Improving Your iPad's Battery Life - Tips For Longer Life One Tweak at a Time
Practical Tips for Making Your iPad Battery Life Last Longer
The iPad has some of the best battery life numbers in the market, but even then when you use it everyday you can still drain it pretty quickly. You can take some kind of 'preventative' steps to increase your iPad battery life and implement some basic settings you probably won't notice a whole lot. Following even a handful of these practical battery life tips will increase the time you'll use your iPad unplugged.
These iPad battery tips will also help you keep battery life optimal as the battery ages. We're after collective tweaks that will make the sum greater than the individual pieces - little tweaks that don't make much difference on their own but altogether can be quite noticeable.
Get Even More From Your iPad Battery! - My new book includes even more tips to fit around your day to day use
Just published on Amazon and for a low introductory price, iPad Performance is my book devoted to getting more life form your iPad battery - without getting in the way of your regular workflow. All the tips from this article are included so you can everything all in one place, PLUS I've put in extra tips and info about the battery itself (what makes it the best battery in the market) and information about Apple's tremendous iPad battery replacement program (it's even better than you think!).
I'll be raising the price soon, so pick it up now before it goes up.
Even more tips and best practices, all laid out in an easy to read, easy to use format.
Special first-published low price!
Use Smart Email Settings
If iPad Isn't Your Main Machine, Consider Limiting Email Access
For me, and for a lot of even everyday iPad users, the tablet is not your primary email machine - to be honest i use email on my iPhone more than I do email on my iPad.
So, if email isn't a big thing on your iPad, turn off Push email and use Fetch less. Push is automatic downloading email from the server as new emails are 'pushed' to your iPad. Fetch is when the device, at pre-set intervals, logs onto the server to check for new mail.
Turning off Push altogether and using a less often Fetch setting will improve battery life. The iPad will allow Fetch settings of new mail every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes, every hour, or manually. I have mine set to Fetch manually, but hourly would be a 400% improvement (in theory) over the lowest setting. It won't save 400% of your battery life, but it will contribute to a longer battery life overall.
Open Settings, tap into Mail, Contacts, Calendars, then into Fetch New Data, then slide Push to "Off", and scroll down to find the settings for Fetch, choosing a less-often Fetch interval. Manually is best, but Hourly will suffice if that's all you can bring yourself to do.
Turn Off Bluetooth
Only Turn Bluetooth On When You Really Need It
I use a Bluetooth device on my iPhone, never with my iPad. The fact is the iPad is not a telephone, or at least not out of the box - and you probably have a cellphone anyway. Most people don't use the iPad for making calls, but those keyboard cases that turn your iPad into a 'laptop' will need it - but you can still turn off Bluetooth for most of the time. And it only takes a few seconds to turn back on anyway.
Open Settings, go into General and then into Bluetooth and slide the slider to "Off" to turn off Bluetooth.
Turn Off Wifi, 3G, & LTE
Disabling Connectivity Means Better Battery Performance
When you're using the iPad as an e-reader, for writing an article (like me!) or preparing an email, or playing a game that doesn't require an internet connection, turn off Wifi.
To disable Wifi, open Settings, tap into Wifi and tap the slider to turn it off.
For a 3G-enabled iPad, follow the same procedure. The less open connectivity the device has to keep track off the more juice it's saving. The more connectivity-dependent features you're able to disable the better.
The same goes for LTE. Disable LTE on 3rd-Generation iPads that have 3G capabilities. Disable LTE for a bit better iPad battery life - again little tweaks that add up to a bigger difference.
iPad Battery Packs: On the Go Electricity - Be Sure You Never Run Out of Juice!
Manage Restrictions (AKA: Ping Is a Battery Hog)
Enabling App Restrictions Can Also Improve Battery Life
I have all Restrictions disabled, but that's just me. The one you really need to consider here is Ping - some iPad owners have reported it can adversely effect the battery life. To turn off Ping (which is enabled by default) open Settings, tap into General, then Restrictions. Tap the slider to toggle Ping off.
Most people don't use Ping anyway, even if you know what it is. If you don't know what it is, you won't miss it. It's Apple's social music service that didn't get adopted much.
Use GPS & Location Services Smartly
Monitoring Location-based Settings Can Help
Apps that want to access the iPad's current location (for finding friends, movie theatres, or greasy spoons) have to ask for permission from iOS, and these permissions are all managed in Location Services. Location Services moved from it's old location in iOS5 to a new spot in iOS6. To find it, open Settings, then Privacy, and Location Services is the top option. You an manage all the apps that have asked to use your location in here. Manage these apps smartly. A camera app may want to use your location, but it's less important than in an App like Yelp, which is basically dependent on location for any real functionality.
Airplane Mode will kill all these birds with one tap. Enable Airplane Mode in Settings, and you'll instantly turn off Wifi, 3G, Bluetooth, and GPS capabilities. Turn Airplane Mode off, and the manual settings for each of these services is re-enabled.
