Top 10 ways to maximise iPhone battery life

iPhone battery life in iOS7 depends on many factors, including how far away you are from cellular masts, or WiFi access points. You can’t really do much about that, other than to stand closer to one (don’t forget your tin foil hat!). But you can do several things to the configuration of your phone to make sure it’s not drinking valuable minutes of iPhone battery life.

So here’s a rundown of the 10 easiest ways (actually there are more, but 10 was a nice round number) to extend your iPhone battery life (and enhance your privacy).

Background App Refresh

How to find : Settings > General > Background App Refresh

iPhone Battery LifeWhen an app is in the background it can still download data – and therefore consume more power.

You probably only want things like Reminders or calendar apps to constantly keep updated in the background. It’s usually good enough for most of your apps to grab updated information when you bring them to the foreground.

iTunes & App Store

How to find : Settings > iTunes & App Store

iPhone Battery LifeiOS7 will keep your apps, music and books all updated and synchronised with your iCloud account.

When turned on, updates are done automatically via WiFi, but you can also turn on the option to Use Mobile Data if you wish (very power hungry). Best to turn all this stuff off.

If you have a burning desire to update everything in between plugging into your computer, then just turn these settings back on temporarily.

Turn off Push email

How to find : Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data

iPhone Battery LifeWhen you open the Mail app and it will do an automatic fetch immediately, so if you were desperately awaiting an email, you can either exit and go back into Mail, or just stay in Mail and swipe the screen down and let go to refresh your mailboxes. Better still, if it’s that important, use the Phone!

Without going into great depth on how the mail protocols work at the network level, here are some general rules to stick to:

  • If you only receive a handful of messages a day, then Push is just as good as Fetch – Fetching too often when there’s nothing to fetch is using power needlessly.
  • If you receive emails more than once an hour then choose a Fetch period that is LONGER than the average time between your incoming mail messages, otherwise you might as well be using Push.

Turn off AirDrop, Bluetooth and WiFi unless needed

How to find : Swipe up from screen bottom to reveal control centre, tap AirDrop

iPhone Battery LifeAirDrop is Apples close quarters sharing framework. If your family or friends also have iOS devices, then AirDrop can be great for sharing contacts, photos and files.

However, it uses both bluetooth AND WiFi, so consumes plenty of juice. If you must use it try not to leave the phone in discoverable mode (i.e. when you select the Everyone option for AirDrop in control centre).

The best option is to turn Off what you aren’t using until you need it.

Turn off a whole bunch of System Services

How to find : Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services

iPhone Battery LifeThere are a whole slew of options hidden away here, and you can decide for yourself if you want these non-essential services gobbling up your iPhone battery because they all use extra juice.

Frequent Locations – iOS7 will track and record where you go in order to build up a picture of your movements and provide helpful information in your notification centre. Quite apart from the huge privacy implications this represents, all of this data going back and forth from your phone relies on the GPS system, and cellular and/or WiFi data – yum yum – more iPhone battery minutes lost. Turn it off!

WiFi Networking – This option causes the iPhone to report back the geo-tagged description of WiFi networks it discovers to Apple for their crow-sourced WiFi hotspot database. There are plenty of other ways to find WiFi hotspots.

Traffic – This option sends anonymous data back to Apple regarding your speed and position so that traffic information can be provided by Apple.

Setting Time Zone – This option polls the GPS from time to time to check and set the correct time zone on your iPhone. Great if you are a jetsetter – not so much use if, like me, you tend to remain in one country for most of the year!

Popular Near Me – This option will periodically send to Apple locations of where you have purchased or used Apps in an attempt by Apple to provide geographically relevant app suggestions in the App store (yawn)…

Mobile Network Search – This option is used to search for cellular network towers. I’m not entirely sure how much use this is in the UK. I’ve had it disabled since getting my iPhone 5S and it’s made no difference to it’s usability. It does NOT stop the phone switching between mobile towers automatically when you are travelling around.

Location Based iAds – Yeah, because we all want more adverts delivered based on where we are. This just feeds Apple’s iAds framework with your location. Disable!

Diagnostics and Usage – Send back anonymous (if you believe that) usage and crash data to Apple.

Compass Calibration – To counter the variation (magnetic drift) depending on where you are on the globe, this option uses the GPS to update the drift values so the Compass is more accurate. If you regularly go orienteering with your iPhone and suspect the GPS system will fail you, then leave this on, otherwise…

Banners and Alerts

How to find : Settings > Notification Centre > (scroll down to apps)

iPhone Battery LifeWhen an app encounters a new notification condition (e.g. a new facebook message) – then the next big battery drain is the constant activation of the backlit display.

Therefore it’s wise to set the Alert Style for apps that receive the most notifications to None. This won’t stop the app badge from showing the little number in the red circle – it just stops your phone lighting up the room in the middle of the night!


How to find : Settings > General > Siri

iPhone Battery LifeLike Marmite, you either love it or hate it. Siri takes your query, sends it to Apple, and gets it analysed and then get’s back to you with a useful (sometimes) reply.

Siri actually sends a ton of other stuff to Apple as well, including contacts info, music collection info etc., so, from a privacy and power usage angle – disable. If you must have Siri, then disable the Raise to Speak feature.

Avoid Dynamic Wallpapers

How to find : Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness

iPhone Battery LifeTap on one of the two Choose Wallpaper options to select whether you want to use Stills or Dynamic.

Choose a design from Stills because the Dynamic ones are animated, and require constant CPU time and juice to keep moving those bubbles!

Display Auto Brightness

How to find : Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness

Not always that clever – in bright sunny conditions with your iPhone out in the open, every time it activates it will pump up the juice to that beautiful power hungry retina display. In bright conditions, it’s better to disable Auto-Brightness and turn things down to the minimum you can comfortably deal with.

Block Nuisance Calls

How to find : Phone > Recents > tap the little blue (i) in the circle, scroll to the bottom, Block This Caller

Even if you ignore nuisance calls, they are still making your phone ring, and vibrate and use up valuable juice. You can block unwanted callers on your iPhone by following this endlessgeek guide.

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