How to Get the Most Out of Your iPhone Battery

by Guest Author on May 3, 2011

in Guest Posts, iPhone

Apple’s iPhone revolutionized the smartphone market when it debuted in 2007, and since then it’s continued to set the standard for how the devices look, feel, and perform. Although Apple’s lost its market-share dominance because of competition from other phones like the Android, the iPhone remains a great choice for smartphone users interested in power and performance. Yet from the beginning, critics have raised concerns about the device’s battery life, pointing out that Apple’s claims in this area don’t always match the reality of the situation. There’s some truth to this, though battery life ultimately comes down to usage and settings. If you find yourself wishing your iPhone held a charge longer, try these steps and see if your performance improves.

First, control the brightness. Your iPhone likely came from the store with its screen brightness around 50 percent, which is higher than you’ll need in most situations. The brighter your screen, the shorter your battery life. You can adjust this by going to “Settings” and then “Brightness,” where you can slide the brightness to a lower level or select the Auto-Brightness feature, which will lower or raise the screen’s image based on room conditions. This way, you’ll be able to see the screen if you need to make a call outside or in your car, but when you’re inside around lower lighting, the screen will dim itself.

Next, you should disable push notifications. This is done by selecting “Settings” and then “Notifications,” then turning them off. You’ll also want to do the same for your email accounts. Under “Settings,” select “Mail, Contacts, Calendars,” then enter the “Fetch New Data” menu, turn off push notifications, and select “Manually” under the fetch options. Push notifications require your phone to constantly work to download more emails and information when the applications aren’t in use, which is a huge power drain. You won’t lose any time by merely opening up the email application and letting new messages appear, and you’ll extend your battery life by a huge amount.

The latest iPhone OS, iOS, lets you keep programs running in the background to enable multitasking. This is less helpful than you’d think, especially in terms of smart power usage. Running all those programs when you aren’t using them sucks your battery dry that much faster. To turn these programs off when they’re not in use, double-click the Home button, then hold down an icon until they all start to wiggle around. You’ll see they each have a minus sign in a red circle in the upper-left corner. Tapping this will shut those programs down. Get used to doing this regularly if you want to extend your iPhone’s battery life. It’s a minor inconvenience, true, but it’s worth it for the energy you’re saving.

(TechPatio editor’s note: There are different opinions about this one. It seems the double-click menu doesn’t show running apps, but “recently used” apps. The only thing running in the background are possibly whatever services the apps might need to do a task. Such services will likely be shut down as well if you close the wiggling apps on “minus sign in red circle”-icon).

A big part of extending your battery life is also just being smart about how you use the phone. If you want to idly browse for new apps, do it via iTunes on your computer. When you end a call or finish checking your mail, lock your phone so it goes to sleep. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere, switch the phone to Airplane Mode so it’ll stop draining the battery to look for cell towers. When an app asks to use your location, say no unless it’s something that needs your location to function (like Maps or a restaurant finder). The iPhone is a fantastic tool, but like any tool, it needs to be used properly to work well and live a long, healthy life.

Guest article written by: Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to [email protected]

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

John May 4, 2011 at 16:41

iPhone battery life is terrible im thinking of switching to other phone!

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vlad May 4, 2011 at 20:36

great tips thanks a lot. I’m getting tired of sitting with the power cord plugged to the iphone.

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John May 7, 2011 at 20:56

You have posted some really nice trics for lower battery consuming.
Another tip is to close background applications when they are not needed and disable unwanted internet connections. But to me, the Brightness trick is the most effective of all.

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Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com May 9, 2011 at 03:25

Hmm I’d have still thought that it’s the apps running in the background (or at least on stand-by mode or whatever) instead of recently used apps. Not sure though but I always close them anyway rather than cluttering my “task manager”
Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com recently posted… Improve blog-site’s performance by compressing images

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ComputerTooSlow May 13, 2011 at 17:51

Great tips to extend the iPhone battery life. iPhone battery life is pretty bad, so, taking advantage of some of these ways to extend battery life is a great idea. Generally speaking though, I think most high-end smartphones have pretty bad battery life besides the Blackberries.

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Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate May 20, 2011 at 04:14

This is cool.

I just cranked my screen brightness back and set it on auto.

Would like to turn off push notifications but being a blackberry user for 10 years prior, I just can’t make myself do it!

Here’s another battery tip: whenever you are in your car, plug it into the charger.

Ans another: whenever you are sitting at your desk, plug it into the charger.

That way, you are at 100% almost all the time. And it saves battery cycles which is ultimately the death of rechargeable batteries.
Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate recently posted… First Time Home Buyers in Atlanta

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Klaus May 20, 2011 at 11:09

Good tips. I also keep my iPhone docked most of the time while I’m working, so it’s very rarely that I end up with no power on my iPhone.
Klaus recently posted… Nikon 70-200mm lens thermos bottle review

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Shane Ryans June 2, 2011 at 15:18

These are great tips. I still wish they could make a better battery.
Shane Ryans recently posted… Certified E-Commerce professional

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Jakk @ Technology Blogged June 7, 2011 at 16:08

I always:

Turn down my brightness, turn off 3G if indoors and WIFI if outdoors, go though my paused apps and get rid of the unnecessary, have as few apps as possible on the home screens.
Jakk @ Technology Blogged recently posted… Sony PS Vita US &amp European pricing official

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SID June 9, 2011 at 09:05

well these tips work pretty much same for almost all smartphones having multitasking and similar features. But surely mobile batteries research still needs to go a long way to support all the heavy usage that we subject our mobile to..:)

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Jason Cecabin August 5, 2011 at 15:15

i’ve had the Iphone 4 for about 6 months now.
This is by far the best cell phone i’ve ever had. The battery is most certainly an issue though. I find myself having to charge it all day while i’m at work. I probably use my cell phone more than others (lots of texts, web browsing, checking emails) but my blackberries never had this issue. As an Iphone user, who converted from blackberry, i must say that the shortened battery life is well worth dealing with so that you can enjoy all the other features that this phone has to offer.

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