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

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