How To

How to save battery life on an iPhone

Zuzanna Blaszkiewicz


The advancements in iOS 7 mean that the battery life on your iPhone may drain more quickly than previous versions of iOS, especially if you’re using an older iPhone or iPad. While some battery draining problems are legacy issues from iOS 6, other new features have had a significant impact on resources.

Similarly, some apps are a lot more guilty than others: Facebook has proven to eat away at your battery, while an app like Moves, which tracks your location 24/7 with GPS, really does a number on your phone.

How to save battery life on an iPhone

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to help improve the battery life of your iOS device.

Turn off location services

GPS for Google Maps is useful, but knowing where the nearest Starbucks is at all times is probably overkill. Turn off location settings for apps that probably don’t need it by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and toggling accordingly. If you’re really in a crunch, turning off Location Services for apps like Facebook and Moves really helps.

Disable Background App Refresh

Background App Refresh is a really useful feature that lets your apps automatically update with information so that when you open them, you have the latest info from the app waiting for you. Similar to location services, however, you don’t need the function enabled for every app.

Background App Refresh

If it’s an app that you’re consistently using, leave it on, but if it’s one that’s being updated without you ever even opening it, it’s worth turning off the automatic refresh.

Don’t quit all apps in multi-tasking

The multi-tasking function might make it seem like you’re running a ton of apps in the background, and this may be true, but you only need to close the ones that are using Background App Refresh or Location Services. Apps not using these functions are actually just suspended where you left them and aren’t running in the background. If you close the app and decide to open it again, your phone will actually have to reload all the data, which drains your battery even quicker.


Simply swipe up on the app you want to close.

Check first which apps are enabled for Background App Refresh or Location Services, and if you’re not using them, turn off these functions, double tap on the home button, and swipe up on the thumbnail to close them.

Disable push notifications

Whether unnecessary or just annoying, you may want to disable push notifications for apps that you don’t particularly need them for. By going into the Notification Centre, you can choose which apps you want notifications from, as well as what type of notification. It’s also a good idea to disable the ‘Show on lock screen’ feature so that notifications won’t be pushed to your sleeping phone.

Push notifications

Turn off push email notifications

Depending on your email and server settings, automatic push emails may be putting a lot of stress on your battery. If you don’t need to get notifications every time you receive an email, set your email notifications to either Fetch mails every 15, 30, or 60 minutes, or manually, so that you only get emails when you’re in the mail app. You can also disable push emails for only specific accounts.

Email notifications

Turn on Airplane mode

Your battery can take a huge hit if mobile reception is bad because you’re phone’s constantly searching for a good signal. If you’re in a place where you know you can’t get good mobile reception, switch to airplane mode to prevent your phone from constantly searching for a signal. It’s even easier to turn airplane mode on and off from the lock screen with the Control Center.

Control Center Airplane Mode

Disable automatic updates

It might be a good idea to disable automatic app updates. There’s an option that’ll let your apps update only over Wifi, but if you really want to save battery life, then it might be a good idea to turn them off altogether and do updates manually when necessary. It’s as simple as going into Settings > iTunes & App Store and unchecking Updates in Automatic Downloads.

Disable automatic updates

Disable data download for some apps

You might not want to use some apps over a 3 or 4G connection, something which could eat up battery life if there isn’t any good reception. In this case, it’s smart to disable cellular data for apps that you aren’t using often, or that you only want to use via Wifi. Go to Settings > Cellular and scroll down to the section that says Use Cellular Data For.

From here, you’ll see all the apps on your phone and how much cellular data each app uses. You can turn off cellular data for the ones you only want to use when on Wifi, or uninstall some apps if necessary.

Adjust screen brightness

Don’t assume that the automatic brightness feature knows exactly when you need to adjust your screen to conserve battery power. If you’re using the iPad in low light, for example, leave the brightness at a minimum acceptable level. It’s always had a big impact on the battery, and it’s no better in iOS 7. Adjusting the screen brightness is also really easy from a quick swipe up to the Control Center.

Long haul or quick fix

Some of these tips may help conserve battery life with daily use, while others may be best to use when you’re in a crunch and really need to save up energy. Either way, they’ll hopefully help you get a little bit better use from your iPhone running iOS 7.

If you want to do some more iPhone management, check out our tutorial on how to clean up your iPhone memory.

Original article published November 12, 2013.

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