Eight Battery Saving settings for your iPhone and iPad

BatteryIconXApple touts significant battery lives for its iPhones and iPads, where you ought to be able to get about 10-14 hours of continuous use, and between 10-16 days of standby time out of them. While these values are expected to vary significantly depending on your specific uses, unless you are running highly processing-intensive programs all the time, then you ought to be able to get acceptable battery life out of your iPhone or iPad.

Unfortunately not all problems that cause batteries to drain can be uncovered and fixed. Sometimes a battery may simply have gone bad from environmental stresses, age, extended storage on empty, use of improper charging devices, or other hardware-based problem. However, provided your battery is healthy, iOS does have a few settings you can toggle to help you get the maximum life out of it, or troubleshoot system features that may be abnormally draining it.

Many of these settings will have app-specific options, so be sure to scrutinize them based on your usage, as opposed to disabling them blindly.

1. Disable Wi-Fi and BlueTooth when not in use — Go to Settings, or swipe up from the bottom of your display for immediate toggles to these options.

2. Turn off Cellular data — This may be best if you do not expect to check for e-mail and other data when away from Wi-Fi, and can be done in Settings > Cellular. Consider also disabling LTE capability. These may be particularly relevant when you are on a Wi-Fi network, or have a minimal data plan.

3. Disable personal hotspot when not in use — If you wish to use your phone for your Mac’s internet connection, you can turn this on in Settings > Personal Hotspot, otherwise keep it disabled as constant broadcasting of a Wi-Fi hotspot will use more battery life.

4. Dim your display as much as possible — Swipe up from the bottom of your display to access dimming controls, and also prevent your iPhone from automatically adjusting brightness to higher levels by turning this feature off in Settings > Display & Brightness.

5. Turn off unused system services — Go to Settings > Privacy > System Services and disable the options you do not use, or do not want to participate in. These include many settings for automatically setting your phone’s features like time, location sharing, and Find My iPhone. You will likely want to keep some of these enabled, but you might not use others and disabling them might help preserve battery life. Note that these may significantly change how you interact with your phone (e.g., not being able to track it if you disable Find My iPhone).

6. Disable location services — Go to Settings > Privacy where you can disable Location Services either globally, or on a per-application basis. The more of these you disable, the less energy they will use in the background. Note that this will change the accuracy and relevance of some app’s features, so do this only for apps you do not rely on for accurate locations.

7. Change e-mail Fetch/Push frequency — If you use Mail as your e-mail client, then you can go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars to change the “Fetch New Data” option for your configured accounts. Changing this to a less frequent interval, and using Fetch instead of Push, or even Manual checking, will better preserve your battery. With this, simply get into the habit of checking your e-mail manually in the app–it might surprise you that you likely already do this frequently.

8. Turn off background app refresh — While most apps will not run in the background, some will do so to push updates and notifications to you. Disabling this in Settings > General > Background App Refresh may significantly increase your battery life. You can do this globally, or on a per-app basis.

Alternative options

Beyond the eight options above, if your battery life remains low then you might consider resetting core iOS settings, the options for which are in Settings > General > Reset. Start with those lower on the list for location and privacy, and screen layouts, and then work your way up the list. A final option would be to consider wiping your device and then setting it up with factory default settings.

Be sure you have a full and recent backup of your device using iTunes, or iCloud at the very least, before using these global reset options.

While you might think quitting an app by double-tapping the home button and then swiping up on an app will help reduce background usage, this in fact will not help your battery life much, as apps in the background are paused by iOS, and only specific helper services are kept alive in the background regardless of whether or not the parent app is open.

A note on chargers

Since we are discussing power options for your iOS device, it will be well worth it to use one that has been vetted to work with your system. There are plenty of third-party chargers that ought to work well with your iOS device, so the specific use of Apple’s chargers is not always needed; however, do be sure to avoid using cheap chargers with your device. For non-Apple chargers, such as those for cars, and perhaps special wall outlets with USB ports, be sure you check reviews of the device to ensure there are no known problems. Keep in mind that your iOS device should not get hot when being charged. If so, then replace your charger.

3 thoughts on “Eight Battery Saving settings for your iPhone and iPad

  1. Dot

    It should be: Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services. Thanks for the hint; I didn’t even know that System Services existed.

  2. forkboy1965

    I have always been a firm believer in doing what I could to extend battery life on my iPhones (3GS, 5 and now 6 Plus). I kill off notifications for almost everything. I fetch e-mail. Location services is off until I need it for something (I really wish Apple would add the ability to turn on/off Location Services from the Control Center – I think that would be more useful than Orientation Lock by a country mile).

    But I have to admit the battery life on my new 6 Plus is simply outstanding (at least in comparison to the 3GS and 5). On days when I’m not using the phone as hard-core as usual I can get almost 2-days out of it. Amazing.

    I’ve actually decided to leave on Location Services for Find My iPhone, which i never used before because of how Location Services would just kill my battery on a daily basis.

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