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Reduce your battery usage with our top tips

turn off background app refresh

There are a number of features designed to make your iPhone smarter and ready for you whenever you need it. One of these features is Background App Refresh. This feature looks at the apps you use most often, the time of day that you use them, and then automatically updates them for you so that the next time you open the app, the latest information is waiting for you.

For instance, if you always check social media at 7:30 am, the iOS learns that and automatically updates your social apps before 7:30 am. Needless to say, this useful feature drains the battery.

To turn it off:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select Background App Refresh. 
  4. Either disable the feature entirely or just for specific apps that you want to use it with.
Mophie juice pack plus

If you need so much battery life that none of these tips helps you enough, an extended life battery is your best bet.

With one, you’ll get days more standby time and many hours more use.

turn off automatic app updates

If you’ve got iOS 7 or higher, you can forget needing to update your apps by hand.

There’s now a feature that automatically updates them for you when new versions are released.

Convenient, but also a drain on your battery. To only update apps when you want to, and thus manage your power better: 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Select iTunes & App Store.
  3. Find Updates in the Automatic Downloads section. 
  4. Move the slider to Off/white.
App suggestions

Suggested Apps, introduced in iOS 8, that uses your location information to figure out where you are and what you’re near.

It also determines which apps — both installed on your phone and available in the App Store — might come in handy based on that information.

It can be neat, but needless to say, it uses extra battery life by checking for your location, communicating with the App Store, etc. While this used to be controlled in the Settings app, in iOS 10 it moved into Notification Center.

Here’s how to disable it in iOS 10:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to open Notification Center.
  2. Swipe to the left to the Today view.
  3. Scroll to the bottom.
  4. Tap Edit.
  5. Tap the red icon next to Siri App Suggestions.
  6. Tap Remove.
Safari ad blocking
 The same website with ads (left) and with ads blocked (right).

One of the best features introduced in iOS 9 is the ability to block advertising and tracking cookies in Safari.

How could that affect battery life, you may be asking? Well, the technologies used by advertising networks to serve up, display, and track ads can actually use a lot of battery life. 

The battery life you save may not be huge, but combine a boost in battery life with a browser that runs faster and uses less data, and it’s worth checking out. 

Learn all about content blocking apps in Safari and how to install and use them. 

Auto brightness

The iPhone has an ambient light sensor that adjusts the brightness of the screen based on the light around it.

That makes is darker in dark places yet brighter when there’s more ambient light.

This helps both save battery and make it easier to see.

Turn Auto-Brightness on and you’ll save energy because your screen will need to use less power in dark places.

To adjust that setting: 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Display & Brightness (it’s called Brightness & Wallpaper in iOS 7).
  3. Move the Auto-Brightness slider to On/green.
reduce brightness

You can control the default brightness of your iPhone screen with this slider.

Needless to say, the brighter the default setting for the screen, the more power it requires.

You can, however, keep the screen dimmer to conserve more of your battery.

Dim the screen by: 

  1. Tapping Display & Brightness (it’s called Brightness & Wallpaper in iOS 7).
  2. Moving the slider as needed.
  1. Moving the slider as needed.
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Stop Motion & Animations

reduce motion

One of the coolest features introduced in iOS 7 is called Background Motion.

It’s subtle, but if you move your iPhone and watch the app icons and background image, you’ll see them move slightly independently of each other, as if they’re on different planes.

This is called a parallax effect. It’s really cool, but it also drains battery (and can cause motion sickness for some people).

You may want to leave it on to enjoy the effect, but if not, you can turn it off.

To turn it off: 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Select Reduce Motion.
  5. Move slider to green/On.
turn wifi off

The other kind of high-sp network that the iPhone can connect to is Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi is even faster than 3G or 4G, though it’s only available where there’s a hotspot (not virtually everywhere like 3G or 4G).

Keeping Wi-Fi turned on at all times in hopes that an open hotspot will appear is a sure way to drain your battery life.

So, unless you’re using it right this second, you’ll want to keep Wi-Fi turned off. 

To turn Wi-Fi off: 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi.
  3. Move the slider to Off/white.

You can also turn off WiFi via Control Center. To access that setting, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap the WiFi icon to grey it out.

If you have an Apple Watch, this tip doesn’t apply to you. Wi-Fi is required for many features of the Apple Watch, so you won’t want to turn it off.

Turn off hotspot

This only applies if you use the iPhone’s Personal Hotspot feature to share your wireless data connection with other devices.

But if you do that, this tip is key.

Personal Hotspot turns your iPhone into a wireless hotspot that broadcasts its cellular data to other devices within in range.

This is a tremendously useful feature, but as you may have guessed if you’ve read this far, it also really drains your battery.

That’s an acceptable trade when you’re using it, but if you forget to turn it off when you’re done, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your battery drains.

To make sure you turn off Personal Hotspot when you’re done using it: 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Personal Hotspot.
  3. Move slider to off/white.
Showing iPhone battery as a percentage

Most of the suggestions on this list are about turning things off or not doing certain things.

