26 ways to improve your iPhone's battery life

26 ways to improve your iPhone's battery life

Summary: Got an iPhone for the holidays? Apple's latest iPhones still don't pack as much battery life as some of their nearest competitors. But by applying a few system tweaks, you can improve your iPhone's battery life considerably. Here's how you can conserve your mobile's power.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad
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  • Turn off auto-brightness; adjust manually

    Some believe that the iPhone's "auto-brightness" feature will help conserve battery life by dynamically and automatically increasing or reducing the brightness of the screen, based on how light it is around you. Yet, others argue that this alone can actually lead to the battery draining. It may not be easy to read your iPhone's screen in direct sunlight, and you may not get the most out of your high-resolution display, but this is about conserving your battery rather than anything else.

    The best practice seems to point to disabling the auto-brightness. Go to Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness, then reduce the brightness to 10-25 percent, or whatever feels comfortable.

    Image: ZDNet

  • Don't use moving 'dynamic' wallpapers

    iOS 7 now comes with dynamic wallpapers that adjust based on your hand movements, such as bubbles that float around the screen depending on which way you hold your iPhone. These moving backgrounds consume far more battery power than regular static wallpapers.

    To select a "still" wallpaper, go to Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness and scroll down, then tap your existing wallpaper under Choose Wallpaper. Either select a background from the Stills category, or a static photo of your own choosing.

    Image: ZDNet

  • Watch video, listen to music sparingly

    Watching video and listening to music can churn up a great deal of battery life, not least because your display will be on for the duration when watching video. Use sparingly and only when you have to. If you're on a long airplane or train journey, listening to music is better as it doesn't light up the display. Or, read a book!

    Image: ZDNet

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Topics: Mobility, Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad

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126 comments
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  • Nice article, Zack

    Just a few thoughts. Limiting or disabling all those features sort of removes a smartphone's reasons for their popularity and existence.

    With that logic in mind, I cheated and purchased a Morphie iPhone 5 battery case. Normally, I can get by on a daily charge. But I was on a vacation last year where the days were long and my iPhone was used as a GPS navigator. (Murphy's law. It ran out of juice during evening rush hour traffic on one of Washington D.C. Freeway routes. Interesting experience.)

    Hence the reason I chose the optional battery case from Mophie. One advantage of the iPhone's design is that an extra battery case does not impact it's ergonomics negatively.
    kenosha77a
    • Really?

      "One advantage of the iPhone's design is that an extra battery case does not impact it's ergonomics negatively."

      Really? These weigh nothing and add 0 bulk? Impressive.
      toddbottom3
      • You obviously have no idea...

        of what 'ergonomics' means.
        msalzberg
        • Apple doesn't understand ergonomics either

          it's all about form before function.
          ergonomics is low in the order
          warboat
          • Um, form is a vital part of ergonomics

            functions that are a PITA to use are irrelevant.
            baggins_z
      • Perhaps I should have stated the ergonomic issue differently

        The Mophie battery case provides an acceptable system design compromise. The increased battery charge duration, IMO, is provided by a battery case that is light enough and small enough to avoid user 'ergonomic discomfort' during the few times when it would be needed.

        As I stated, Todd, my iPhone handles my normal daily activities on a single daily charge. Nothing wrong with having a little insurance - if one can afford it.
        kenosha77a
        • So it does impact iphone ergonomics negatively

          You are just willing to live with the compromise.

          I understand. All of apple's products require great compromise from its users. That's why Windows 8 / RT is such a breath of fresh air in this industry. Finally we consumers have a no compromise solution.
          toddbottom3
          • He actually said it didn't...

            and it's funny that you can't comprehend simple English.

            I do love the 'no compromise' bit RE: Windows 8. Apparently you don't know what 'compromise' means, either.
            msalzberg
          • You aren't doing MSFT any favors

            Why rip anyone who isn't praising a MSFT product or technology. They all have pros and cons. Who do you hope to sway with this rant. They would simply say you are a different version of SJVN. You and LD and Owlwhatever need to exhale. I like many MSFT products, but your cheerleading by ripping everyone damages MSFT - you make it look like the only way MSFT can win is by ranting longer. You may argue that your replies are not rants, but fact based. I'd say you freely mix facts and rants with the best of them. Disclosure - I am not employed by any tech company. Run W8 on my laptop. Run FF and Chrome, in that order as a browser, have a iPhone and a Nexus 7 tablet.
            Luke Skywalker
          • Where did I rip anyone?

