Make the Most of your iPhone Battery | IT With IQ

Make the Most of your iPhone Battery

. December 26, 2009 . 0 Comments

So, it goes without saying that one of the greatest flaws of the iPhone is it’s less than stellar battery life. One of the most frequent questions I get asked is how to make the most of it. What follows are all of the biggest battery drains of the iPhone. It is not necessary to turn all of these items off (nor is it advisable), but I put them all here for reference. Pick and choose what you can afford to turn off to get you through those tight battery squeezes. At the end, I will share my current settings which have proved quite successful at balancing battery life without losing¬†functionality.


1) Push Email

Push email is the blackberry-like feature of receiving an email the moment it is sent. Very useful for business execs desperate for the absolute up-to-the moment communications. Much less necessary for the rest of us who can afford to wait 5 or even 10 minutes to get a message. Of course you can always manually check for new messages and receive them instantly that way. However having push turned on requires the iphone to be constantly checking the internet for messages. This wears down the battery very quickly. If you don’t need this feature, turn it off.

2) Fetch email schedule

With push turned off your phone will check for email based on your fetch schedule which can be every 15, 30, 60 minutes or manually. Manually means messages will only be retrieved when you turn on the email app. This is OK if you are really not in NEED of getting a message, but is fairly inconvenient otherwise. I prefer hourly, although I will turn on the email app from time to time to check if I am waiting for a message.

3) Brightness, Auto-Dim and Auto-Lock

Turning the auto brightness feature off, and setting the brightness down can save some battery. Turning the auto-lock to 1 minute can also help.

4) Location Services

This is the GPS chip. Anytime an app asks you if it can use your location, this is what it’s talking about. This helps the app know where you are by checking the GPS chip for a current location. If you don’t need it, turn it off.

5) Bluetooth

This is the phone’s method of connecting to a wireless headset or audio system. If you don’t need it, turn it off.

6) Wi-Fi

Even if you are not connected to a wireless signal, your phone may be checking for one. This can also wear the battery down.

7) Notifications

Notification are used by certain apps as a way of contacting you. They consist of badges, noises, and alerts that pop onto your screen. You may not have any apps that do this, but if you do, I have learned that this is another big (and fairly useless) drain. Fortunately, this does not have to be an all or nothing. You can choose which apps you want to allow to notify you, and which you don’t.

8) The grand-daddy of battery hogs: The 3G Network

As many of you may know, there are many ways to get internet on the iphone; There is the Edge (2G), There is Wifi, and then of course there is the 3G Network. Wifi can only be used in areas where you have your own Wireless Internet connection, so that doesn’t work well out in the real world. Also, it only carries data, not voice services, so it really doesn’t assist you in the day to day needs of having a phone, so that leaves us with Edge and 3G. Many people don’t know what the true differences are between the two, so let me lay it out here. Edge is a slower earlier network that was the only network the original iphone could use. Steve Jobs told us the reason the original iPhone wasn’t 3G (an early complaint of many users) was because of the battery usage issues of 3G, and boy, he wasn’t kidding. But 3G definitely has it’s positive side as well. First off, it is significantly faster than the edge network. Secondly (and most importantly), it has the capability of allowing you to use both the voice and data network simultaneously. That means that you can be on the phone and checking email or internet at the same time. This is quite a feat… one that not even the theoretically mighty Verizon can duplicate. What this means, is that if you do not need faster internet (if you are only doing email or basic web functions), or if you do not need both data and voice functions (you are driving for example), turn 3G off.

So to sum it all up, by knowing all the places your phone loses it’s battery life, you can better choose which features you need or want. Here are my settings:

  1. Wireless On, but asking to join new networks off
  2. Bluetooth off unless I am using a headset
  3. Auto-lock set to one minute
  4. Push off, Fetch set to hourly
  5. Auto-Brightness on, brightness turned down unless it is night and dark
  6. 3G off (unless I need it, then off immediately after I no longer needed)
  7. Notifications OFF
  8. Location services ON

These settings have helped me improve my life to about 6 hours per charge in average or medium usage. It’s not perfect, but without these settings I was barely getting 3 hours on an average day.

If you have any other suggestions, please add them to the comments and maybe I will append this post.

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