This one helps you discover which apps are killing your battery.

In iOS 8 and up, there’s a feature called Battery Usage that shows which apps have been sucking the most power over the last 24 hours and the last 7 days.

If you start seeing an app showing up there consistently, you’ll know that running the app is costing you battery life.

To access Battery Usage:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Battery.

On that screen, you’ll sometimes see notes beneath each item. This note provides more detail on why the app drained so much battery and can suggest ways for you to fix it.

Turn off location services

One of the coolest features of the iPhone is its built-in GPS.

This allows your phone to know where you are and give you exact driving directions, give that information to apps that help you find restaurants, and more.

But, like any service that sends data over a network, it needs battery power to work.

If you’re not using Location Services, and don’t plan to right away, turn them off and save some power.

You can turn off Location Services by following these steps:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Select Location Services.
  4. Moving slider to Off/white.
Turn off location settings

The iPhone can perform a lot of useful tasks in the background.

However, the more background activity there is, especially activity that connects to the Internet or uses GPS, will drain battery quickly.

Some of these features in particular are not required by most iPhone users and can be safely turned off to regain some battery life.

To turn them off (or on): 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Select Location Services.
  4. Choose System Services. T
  5. Turn off items such as Diagnostics & Usage, Location-Based iAds, Popular Near Me, and Setting Time Zone.
iOS 10 battery: Dynamic Backgrounds

Another neat feature introduced in iOS 8 was animated wallpapers that move underneath your app icons.

These dynamic backgrounds offer a cool interface flourish, but they also use more power than a simple static background image.

Dynamic Backgrounds aren’t a feature you have to turn on or off, just don’t select the Dynamic Backgrounds in the Wallpapers & Backgrounds menu.

Turn off bluetooth

Bluetooth wireless networking is especially useful for cell phone users with wireless headsets or earpieces.

But transmitting data wirelessly takes battery and leaving Bluetoothon to accept incoming data at all times requires even more juice. Turn off Bluetooth except when you’re using it to squeeze more power from your battery. 

To turn off Bluetooth: 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Select Bluetooth.
  3. Move slider to Off/white.

You can also access the Bluetooth setting through Control Center. To do that, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap the Bluetooth icon (the center one) so that it is grayed out.

If you have an Apple Watch, this tip doesn’t apply to you. The Apple Watch and iPhone communicate over Bluetooth, so if you want to get the most out of your Watch, you’ll want to keep Bluetooth turned on.

Turn off cellular data

The nearly perpetual connectivity offered by the iPhone means connecting to 3G and speedy 4G LTE cellular phone networks.

Not surprisingly, using 3G, and especially 4G LTE, requires more energy to get the quicker data speeds and higher-quality calls.

It’s tough to go slower, but if you need more power, turn off LTE and just use the older, slower networks.

Your battery will last longer (though you’ll need it when you’re downloading websites more slowly!) or turn off all cellular data and either just use Wi-Fi or no connectivity at all.

To turn off cellular data: 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Cellular.
  3. Slide Enable LTE to Off/white to use slower cellular data networks while still allowing yourself to use cellular data.

To limit yourself just to Wi-Fi, slide Cellular Data to Off/white.

Turn off data push

The iPhone can be set to automatically suck email and other data down to it or, for some kinds of accounts, have data pushed out to it whenever new data becomes available.

You’re probably realized by now that accessing wireless networks costs you energy, so turning data push off, and thus reducing the number of times your phone connects to the network, will extend your battery’s life.

With push off, you’ll need to set your email to check periodically or do it manually (see the next tip for more on this).

To turn off push: 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Mail.
  3. Select Accounts.
  4. Tap Fetch New Data.
  5. Select Push.
  6. Move slider to Off/white.
Fetch frequency

The less often your phone accesses a network, the less battery it uses.

Save battery life by setting your phone to check your email accounts less often.

Try checking every hour or, if you’re really serious about saving battery, manually.

Manual checks means you’ll never have email waiting for you on your phone, but you’ll also stave off the red battery icon.

You can change your Fetch settings by following these steps: 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Mail.
  3. Select Accounts.
  4. Tap Fetch New Data. 
  5. Select your preference (the longer between checks, the better for your battery).
Auto lock

You can set your iPhone to automatically go to sleep — a feature known as Auto-Lock — after a certain amount of time.

The sooner it sleeps, the less power is used to run the screen or other services. 

Change the Auto-Lock setting with these steps:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Display & Brightness.
  3. Select Auto-Lock.
  4. Choose your preference (the shorter, the better).
Fitness tracker

With the addition of the motion co-processor to the iPhone 5S and later models, the iPhone can track your steps and other fitness activity.

It’s a great feature, especially if you’re trying to stay in shape, but that non-stop tracking can really suck up battery life.

If you’re not using your iPhone to track your motion or have a fitness band to do that for you, you can disable that feature.

