iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

Summary: Get more from your iPhone battery!


I'm hearing a lot of complaints about the iPhone 4S (and for that matter iOS 5) in general related to battery life. It seems that some people are finding that they're not getting as much out of their battery as they used to.

Want to uncover iOS 5 'secrets'? Check out these posts! Part 1 | Part 2

It's seems that excessive battery consumption is a common complaint for the initial releases of iOS updates, and something that gets fixed by Apple (or at least improved on) with subsequent updates.

Fortunately, there's a lot you can do to help you squeeze more out of each charge. Let's take a look at a few things you can do.

Note: I've tested every single one of these options and each one does seem to have a positive impact on battery life. I'm not suggestion you employ all of them, but turning off what you don't use makes a lot of sense.

Drop the screen brightness

One of the easiest ways to improve battery life on the iPhone is to drop the screen brightness. When I updated my iPhone 4 from iOS 4 to iOS 5, Apple jacked the brightness up to an unnecessary 'supernova' level. Unless I'm outdoors, I usually keep my screen pretty dim.

Settings > Brightness

Next -->

Auto-Lock the screen

Another tip that makes a big difference is to lock the screen after a short interval. This helps conserve battery life because it turns the screen off when your handset is not in use.

Set it to go off after a minute or two.

Settings > General > Auto-Lock

Next -->

Selectively turn off/on radios

If you don't need WiFi or Bluetooth or 3G, turn off the radios!


Settings > WiFi

While you're here, disable Ask to Join Networks unless you use this feature often (just turn it on when you need to find a new network).


Settings > General > Network


Settings GeneralBluetooth

Next -->

Enter the Airplane mode

If you want to disable all the radios on your iPhone, the easiest way to do this is using Airplane Mode:


With Airplane Mode active, you can still selectively enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth if you want.

Next -->

Location, location, location!

iO 5 bought with is a lot of Locations Services features, but all of these features have a negative effect on battery life.

Settings > General > Location Services

Either disable the whole lot, or selectively enable it for a specific set of apps. The more apps that can use Location Services, the more juice they'll use.

iOS 5 has some hidden tweaks too (hidden because you have to scroll to the bottom of the Locations Services screen and click on System Services to find them):

You can keep Location Based iAds and Setting Time Zone off permanently (your time is set by the local carrier automatically anyway).

Next -->


Another revamped feature in iOS 5 is notifications. The new notification Center in iOS 5 gives you a greater overview of what's happening, but that comes at the cost of greater battery consumption.

Settings > Notifications

My advice here is two-fold. First, disable notification for any apps that you don't care about by clicking on the individual apps and switching off Notification Center:

Second, control which apps are visible on the Lock Screen by switching off View in Lock Screen ... the more you have showing, the more often your screen will flick into life, draining precious battery power.

Next -->

Disable diagnostics

Another possible battery-eating culprit in iOS 5 is Diagnostic & Usage data:

Settings > General > About > Diagnostics & Usage

Set this to Don't Send.

Next -->

Don't go to the cloud

iCloud syncing takes a lot of juice too. Turns off what you're not using at:

Settings > iCloud

More -->

Kill off background apps

The more apps you have running in the background, the more juice you'll use. Kill off any apps you don't want running in the background regularly by double-tapping the Home button to bring up the multitasking dock and then press down on an icon until they all start to jiggle, then kill any apps that might be working in the background - apps such as Skype and Pandora are likely suspects.

The last resort

Turn the handset off to conserve power - Press and hold the top button until the Slide to power off instruction appears, then slide to power off. Simple really!

Be your own recharge station

Carry a battery pack with you. I like and extensively use a few New Trent battery packs (the 5000mAh IMP50D and the monster iPad-compatible 11000mAh IMP1000).

Bonus tip!

Never pass up an opportunity to charge up! That means carrying a charger with you (or at the very least an iPhone USB cable) and having a car cord handy when on the road.

Related posts:

<< Home >>

Topics: Hardware, Apple, iPhone, Mobile OS, Mobility, Operating Systems, Smartphones

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Is it really wise to charge whenever possible?

