What is the most critical technology to any mobile device? It’s not the screen quality or size. It’s not the storage space or cloud services. It’s the battery. Because without the battery it doesn’t matter how advanced your phone is, because if you can’t turn it on it’s less useful than a pen and pad of paper.
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More recently — with the iPhone XR and iPhone XS — Apple has made some pretty big steps forwards with battery performance, especially on the larger Plus models. For a lot of people, though, namely those using older iPhones, battery performance is still something of an annoyance, and getting through an entire day can be problematic.
I love my iPhone. I use it all day, every day. This means that for part of the day, my iPhone is the best thing in the world — when it’s working properly.
But once you get south of 30% battery life, usually around 3-4pm without a re-charge, well, it kind of becomes a pain in the ass. In order to improve this situation, I’ve started using a number of tricks to make my battery life last longer.
How To Improve iPhone Battery Life RIGHT NOW
Tricks that will not only save you battery life but – in some cases – also improve the overall performance of your beloved iPhone.
Most of the tricks listed below are easy to implement and should when viewed cumulatively, equate to some pretty impressive bumps in your iPhone’s endurance.
Here are the 12 tricks I’ve found to be most useful…
1) Enable Wi-Fi Assist
Wi-Fi is something that sucks a ton of battery from your iPhone. The problem is your iPhone usually desperately tries to hold onto a Wi-Fi signal–even when it’s only got one bar. This will drain battery like you can’t believe. To prevent this enable Wi-Fi Assist on your iPhone. Wi-Fi Assist automatically switches over to your cellular data connection when a Wi-Fi signal gets too low. Just be warned that enabling Wi-Fi Assist will mean you eat through more of your data plan. To enable Wi-Fi Assist go to Settings > Cellular and toggle the switch next to Wi-Fi Assist to ON (green).
2) Enable Low Power Mode
iOS 9 features a new new mode called Low Power Mode. This will automatically turn off all but the most needed power sucking features of the iPhone when you hit 20% battery power and then even more at 10%. But many people don’t realize you can enable Low Power Mode at any time, which you should do it you want to conserve battery. To enable Low Power Mode manually go to Settings > Battery and toggle the switch to ON (green) next to Low Power Mode.
3) Stop Those Motion Effects
The parallax effect is the name given to the slightly moving icons and notifications in iOS when you move your iPhone. Apple created the parallax effect to give the flat icons some depth. However, as with any process that requires movement, the graphic capabilities needed to do this eats up battery life. To disable this effect go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion > and toggle the switch to ON (green).
4) Disable Dynamic Backgrounds
Another motion feature in iOS is the dynamic backgrounds. These are the wallpapers that have subtle movement in them. They look cool, but that movement is eating into your precious battery life. It’s best to use a still image for your wallpaper. To get rid of the dynamic images go to Settings > Wallpaper > Choose a New Wallpaper and select a wallpaper from the “Stills” selection.
5) Turn on Auto-Brightness
Increased screen brightness takes up a TON of battery power. This is because the extra light required to illuminate your screen requires a lot of energy, draining your battery faster. Screens generally require less light in darkness and more light when it’s bright outside. To have your iPhone adjust to external brightness levels automatically go to Settings > Display & Brightness > and toggle the Auto-Brightness switch to ON (green).
6) Reduce Screen Brightness Manually
If Auto-Brightness isn’t doing it for you you can also set the brightness levels automatically. Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > and reduce the brightness level by adjusting the slider. This will set the maximum value of screen brightness and can do a lot to saving that extra battery charge.
7) Turn Bluetooth Off
The latest iPhones have Bluetooth 4.1, otherwise known as Bluetooth Low Energy, or BLE. And while BLE uses a lot less power than earlier versions of Bluetooth it still takes up power needlessly when you leave it on and don’t intent on connecting to any Bluetooth devices. To quickly switch Bluetooth off simply swipe up from the bottom of any screen in iOS. This will bring up the Control Center. Tap the Bluetooth button so it turns black. This disables Bluetooth.
8) Turn Off 4G
4G is another blessing of modern mobile networks, but it uses a lot more power than traditional 3G networks. Thankfully any iPhone that can connect to a 4G network can also still connect to a 3G network–and anywhere you can get a 4G signal you can almost certainly get a 3G signal. So if you’re running low on power and the fastest Internet speeds aren’t a priority at the moment, disable 4G on your iPhone. To do this go to Settings > Cellular > Voice & Data and select 3G.
9) Turn Off Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi is another connection technology we generally don’t need when out and about. It’s more important when we are in our home or office as using Wi-Fi doesn’t eat into our data plans. But having it enables all the time means our phones are constantly looking to join Wi-Fi networks as we traps across the city or take a ride on the train. The result is battery drain. To quickly switch Wi-Fi off simply swipe up from the bottom of any screen in iOS. This will bring up the Control Center. Tap the Wi-Fi button so it turns black. This disables Wi-Fi.
10) Prevent Background App Refresh
Background App Refresh is a feature in iOS that enable apps to learn when you frequently check them. This allows the apps to predict when you’ll next check them and sees them pining their servers right before you do so they can pull the latest data and have it ready and waiting for you when you open the app. It’s a really handy feature except in that it leads to battery drain since these apps are running in the background. To disable Background App Refresh go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh > and toggle the switch to OFF (white) or toggle individual apps ON or OFF.
11) Turn Off App Location Services
Location Services allows apps to know where you are based on your GPS or Wi-Fi triangulation. This is handy for a number of apps, but it drains battery power. Also, some apps request your Location Information yet it does you little good (these apps use it for targeted ads, for example). To save battery go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > and toggle the switch to OFF (white) to turn off all Location Services (not recommended) or toggle individual apps access ON or OFF.
12) Turn Off System Location Services
Just because you’ve tweaked individual app access to Location Services doesn’t mean you can’t get some further battery savings from disabling the feature in other places. The core of iOS uses Location Services for many other functions–some of which are pointless to you. go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > and scroll down until you see System Services. Tap that and toggle the switches to OFF (white) to disable individual system Location Services. I recommend disabling Diagnostics & Usage and Location-Based iAds.
13) Turn “Hey Siri” Off
Siri is always working in the background as a default on iOS. She’s just sat there waiting for you to speak to her, meaning she’s always using up a little bit of battery in the background. It’s not helpful, especially if you don’t use her, plus it isn’t hard to just turn her on manually.
You need to head into Settings > General > Siri and then toggle the switch to OFF (white) next to Allow “Hey Siri”. Now you can’t call out to her to get into Siri but you can still do it with the home button.
14) And… If All Else Fails?
If you’ve tried everything and your iPhone still dies faster than Steven Segal in Executive Decision, then your best bet is likely a phone case with charging abilities. Of which, by the way, there are MANY. So very, many options. Personally, if you’re rocking an iPhone 7, my favorite is the VOOE iPhone 7/iPhone 8 Case.
Why? Simple: it looks decent and it works a treat. But the best thing about this case, overall, is the price: at just $32 it is almost half the price of Apple’s own battery case. And for almost 50% less money, you get a better-looking case that has more functions.