What is the most critical technology to any mobile device? It’s not the screen quality or size. It’s not the storage space or cloud services. It’s the battery. Because without the battery it doesn’t matter how advanced your phone is. If you can’t turn it on it’s less useful than a pen and pad of paper. That’s why my iPhone is the most brilliant device in the world for the first half of the day and the most worrisome for the last half of the day.
And installing iOS 11 didn’t make my worries much better. As with all X.0 releases, there are some battery drain issues on certain devices, but they’ll no doubt be certain to be resolved in upcoming updates. Until then, I’ve gone back to using some tried and true tricks to make my battery life last longer. Here are 11 of my favorites.
Enable Low Power Mode
This is probably the #1 way you can help save your iPhone’s battery. The setting has been around for a few iOS generations, but that doesn’t make it any less helpful. Low Power Mode suspends things like background app refresh, auto downloads, mail fetching and more automatically when your iPhone battery hits the 20% mark. To turn it on go to Settings > Battery.
Turn on Auto-Brightness
Increased screen brightness takes up a TON of battery power. This is because the extra light required to illuminate your screen requires a lot of energy, draining your battery faster. Screens generally require less light in darkness and more light when it’s bright outside. To have your iPhone adjust to external brightness levels automatically go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations and toggle the Auto-Brightness switch to ON (green).
Reduce Screen Brightness Manually
If Auto-Brightness isn’t doing it for you, you can also set the brightness levels automatically. Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > and reduce the brightness level by adjusting the slider. This will set the maximum value of screen brightness and can do a lot to saving that extra battery charge.
Stop Those Motion Effects
The parallax effect is the name given to the slightly moving icons and notifications in iOS when you move your iPhone. Apple created the parallax effect to give the flat icons some depth. However, as with any process that requires movement, the graphics capabilities needed to do this eats up battery life. To disable this effect go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion > and toggle the switch to ON (green).
Disable Dynamic Backgrounds
Another motion feature in iOS is the dynamic backgrounds. These are the wallpapers that have subtle movement in them. They look cool, but that movement is eating into your precious battery life. It’s best to use a still image for your wallpaper. To get rid of the dynamic images go to Settings > Wallpaper > Choose a New Wallpaper and select a wallpaper from the “Stills” selection.
Prevent Background App Refresh
Background App Refresh is a feature in iOS that enable apps to learn when you frequently check them. This allows the apps to predict when you'll next check them and sees them pining their servers right before you do so they can pull the latest data and have it ready and waiting for you when you open the app. It’s a really handy feature except in that it leads to battery drain since these apps are running in the background. To disable Background App Refresh go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh > Background App Refresh and select “Off” or just toggle individual apps ON or OFF on the previous screen.
Turn Off 4G
4G is another blessing of modern mobile networks, but it uses a lot more power than traditional 3G networks. Thankfully any iPhone that can connect to a 4G network can also still connect to a 3G network--and anywhere you can get a 4G signal you can almost certainly get a 3G signal. So if you’re running low on power and the fastest Internet speeds aren’t a priority at the moment, disable 4G on your iPhone. To do this go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Enable 4G and select “Off”. Again, with this turned off you can still access mobile data and make and receive calls via 3G.
Turn Bluetooth Off
The latest iPhones have Bluetooth 4.0 or higher. And while Bluetooth 4.0 and above uses a lot less power than earlier versions of Bluetooth it still takes up power needlessly when you leave it on and don’t intend on connecting to any Bluetooth devices. To quickly switch Bluetooth off simply swipe up from the bottom of any screen in iOS 11. This will bring up the Control Center. Tap the Bluetooth button so it turns grey. This disables Bluetooth.
Turn Off Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi is another connection technology we generally don’t need when out and about. It’s more important when we are in our home or office as using Wi-Fi doesn’t eat into our data plans. But having it enables all the time means our phones are constantly looking to join Wi-Fi networks as we traipse across the city or take a ride on the train. The result is battery drain. To quickly switch Wi-Fi off simply swipe up from the bottom of any screen in iOS 11. This will bring up the Control Center. Tap the Wi-Fi button so it turns grey. This disables Wi-Fi.
Turn Off App Location Services
Location Services allows apps to know where you are based on your GPS or Wi-Fi triangulation. This is handy for a number of apps, but it drains battery power. Also, some apps request your Location Information yet it does you little good (these apps use it for targeted ads, for example). To save battery go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > and toggle the switch to OFF (white) to turn off all Location Services (not recommended) or set individual apps to “While Using” or “Never”.
Turn Off System Location Services
Just because you’ve tweaked individual app access to Location Services doesn’t mean you can’t get some further battery savings from disabling the feature in other places. The core of iOS uses Location Services for many other functions--some of which are pointless to you. go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > and scroll down until you see System Services. Tap that and toggle the switches to OFF (white) to disable individual system Location Services.