How to maximize your iPhone’s battery life

The iPhone has the best battery life I’ve ever seen in a modern smartphone, especially the iPhone 4. I can go almost two whole days under heavy use before I have to plug it into its charger. however, I’ve learned that some of my friends and acquaintances aren’t seeing the same results. if you’d like to squeeze a little more juice out of your iPhone’s battery, follow the tips below!

Unless you like shining a flashlight on your face, you really don’t need the iPhone’s screen brightness to go over 50%. a very bright screen uses up a lot more energy, so you’ll see some gains in your overall battery life if you were to reduce its brightness to 50% or less. Simply go into Settings then Brightness, and do your best to approximate the halfway point on the brightness slider. if you find yourself move in and out of bright and dark areas, feel free to turn on the auto-dim feature so that your display will adjust itself according to available ambient light.

It seems simple enough, but you’d be surprised how many people leave Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on when they’re not using either or both. Some users will leave Wi-Fi on, allowing the iPhone to constantly scan nearby networks if that feature isn’t turned off, and that could adversely affect battery life. GPS or location services is a little more tricky since many apps require their use. Luckily, you can toggle which apps can use it, and which apps can live without it. Open up Settings, go into Location Services and select/de-select the apps you wish to grant access to GPS.

There are some cases when Wi-Fi can be beneficial to your battery life. if you’re in an area where your network has low or poor network coverage, using Wi-Fi for web browsing, e-mail and data-intensive apps will actually help your battery life. otherwise, if you’re in a great coverage area and you aren’t going to be doing anything that hogs up a lot of data, leave the Wi-Fi off.

This might not happen to you often, but it’s good practice to close out apps that run in the background when you don’t need them. I’ve encountered a few instances where I’ve left my iPhone on my desk because I’ve had to answer my door, but forgot that I was listening to Spotify or Slacker Radio  on it with headphones before I left. I’ll turn on my phone 30 or 40 minutes later to realize that music had still been playing and that it had eaten up a good chunk of my battery life.

Turn shut down running applications, double-tap your home button to bring up the applications tray. Press and hold one of the applications in the tray to delete them – you’ll know once they start jiggling and have the delete icons in the corner. in fact, I like to close out all of my apps and turn my phone off and on every few days because I’ve noticed that it keeps my apps from constantly crashing. (You can also do the same thing immediately for any app that is crashing.)

Ping, Apple’s mostly failed music social-networking service, has been known to cause issues with iPhone battery life. Some users have seen their battery life go from seven hours to about 12 hours just by turning off this feature. While its effect on battery life is still controversial–some users don’t see much of a difference at all–it couldn’t hurt unless you happen to be one of the small handful of people who use this feature.

To disable Ping, follow the steps below:

  1. Go into Settings
  2. Tap on General, then Restrictions (right underneath Passcode Lock)
  3. You will be prompted to enter a password and confirm it – make sure it’s a code you remember!
  4. Enable restrictions and make sure all apps are “On,” but that Ping is the only one “Off”

Once you’re done, you can back out of your settings or go directly to your home screen, and that’s it.

There are some apps that just beg you to keep push notifications on, but sometimes they aren’t necessary. Before you leave push notifications on for every single app, give it some good thought and decide which ones really need it, and which ones don’t. if you really want notifications, but you don’t want to be bothered by a buzzing or ringing phone every few minutes, go into your settings and Notifications, and just leave Badges on. that way a badge will appear on the icon, but your phone won’t go haywire with notifications.

Another item you’ll want to consider is push mail, or fetch intervals. The iPhone supports push e-mail for MobileMe and Microsoft Exchange, but for Gmail it can only check for new mail in intervals. do you really need your mail pushed to you immediately? if not, should you have your device checking every 15 minutes? 30? Or an hour? if you don’t need push e-mail, and you can live with 30-minute or 1-hour intervals, it could help your battery go a long way.

The iPhone 4, and previous models, use lithium-ion batteries. While care for Li-Ion batteries, as they’re known, has been a little controversial, there are some generally accepted facts about preserving their life. first, don’t store your iPhone in extremely cold or extremely hot locations. here is a snippet from the Apple page on iPhone battery care:

Your iPhone works best from 32° to 95° F. you should store it in environments of -4° to 113° F. That’s 0° to 35° C and -20° to 45° C for the metrically inclined. Keeping your iPhone as near room temperature as possible (72° F or 22° C) is ideal.

It’s also good practice to take your phone off the charger once it’s done charging. It won’t overcharge or explode, but it might affect the overall life of your battery. Don’t let your phone die every single time you charge it, either, because you won’t be helping the battery percentage indicator, and you might be shortening the life of your battery. Once your phone hits the 30% mark, or the 25% mark (when the battery turns red), you should plug it in and let it start charging. Don’t be afraid to charge your phone frequently, since it’s generally considered good for Li-Ion batteries, but you also don’t need to top off often (i.e. you have 89% when you’re leaving home and you’ll only have five minutes to keep it on the charger before you leave).

Lastly, be mindful of the apps that you use and just how much battery power they take: Twitter apps aren’t as power-hungry as apps like Netflix – you don’t want to watch two consecutive movies and have your phone running its display and wireless radios for four straight hours. your juice won’t get you through the day, and you might be straining the battery and shortening its total life.

Follow these tips and you should start seeing some dramatic improvements in your iPhone’s battery life each day, and you’ll be a lot closer to the expected number of cycles your phone’s battery has before its total capacity starts to really taper off. your iPhone should get up to 400 full charge cycles before dropping to 80% of its original capacity. a full charge cycle is being fully discharging and charging up to 100%. however you also complete one full charge cycle when, for example, you charge up to 50%, drain the battery, and charge up to 50% again.

About The Author Marc Flores

Marc has been a mobile fanatic for the better part of a decade and has had more devices pass through his hands than he would care to count. Originally from Los Angeles and briefly in San Francisco, Marc now lives in Brooklyn where, unlike will Park, he longs for simpler times and simpler technology. All the while, he writes about gadgets and wireless technology as he tinkers, hacks and ultimately breaks most of his gadgets in the process. Marc has written about the mobile industry for Boy Genius Report, MobileCrunch, Laptop Magazine and has had his work appear in the Wall Street Journal, Gizmodo, CrunchGear and more.

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