iPhone battery: Dos & don’ts

iPhone battery: Dos & don’ts

Battery life is clearly not the iPhone’s main selling point. If you make even moderate use of your phone, you’re likely to have days when the battery indicator dips into the red and you go into talk-rationing mode.

A quick web search will turn up a dozen or so well-recycled tips about how to conserve your precious battery life, but if you follow all those tips you won’t be carrying around a phone anymore; all you’ll have in your pocket is a paperweight.

The best way to conserve your phone’s battery life is not to turn everything off. Instead, you should tailor the battery usage to your needs. For instance, if you’re a big traveller, constantly changing time zones, then it doesn’t make sense to switch off ‘Time Zone’ support in ‘Location Services'; on the other hand, if you’ve never been outside the confines of your local municipality, that’s a setting you can safely disable.

Most of the battery-saving tips here fall into the same ‘Do I need it?’ category, although several basic techniques are generally useful.

The essentials

There are a handful of things everyone should do to maintain the maximum battery life of their iPhone.

  • Keep your iOS software up to date. Those vague ‘performance and reliability improvements’ that are hidden away in updates often provide battery boosts. You can easily update your software at any time by tapping ‘Settings > General > Software Update’.
  • Don’t leave your phone exposed to extreme heat or cold. For example, leaving it on your car’s dashboard in summer is a good way to reduce your battery’s lifespan.
  • Charge cycle your battery once a month. This involves completely draining the battery and then charging it completely. Doing so not only maximises your battery’s lifespan, it also ensures it’s able to take up a full charge.
  • If you recharge your phone while it’s in a case and you notice that it heats up, remove the case first. This can impair the battery capacity.


There are a couple of other battery-saving settings almost everyone should use. These include:

  • Minimise your screen’s brightness by tapping ‘Settings > Brightness’ and moving the slider towards the left. Also switch ‘Auto-Brightness’ on. Illumination is a real battery hog. With these settings, the screen will be brighter in full sunlight and dimmer indoors.
  • When you’re in an area with poor mobile phone reception, switch on Airplane Mode (‘Settings > Airplane Mode’), otherwise your iPhone will constantly search for a connection in battery-sapping fashion. As a bonus, you may find that the phone is more efficient in finding a signal when it first emerges from Airplane Mode.

A personal plan

With the basics covered, you can then use the accompanying table to pick and choose the most battery-miserly settings that don’t leave you feeling as if you’ve rendered your phone brain dead.


App notifications

‘Notifications > switch off’ for all non-essential apps


‘General > Auto-Lock’, reduce time

Apps running in the background, especially GPS and other constantly ‘searching’ apps

Double-tap to display background apps, tap and hold the app’s icon, tap red ‘Delete’ button

Bluetooth (especially on older phones)

‘General > Bluetooth > Off’

Email push

‘Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data > Push > Off’, tick ‘Manually’


‘Music > Equalizer > Off’

Graphics-intensive apps (games, movies, web browsing)

Limit usage

Location-based aids, time zone updates, traffic, diagnostics & usage

‘Location Services > System Services’ (right down the bottom), switch off any you don’t want

Siri’s raise-to-speak option

‘General > Siri > Raise to Speak > Off’


‘Sounds > Vibrate > Off’


‘Wi-Fi > Off’


iPhone battery doctor app Above: Monitor your battery use with apps like Battery Doctor Pro or for the propeller heads, Carat. Mophie Juice Pack Above: Still can’t get enough power? The Mophie Juice Pack doubles your battery life while protecting your phone (from mophie.com). TechLife magazine iPad edition