Here’s the iPhone Battery Fix: Limit the Software That’s Draining It

February 20, 2014 — 3 Comments

iphone-David_Paul_Kirkpatrick

I sleep with my iPhone but the only thing I ask it to do is wake me in the morning. The truth is, a lot of other software is running  on your iPhone that is draining the battery even while you sleep. In fact, it’s draining the battery during those  busy hours as well.

In this round-up piece, I’ll  explain how you can get longer battery life out of your iPhone without sacrificing functionality with six easy-to-steps.  I don’t believe anyone should have to turn off every feature that makes the iPhone so enjoyable to use.

It’s not the battery that is truly the issue. It’s the software.

The vast majority of iPhone battery issues are software related.

If you don’t believe me, read on. Apple has created a website that explains their official stance on how to “optimize” your iPhone battery. Unfortunately, their instructions are rather wordy and don’t really get to the heart of the issue.

So why does my iPhone battery die so fast?

Here are the main reasons:

1. Push Mail

When your mail is set to push, it means that every second, your iPhone is connecting to the server and asking, “Is there mail? Is there mail? Is there mail? Is there mail? etc…” This constant flow of data drains your battery very quickly, and it makes sense if you consider it. The problem seems to be compounded for those of us who have exchange servers set up on our phones.

The fix: Go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Fetch New Data -> and turn off Push. Scroll down to change Fetch to Every 15 Minutes .The Mail app will still check for new mail every time it’s opened and send your messages right away.

If you have an exchange server set up on your phone, get ready to jump for joy! You now have all kinds of new juicy battery life!

2. Location Services

There are a few services that you probably don’t know about that can constantly drain your battery.

The Fix: Go to Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services -> and scroll all the way down to the last item, System Services. Tap on System Services to open that folder. Here’s what I suggest: Turn off Setting Time Zone if you don’t do a lot of travel, turn off Location-based iAds if you find Apple’s tracking your location to deliver you personalized ad content unnecessary, and turn off Diagnostics and Usage if you don’t think Apple needs to know exactly how you use your phone.

New in iOS 7 (and this is important), tap Frequent Locations at the bottom of the list. Yes, your phone has been tracking you everywhere you go. I personally don’t see a need for this feature and it uses a lot of battery because it is always tracking your whereabouts, so I’d suggest you turn it off.

After you’ve taken care of those pesky hidden services, make sure you turn on the location icon so you know when your location is being tracked. Not all apps are created equal. When an app uses location services, it drains the battery quickly, no matter how well the program was written.

The other piece of location services that Apple has still not gotten correct is location-based reminders. The long and short of it is, don’t use them. There is no way to make your battery last a long time if you do. This is one of those features that Apple released, but I’ve never seen anyone be able to get through a whole day on battery power when they were using that feature. It’s a cool idea, but it doesn’t work if your phone is dead.

3. Diagnostics And Usage

The Fix: Do yourself a favor and head to Settings -> General -> About -> and scroll to the bottom of the screen. Open up Diagnostics & Usage and turn off the automatic stream of data that is always sent to Apple.

4. Close Out Your Apps

Once every couple of days, make sure you close out your apps. If you have iOS 6, double tap the home button, press and hold on any one of the apps until they all start to wiggle, and then hit the red circles to close out all of your apps. If you’ve upgraded to iOS 7, double tap the home button and swipe up on each app to flick it off the top of the screen. This doesn’t delete your apps, it just clears them from the application memory. Apple’s official line on this is that apps have 10 seconds after you close them to go into a dormant mode, where they live happily until they are retrieved. In actuality, especially since all apps are not created equal, very often a battery issue is the result of an app crashing in the background. The app should have closed, but it didn’t.

Is your phone getting hot? That’s because the CPU is running at 100% all day long. It’s not designed to do that, and it’s not a hardware problem–it’s just software glitch in out in the background. Apple doesn’t like to admit that could happen, but it always does. Need proof? Go back to Settings, General, About, Diagnostics and Usage, and take a look at all of the crashing apps on your phone. It shouldn’t be hard for you to see where the problem lies.

5. Turn Off Auto-Brightness

Right above the earpiece of your iPhone, there’s an ambient light sensor that Apple uses to adjust the brightness of your display to the amount of light all around you.

The Fix: Head to Settings -> Wallpaper & Brightness and turn off Auto-Brightness. So why does turning off Auto-Brightness save battery life? Whenever you use your phone, you’ve got a little sensor asking, “How bright is it now? How bright is it now? How about now?”, etc., and not surprisingly, that drains your battery.

Turning off the Auto-Brightness feature used to be bit of a hassle until Apple released iOS 7, because you had to go back to Settings every time you wanted to adjust the brightness of your phone. Now, it’s easy. Swipe up from the bottom of your screen to reveal Command Center, and you’ll see a brightness slider right below the top row of icons – it’s the slider with the sun icons on either side. Give it a try – you might be surprised by just how bright or dark your display can actually go!

I’m going to be honest: I leave Auto-Brightness turned on my personal iPhone. Since I’ve implemented the battery saving tips above, my battery has been just fine and I haven’t seen the need to turn Auto-Brightness off. If you’re having trouble getting a full day of battery life out of your phone, try turning it off. Some people actually like having Auto-Brightness turned off so they can adjust the brightness of their display whenever they want to just the way they like it. The ambient light sensor is good, but it’s never as good as you setting the brightness of your phone yourself.

I sincerely hope that this guide helps you to enjoy your iPhone more. Leave a comment if you wish and I look forward to hearing from you about your success or failures.

6. Turn Off Your Phone Once A Week (The Right Way)

Turn off your phone once a week. An iPhone is a little computer that we carry around with us everywhere we go. Just by holding the top power button for a few seconds, sliding to power off, and turning it back on, many of the processes that you don’t see running on your phone stop running and start fresh  again. Apple designed the iPhone with ease of use in mind, and they would never tell you to do that, but imagine if you left your PC running for a month. It would slow down, and so does the iPhone.

Whatever you do, don’t hold down the power button on the top and the home button on the front together for several seconds to do a hard reset, if you can avoid it. That’s basically the same as unplugging your desktop computer from the wall while it’s turned on. It causes all sorts of software glitches and could be contributing to the problem. Don’t do it. But just to be clear, pressing down the power button and the home button together for just a moment takes a screen shot, and that’s absolutely OK to do.

iphone-David_paul_kirkpatrick

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