10 top tips to save your iPhone battery life

Save iPhone battery life icon

Apple iPhones aren’t exactly renowned for their long battery life - the desperate search for a charger and plug socket is all too familiar for a lot of iUsers.

The good news is that there's a thing or two you can do to make yours last longer. In fact, we've got 10 tricks to help you avoid being that person running around like a headless chicken looking for a place to charge up. Read on to find out what they are…

1. Update iOS

Updating your iPhone to the latest version of iOS will get you more up-to-date software, which includes energy-saving tech and other ways to cut down on your phone's battery usage.

Do this by going to Settings - General - Software Update. If there's a new version available, you'll see a button that says 'Download and install'.

Big software updates can use up a lot of power and data - so before you get downloading, connect to Wi-Fi and plug in your phone.

2. Turn on Low Power Mode

You'll only really need this when you reach your last few percentage points of battery life. Low Power Mode switches on some extreme power-saving settings: it makes your screen less bright, optimises performance, minimises animations, stops things downloading in the background, and disables a bunch of features that aren't necessary right now (like AirDrop and iCloud sync). Then, once your battery re-charges, Low Power Mode switches itself off again automatically. It's clever like that.

To turn it on, go to Settings, then Battery, and select Low Power Mode.

Using smartphone while charging

3. Disable things you're not using

The cool thing about smartphones is all the stuff they can do. But, sadly, that stuff can also be a bit of a drain. When you're not using them, it's best to disable:

  • Wi-Fi
  • Cellular data (3G, 4G, or LTE)
  • Bluetooth
  • Location services
  • AirDrop
  • iCloud
  • Hey Siri
  • Fitness tracking

Some can be turned off by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen and de-selecting the icon, though for others you'll need to dip into the Settings.

In fact, when you don't need to access a network at all - or when your phone's struggling to connect to one - it can't hurt to just switch Airplane Mode on. The antenna is a big battery guzzler.

It's also worth mentioning that connecting to the internet through Wi-Fi uses less power than a cellular (3G or 4G) connection, so if you have a choice it's always best to use Wi-Fi.

4. Give the screen a break

Your iPhone's display has up to a couple of million pixels, all of which need to be lit up, so it's no surprise that it's one of the biggest drains on the battery. So let's get to work reducing that.

First, turn down the brightness, by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and dragging the brightness bar to the left. Or, turn on Auto-Brightness. This detects how much light is in your surroundings and adjusts the brightness of the screen accordingly - meaning it's never lit up more than it needs to be. You'll find this option in Settings - Display & Brightness.

Your other option is to auto-lock the screen. This'll automatically send your phone to sleep when you're not using it, thus saving that precious battery life from powering the screen. Go into Settings - General - Auto-Lock, and select the lowest option - probably 30 seconds.

5. Deal with those pesky apps

There's a handy tool in iOS 8 and beyond that lets you find out which apps are draining your battery the most. Head over to Settings - General - Battery - Usage, and it'll show you which ones are sucking the most power.

Facebook on Apple iPhone

Be careful when using the worst offenders - often intensive apps like games, anything that plays video, and, for some reason, Facebook. Cutting down on using them will certainly help your battery life, but in some cases it may be worth deleting or finding a less power-hungry alternative.

6. Stop apps refreshing in the background

Annoyingly, some apps guzzle your battery life even when they're not running - but the good news is that you can stop them doing that by disabling Background App Refresh. Go to Settings - General - Background App Refresh, and set it to Off.

There's also the Push feature, which looks for new updates on some apps - like checking if you have new emails - and drains your battery in the meantime. To save power you can set it to do this less often by going to Settings - Mail, Contacts, Calendars - Fetch New Data.

That said, we wouldn't recommend this if you're waiting on an urgent email.

7. …but don't quit the apps you're not using

Do you regularly double-tap the home button and close the apps you're not using? Well, stop.

It's an urban myth that doing this will save battery life, we're afraid. Quitting an app takes it out of RAM, so when you open it again your phone has to load it back in all over again… which uses up power and battery life. Far more so, in fact, than if you just left it there in the first place. After all, it doesn't mean it's running - just that it's sitting there in RAM - so it's not necessarily using up battery power.

Actually, the only time that apps you're not using drain your battery is when they're set to run in the background in Background App Refresh - so focus your battery-saving efforts on that instead.

(And don't worry about filling up your RAM. Your iPhone is clever and can remove unnecessary apps from there all by itself.)

8. Don't put it in the oven

Okay, you probably weren't planning on doing this anyway, but here's an extra warning.

Apple batteries are designed to perform well at normal room temperature - 16-22 degrees Celsius being the ideal - and being exposed to more extreme ambient temperatures can damage it and affect its lifespan. Apple defines 'too cold' as below freezing point, and 'too hot' as above 35 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit). So, don't put it on the radiator or in the fridge.

9. Disable notifications

Notifications have this irritating habit of lighting your screen up and making a noise - both of which use up a bit of battery life. If you're really running low, put your phone face down to stop it lighting up with each notification.

10. Turn down the volume

Spotify app on Apple iPhone

Yep, the volume of your iPhone affects its battery life. Turn it down if you're playing music or sound - or plug in some headphones, which use even less power. The music equaliser is also a bizarrely aggressive battery drainer, so we'd recommend switching that off too (Settings - Music - EQ).

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