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iPhone: Battery Life Saving Tips & Tricks (Updated 19 July)

iphone battery life saving tipsIntroduction:

iPhone 4 and iOS4 promises better battery life but lets face it, this hasn’t yet being proven and even if there are improvements you can just never have enough.


The key to battery management is simple; enable what you need and disable what you don’t need.


This page will be/is a fine collection of battery life saving tips and tricks that I’ve collected since I entered iPhone land.


At the moment, I’ll start with what I believe to be the most valuable tips of all.


I will write this page over a number of weeks so check back soon or bookmark it using the Share/Save links above.


They will/have all been tested on an iPhone 3GS running iOS4.


If you’ve got any more tips you like to share then please comment below.



Tip No. 1 –  Disable Push Notifications

OK so Multitasking is here now with iOS4 so we won’t need these Push Notifications anymore, right?  Wrong!  iOS4‘s multitasking capabilities doesn’t mean you can now have a dozen apps running in the background constantly polling for updates from whatever services it is that they receive their notifications from when they’re in the foreground.

On the contrary, when an application gets ‘minimized’ (for want of a better word) in iOS4 the app is actually going to sleep or as Apple officially puts it ‘suspended’ in the background.

Mostly what happens is that it saves the state of the app until you want to use it again instead of restarting everything.  So back to the point (I was talking about push notifications and battery life right :)), so Push Notifications poll every so often for updated information and alert the user via icons badges, sounds or alerts.

All of this polling in the background wreaks havoc on your battery and 99.999% of the time is totally unneccessary, so take a look at your Push Notifications and have a good think about,  Do I really need Facebook to tell me that Jack is bored or can I manually check it when I have a moment?

Agreed, some Push Notifications are dead handy and I wouldn’t live without them myself but most of them are just battery hoggers.


Here’s how to disable them: Disable Push Notifications


Tip No. 2 –  Fetch Your Mail, Don’t Push!

Closely related to the first tip, Push Mail can cause major battery drain and is in my opinion completely unneccesary.

So you’re a busy person, you get 100 mails a day and you can’t afford to get one even a minute later than neccesary…what a load of rubbish.

Push Mail, like Push Notifications, keeps a constant connection with your server and this connection causes battery drainage problems.

I recommend setting up your mail to fetch your mail from the server say every 30 minutes or a little less if you’d prefer and manually check your mail if you’re expecting something urgent.

With this solution, you’ll get all your mail at a minimum every 30 minutes, you’ll get the urgent mail immediately because you’re checking it manually and you’ll get gallons of extra battery.  Push email is no good to you if you’re phone is dead, now is it 🙂


Here’s how to do it:  iPhone Mail – Fetch, Don’t Push!


Tip No. 3 –  Disable Bluetooth

How often do you actually use your Bluetooth?  If you can honestly say you use it more than once a day then you may have good reason to leave Bluetooth enabled all the time but most of us don’t.

This is especially true while iPhone supports such a limited number of Bluetooth profiles.


Here’s how to do it:  HOWTO: Disable iPhone Bluetooth To Save Battery Life

Tip No. 4 –  Configure Auto-Lock & Passcode Lock

Auto-Lock on iPhone sounds quite self-explanatory; it locks the phone automatically after a defined period of time.

Well it does and it doesn’t.  iPhone’s Auto-Lock applies only in certain circumstances and when using certain apps.

This article discusses iPhone Auto-Lock feature and it’s impact on battery life, security and usability and provides step by step instructions on setting your Auto-Lock and Passcode Lock settings for optimum use.


Article: iPhone: Configure Auto-Lock & Suspend For Maximum Battery Life


Tip No. 5 –  Brightness to 50%, Auto-Brightness to OFF

According to Apple, “If Auto-Brightness is on, iPhone adjusts the screen brightness for current light conditions using the built-in ambient light sensor.”


Whilst this sounds awsome, in reality it makes such a small difference to your life that the battery power it takes to power the ‘built-in ambient light sensor’ is far more important to me.  I have performed extensive tests on getting the Auto-Brightness to work and the best I can come up with is that when I toggle the Auto-Brightness from On to Off and vice versa the screens brightness adjusts ever so slightly as if to confirm the setting change.


If I cover the actual sensor (located at the front beside the speaker) in bright or dark conditions the screen does nothing!  What a farce…so I recommend setting the actual brightness slider to around 50% and the Auto-Brightness to OFF.  This will save you a bit of battery and the screen will still dim if you’ve set your auto-lock as described in Tip 4.


Tip No. 6 –  Disable 3G Internet

I would suggest that it’s quite a big trade off IF you’re doing some serious browsing, downloading or uploading but if you’re doing everyday stuff like flipping through your RSS feeds, reading mail, checking the weather and so forth dsiabling your 3G might not be such a big sacrifice if it means that you’re battery will last longer.


Article: 3G, Is It Really Necessary?


More tips coming real soon…….

Have a battery saving tip to share?  Leave a comment and it could make it into this tip page with a credit to you and linkback to your website!



Wow, 5 Comments! We've got a conversation going now. Join the discussion below!

  1. Germain says:

    I find that using the airplane mode n areas where signal strength is weak to nil help to save Bat life, in that the phone dosen’t search for a signal in the blind. I do this not only when I’m flyng, but up here in Canada, many roads have poor coverage, so I only force the phone to search for a signal only when I need to use. Yes incoming calls do suffer some, but if the area I’m in is too remote, then what good is it to recieve a call only to lose-drop connection.

  2. > If I cover the actual sensor (located at the front beside the speaker) in bright or dark conditions the screen does nothing!

    This is incorrect, it takes the device about five seconds to adjust. It takes that long just in case you went into a dark place for a few seconds then returned to light.

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