Reign In Push Notifications
Only Allow Essential Apps to Access Notification Center
A pet peeve of mine is a stupid app asking to send me Push Notifications - basically it's saying "Yes! I'm a sucker! Send me stuff and try to get me buy more!" On some apps notifications can be great, but in most cases they're really unnecessary and eat up battery life on your iPad. So, turn them off.
If you accidentally granted access to an app to send you push notifications, don't fear: You can manage everything Push Notification-related in Settings > Notifications. It will even tell you what apps want access but haven't been given permission.
Turn off as many as you can.
Protect Your iPad With A Solid Case - Don't Give 'Accident' a Chance to Damage Your Tablet
Adjust Screen Brightness
The Single Biggest Thing You Can Do For Better Battery Life
Hello? No-brainer called, it's for you! Adjusting the brightness of the screen is the biggest things you can do to save battery life. Turn the brightness down to lowest level you can tolerate. And unless you're out in the sun a lot, also turn off Auto Brightness.
Most of the time, you can get away with 60% brightness and be fine (and also reduce fatigue on your eyeballs), and this can be lowered to 30% or 40% at night.
You can quickly access brightness by using Four Fingers Up on the screen, then swiping the active apps tray to the right. The left slider controls brightness (it has the little Sun icon under it). Tap the screen to hide the active apps tray.
Apple says that managing screen brightness "is the best way to extend iPad battery life." Take it from the maker. They even do their own battery life testing with Auto Brightness turned off. What does that tell you?
Disable iPod Music Equalizer
Sticking to the Basic Music Settings is Best
If you use your iPad as a music station, turn off the equalizer - it likely won't make much difference at all on that tinny little speaker, and if you have it plugged into a sound system it won't matter anyway.
In iOS on iPad, open Settings, tap into Music and the second item is EQ. Turn it off to give that additional little boost to your iPad.
This setting is disabled by default, but you might want to double check if someone else used your iPad, or if you've ever played music on your iPad and can't remember if the setting is on or off.
Maintain Optimal Environmental Temperature
iPad Work Best at About 72 Degrees (Fahrenheit)
Keeping your battery life up is also dependent on environment. Avoid very noticeable changes in temperature, and per Apple's official recommendation, keep your iPad between 32 and 95 degrees. Don't take it out in the sun, don't leave it in the car in the summer, and off of heaters in winter and away from air conditioner vents in the summer.
Turn Your iPad Into a Laptop! - Keyboard Cases Offer the Best Balance of Portability & Usability
Keep Up With iOS Updates
Battery Life Improvements Can Come with Software Updates
Keeping up with your iOS updates also can help, because these sometimes come with firmware updates that will incrementally improve your batter life as well.
This is good idea just as a matter of course. Any security issues are patched with iOS updates, as well as interface tweaks, functionality, etc. If you have an update to iOS available for your iPad, install it the next chance you get.
Turn Off Diagnostic & Usage Reporting
Disabling Background Reporting May Help iPad Battery Life
Sending diagnostic stats and usage information to Apple may help them improve the user experience, but it can also lower your battery life with some background activity you don't absolutely need to have going.
Disable Diagnostic & Usage sending in Settings, then tap into General and you'll find Diagnostics & Usage near the bottom. Tap into that and turn it off.
*It should be noted that Apple gathers this information anonymously. No iPad users are harmed or compromised in the process. Brazil-esque policemen aren't going to drill through your ceiling and put you in a bag if you have it enabled.
Turn Off iCloud When Not In Use
Disabling Cloud Access Can Play a Big Role
iCloud is a great service - you can take your music anywhere, often in better quality format than what you might have on your hard drive in iTunes.
But you don't use iCloud all the time, and if you're like me you have it enabled just because it's cool - not because you actually really need it or even use it much.
So, disable iCloud and it will kill the background process of uploading and syncing information, and save a bit of juice for the iPad battery life.
Don't Stream Video or Music from Youtube, Netflix, & Other Apps
Smartly Managing Streaming Frees Up More Than Battery Life
You can save battery life and bandwidth by not streaming movie content from the apps like Youtube or Netflix. This isn't a system, it's just a way of using your device.
Hook up the iPad and download video and music directly to your device, rather than streaming it over the internet.
The added bonus of managing video and music media directly also means you'll save bandwidth, if you're paying a monthly contract for 3G or for Wireless.
Battery Life: iPad Is Still The Best
The iPad Is Bar-None for Performance & Battery Life
The iPad comes packin' pretty much out of the box - out of the box, with all default capabilities enabled, it still boasts a pretty solid battery life and very good overall performance.
These tips will help you get the most out of your iPad as you use it day in and day out. They can especially make a difference as your iPad starts to age a bit, and the Out Of The Box battery life starts to fade a bit. Batteries do have a life, and eventually if you have it long enough you may end up replacing the battery (or trading in the iPad for a newer model). But in the meantime, with iPad prices at several hundred dollars and the economy still sluggish, these tips will keep you happy for some time to come.
What do you do to improve your iPad or tablet battery life? Leave a comment with any feedback!