Tips to make your iPhone battery last longer (and a common myth busted)

Simon Hill
Digital Trends
iphone battery tips
iphone battery tips

The iPhone is a great companion that provides plenty to do — that is, unless your battery is dead. Once the juice is gone, you’re left with little more than a pretty paperweight for a smartphone. It’s frustrating when you’re struggling to make your iPhone’s battery last between charges, and no one wants to be searching for an outlet more often than they have to. Luckily, these tips will buy you some extra time.

More: Thirty of the juiciest portable battery chargers money can buy

Turn on Low Power Mode

low-power-ios
low-power-ios

If you have iOS 9 or later installed on your iPhone, then you can take advantage of Apple’s newfangled Low Power Mode. You’ll find the toggle to turn it on in Settings > Battery > Low Power Mode. The feature temporarily turns off or reduces mail fetch, Siri functions, background app refresh, automatic downloads, and some visual effects until you fully charge your iPhone.

Turn down the volume

You should consider turning the volume down on your iPhone and using headphones whenever possible, thus allowing you to reduce the impact of audio on your phone’s battery life. If you take a look in Settings > Music, you can also set a volume limit and turn the EQ off to save even more power.

Turn off iCloud

icloud-ios
icloud-ios

Automatically backing up to iCloud can drain your battery and eat through your data allowance. It’s a useful feature for backing up precious photos, but there might be a few things being backed up that you don’t really care about or need. Take a look in Settings > iCloud and toggle off anything you don’t want.

Kill “Hey Siri”

hey-siri
hey-siri

This feature is an unnecessary battery drain if you don’t really use it, mostly because your iPhone will be listening for “Hey Siri” whenever it’s charging. To turn it off, go to Settings > General > Siri and turn Allow “Hey Siri” off.

Don’t bother closing apps

ios_multitask
ios_multitask

A lot of people imagine that the apps listed when they double tap the Home button are actually still open in the background and using battery life, but they usually aren’t. Outside of Background App Refresh, which we’ll look at soon, the vast majority of apps are not doing anything when they’re not in use. You can actually end up draining more battery by double tapping the Home button and quitting them all the time, so don’t do it.

Turn off Background App Refresh

background-app-refresh
background-app-refresh

You can start your journey of iPhone battery discovery by going to Settings > General > Usage. As a quick test, try making a note of the remaining standby and usage times, then tap the sleep/wake button and wait 10 minutes. Then, go back to Settings > General > Usage and you should find standby time has increased by 10 minutes. If it hasn’t, then something is keeping your iPhone from resting, and it’s likely an app.

Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and take a look at the list. Do you really need all those apps updating themselves in the background and draining your battery life? Be ruthless and turn off all the apps you don’t need to update automatically. Remember, they’ll still update and work as normal when you fire them up, they just won’t keep running when you’re not using them. If you find that you don’t like the change, you can always head back into this section and toggle the apps back on again.

Switch Push Email to Fetch

fetch-ios
fetch-ios

Do you really need to get every email as soon as it comes in? Maybe you’ve got a secondary email account that isn’t so important. Go into Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data and switch from Push to either Fetch or Manual. With Fetch, you can set an interval, such as every 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and so on, for your iPhone to check for new email. The longer you make the interval, the less battery you’ll be using. With Manual, it will only check for new email when you open the app.

Kill Push notifications from apps

notifications-ios
notifications-ios

Some apps will send you notifications that you don’t really need. Go to Settings > Notification Center and look under Include. Tap on any apps that you don’t need notifications from and choose None under the Alert Style, and then toggle Show in Navigation Center to off and Show on Lock Screen to off.

Turn off Automatic Downloads

automatic-download-ios
automatic-download-ios

You can have your iPhone update Music, Apps, and iOS automatically, but it will eat a lot of battery life. Your iPhone might also choose an inopportune moment to update everything. You can save power and battery life by going into Settings > iTunes & App Store and sliding Use Cellular Data to off, so it only updates on Wi-Fi. You’ll save even more if you just turn the automatic downloads off altogether and update on your own schedule.

Reduce screen brightness

brightness-ios
brightness-ios

The screen drains battery faster than anything else and the brighter it is, the faster it drains. Go to Settings > Wallpaper & Brightness and turn Auto-Brightness off. Then, set your brightness to the lowest setting that still looks readable. You might have to tweak it from time to time, but you’ll save a lot of juice this way.

Turn off vibrations

vibrations-ios
vibrations-ios

Do you really need your iPhone to vibrate? It will eat up some battery life and it’s probably only necessary when you have your iPhone on silent. Go to Settings > Sound and you can toggle Vibrate on Ring to off.

