Every September when Apple releases their newest iPhone model, people line up to see how they have topped the previous version. An increasingly hot topic in recent years, is the battery life of Apple’s high-powered smartphones. While they always seem to make some improvements to the battery life, there hasn’t been a major breakthrough that iPhone users have been hoping for. The majority of updates seem to be aimed more towards how we charge the phones, and how long it takes. There have been rumors that Apple will be using new wireless charging technology with the new iPhone 8, 8+, and X. This would come as a welcomed improvement as last year they made the switch to one universal port on the phone, used for both headphones and charging. Nothing has hit the market yet as Apple is still unclear with the specifics. For now, let’s take a look at how you can give your battery life a boost.
Tip #1: App Usage
The iPhone allows you to look at a breakdown of your battery usage, based on individual applications. This can be a valuable asset in your mission to improve your battery life because it allows you to reconsider which apps you use based on their battery consumption. You can choose to monitor and limit your use of a particular or search for a more efficient alternative app. You can take this a step further and select or simply tap one of the apps under the usage list, and you will be given more even more information on the battery consumption.
We are now going to turn our focus to the details provided regarding the background battery usage for each app. If you notice that any apps in particular are using your battery, while running in the background, for a long period of time, luckily there is a simple fix. Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh, and then you can select individual apps to turn off or turn off all of them with the switch at the top of your screen. It is a best practice to look at certain apps and decide how important it is to get constant alerts and updates. For example, if you rarely use Mail, then it doesn’t make much sense to have it refresh for new messages every few minutes.
Along the same line, managing your notification settings can help reduce how much your battery is being used for apps you aren’t currently looking at. You can follow Settings > Notifications to manage how each app will alert you with updates. By turning off notifications for an app you help to eliminate the need for that app to refresh while in the background. Another reason to turn off the notifications for an app is because when a notification arrives to your phone, the screen will lit up for a period of time, which can be a an extra drain on your battery.
It has often been thought that simply closing the apps in the background would stop all battery usage, but we now know that isn’t the case. In fact, it may actually make a minor negative impact on your battery life.
Apple has confirmed that constantly closing and restarting apps causes more stress on your battery than letting the apps remain idle in the background. The iPhone is very good at knowing when your app needs data to be refreshed and even guessing when you’re going to want to open the app again. With this being said, if you are still wanting to cut out the background refreshes, follow the instructions above regarding background refreshing.
Tip #2: Display Settings
Changes to your display can often make the most direct, and immediate impact to your battery life. WIth each new iPhone comes a bigger, brighter, and more powerful screen. While this is aesthetically brilliant, it can rapidly deplete your battery if it isn’t managed properly.
The most prevalent display setting in this discussion is screen brightness. There are two ways to handle this, turn the screen down to a much lower level and the other is to turn on the Auto-Brightness setting. In general, the lower you can tolerate your brightness, the better for your battery. Once you find a comfortable level of brightness, your phone will stay there until you change it. One thing to note if you go this route is that when you open the control center by swiping up, you can easily access a brightness slider. This allows you to self-adjust the brightness as you need. Of course, on the other end when you select Auto-Brightness under Settings > Display and Brightness you are letting the iPhone use it’s light sensor to self-adjust based on your surroundings. This can take the thinking out of it, and save you some battery juice.
Another simple display fix for power efficiency is changing your Auto-Lock settings. Leaving this setting on a unnecessarily high timer can be detrimental to your battery life. When you set down your phone, you should either lock it, or have your timer set to the lowest setting to avoid leaving your screen on an idle. A similar feature in the newest model is the Raise to Wake function. This means the lock screen will illuminate when you pick it up off the table or raise it towards you. This is a great new feature that can make it easier to view the notifications on your lock screen or quickly check the time. But on the other end, this function isn’t perfect, it can often light up your screen when you didn’t mean to. Over the course of the day, this extra use of the screen can diminish your battery.
One last small adjustment that can help your overall battery management is using a still wallpaper over a dynamic image. Again, this is a fun new feature of the iPhone, but eliminating it will save some valuable power in the long run.
Tip #3: Services and Low Power Mode
There are a few settings that can be easily toggled on and off within the control panel, all of which can have a serious impact on your battery life. When you swipe up and see the control panel, you will see the following buttons on top: Airplane Mode, Wi-fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb Mode, and Portrait Lock. The first three of those can dwindle your battery life if they are neglected.
First, Airplane Mode can be utilized when you know that you won’t need to use any cellular data. If you know that you are going to be without charge or you are low on battery, this is a great option. Its also important to remember that you can still connect to wifi while in Airplane Mode. This setting is perfect if you’re simply using your phone for music or other media that is already downloaded to your device.
The second setting to keep an eye on is the Wi-fi control. On one hand, connecting to Wi-fi can help preserve your battery life by giving your cellular data a rest. Using network services on Wi-Fi is much more power efficient than relying on cellular data. When you are not connect to a Wi-fi signal your phone will constantly be trying to find the best cellular signal. But on the contrary, if your Wi-fi left enabled, your phone will always be searching for a network to connect to even when there are none in your area. This is one of the most common culprits of a drained battery out there, and yet it is easily prevented.
The next setting on that list is the Bluetooth control. Now the importance of this button can vary from person to person. Some users are using Bluetooth for a majority of the day and some will go months without using it. With that being said, it is wise to get into the habit of turning it off after each use. It can easily be toggled on the control panel to save time. This setting follows the same idea of the Wi-fi function, if left on it will constantly be looking for something to connect to. Following this logic, it should be even easier to avoid draining your battery with this setting because it is used far less often than Wi-fi connection.
AirDrop is a feature that allows for media sharing between iPhones via Wi-fi and Bluetooth signals. A fancy tool from Apple, but not one that needs to be left on throughout the day. You can turn it off on the control panel, just below the settings mentioned above.
There are two more functions of the iPhone that can have an impact on your battery life, Low Power Mode and Location Services.
Location Services make take more thought than your bluetooth setting simply because you may not realize what apps rely on using your location. If you follow Settings > Privacy > Location Services, you will be able to toggle all of your apps, or manage them individually. While it may be obvious that some apps are being wasteful when using your location, others depend on it. Apps such as Safari, Weather, Maps, and any Activity trackers are often the ones that need it to be helpful. Even then, you should go in and make sure that they are only search for your location while you are using the app.
Low Power Mode is fairly self-explanatory. It is a new setting that Apple created in recent years that allows the iPhone to manage some of the power saving methods itself. Some of the major functions that are altered when in Low Power Mode: email fetching, Siri, background app refreshing, automatic downloads, and some visual effects. So essentially Low Power Mode can temporarily implement a few of the tactics previously mentioned. There are some other things that happen in Low Power Mode that should be mentioned. First, you can tell that it is turned on because the battery icon in the upper righthand corner of your screen will be yellow and display the percentage of battery you have remaining. Second, if you plug charge your phone in Low Power Mode, this feature will stay on until the phone reaches 80% charged.
One last bit of insight on the settings end of your phone, Apple suggests always keeping your phone updated will assist in improving battery life.
While Apple will surely continue to improve the battery life of each new iPhone, a combination of the tips above can give you the extra hours you’re looking for. So before you turn to buying a case with a battery pack, or a portable charger, give this a shot.