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iOS 7 Battery Life Tips

iOS 7 Battery Life Tips

published by Chand Bellur
October 14, 2013 at 5:07 p.m. PST

After every major iOS upgrade, some users complain about diminished battery life. The tips featured in this article can help you get the most out of your iPhone’s battery. These tips will work on any iOS 7 device — an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

New operating systems have new features, many of which can drain the battery. It’s also necessary to maintain the battery monthly and after major upgrades. By turning off some of the unnecessary features and maintaining the battery, one shouldn’t experience battery life problems with iOS 7.

These tips should be followed as needed. If you need to use Bluetooth all the time, for example, don’t turn it off. Turn off the features you don’t need, and you will improve battery life. Since the iPhone’s battery lasts a very long time, you should be able to find an optimal balance between features and battery life.

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Calibrate Battery

Even though Apple provides battery maintenance instructions, they’re often overlooked. To prolong the life of your iPhone’s battery, it is important to calibrate the battery once a month and after major (and sometimes minor) upgrades. Follow the instructions in this article to calibrate your iPhone’s battery.

Keep in mind, after major upgrades, iOS does some housekeeping. An optimization process runs in the background. You device will seem sluggish at first, and your battery will drain faster than normal. Don’t worry. When the optimization process is complete, your device will run faster and battery life will improve. When I first upgraded to iOS 7, I was upset with the poor performance. I put my iPad down for 20 minutes, and when I used it again, it was much faster. The optimization process doesn’t take long, but will vary based on device speed and available storage capacity.

Turn Off Bluetooth

After upgrading to iOS 7, I noticed that both my iPhone and iPad had Bluetooth turned on. These were turned off prior to the upgrade. Furthermore, it seems my iPad will turn on Bluetooth after being restarted. While Bluetooth isn’t a huge battery drainer, it will impact battery life. You can turn off Bluetooth by sliding your finger up from the bottom to launch Control Center. Next, tap the Bluetooth logo to toggle Bluetooth on and off. If you use Bluetooth a lot, just leave it on. It doesn’t drain the battery that much, especially on newer iOS devices.

Lower Screen Brightness

The backlight is one of the most battery-intensive features. Adjusting screen brightness will have a huge impact on battery life. Of course, you need to be able to see the screen. Make sure that Auto-Brightness is turned on (Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness > Auto-Brightness > ON). This will automatically dim your screen in low light conditions, eliminating the need for manual adjustment. Some contend that Auto-Brightness will drain the battery more than manual adjustment. I haven’t found this to be true. If you choose to manually adjust brightness, simply launch Control Center and adjust the brightness. I usually turn brightness all the way down when I watch video over AirPlay. I can stream an hour-long live news broadcast, and it only drains 4% from my iPad’s battery.

iOS 7 Auto-Lock settings

You may also want to set Auto-Lock to Never (Settings > General > Auto-Lock) when using AirPlay. If not, when the lock screen activates, it could stop your video, especially if you pause it with your Apple Remote. This isn’t a battery tip, but just some good advice. Indeed, setting Auto-Lock to Never could drain your battery fast, if you forget to lock the screen when not in use. Remember to set Auto-Lock back when you’re done. Lower time intervals will save more battery life.

Turn Off the Parallax Effect

iOS 7 introduces a new design — one that is paradoxically flat and three-dimensional. I happen to like the design, although some of the icons are a bit goofy. Many people don’t like the new design. Some claim the zooming and motion make them sick. Whatever you feel about the iOS 7 UI, it does drain battery life more than its predecessor. The parallax effect on the home screen, in particular, is quite battery intensive. It uses the motion sensor on your iPhone to give the illusion of motion over a three-dimensional background. Turning this off (Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion > ON) will improve battery life. I have left this feature on, because I think it’s cool and well worth the electricity it consumes.

Turn Off AirDrop

AirDrop is the new feature in iOS 7 that Apple copied from, uh, Apple. AirDrop was released in OS X Mountain Lion a few years back. The new feature allows users to share content without the need to tap devices together. Turning AirDrop off (from the Control Center) will prolong battery life.

Turn Off “Raise to Speak” for Siri

If you hold your iPhone close to your face, it will activate Siri as if you are having a face-to-face conversation. This feature is amazing, but it drains battery life. The proximity sensor is continuously active in order to detect your face. If you don’t use Siri often, turn this feature off (Settings > General > Siri > Raise to Speak > OFF). You can still launch Siri by holding down the home button.

Turn Off Data Fetching

Push mail may be essential for the corporate user, however, most people don’t have urgent emails. Many people can make do by checking email manually. Turning off data fetching will save battery life, as iOS doesn’t need to constantly poll the mail server in the background. In fact, turning this off has a dramatic effect on battery life. You can turn off push mail from Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data. You may also want to turn off pushing data from iCloud. The more you do manually, the longer your battery will last. If you choose to get data manually, the email or iCloud data will appear when you open the corresponding app. This works well for me, but may not be ideal for many corporate users. These settings have a huge impact on battery life.

