/>
X

iPhone battery-saving tips that work

When your iPhone's battery is down to its last 10 percent here are a few quick and simple tips to help you make it until you find a charger.
Introduction
1 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Introduction

Battery getting low? Need to make that important call or respond to a critical email? Here's how to eek out your battery life until you make it to a charger.

These tips aren't theoretical - I've tested dozens of tips in real-world situations and whittled them down to this small handful of the most useful.

Activate Low Power Mode
2 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Activate Low Power Mode

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

This feature automatically tweaks multiple settings to save battery power, disabling automatic fetching of new mail, reducing screen brightness, and automatically locking the phone and powering off its display more quickly. Apps are also able to detect when low power mode is enabled and can help to further increase battery life by disabling animations and other battery-heavy features.

And the great thing about this is that you're prompted to turn it on when the battery hits 20 percent and then again at the 10 percent mark.

You can manually activate Low Power Mode by tapping Settings > Battery > Low Power Mode. If you do this when you have a fair chunk of battery left - say above 50 percent - it's possible to get as much as a few hours of extra usage. The downside is that the iPhone does run noticeably slower, and this can put a dent in productivity.

Turn down the screen brightness
3 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Turn down the screen brightness

Another simple tip that makes a night and day different (pun intended) to battery life is simply turning the brightness down. Just flick the Control Center tab from the bottom of the screen to access the brightness setting.

I find that I can happily keep my iPhone at a low brightness setting almost all the time, bright sunshine outdoors being the main exception, but since I live in the UK, that's not a thing I have to deal with often.

Turn off Wi-Fi when not in use
4 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Turn off Wi-Fi when not in use

Wi-Fi really burns through battery life, and it seems worse when it's away from your home or office and actively searching for Wi-Fi it can connect to. If you don't need it, turn it off.

Turn off cellular data
5 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Turn off cellular data

his is for people who find themselves in areas where there's poor cellular coverage. One of the biggest drains on the battery I found was keeping the iPhone in a location where there was no cellular coverage. It continually looks for a cellular connection, burning through battery life in the process.

Again, if you don't need it, turn it off. It puts the brakes on notifications and background apps that all put pressure on battery life. If you're out of cell coverage doing this can easily give you a couple of hour of extra battery life.

Airplane mode
6 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Airplane mode

This is the nuclear option, and stops all wireless connectivity.

The process of searching for a connection, whether that be cellular, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth, seems to put a severe dent in battery life, and the easiest way to stop this is to flip the handset into Airplane Mode (flip the Control Center screen up from the bottom and tap the airplane icon).

If you need Wi-Fi or Bluetooth then you can still turn these on separately (again, from the Control Center screen - just tap on them). With no connection to the Internet or cellular, your iPhone essentially becomes a brick, but at least you can turn off Airplane Mode selectively when you need it, saving a considerable amount of battery life.

Honorable mentions
7 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Honorable mentions

The following did have a small effect on battery life, but they were nothing to write home about.

  • Turning off AirDrop
  • Lowering the speaker volume
Don't bother trying these!
8 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Don't bother trying these!

I discovered that many of the popular tips seem to make no noticeable difference on battery life. Here are five of the most useless battery saving tips I tried.

  • Turning off Bluetooth (the newer handsets have Bluetooth Low Energy so power consumption when not in use is very low).
  • Closing apps (the only time this would make a difference is if a background app was going crazy, like the Facebook app was acting back when iOS 9 was launched).
  • Turning off the auto time zone feature.
  • Turning off vibrate for calls and texts.
  • Turning off Spotlight search.
Why worry about battery life?
9 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Why worry about battery life?

I think that life's too short to worry about my iPhone's battery life, which is why I carry around with me a portable battery pack. These days power packs are so small (here's the Anker PowerCore Mini that's marketed as being "lipstick sized") that you can pop them in a pocket, and yet they pack enough of a punch to add hours to your iPhone's battery life.

What I'm doing from now on is carrying a spare battery pack with me (the Anker PowerCore Mini is perfect), and if I think that's not going to be enough to get me through the day I activate Low Power Mode. Fiddling with the iPhone's settings in order to try to get a bit more battery life is, in my opinion, tedious and there's a risk that I'll forget to undo the settings later, so from now on I won't be doing it.

Related Galleries

A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex
img-9792-2

Related Galleries

A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex

22 Photos
Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup
shutterstock-1024665187.jpg

Related Galleries

Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup

8 Photos
Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'
Full of promises!

Related Galleries

Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'

8 Photos
Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup
Asian woman working at a desk in front of a computer and calculator

Related Galleries

Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup

8 Photos
Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup
Person seated at a booth in a cafe looks at their phone and laptop.

Related Galleries

Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup

10 Photos
Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida
ca3b4019-26c5-4ce0-a844-5aac39e2c34b.jpg

Related Galleries

Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida

16 Photos
Incipio, Kate Spade, and Coach cases for Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: hands-on
s22-ultra-incipio-coach-cases-2.jpg

Related Galleries

Incipio, Kate Spade, and Coach cases for Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: hands-on

15 Photos