To disable fitness tracking:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Select Motion & Fitness.
  4. Move the Fitness Tracking slider to Off/white.
Turn off equalizer

The Music app on the iPhone has an Equalizer feature that can adjust music to increase bass, decrease treble, etc.

Because these adjustments are made on the fly, they require extra battery. You can turn the equalizer off to conserve battery.

This means you’ll have a slightly modified listening experience – the power savings might not be worth it to true audiophiles – but for those hoarding battery power, it’s a good deal.

Go to Settings, then:

  1. Tap Music.
  2. Tap EQ.
  3. Tap Off.
Disable Cellular Calls Through Other Devices

This tip only applies if you have a Mac running OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher and an iPhone running iOS 8 or higher.

If you do, though, and both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network, calls can be placed and answered through your Mac using your phone’s cellular connection.

This basically turns your Mac into an extension of your iPhone. It’s a great feature (I use it all the time at home), but it drains battery life, too. 

To turn it off: 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Phone.
  3. Select Calls on Other Devices.
  4. Slide Allow Calls on Other Devices to off/white.
Turn off airdrop

AirDrop, the wireless file-sharing feature Apple introduced in iOS 7, is really cool and really handy.

But in order to use it, you need to turn on WiFi and Bluetooth and set your phone to be looking for other AirDrop-enabled devices.

As with any feature that uses WiFi or Bluetooth, the more you use it, the more battery you’ll drain.

To save juice on your iPhone or iPod touch, keep AirDrop turned off unless you’re using it. 

To find AirDrop: 

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Center.
  2. Tap AirDrop.
  3. Tap Receiving Off.
Dont' automatically upload photos to iCloud

As you’ve learned throughout this article, any time you’re uploading data, you’re running down your battery.

So, you should make sure that you’re always intentionally uploading, rather than automatically doing it in the background.

Your Photos app can automatically upload your images to your iCloud account.

This is handy if you want to share or backup right away, but it also sucks battery life.

Turn off auto-uploads and only upload from your computer or when you have a full battery instead. 

To do that: 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Photos & Camera.
  3. Select My Photo Stream.
  4. Move slider to off/white.
Don't Send Diagnostic Data to Apple or Developers

Sending diagnostic data to Apple — anonymous information about how your device is working or not working that helps Apple improve its products — is a helpful thing to do and something you choose during your device set up.

In iOS 9, you can also choose to send data to developers. In iOS 10, the settings get even more granular, with an option for iCloud analytics, too. Regularly automatically uploading data uses battery, so if you have this feature turned on and need to conserve energy, turn it off. 

Change this setting with these steps:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Tap Analytics.
  4. Move the sliders to off/white for Share iPhone & Watch Analytics, Share With App Developers, Share iCloud Analytics, Improve Activity, and Improve Wheelchair Mode.
Disabled Unneeded Vibrati

Your iPhone can vibrate to get your attention for calls and other alerts.

But in order to vibrate, the phone has to trigger a motor that shakes the device.

Needless to say, this uses battery and is unnecessary if you’ve got a ringtone or alert tone to get your attention.

Instead of keeping vibration on all the time, just use it when necessary (for instance, when your ringer is off). 

Find it in Settings, then:

  1. Tap Sounds & Haptics.
  2. Select Vibrate on Ring.
  3. Move slider to off/white.
Use Low-Power Mode

If you’re really serious about conserving battery life, and don’t want to turn off all these settings one by one, try a new feature in iOS 9 called Low Power Mode. 

Low Power Mode does exactly what its name says it does: it shuts down all non-essential features on your iPhone in order to conserve as much power as possible. Apple claims that turning this on will get you up to 3 hours.

To enable Low Power Mode: 

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Battery.
  3. Move the Low Power Mode slider to on/green.
killing apps doesn't save battery life

When you talk about tips for saving battery life on your iPhone, perhaps the most common one that comes up is quitting your apps when you’re done with them, rather than letting them run in the background.

This is wrong.

In fact, regularly quitting your apps in that way can actually make your battery drain faster.

So, if saving battery life is important to you, don’t follow this bad tip. 

let iphone battery run down to save life

Believe it or not, but the more often you charge a battery, the less energy it can hold. Counter-intuitive, perhaps, but it’s one of the quirks of modern batteries.

Over time, the battery remembers the point in its drain at which you recharge it and starts to treat that as its limit. 

For example, if you always charge your iPhone when it’s still got 75 percent of its battery left, eventually the battery will start to behave as if it’s total capacity is 75 percent, not the original 100 percent.

The way to get around your battery losing capacity in this way is to use your phone as long as possible before charging it. 

Try waiting until your phone is down to 20 percent (or even less!) battery before charging. Just make sure not to wait too long.

Battery life

Not all ways to save battery life involve settings.

Some of them involve the way you use the phone. Things that require the phone be on for long periods of time, or use a lot of system resources, suck the most battery.

These things include movies, games, and browsing the web. If you need to conserve battery, limit your use of battery-intensive apps.