            Suggesting that adding a case to a phone adds to that phone's weight and bulk is "ripping into someone"?

            Far from it, I'm merely clarifying what kenosha was saying. We've been told for years that if phone A is heavier or bulkier than phone B then it means that phone A isn't portable. We've been told for years that if phone A supports external batteries that this means you MUST carry around an external battery and this proves that phone A isn't portable.

            We've been told for years that phone A is everything but the iphone. This includes Microsoft powered phones AND Android powered phones.

            Now it turns out that carrying external batteries for your iphone and adding bulky, heavy cases to your iphone actually DOESN'T mean that the phone isn't portable.

            Huh.
            toddbottom3
          • To clarify

            The Mophie is a case with an extended battery as part of it's design. To it's credit, it doesn't really add that much more size to the phone and it helps protect it a bit.

            Saying it is a bulky heavy case is quite incorrect and suggests you have never seen one. The iPhone with a Mophie is still quite portable. You suggest that adding the Mophie is almost like hooking it up to a car battery which is far from true. It still is very portable and not much larger than the phone itself.

            ..and as far as "We've been told...." well, hopefully you realize not everything marketing or critics tell us is ever the case.

            True, the iPhone should have a longer battery life in the first place, but it doesn't, at least the iPhone 4s. The Mophie does a great job as a case that will add quite a bit of battery life.
            geekNsuch
          • It's not bad but ....

            I don't purchase a good high end device to only be quasi-forced to wrap it.

            I did wrap my i5 in a Zagg skin as I found the black damaged easily. I have an external Morphie for cases where I cannot get to a needed plug (like traveling).

            The charge case is a nice idea, I prefer not hiding my devices.
            rhonin
          • To quote, anon, "All of apple's products require great compromise..."

            If that is not 'ripping' anyone, then you have a serious problem. Even the removal of one single word from the quote above would have changed the meaning of your statement (which is exactly WHY you used that one word.) The entire rant is nothing but an anti-Apple rant that has no real bearing on the discussion whatsoever.

            Only YOU (and we know who you are) have been so strongly pro-Win8 that you feel you have to attack everything else with lies and exaggerations.
            Vulpinemac
          • Trol!

            People, todd is just a troll and messing with all of you. Just look at his avatar. It says everything.
            RCM_z
          • Luke, I am your father.

            I have two things to say:
            1- I just signed up so I could put that hilarious subject line.
            2- I agree with Luke. Why do people get so defensive and emotional about all this? I love my Iphone and my pc but I bought them in a store...didn't give birth to them.
            3- You have to admit my subject / username is super funny.
            4- I'm really bad at counting.
            Darth-Vador
          • Your subject line is incorrect!

            You put "Luke, I am your father!", it should be, "No, I am your father!"
            Helliant1
          • Hee hee...

            Bending over for Ballmer is a 'breath of fresh air.' You know nothing but compromise.
            Brich
          • This has nothing to do with Ballmer.

            You guys still haven't figure him out yet. While he does throw in a pitch for Windows Phone the whole point of his posts is to throw the arguments Apple fanbois have been using back in their faces.
            ye
          • what are you talking about?

            I know in a very broad sense, that is Todd's modus operandi, but there's no evidence of it at work here.... Unless there's some esoteric morph case issue with Windows phone that I've never heard of.

            And even if there were any reciprocity at work here (which there isn't) the Surface owning Kenosha is its least deserving target, if so.
            Mac_PC_FenceSitter
          • There is no 'no compromise' solution...

            Not even Windows 8/RT. All you have to do is see the huge number of comments about how Windows 8 itself is a huge compromise.

            However, on the specific subject matter at hand, the Mophie case in particular does not affect the use of the iPhone in the least and Mophie now builds similar cases for certain Android phones as well. Sure, it makes the phones a little thicker and a little heavier, but it does not affect the Ergonomics in the least. It simply does not change how the phone is used.
            Vulpinemac