Apple spends months creating cool feature so you can turn ’em off and help your battery make it through the day! Sound familiar? Alas, too-short battery life is a common iPhone complaint.
Apple keeps adding processing power, better screens, and stronger connectivity to the iPhone but the battery size has remained almost unchanged. The iPhone4S battery is 1,432 mAh; iPhone 5 is almost the same at 1,440 mAh; and iPhone 5S only pushed battery power up to 1,560 mAh.
Read on for 27+ settings tweaks and usage tips to maximize your iPhone’s battery life. A neutered iPhone isn’t much fun, we agree – so don’t feel like you have to turn your iPhone into a dumbphone in the name of battery life. There’s something in this list for everyone!
1. Lower the screen brightness
Settings > Wallpapers and Brightness > Pull Brightness slider as far left as you can stand it
Settings > Wallpapers and Brightness > Turn Auto-Brightness “OFF”
Screen brightness is one of the iPhone’s biggest battery juice guzzlers. Alas, to really help your iPhone last through the day you’re going to need to turn that brightness waaaay down to, oh, 25% or so. (You’ll get used to it, I promise.) Disable “Auto-Brightness” while you’re in there for another battery life boost.
2. Don’t let your iPhone get too warm
Weird, but true – heat depletes the battery faster. Try placing your phone on your desk instead of keeping it in your pocket all day, if possible.
3. Disable Dynamic Wallpaper
Settings > Wallpapers and Brightness > Choose from “Stills”
4. Turn off Location Services
Settings > Privacy > Location Services
You can turn this off at the top level (which disables Location services for everything) or on a per-app basis. We tend to leave Location Services on so that we show up in Find Friends and so using Google Maps is quick and easy, but you may want to just disable it across the board for the biggest battery savings.
5. Turn off Frequent Locations
Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services (bottom of list) > Frequent Locations “OFF”
This one’s obscure and easy to overlook. With the Frequent Locations service turned on, your iPhone learns which geographic locations you visit regularly and attempts to provide location-specific information, such as estimated arrival times. It’s a neat feature, but location tracking chews up battery. If you aren’t relying on it, turn it “OFF” for some battery power savings.
6. Turn off Notifications
Settings > Notification Center
Notifications (of texts, social network updates, game messages, etc) are those little white pop up boxes that light up your phone’s screen and drain your battery, message by message. You can customize which apps send notifications – and how much screen real estate they consume, by heading over to Settings > Notification Center.
For each app,elect whether the alert is nonexistant (“None”), just a banner (“Banner”), or a pop up Alert (“Alerts”). For apps you’d rather not get notifications from, choose “None”.
7. Disable Background App Refresh
Settings > General > Background App Refresh
With Background App Refresh turned “ON”, apps will automatically download content updates. This can be a big, inconvenient drag on both your battery life and your available bandwidth (Apple says the feature will try to predict the best time to activate…). You might want to toggle Background App Refresh on a per-app basis, disabling it for things like Stocks and Reminders but keeping it on for Maps if you rely heavily on mapping.
8. Turn off iTunes & App Store Automatic Downloads
Settings > iTunes & App Store > Turn AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS to “OFF”
iOS 7 updates your apps and music in the background over Wi-Fi networks or your cellular network, if you allow it – you should turn that to “OFF” here, too, to save both battery and on bandwidth allotment.
9. Turn off GPS and Location Services
Navigate Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Disable the Frequent Locations option
10. Disable Wi-Fi when you’re away from home
Settings > Wi-Fi > “OFF”
iPhone prefers to use Wi-Fi and will continuously search for available Wi-Fi networks. If you know you’re nowhere near a trusted Wi-Fi network (ie: on a road trip, or at a workplace without Wi-Fi), turn off Wi-Fi to save some battery juice.
11. …but use Wi-Fi whenever it’s available
Your iPhone is more efficient at consuming data over Wi-Fi vs. the cellular network, so use trusted Wi-Fi networks wherever you can.
12. Turn off the iPhone “Battery Percentage” service
Settings > General > Usage >Battery Percentage “OFF”
Displaying the percentage doesn’t drain extra power all on its own, but obsessively watching the battery percentage contributes to battery drain.
13. Disable “3D Parallax”
Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion “ON”
Parallaxing background is a fun gimmick for a few minutes, but it eats up battery. Disable iOS 7’s 3D parallax effect for a small savings on battery power.
14. Reduce the “Auto-Lock” time to 1 minute
Settings > General > Auto-Lock > 1 Minute or 2 Minutes (whichever you prefer)
All those times you set your phone down and it stays lit up add up. By telling your phone to switch off its display after 1 or 2 minutes, you’ll save battery life here and there throughout the day.
15. Send fewer images over iMessage/text
This one’s up to you to change your usage, but few things drain the battery faster than trying to send a whole bunch of photos to someone. Sending photos is hard work for your phone, especially if you’re sending them over the cellular network instead of over Wi-Fi. If you need to squeeze out some more battery life, send 1 photo instead of 4 or save ’em ’til later.
16. Use “fetch” instead of “push”
Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data > Push “OFF”
You probably don’t need to receive e-mail the second its sent (if you do, ignore this tip), otherwise, switch to “Fetch” and collect email at an interval you’re comfortable with. For the biggest bang for your buck, choose “Manual”. In Manual mode, your iPhone will only check for new mail when you open your email app of choice.
