How to Improve Your iPhone’s Battery Life

A private student recently requested that I write about ways to extend her iPhone’s battery life. Of course that led me down a research rabbit hole and I learned some things I’d like to share with you, along with the changes you can make in your iPhone’s settings.

iPhone Battery 101

  • I won’t get too technical here, but the type of battery that is in an iPhone will not last forever. It will wear out and begin “losing” its charge faster after about twelve months of use.
  • The iPhone’s battery indicator is not a real-time actual percentage of your remaining charge. I know that’s surprising to learn! The remaining charge percentage is a software calculation based on your previous uses of the battery that it monitors. A full discharge will reset the software and temporarily give you a more accurate battery level.
  • Charging your iPhone frequently, when the battery indicator is 60% or more, might be better for the life of your battery. These are not the older type of batteries that worked best when fully drained between charges!
  • Keep your iPhone out of the sun or a hot car. Heat diminishes the battery’s performance. (As does extreme cold.)
  • If you are not going to be using your iPhone for an extended period of time, charge it to at least 50% power before you turn it off.
  • You can have the battery replaced by Apple or other authorized repair shop.

10 iPhone Settings that can help save your battery

1 – Turn off automatic Wi-Fi searching

  • Touch Settings > Wi-Fi
  • Ask to Join Networks should be OFF

2 – Turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it

  • Touch Settings > Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth should be OFF

3 – Turn off Location Services for most apps

  • Touch Settings > Privacy > Location Services
  • Location Services should be ON if you want to use it for a few apps
  • This is your personal preference, but I only have Location Services turned ON for the following apps: Camera, Chrome, Google, any Maps, Siri, Weather, Find My iPhone, Prey and exercise apps that measure my distance.
  • At the bottom touch System Services
  • Turn OFF everything on the list except Setting Time Zone if you travel often to other time zones.

4 – Turn off background app refresh for most apps

  • Touch Settings > General > Background App Refresh
  • Background App Refresh should be ON if you want to use it for a few apps
  • Again, this is your personal preference, but I only have a few apps with Background App Refresh turned ON: Evernote, Google Drive, Prey and Words with Friends. If you are on Facebook or another social site a lot, you might want them turned ON.

5 – Turn off automatic downloads from iTunes

  • Touch Settings > iTunes & App Store
  • Scroll down to AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS
  • Turn OFF Music and Apps
  • Unless you’re really having battery problems, I would leave Updates ON
  • Use Cellular Data should be OFF

6 – Fetch instead of Push

  • Touch Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data
  • For the most battery savings, Push should be OFF and FETCH should be Manually

7 – Turn off the three-dimensional effect of your Home screens (called Parallax)

  • Touch General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion
  • Reduce Motion should be ON

8 – Turn off some Notifications

  • Touch Settings > Notification Center
  • Scroll down to the apps listed under INCLUDE
  • Touch each app that has the word “Alerts” or “Banners” under the app name
  • For apps such as Reminders, Phone, Messages and Calendar, you will probably want to continue receiving alerts or banners to your phone.
  • For other apps that you don’t need to see alerts, touch the app name and touch ALERT STYLE None

9 – Turn off Auto-Brightness

  • Touch Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness
  • Auto-Brightness should be OFF
  • Manually adjust the brightness with the slide bar above

10 – Use guided navigation, music and video sparingly

New STSM&D Finds (remember Save Time, Save Money & Delight!)

 An iPhone app to stop the junk mail and save the planet!

Found out about this app at It’s called PaperKarma and all you do is take pictures of your unsolicited magazines, catalogs, credit card offers, yellow pages, etc., including both the return and sender addresses. PaperKarma will unsubscribe you from the unwanted snail mail and notify your phone when you are unsubscribed. And, it’s free!

 Easy Muffins to Make with a Child or Grandchild

Two ingredients: vanilla ice cream and self-rising flour! Add some colorful sugar sprinkles on top!

 Read Your Email, Surf the Net and Burn Calories!

Have you ever tried propping your iPad or laptop on your exercise equipment? It just doesn’t work on some of them. The SurfShelf is a portable shelf that you can attach to your stationary bike, elliptical trainer or treadmill to securely hold a laptop or tablet and burn calories while you read your morning email!


WARNING: You need to change some passwords this weekend. You really do!

I do not like “house-cleaning” tasks on my computer, but unfortunately, we all need to change some passwords ASAP.

You may or may not have heard about it, but there was a pretty big security bug discovered on the Internet this week. It’s called the Heartbleed bug and not every Internet company was vulnerable to it, but you may have received some emails advising you to change your password on some websites. has put together a list of some of the major websites we all use and whether or not we need to change our passwords on them.

THIS IS IMPORTANT! You need to click here to check which websites on this list you need to go to and change your password.

The Mashable article also advises “… if you reused the same password on multiple sites, and one of those sites was vulnerable, you’ll need to change the password everywhere. It’s not a good idea to use the same password across multiple sites, anyway.”

Changing passwords can make you crazy if you don’t have a system for creating strong passwords and a way to remember them. The safest and strongest passwords have at least 12 characters that include letters, numbers and special characters.

You may think that sounds impossible to remember, but it’s not if you choose one method for password creation and systematically use it for all your passwords. Here is a method for creating strong and unique passwords.

The acronym password

  1. Think of a nine or ten word phrase that you can remember that’s meaningful to you and write down the first letter of each word in the phrase:
    My favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chocolate chipmffoicimcc
    I love to go to the beach at Pawley’s Islandiltgttbapi
    I eat cereal toast and coffee every morning for breakfastiectacemfb
  2. Now take your chosen acronym and add a number to the beginning.
  3. For the site where you are assigning this password, add a capital letter at the end of the acronym that is the first letter of that site. For instance, Facebook would be F, Gmail would be G, Evernote would be E, etc.
  4. Finally, add a special character at the end.

Now, instead of having to remember this jumble of characters, you can remember your own formula. Use the same number at the beginning, the same acronym and the same special character at the end for all your passwords. What will change is the capital letter representing a particular website.

My number + the first letters of my phrase + capital letter of website for this password + my special character = strong password

There is so much more to be done to feel at ease about your passwords.

  • Where do you save a list of them securely?
  • If you were far from home and forgot a password how could you find it?
  • If something happened to you, would your family members be able to find your passwords to access important financial accounts?

It’s becoming such a problem for many people, I’m going to work on creating a quick and easy self-paced video class to help those of you who never want to forget a password again and keep them as safe as possible. If you’re not a subscriber to my email updates and want to be notified when the class is ready, be sure to subscribe in the upper right sidebar.

Here’s the most important tip. Please take some time this weekend and change your passwords!

Four Tips to Save Time, Save Money and Delight (or STSM&D for short!)

I spend a lot of time researching and learning about new technology, new apps, new sites – you get the picture.

For a long time I’ve been wanting to share what I learn in an end-of-week roundup format. I think weekly may be too ambitious, but I’m going to try and at least share with you when I have enough new tips worth divulging.
I’m adding cute little cliparts to identify whether a tip is about saving time , saving money  or just delightful . Some tips may have more than one of these qualities.

 Google Search Tweak

Read more