We live by our iPhones. We’re constantly checking email, tweeting, updating Facebook and on occasion, getting some work done on them. They are (for better or worse) at the center of our lives almost all day, so it’s important to make sure they stay alive all day, too. If you’re a habitual Angry Bird-er, or you just need to make it to the end of the day on a single charge, there are ways to extend the daily life of your iPhone’s battery that don’t require additional purchases or soldering irons. Here are five:
It’s easy to forget your iPhone’s Bluetooth is on once you’ve left your car, or that you’ve got WiFi activated where there is no signal to be found. If you find your battery goes from 100% to 10% after a few hours, kill those services when you’re not actively using them. If possible, also disable 3G – the cellular network that’s faster than EDGE and loads websites more quickly. When 3G is enabled, you’re constantly accessing the network and using battery life. If you’re in a place with WiFi and don’t need 3G, or you’re ducking into a meeting and won’t need your phone at all, turning off 3G data access can add more time to your battery’s lifespan.
Another battery-drainer is GPS, which is used primarily within Location Services. Some apps are always grabbing your present location by accessing a GPS signal and bringing the data back to your phone. These might be weather apps, navigation apps or even news apps and they all have one thing in common – they’re sucking power like it’s going out of style. If you’re stationary, or you just don’t care where you are at all times, kill Location Services and give your battery a break. You can disable them all at once, or on an app-by-app basis.
Within your iPhone’s Settings app is an option for “Brightness”. The iPhone provides two methods for managing how bright the screen is at any given time: via a manual slider, or with an “Auto Brightness” toggle switch. The slider lets you pick how bright you’d like the display to be. The switch gives the phone the power to raise or lower the brightness based on the ambient light in the room.
For daytime use, keeping Auto Brightness on is probably a safe bet. The iPhone’s ambient light sensor will detect available light and adjust the device’s display accordingly. If you’re one to catch up on email or do some browsing in bed at night, however, you might want to drag the slider all the way down manually. Not only does it conserve power, but you don’t need that much light to read in the dark and you won’t disturb your significant other while you’re reading this site. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Unless you rely on your iPhone as your personal alarm clock in the morning, shut it down before bed. It serves a variety of purposes, not the least of which is conserving power. Turning off your iPhone at night gives it a break and clears out the “cruft” that may be slowing it down during the day. You know how you restart your computer when it starts to drag and hang up on simple tasks? Your iPhone works the same way, so give it some much-needed time off.
Most (if not all) iPhone users are heavy email users, too. You’re constantly bouncing in and out of the Mail app whenever that little red badge appears and the “vrrring” sound hums in. Do you know how your iPhone automatically updates the Mail app? It uses “push” technology to talk to the server(s) at designated time intervals. Disabling push is as easy as toggling the switch to “Off” in the Settings app – just go to “Mail, Contacts and Calendars > “Fetch New Data” and flip the switch.
This means that every time you want to get your email, you’ll have to tap refresh it manually, but you’d be surprised at how much more time you can eke out of your battery by deactivating this one feature.
Yeah, this one sounds weird, but it makes sense – I swear. What “don’t use it” really means is “don’t use it when you don’t have to/can avoid it”. For example, let’s say you know you’re going to be away from a charger all day and you need to make sure your phone goes the distance in case of emergency. Avoid checking email every five minutes, don’t play Angry Birds and don’t keep clicking the sleep button to check the time. All these things contribute to accelerated battery loss.
You don’t have to make all these changes at once, or at all, but some combination of these should help you eke out a bit more life from your iPhone – or any smartphone, for that matter – daily.