Improve your iPhone's battery life
What is this page about?
This page, as the title implies, contains everything that you need to know about how to improve your iPhone's battery life. The biggest bottleneck in the iPhone (or any smartphone for that matter) is the ever worsening battery life. While computing is a rapidly growing area, battery technology has seldom improved at all in the last decade or so, and is now struggling to provide adequate power for the hungry components that are in the latest iPhones. While directed at the iPhone, in particular the iPhone 4, 4S & 5, much on the information on this page also applies to the iPhone 2G (original), 3G, 3GS, Android and Windows phones.
Is your iPhone's battery life actually bad?
When most people compare the battery life of a smartphone (an iPhone, Android, Blackberry etc) to that of a feature phone (one of these types of phones) they find the feature phone to have a much better battery life; going for days or even weeks without being charged, while their smartphone counterparts can barely make it through the day on a single charge. But while smartphones consume more power (bigger screen, higher pixel density, faster & more powerful processor etc) they also have much larger and more high quality batteries to couter it.
The reason why smartphones often appear to have poor battery life is because we basically use them as computers. We tend to use smartphones much more than we do ordinary phones, which gives the impression that the battery doesn't last as long. So consider this before you read on...
Turn Down Screen Brightness
Screen brightness is probably the single most important factor when it comes to saving battery life on your iPhone. For best economy/performance ratio over a wide range of environments your iPhone's brightness should be set at about 50%. [Note: If your iPhone is jailbroken this tweak will make adjusting the brightness easier]. You should also turn on the 'auto-brightness' switch, which is located beneath the brightness slider in the preferences app. Auto-brightness will dim the display when it's dark so it'll be easier on your eyes (and save power) and will brighten it when it's light so you'll be able to see the screen easier.
Turn off Bluetooth
Bluetooth sucks quite a lot of power, so turning it off when not in use is well worth it. Besides, bluetooth on the iPhone isn't all that useful anyway. Due to Apple's walled garden you cannot send/receive photos/videos/music via bluetooth like you can with most other bluetooth enabled devices - So unless you regularly use a bluetooth wireless headset you will likely never use it. To turn bluetooth off to to the preferences app, go into the general section then go into the bluetooth section.
Turn off WiFi when not connected to a network
Turning off WiFi when your not connected to a network (ie: when you leave your house) saves a significant amount of battery life, however most people either won't remember or can't be bothered turning WiFi off whenever they leave the house [Note: If your iPhone is jailbroken this tweak will make toggling WiFi easier]. It is worth keeping in mind though, for times when you know you're not going to have access to WiFi for several days or more. When you're on a road trip you won't won't your iPhone wasting battery life by attempting to connect to every Internet Cafe you drive past, will you?
Turn off Fetch Email
Fetch email pretty much checks for emails periodically, just like your desktop email client checks for emails. While it's great to not have to worry about checking emails, fetch email drains battery life (and cellular data when your not on WiFi). If you're not willing to disable fetch email completely, you could turn down the intervals at which is checks, so instead of checking every five minutes it checks every hour for example. For more information about fetch & push email visit this page.
Poor Reception = Poor Battery Life
Poor or choppy cellular reception takes a huge toll on the battery life of mobile phones, and iPhones are no exception. In many cases there is not much you can do about poor reception, however if you live in an area that has consistently poor reception you should seriously consider moving to a different carrier or purchasing a signal booster. It will make worlds of difference. Oh, and be sure to turn your iPhone off or switch it into airplane mode when your on a plane, because if you don't the phone will use much energy searching for a network that it can't reach.
How many bars of reception does your iPhone get at home?
Download all Software Updates
There can be bugs in the software of your iPhone that cause excessive battery drain and heat - These bugs usually occur just after a new phone model or major operating system has been released. Downloading all the software updates for your iPhone as soon as they come out will fix bugs which may fix battery life issues. If you are suffering from terrible battery life and heat issues on your iPhone it's likely that it's just a bug in the operating system.
Keep your iPhone out of the Heat
Being sensitive to excessive heat, the iPhone's Lithium Ion battery will discharge faster when exposed to temperatures above around 45C - And if exposed to these temperatures for extended periods of time, could even reduce the capacity of the battery. Therefore you should keep your iPhone out of direct sunlight, parked cars and hot appliances.
Calibrate your iPhone's Battery
While calibrating your iPhone's battery is unlikely to technically increase its battery life, it will make the battery meter more accurate. This may make the battery life of your iPhone seem longer because the battery won't run down real fast then stay on 1% for ages. Rather, it will run down slower so the battery will be flat on exactly 1%.
To calibrate your iPhone's battery:
- Let your iPhone run completely flat.
- Leave it completely flat for 6-8 hours.
- Charge up your iPhone.
- Leave it fully charged & plugged in for 6-8 hours.
Is your iPhone Jailbroken?
While jailbreaking shouldn't cause poor battery life in itself, if one installs an excessive amount of extensions, or buggy tweaks, one's iPhone can get 'bogged down', which may cause higher than normal battery drain. Therefore if your iPhone is jailbroken and you are experiencing poor battery life you may want to restore it, re-jailbreak it and start afresh. Unlike Apple's software and apps, the quality of which are strictly regulated and tested thoroughly, software obtained via Cydia may not be up to that standard. So don't be surprised if tweaks that you got from Cydia turn out to have bugs which use excess resources and cause poor battery life - You may have to spend quite a while playing around with your iPhone to get optimum performance.
If all else fails try a Full Restore
If you are still experiencing poor battery life a full restore is the last resort. If you haven't done a full restore in a long time there could be bugs/glitches on your iPhone that are specific to your system, so no software update will fix them. For best results you should do a full restore as a new iPhone, as if you do it from a recent backup then bugs/glitches may simply come back onto your iPhone through the backup. So, although it's a pain, you'll have to put each app across manually, along with your music, photos and videos. Good luck!
Still need more Battery Life?
If you have so far complied with all the energy saving advice on this page, but still want/need more battery life on your iPhone, the only solution is a bigger battery. Mophie is your company when it comes to this area: They sell a range of products designed to boost the battery life of your iPhone and/or iPod Touch and/or iPad. I own some of the Mophie products listed below, and they work very well, some of them even able to charge non-Apple products.
This is an iPhone 4/4S case that contains an external battery, charging your iPhone while you use it, more than doubling your iPhone's battery life. I own the Juice Pack Air, and it certainly does work.
Similar to the regular Juice Pack Air, the Juice Pack Outdoors Edition has a longer battery life, is more rugged and contains hardware & software that can turn your iPhone into a dedicated GPS device.
This case is pretty much the same as the Juice Pack Air at the top, except it's for the iPhone Original, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.
A large, powerful external battery that can quickly charge pretty much any phone or tablet.
Do you recommend Mophie's external batteries? Why? Why not?
---------Misconceptions about iPhone Battery Life----------
All those apps in the multitasking bar on your iOS device are currently active and slowing it down, filling the device's memory or using up your battery. To maximise performance and battery life, you should kill them all manually.
This is wrong, as iOS manages your iPhone's processing and RAM to maximise performance and battery life. When you press the home button to exit an app, the app is generally 'put to sleep' in much the same way that you put your computer to sleep. The app is still in the RAM (so that you can go back to it without having to fully start it) however it's not using any processing power, and therefore is not wasting any battery life. If your iPhone needs the RAM that that app is taking up, it kills it automatically. For more information about this, visit this page.
One last thing...
...What model iPhone do you have?
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