How Do I Preserve iPhone Battery?

by Pu on May 12, 2011

One of the biggest problems for iPhone photographers is to save their device’s battery life. In spite of what Apple affirms about iPhone battery longevity, whoever uses iPhone camera frequently knows it is not uncommon to run out of battery at the most inappropriate moments. Sometimes, when you need to take that cool shot with your iDevice, you see your battery is gone. And you have hardly used it at all! What happened?

Here are a few tips to help you save precious iPhone battery life for when you really need it.

  1. Close all apps running in the background – As you probably know, iOS 4 allows multitasking. Unfortunately, most apps will keep on running in the background when you’re not aware of it, not only consuming battery, but also slowing down your iDevice’s performance. If you don’t need them, it’s advisable to kill all apps running in the background. To do it, double push quickly on the Home button, so that the multi-task bar is brought up; then hold your finger pressed on screen until a “-” sign appears on upper left corner of the application icon: by tapping on it, you will close the app.Turn off apps in the background - iPhone tips
  2. Lock your device – Locking the iPhone is something one tends to forget a lot, but it actually helps. Auto-lock may work fine for some, but it’s not the ideal option for regular camera users: the iPhone is locked at the wrong moments and you miss the right chance to take a good photo because the device is locked when you don’t need it. To avoid this, you can set the auto-lock to never and then lock the device manually when you really need it. To manually lock your iPhone, simply press the Sleep/Wake button on top right of your device.
  3. Disable location services – Most apps make use of location services. However, this feature consumes a lot of battery life. To avoid this, simply turn Location Services off from your Settings.Turn off location services - iPhone tips
  4. Disable Wi-fi, 3G and Bluetooth – Wi-fi consumes less than 3G or Bluetooth, but it still affects your battery life greatly. If you’re not using any of these, turn all of them off from your Settings.Turn off wi-fi - iPhone tips
  5. Disable push notifications – Many apps, especially instant messaging apps (Instagram included), use push notifications to send alerts when new data is available. This means your device is always checking for those. If you are using apps that massively use push notifications, your battery may be affected. Turning your push notifications off, you will increase your battery lifespan and you will still be able to receive data when opening instant messaging apps.Disable push notifications - iPhone tips
  6. Fetch data manually – If you don’t set it to manual from your settings, your iDevice will continuously look for new data at given intervals. Checking for incoming email, for instance, actually consumes a lot of battery life. Do you really need it?  You can both extend the time interval for auto-fetched data or you can go manual, so that new data is only retrieved when necessary.Fetch data manually - iPhone tips
  7. Set screen brightness to auto – It goes without saying: the brighter the screen, the more battery consumed. You can decrease brightness manually from the settings, but this may not be the best choice. Auto-brightness will help you setting the screen brightness according to current lighting conditions.Set Screen Brightness to Auto - iPhone tips
  8. Use airplane mode – Unless you intend on making or receiving calls, enabling Airplane Mode will help to consume less battery in areas with low or no coverage, since iPhone uses more power and therefore it consumes more battery when coverage is bad.Set Airplane Mode on - iPhone tips
  9. Turn vibration off – Many apps, also photo apps, make use of vibration extensively. Sometimes vibration is just a gimmick and you can do without it. Try turning it off.Set vibration off - iPhone tips
  10. Run a complete charge cycle per month – Lithium batteries work better when they’re kept active. Draining your battery completely before recharging it, helps the good functioning of your iDevice, so be sure to do it once in a while.Run complete charge cycle - iPhone tips

Do you have other tips? Share them with us!

zerozero31 May 12, 2011 at 7:04 am

Excellent tips. Do you know of any camera and/or editing tools that are known battery munchers?

Ron May 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Some of my photo apps do not work properly when I turn off Locations Services, so I’m not sure of globally turning it off will work in all instances.

Alysia May 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm

From my experience, I think most apps that enable location tracking are the those consuming a lot of memory. Apart from google maps, Instagram and Camera+ for me are among some that make my battery drain faster. Instagram also uses push notifications all the time, like the various twitter clients, facebook and the others. I think for some reason, maybe because it’s constanstly trying to sync, wordpress also is quite a muncher. I am not sure, but after using it for a while, the battery is always low and the phone is very hot.

Alysia May 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm

And it’s true that some apps ask you to enable location services but I think if you’re not using them there is no trouble in turning them off temporarily.

martin May 13, 2011 at 2:48 am

It’s so true, man!My battery has gotten a lot better since I have started shutting down apps in the background. Before I didn’t know there were so many apps running when I wasn’t aware. And I was wondering why everything was so slow! I would like Apple to add a feature to tell you exactly which app consumes the most in real time. That would be useful to have.

Pedro Martinez July 27, 2011 at 7:09 pm

If I leave an app opened, for example a game and just push the wake sleep button, will it drain more battery than going to the home screen first and then locking my phone?

Harry July 27, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Pedro, thanks for reading and writing and welcome to Appotography.

It is a tricky question. I looked a bit around and read some developer notes, and I think this will make no difference in the end, as most apps, when turned off, stay in background. There would be other things to consider, like the operations performed by the app when it goes in sleep mode vs those when the app is started for the first time.

In general, I would not worry about it. Any developer with direct experience of this is welcome to comment!

Misha September 21, 2011 at 4:13 am

Awesome tips, thank you!

Jane Catto February 15, 2012 at 6:01 pm

On iPhone, if you want to take a picture and your phone is locked double press home button and you can use camera without opening phone *_*

dawgseep March 9, 2013 at 10:48 pm

why don’t you just turn the phone off and not use it? that would save the most battery

David E. September 7, 2013 at 5:16 am

I know this is a really old post, but as it’s a top Google hit, I feel I need to post here.

Multitasking apps rarely, if ever, makes an impact on your battery. When an app is closed and goes to the multitasking bar, it will only continue to run in certain particular circumstances. For instance, apps that use Location Services may continue to broadcast your GPS location briefly for a few seconds after closing, but no longer. All other apps are “saved” in their present state when you close them, and that snapshot of the app is stored in memory in a passive state, using little to no power. Think of it like saving a document, closing it, and then opening it again later. It looks the same as you left it, but no processing was done while you were away from it. If an app is truly “live” in the background, you are notified by a banner across the top indicating the app running in the background. To demonstrate, start a phone call and then press the home button. The “Tap to return to call” banner indicates the phone app is still running. However, closing a game and returning to the home screen will almost never keep the game running. It’s status will be saved to memory, and if that memory is called upon by another app, it will flush it out. This is why some apps further down the multitasking line will forget where you left them.

It’s even written right on the Apple support page about multitasking.
“Multitasking doesn’t slow down the performance of the foreground app or drain battery life unnecessarily.”

Also, as a little quip, the suggesting of shutting down WiFi is useless unless cellular data is disabled, as well. Running your internet needs on the Edge (2G) network is actually more power-demanding than using WiFi where it is available. To optimize your internet-use battery mileage without sacrificing speed or convenience too greatly, go to the WiFi settings and disable “Ask to Join Networks”. Doing this reduces the number of calls on the WiFi antenna to search for nearby network devices, instead relying on finding a strong signal from a previously-joined network.

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