How To Extend the Battery Life of an iPhone or iPad

Close up of businesswoman text messaging on cell phone

By Tracey Dowdy

There’s few things that strike fear in my heart more than the dreaded “10% Battery Remaining” notification popping up on my iPhone. Despite the fact I work from home most days and spent the first 30 years of my life without a cell phone, that message gives my heart a little flutter.

Every time Apple releases an iOS update they tweak usage a little, so it’s a good idea to review your settings to make sure you’re getting the most out of your battery. There are a few simple fixes you can make from your Home Screen: disabling Bluetooth and Air Drop, lowering the brightness of your display, turning off Wi-Fi or switching to Airplane mode if you’re travelling. Your phone’s antenna is constantly looking for Wi-Fi service and switching to flight mode can save significant battery power.

Here are few other tips to get the most life out of your iPhone and iPad battery charge.

Switch to Low Power Mode. When your phone reaches 20% power you automatically get a pop up giving you the option to switch to Low Power Mode. Apple says it will provide up to 3 hours of additional battery life. When it’s active you don’t have access to Hey Siri, Mail fetch, background refresh, automatic downloads and some visual effects but you can easily switch in and out of Low Power Mode if you need any of those features. You can switch to Low Power Mode even if your battery isn’t at 20% or lower if you know it will be a while before you can charge again.

Delete the Facebook app. Facebook got into some hot water last year when it was reported they had apps running in the background even when the app wasn’t in use or Background Refresh had been disabled. They reportedly fixed what they called a “glitch” but there still seems to be issues. A report in The Guardian states that deleting the app and accessing Facebook through Safari can add 15% to your battery life. To see how much power it uses, go to Settings>Battery and check the Battery Usage. The app used a whopping 38% of my battery in the past 24 hours. That’s a big number.

Review Your Notifications. Every time your phone gets a Notification it wakes your phone for 5-10 seconds. That can add up if you have Notifications enabled for a lot of your apps or even one or two apps that send frequent Notifications. Go to Settings>Notifications and then select which apps you want Notifications from.

Turn Off Location Services. Many apps use location services and while it makes sense for Maps to know where I am, it doesn’t make sense for IMDB. Go to Settings>Privacy>Location Services and toggle off for each app that doesn’t need to know where you are.

Turn Off Auto-Updates. One handy new feature in iOS 7 was an auto-update so that your apps are always current when you open them. Again, this means your phone is pulling battery power for them even when those apps aren’t in use which means draining your power. Go to Settings> iTunes & App Store>Automatic Updates and select what needs auto-updating and which you prefer to update manually.

A final tip, Apple recommends draining the battery to zero every once in awhile such as every 4-6 weeks. Calibrating your battery allows the device to estimate its battery life more accurately and though it won’t make your charge last longer if you’re down to 5%, it will extend the lifespan of the battery.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

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