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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  • Switch off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth when you're out and about

    If you are not near or not using a Wi-Fi hotspot, or sending items to other devices using Bluetooth, these can (and should) be turned off.

    Under the swipe-up Control Center, tap the Wi-Fi button (second in from the left) off, and the Bluetooth button (middle) also off.

    Image: ZDNet

  • Enable "airplane mode" when you're... on a plane

    Again, your iPhone's battery life may decrease far quicker because it is constantly searching and "pinging" for a higher-quality cell site with better signal, especially when it's not there. If you're on a plane or on the subway with no connectivity, you may as well squeeze as much life out of your battery as possible by switching off all radios with a single button.

    Under the swipe-up Control Center, tap the Airplane Mode button (first on the left). You can tap it again to switch all radios back on again.

    Image: ZDNet

  • Disable 4G (and LTE) connectivity

    While 4G is faster than 3G cellular connectivity, it also uses a lot more battery power. Long-term evolution (LTE) uses an entirely different hardware radio and often drains the battery even quicker. When not using high-bandwidth applications, streaming videos, or tethered to a laptop or tablet, you can disable 4G and LTE connectivity altogether. You'll receive slower download speeds (albeit still rather fast by modern standards) but it will also help conserve your iPhone's battery throughout the day.

    Go to Settings > Cellular, then switch off the Enable 4G (or Enable LTE on newer models) button.

    Image: ZDNet

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad

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139 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
          • No, Suggesting that adding a case to a phone ......

            .....adds to that phone's weight and bulk is not ripping someone.

            Insisting that they admit that its some kind of a negative of a measurable degree that results in the person having to make some kind of unpleasant compromise, when in fact it may not be any particularly negative thing to them at all is unfair.

            Its your insistence on trying to work semantics and half logic to your advantage to put the iPhone in a negative light. And its practically pointless.

            I own a Samsung WP8 and I believe my phone and pretty much any Windows phone Ive had a sampling of can stand on its own without resorting to minimalist attacks on the other brands. I don't think that Androids or iPhones can stand up to the excellence of the Windows phone without such attacks against WP8.

            Leave the shoddy attacks to the other side if that's the route they want take or have to take.

            Why bring Windows users down to the level of some we have seen on the other side with their apologist ways.

            My theory is stick to the real points and forget about splitting hairs.
            Cayble
          • 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
          • I agree.

            If we are ever to get people here to try being real it means just as seriously that the Windows advocates have to be just as every bit as fair and real in discussions as we would demand of others.

            This is coming from a former iPhone user of several years who still likes the iPhone but now has a Samsung ATIV WP8 which I like better than then even the iPhone 5.

            I see no point in mindlessly trying to weasel someone into some corner on minor issues and semantics.

            As for toddbottom3's analysis of kenosha77a's point about the case for his iPhone not being an ergonomic negative, toddbottom3 seems to have equated that because the case doesn't seem to be an ergonomic positive, and because the case does have some mass and volume that this inherently means its something that's negative ergonomically.

            Not necessarily so. The iPhone 5 is incredibly light and quite frankly not very big at all in terms of size, particularly compared to most modern smartphones. For the case in question to be actually considered to be an ergonomic negative in kenosha77a's mind I would have to assume that anything that generally brings a smartphones general size and mass up to that level, which for example Im sure many Windows phones are already, that would mean Windows smartphone size and weight are an ergonomic negative.

            And that I would have to disagree, no matter who says it if they are a healthy full grown person of any average size. Some of the giant phones, I might agree that the size is a little too much for dead simple pocketing sometimes, weighting down in odd ways of a suit pocket for example, but I doubt that's an issue for the cased iPhone and not for most decent sized smartphones.

            The fact is its very likely a fairly neutral issue with little impact at all. Not even something that someone probably has to even consider as some kind of "compromise". Trying to force someone to say that something is a negative when in the real world its negative impact on them is either absent or so low its immeasurable is an unfair tactic.

            Theres no reason to try and push people into such corners, theres no reason to hate iPhones or Androids or Blackberrys or Windows phones. They all work well and the proof is in the fact that there are literally millions using each of them that like them a lot and would gladly explain why.

            The fact that for me I now find WP8 personally so much better than any of the alternatives which I have some decent hands on experience with and even some ownership of the other brands, dosnt mean it makes much sense to crap on the competitions most minor issues. None of them are quite perfect.

            They all have their advantages. For me, for now, I know why people who like Windows phone the best do so. Because so do I.
            Cayble
          • 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