17. Turn on Airplane Mode
Settings > General > Airplane Mode “ON”
In Airplane mode, your phone stops sending and receiving data (including calls and texts). Selectively entering Airplane mode (say, during the work day or that long meeting) can help save some extra battery life for when you really need it.
18. Cheat and add more battery power with a battery case
We’re big fans of battery cases – for less than $100 (sometimes way less), you can double your phone’s battery life. Caveat: a battery case adds some heft to your phone (usually in terms of added thickness).
19. Disable vibration
Settings > Sounds > Vibrate
If you receive a lot of notifications throughout the day and you can live without vibration, disabling it will save your iPhone some battery power. It takes more battery power to swing the little weight around inside your phone than it does to play a sound effect.
20. Disable AirDrop
Swipe up from any screen > Control Center > AirDrop > “OFF”
AirDrop is nice in theory – share files over the air with friends when in close proximity – but it chews through battery, especially when it’s in “discoverable” mode.
21. Disable Bluetooth
Swipe up from any screen > Control Center > Tap the “Bluetooth” B-shaped icon
Disable Bluetooth if you’re not making use of it and reclaim another little bit of battery power.
22. Disable Facebook’s Location & Background App Refresh
Settings > Privacy > Location Services > “OFF” or Facebook “OFF”
We’re calling out Facebook’s iOS app for bad behavior. If allowed (and it is allowed by default), the Facebook app polls its systems for new posts and data almost constantly. This is a huge drain in battery power and a #1 cause of iPhone battery drain problems. Read more about how the Facebook iOS app abuses its privileges.
Go into Location Services and either turn off Background App Refresh entirely (for best battery results), or disable it for Facebook specifically (and any other apps you don’t need to have completely up to date all the time).
Also hit up Settings > Facebook > Settings > Chat and Message Filters – turn both to “OFF”
Reducing the number of alerts and notifications Facebook sends you can save a considerable amount of battery power.
23. Turn off Siri’s “Raise to Speak” Feature
Settings > General > Siri > Raise to Speak “OFF”
Siri activates by holding the phone up to your face, but the hardware sensor is constantly checking to see if you’re doing this. Disabling this feature will save a bit of battery, and you can still activate Siri by holding down the Home button.
24. Block persistent unwanted callers
Settings > Phone > Blocked > Add Contacts
Calls are a big drain on the battery – the screen lights up, the phone vibrates, and the ringing continues for upwards of a minute. If you get calls from the same person repeatedly, add them as a contact and block them.
25. Avoid Low-Coverage “Dead Zones”
Attempting to send texts or use data in a low-coverage area will drain the battery much more quickly than trying to use your phone where the signal is stronger. Furthermore, your iPhone will attempt to maintain a connection with the cellular network, even if it’s struggling to do so.
If you find yourself in a low-coverage area for an extended period of time, switch your phone to Airplane mode.
26. Disable 4G and LTE connectivity
Settings > Cellular > Enable 4G “OFF” / Enable LTE “OFF”
(Whether you have 4G or LTE depends on your phone and carrier)
4G is faster than 3G, but it eats up way more battery power. LTE uses an entirely different hardware radio and drains the battery even faster. If you’re not streaming videos or downloading something critical, turning off 4G and LTE will slow down your download speed, but save precious iPhone battery power.
27. Get the latest iOS
Settings > General > Software Update
The latest iOS generally contains improvements to battery life and important bug fixes.
You might be holding off on updating to retain access to the old interface or beloved Maps, so only do this one if you’re okay with losing access to the features of previous iOS versions.
iPhone Battery Myths
Shocking iPhone battery myths exposed! The iPhone battery has many myths surrounding it, so here are a couple iPhone battery myths debunked.
Myth: A dark background saves battery power
Nope! Perhaps surprisingly, a dark wallpaper won’t save any battery power on your iPhone. Your iPhone’s screen has an LED backlight that’s lit up no matter what color pixels are displayed in front of it. A black pixel might prevent more of that LED’s light from escaping, but the LED remains lit regardless.
However… the dark wallpaper myth isn’t completely untrue. Older phones with an OLED display do benefit from a dark background. On OLED screens, each pixel is its own light and illuminating those pixels less will save battery. Nokia Lumia 900 and Samsung Galaxy S3 are two popular and still-common phones that use OLED screens, and using a dark background will save battery power on those phones.
Myth: Closing out running iOS apps saves battery power
Here’s another surprise for you: making a habit of closing running iPhone apps can actually hurt your battery life in the long run. First of all, those “still open” apps aren’t really running in the background. iOS froze them and if you’ve disabled Background App Refresh, they’re not getting updated anyway. When you close an app, it’s removed from RAM, but the next time you open that phone it has to fully load into memory again. All that loading/unloading is actually more draining than just letting iOS manage the apps.
TLDR: Don’t feel like you need to close iOS apps left open in the background to save battery power.
Whew – that’s all of ’em. That we know of, anyway. While no single change alone makes a big difference (except maybe the screen brightness one), added up they can greatly extend your iPhone’s battery life.
Did we miss any great iPhone battery-life extending tips? Let us know in the comments!