Turn Off Background App Refresh

Introduced in iOS 7, Background App Refresh allows apps that aren’t even open to update themselves. For example, your Facebook app can update content even when it isn’t running. Of course, this uses up the battery and network bandwidth. Turning off Background App Refresh (Settings > General > Background App Refresh) can be done globally or for specific apps. I turned it off completely. Battery life is only part of the issue. I don’t want my network bandwidth to be choked by app refreshes. I’m fine with having the app update its content when I open it.

iOS 7 Automatic Downloads

Turn Off Automatic Downloads

Automatic Downloads is another feature that consumes battery life and network bandwidth. It could also potentially update an app with a version that’s buggy. I prefer to update critical apps only when I know the new version works well. You can turn off Automatic Downloads from Settings > iTunes & App Store.

Tune Privacy and Location Settings

Many people have concerns about privacy. Location tracking also drains the battery. While these features may make life easier, you can tune these to fit your needs, improving both battery life and privacy. Tap on Settings > Privacy > Location Services to adjust the settings. Make sure to drill down into System Services and consider disabling “Frequent Locations”. This will save a lot of battery life, at the expense of some useful features such as estimated commute times and location-specific notifications. I would actually keep this one on, unless you really need to preserve battery life. It makes your iPhone much more aware of where you go, which can be quite useful. Check out this article for more information on protecting your privacy.

Use A Still Wallpaper

iOS 7 introduced dynamic wallpaper. Using the iPhone’s sensor, the wallpaper moves along with the device. This is a neat feature, but it’s not necessary. I find that the parallax effect seems to work better with static wallpaper. To select a different wallpaper, go to Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness, then tap your existing wallpaper. Choose one of the provided stills or any image from the camera roll.

Activate Airplane Mode

Airplane Mode is great for complying with FAA regulations. It’s also a great way to preserve battery life. If you need to use your iPhone, but don’t need to use wireless services, simply switch to Airplane mode. Keep in mind, Airplane Mode disables Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, location services, and cellular (voice and data). Every wireless service is disabled. If you get a phone call, it will roll over to voice mail. You can manually enable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Airplane Mode is great if you just want to watch a downloaded movie, listen to downloaded music, create music with GarageBand or play a video game.

Turn Off 4G

4G uses more energy than 3G. You can save battery life by switching off 4G. I would only recommend this if you are desperate to save battery life. 4G is a great feature and usually offers greater network bandwidth than 3G. My iPhone runs on Verizon 3G and my home Internet runs on Sprint 4G. Verizon 3G is often faster. Since your iPhone is serviced by the same company, however, 4G will likely be faster than 3G. You can test this using Speedtest.net. If 3G is close enough or faster, switching off 4G/LTE may be a viable option.

If you choose to turn off 4G, navigate to Settings > Cellular. Then switch off Enable 4G or Enable LTE, depending on your model and carrier.

turn off vibrate mode to save battery life

Turn Off Vibrations

A lot of energy is used to produce vibrating alerts. There is an actual motor, a physically moving part, which consumes electricity. Turning off vibrations can preserve battery life. Consider lowering your ring tone volume (using the volume buttons on the side of your device) instead of relying on vibrations. The vibrating alert does make noise, so a quieter ring tone is a good substitute. You can turn off vibrating alerts from Settings > Sounds. I would not recommend this for the corporate user who is in a lot of meetings. Even though the vibration makes noise, it is conventionally accepted. A quieter ring tone will be considered disruptive, even if the volume is comparable to a vibrating alert.

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Close Unused Apps

Open iOS apps go dormant as the system frees up resources to run other apps. For the most part, you don’t need to actively close apps, as iOS will manage resources for you. There are some apps that run in the background when open. Even when they go dormant, a background thread still runs and updates the app. This is different from Background App Refresh, which updates closed apps.

To close apps, simply double tap the home button (or swipe four fingers up on the iPad) to display the multitasking view. Close apps by swiping them upward. You can even uses two or three fingers at a time to close multiple apps simultaneously.

Survival Mode

You can dramatically extend your iPhone’s battery life by going into survival mode. This is a practice, not a software setting. Simply power down your iPhone (hold the sleep/wake button and swipe “slide to power off”) and power it back up only when you need it. Make sure to turn the brightness all the way down and turn off Auto-Brightness. In this scenario, you want to use the least amount of power possible.

This practice works well if you are camping or traveling without a charger. Any calls you receive will roll over to voicemail. Of course, you must limit the frequency of powering up your iPhone as well as limiting overall use. If you’re powering up your iPhone 20 times a day, you’re better off just leaving it on. Using this survival mode practice, I was able to get my iPhone to last two weeks before it ran out of juice.

All of these battery life tips, when taken together, will dramatically improve your iPhone’s electrical stamina. I personally do not use all of these. A lot of these battery-consuming features are useful. Alter the settings as appropriate, and you will see improvements. That said, even with all of the battery-draining features, an iPhone can often go for two or three days without a charge. I have employed some of these tips, and I charge my iPhone about once in 4-5 days. The iPhone has a great battery and iOS is designed to make the most of it. These tips will help you squeeze as much battery life out of your device as possible. For further information about lithium-ion batteries, check out this article.

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