Reduce Auto-Lock time

auto-lock-ios
auto-lock-ios

When you stop using it, your iPhone takes a set amount of time to turn the screen off. You can change it in Settings > General > Auto-Lock. Set it as low as you can without it becoming annoying, and you’ll save a decent amount of battery life over time.

Turn off AirDrop

air-drop-ios
air-drop-ios

You don’t need AirDrop turned on all the time either, so swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up the Control Center and turn it off until you actually need it.

Stop Location Services

location-services-ios
location-services-ios

It’s debatable how helpful it is to have your iPhone tracking your location. What we can say for sure is that it drains the battery faster. Head into Settings > Privacy > Location Services and turn off any app you don’t feel needs to be tracking you. You can also go further in Settings > Privacy > Location Services > SystemServices, where you can certainly afford to turn off Frequent Locations, Diagnostics & Usage, and Location-Based iAds.

Turn off Bluetooth

bluetooth-ios
bluetooth-ios

Bluetooth doesn’t need to be on unless you are using it. Bring up the Control Center and toggle it off until you need it.

Turn off unnecessary animations

reduce-motion-ios
reduce-motion-ios

There are two obvious things on your iPhone that are purely aesthetic, but impact your battery life negatively: the parallax effect and dynamic wallpapers. To get rid of the unnecessary parallax effect, go to Settings > General > Accessibility and turn Reduce Motion on. Next go to Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness > Choose Wallpaper and pick something from Stills or a photo. The dynamic wallpapers and the parallax effect are animated by information from the iPhone’s sensors about how you’re holding and moving the phone. These effects inevitably drain battery life.

Be prepared — download ahead of time

streaming
streaming

A lot of music and movie streaming services give you the option to download for offline listening or viewing. If you stream content using your cellular data connection, it will eat your battery fast, not to mention your data allowance. It’s better to use Wi-Fi to stream if you have to, but it’s even better to download the content you want ahead of time. If you plug your iPhone into iTunes and download content at home, your battery will go a lot further.

Edit Spotlight Search

spotlight
spotlight

By default, the Spotlight Search function indexes and searches through every item on your iPhone. You can save a little battery, filter your searches, and potentially get faster results, if you tell it to drop irrelevant items. Go into Settings > General > Spotlight Search and remove anything on the list that you don’t use or want to search.

Opt for Wi-Fi

wifi-ios
wifi-ios

If you’re in a place with a Wi-Fi network that you can use, such as your workplace or your home, then make sure that Wi-Fi is toggled on. If you always use cellular data, you’ll run through your data allowance quickly and drain your battery much faster, especially when you’re indoors where the network has to search for a stronger connection. When you leave the Wi-Fi zone, make sure that you toggle Wi-Fi off because you don’t want your iPhone constantly searching for a new Wi-Fi network.

Enable Airplane mode

airplane-mode-ios
airplane-mode-ios

If you don’t need to make calls for a while, or you notice that the area you are in has terrible reception, then just switch your iPhone to Airplane mode. There’s no point having it searching for your network if you’re on the subway or somewhere else you know you can’t get a signal. If you don’t turn Airplane mode on, the constant searching will drain the battery fast.

Turn off 4G

turn-off-4g-ios
turn-off-4g-ios

If you do a lot of downloading or streaming over your cellular data network, you might be making good use of the faster speeds offered by 4G, but 3G is enough for most people and it won’t drain your battery anywhere near as fast. Go into Settings > Cellular and toggle Enable 4G to off.

Kill Raise to Wake

brightness-ios
brightness-ios

In iOS 10, Apple introduced the Raise to Wake feature, which automatically brings your screen to life when you pick up your iPhone. It’s convenient, but it also means that your screen will often come to life when you don’t need it to, thus draining your battery. To disable the feature, go to Settings > Display & Brightness and toggle Raise to Wake off.

Get an external battery pack or case

There are loads of potential options on the market that will charge your iPhone up when you’re out and about. If you’ve got the room to carry a battery pack with you, it could save you in a jam. Or, you could check out the best iPhone cases and pick one with a built-in battery.

Check for updates

check-ios-updates
check-ios-updates

Each new iOS update generally fixes a few bugs and improves performance. Sometimes, it can improve battery life. Make sure your software is up to date by going to Settings > General > Software Update.

Get a battery test

apple genius bar
apple genius bar

If you’re suspicious that there may be something wrong with your battery, then go to your nearest Apple Store and request an extended battery life test. They’ll be able to tell you if there’s a problem or if it’s just down to your usage.