iPhone Tips: Fight off the battery blues, Part 1

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Date: Thursday, March 20th, 2014, 08:29
Category: Apple, Hardware, iOS, iPhone, Software, Tips

iPhoneBatteryBattery life has always been the bane of any mobile device user, and the trend continues to this day. As handheld device manufacturers add new capabilities, more demands are placed on the battery which offsets at least some of the improvements in battery technology. Other technologies like Bluetooth LE have been developed to reduce the drain on batteries, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle plus not every device has this capability yet. Inevitably, any time Apple updates iOS there will be nearly as many people saying that their battery life was shortened as people saying it was improved. Why is this? The plain answer to the question is that every iDevice out there is different. Some people leave their iPhones at the stock settings, some customize them extensively. Some people have 10 apps total on their phone, and some have over 300 (I’m guilty of the latter). There are many other factors such as how often your phone has to search for a wifi or cellular signal, the amount of video you watch on it, and how many notifications you get, just to name a few. So what can you do about it? Other than carrying around a charger or using a battery case, here are a number of tips that I use regularly when it seems like the battery drainage has gotten excessive.

 

Turn off Wifi and Bluetooth when you don’t need it.

This is one of the easiest things to do, especially since iOS 7 introduced Control Center. If you leave wifi enabled and are not connected to a network, the iPhone spends some of its background time and power looking to see if there is a nearby wifi signal to connect to. So when you are in a car, or bus, or just when you don’t need to use wifi, keep it off. Do you really need to be connected to your work wifi network, or at the coffee shop? Sure it makes browsing a little faster, but is that speed worth the juice it is using? Personally, I only use it at home or if need to connect to a client’s network for a particular reason. When you walk out the door in the morning, just flick up Control Center and turn it off and turn it back on when you really need it. [Turn on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth]

 

Turn off Roaming

For many people, this isn’t an option due to the area’s cellular coverage, but if you live in a large urban area where your provider’s coverage is good and consistent, there is no reason to have it on. Even in areas where the signal is a little spotty, ask yourself if you can do without a constant connection, like when you are driving or at a party, where maybe you shouldn’t be worried about getting phone calls and messages.I have some friends and relatives that live in fairly rural areas and in some places it is literally impossible to get a cellular signal unless you drive to a major highway. I know Roaming won’t help, so why have my phone constantly searching for a signal? As I said, this tip isn’t as useful as the others, but it’s worth knowing about it in case you desperately need to conserve power.

 

Turn on Airplane mode at events

This is one tip I use frequently in lieu of using “silent mode”. If you are at a movie, for example, you really don’t need to be getting notifications that your friend’s girlfriend posted another cat picture on Instagram. Seriously, I use movies as a way to “unplug” for awhile. You should be able to do without your phone for two hours, unless you are on-call or it’s date night with the spouse and you are using a new babysitter. Airplane mode shuts off all the radios in your iPhone without having to power it down and saves a lot of battery power. The same policy can be applied to concerts, church, meetings, etc. [Turn on Airplane mode]

 

Kill all navigation apps if you aren’t actively using them

There have been a few times when I’d be walking around and realized that my iPhone was talking to me. What the…? Turns out I had been using an app for turn by turn directions and had paused it and then forgot about it. Somehow it got un-paused later and started giving me directions again. Even on pause, the app was tracking my location constantly so it would be ready to re-route and continue its helpful reciting of directions. This kind of tracking uses a lot of battery power, so I got in the habit of force quitting any mapping app when I was done using it, just in case. I’m not sure exactly how much power I’m saving when the apps are just doing their ‘normal’ thing in the background, but sometimes every bit counts. [iOS: Force an app to close]

 

More tips in Part 2!

 

 

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