri is enough for most.
Mail – Mail services that are constantly looking for new mail will eat up your battery. Apple has an iCloud email service that is not only free, but it uses Push technology and is very conservative on the battery power it consumes. I cannot vouch for other mail services and their implementation, but if you are fetching mail from all kinds of services regularly that are not as efficient, expect your battery to drain faster. Apple’s iCloud email service is fantastic, and unlike Gmail, Yahoo, etc, is not provided by an advertising company that has a vested interest in learning every detail about your life in order to generate advertising revenue.
Location Services – What Apps are requesting to know your whereabouts and is there really any benefit to you for the Application to know this information? Yes it is useful for your Camera, Weather App, Maps, Yelp etc to know where you are to be useful, but does Angry Birds or Facebook really need to know this information? DO THIS: Go to Settings-Privacy-Location Services and make decisions about which Apps really need to know where you are to be useful. Obviously, restaurant apps, movie apps, the camera, weather apps, Find Friends, Passbook, Photos, Reminders, Siri to name a few are useful to have it turned on, but does Fruit Ninja really need to know you pass the day at the office playing their game?
Auto Lock: I am always amazed that people use their phone and then when done slide it into their pocket or purse without a quick click of the top button to put it into a soft sleep, lock mode. A simple press shuts off the backlight and saves battery. One other way to make sure the phone locks quickly, (prevents accidentally running an App or calling someone from your pocket, is to set Auto Lock for 1 minute. DO THIS: Go to Settings-General- Auto Lock and set for 1 Minute.
Charge the iPhone Fully: Doing quick charges throughout the day to get the phone some extra juice is fine if you really need it, or maybe have been using Maps or the Camera a lot (Big Battery Hogs), but the key charge is the last 20% from 80% to 100% of full capacity and is essential to a full day of battery life. This is why I charge it overnight every night. You will not get the maximum out of your battery if you do not fully reload it each day. (Assuming you are a power user, as some light users can go days without charging) Also to see what percentage of battery is remaining, DO THIS: Go to Settings-General-Usage- And Turn on Battery Percentage.
Okay so that is the my Top 10. (May add more later)
Most of the above items apply to all smartphones. They all run on batteries and the more services you have running, the faster the drain on your battery. The average iPhone user uses their phone a lot more than the average Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone user for things such as Apps, Web Browsing and all the other things that make these devices so great. This is a fact that shows up repeatedly in data from numerous third party sites capturing usage stats. These simple steps will go a long way in making sure you get the most out of your battery and that only the services you need are draining it.
Any other feedback or tips is always greatly appreciated and will be added with credit. Thanks and Happy New Year!