    As I understand it constantly charging the battery from a non-discharged state can soon limit it's effectiveness and dramatically shorten its lifespan. And given that the iPhone does not have a removable battery I'm not sure this is the wisest of moves.
    Please feel free to correct me on this.
    • RE: iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

      @keebaud@... Lithium ion batteries do not suffer so much from the frequent recharge problem of old. But battery makers do suggest at least once a month allow the battery to go below 10% to get the most life out of it. Yes, it is a shame as much as I like the iPhone. The lack of a removable battery prevents me from buying one.
      • RE: iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

        @jscott418 -- I've had all the models of iPhone since 2008 and no problems w/ the battery giving up the ghost before its time to move on to the next model. the same can not be said for my ipod Touch. but the batteries on the iPhone - i haven't noticed even degradation in performance at all. don't let that stop you. It's the unreasonable U.S.-based telecom carriers that make the iPhone exhausting after a while, but not the battery life.

        btw, there's an essential jailbreak app called SBsettings which gives you a instant drop-down control panel for most of the settings mentioned in the article (bluetooth, brightness, wifi, airplane, gps, etc. -- this helps tremendously w/ extending battery life.
    • I put my phones on chargers whenever possible.

      @keebaud@... I put my phones on chargers whenever possible. I rarely allow them to discharge below 60%. The batteries provide very good service life -- Better than most of my friends can get with the same phones.
      • RE: iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

        @richard612 great tip. disregard the advice from all the experts and the manufacturers who design and support the batteries. i'm sure you're right
      • RE: iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

        Disregard chuck1111111. Lithium ion batteries should not be discharged completely (or even mostly). For more, look here: http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries
    • RE: iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

      @keebaud@... Yep, current batteries aren't as susceptible. I tend to still "train" a new battery with a few complete charge/discharge cycles but I'm just hedging my bets. New batteries don't degrade when left discharged either - some actually last longer that way. My preference remains to run a battery down a fair bit before charging but I suspect that's just habit.
      John in Brisbane
    • RE: iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

      @keebaud@... I have a first gen iPod touch (sept 2007) that's been charged like this and the battery is still is pretty good state.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • WOW the uninformed

      The Iphone 4 and 4s have a user replaceable battery, it took me less than 5 minutes to put a fresh new one in my 2 year old Iphone 4.

      Also amazing how the NiCADD battery method continues
      LION batteries have been in all phones for over 4 years now yet people are still telling others the NiCADD way of charging the battery........Guess Android users don't keep up
  • So basically make it a dumb phone

    So I guess you spent all that money on a smart phone and now to save battery life you say to turn everything off and make it a dumb phone? Basically that's what is happening. Phones have become so reliant on web access and updating that battery life has suffered greatly.
    Unfortunately the battery technology has not kept up and is a roadblock to smart phones. Apple has increased its iPhone speed, added more features which do affect data access and battery life. The bad part about the iPhone is you can't just swap out batteries either.
  • RE: iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

    On my WP7 phone I have WiFi and Bluetooth on and haven't activated the battery saver setting and still get 2-3 days while my iPhone friends seem to be plugging in each night.

    Of course the real battery saver is to use it as a smartphone, rather than an entertainment or gaming device ;-)
  • RE: iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

    Having used a 4s for a few days, I can honestly say there is a bug in the device affecting battery life... <br><br>If I take the phone off the charger it literally runs down about 1% a minute... If I put it back on the charger Nd charge it until it is full then take it off again, battery life is normal.
    • RE: iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

      @Peter Perry i thought the same thing too but i adjusted some settings and it's great now. i'm not an expert but the two things i did that seemed to help the most were turning off weather and stocks in notification center and turning off "Set Automatically" under the Date and Time in settings.

      seriously this article is worthless. google ios 5 battery tips and you'll get some practical advice. note: avoid any article written by this dude
      • RE: iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

        @chuck1111111 I already shut all that stuff off but the issue remains... Their is something that continues to run in the background and that is what I am seeing... If I shut the phone down, wait a few minutes and power it back on, that stops the drain as well.
    • RE: iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

      @Peter Perry
      Probably you are charging it wrong. ;-). Well keeping jokes aside, I think you have a bad device. I had this type of problem with my iPhone 4. It had trouble with earphone and the push notifications. Apple changed it to a newer device. My advice is take it back to Apple.
      Ram U
  • dsgdsfg

  • RE: iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

    The biggest battery saver I've found and it was true of IOS4 versions as well, is to cut back on how often your phone checks for email. Changing Fetch from 15 minutes to Hourly really made a big difference for me.
  • RE: iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

  • yryjyf

    http://xrl.us/bmgwhv ljhug
  • RE: iPhone/iOS 5 battery saver tips

    Isn't this article a bit obvious?