The 19 Best Tips to Get More iPad Battery Life (Updated for iOS 12)

iPad battery life tips
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The iPad gets great battery life — Apple claims you can use it for up to 10 hours on a full charge. But battery life is just like time and money: you can never have enough. That's especially true when you absolutely need to get something done on your iPad and your battery is heading for empty. 

There are a number of things you can do to avoid running out of juice. The 21 tips in this article shouldn't be used all the time (you wouldn't want to do without an Internet connection in most cases, for instance), but they're a good bet when you need to get better battery life from your iPad.

This article is written for iPads running iOS 12, but most of the tips apply to earlier versions of the iOS, too.

Knowing how much battery life you have left is easy if you view your battery as a percentage. Get step-by-step instructions on how to do that in How to Display Your Battery Life as a Percentage.

1. Turn Off Wi-Fi

Keeping your Wi-Fi connection on drains battery, whether you're connected to the Internet or not. That's because your iPad will be constantly looking for networks. So, if you're not connected — and don't need to use the Internet for a while — you can conserve the iPad's battery by turning off Wi-Fi. Do this by:

  1. Tapping Settings.
  2. Then tap Wi-Fi.
  3. Move the Wi-Fi slider to off/white.

2. Turn Off 4G Cellular Data

Some iPad models have a built-in 4G LTE data connection (or a 3G connection on older models). If yours has this, the iPad battery drains when 4G is enabled, whether you're using the Internet or not. If you don't need to connect to the web, or want to conserve battery more than you need to connect, turn off 4G. Do this by:

  1. Tapping Settings.
  2. Tap Cellular.
  3. Move the Cellular Data slider to white/off.
disable bluetooth in iOS 12

3. Turn Off Bluetooth

You've probably gotten the idea by now that wireless networking of any kind drains battery. It's true. So another way to save battery life is to turn off Bluetooth. Bluetooth networking is used to connect devices like keyboards, speakers, and headphones to the iPad. If you're not using anything like that and aren't planning to soon, turn Bluetooth off. Do that by:

  1. Tapping Settings.
  2. Tap Bluetooth.
  3. Move the Bluetooth slider to off/white.

4. Disable AirDrop

AirDrop is another wireless networking feature of the iPad. It lets you swap files from one iOS device or Mac to another over the air. It's very useful, but it can drain your battery even when it's not in use. Keep it turned off unless you're about to use it. Turn AirDrop off by:

  1. Opening Control Center.
  2. Tapping AirDrop.
  3. Tap Receiving Off.

5. Disable Background App Refresh

The iOS is very smart. So smart, in fact, that it learns your habits and tries to anticipate them. For instance, if you always check social media when you get home from work, it will start automatically updating your social media apps just before you get home so you have fresh content waiting for you. Cool feature, but it requires battery power. If you can live without this helping hand, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Background App Refresh.
  4. Move the Background App Refresh slider to off/white.

6. Disable Handoff

Handoff lets you answer calls from your iPhone on your iPad or start writing an email on your Mac and finish out of the house on your iPad. It's a great way to tie together all of your Apple devices, but it eats up the iPad battery. If you don't think you'll use it, turn it off:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Handoff.
  4. Move the Handoff slider to off/white.
Disable automatic app updates in iOS 12

7. Don't Automatically Update Apps

If you always want to have the latest version of your favorite apps, you can set your iPad to automatically download them when they're released. Needless to say, checking the App Store and downloading updates uses the battery. Disable this feature and manually update your apps:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap iTunes & App Store.
  3. In the Automatic Downloads section, move the Updates slider to off/white.

8. Turn Off Data Push

This feature automatically pushes data like email to your iPad whenever it's available and you're connected to the Internet. Since wireless networking always costs battery life, if you're not going to use this feature, turn it off. You'll need to set your email to check periodically (rather than when anything is available), but that's often a good trade for improved battery life. Turn this feature off via:

  1. Tapping Settings.
  2. Tap Passwords & Accounts (on older versions of the iOS, tap Mail).
  3. Tap Fetch New Data.
  4. Move the Push slider to off/white.

9. Fetch Email Less Often

If you're not using data push, you can tell the iPad how often it should check your email. The less often you check, the better it is for your battery. Update these settings by tapping:

  1. Settings.
  2. Password & Accounts.
  3. Fetch New Data.
  4. Change the settings in the Fetch section. Manually saves the most battery, but choose to fetch as slowly as you prefer.

Want to learn even more about email on iOS devices? Check out 15 of the Most Popular and Useful iPhone Mail and iPad Mail Tips​.

10. Turn Off Location Services

Another form of wireless communication the iPad employs is location services. This is what powers the GPS functionality of the device. If you don't need to get driving directions or use a location-aware app like Yelp, turn off locations services by tapping:

  1. Settings.
  2. Privacy.
  3. Location Services.
  4. Move the Location Services slider to off/white.
Use Auto-Brightness in iOS 12

11. Use Auto-Brightness

The iPad's screen can automatically adjust to the ambient brightness of the room it's in. Doing this reduces drain on the iPad battery because the screen automatically dims itself in bright locations. Turn this on via:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap General (in older versions of the iOS, this is located in Display & Brightness).
  3. Tap Display Accommodations.
  4. Move the Auto-Brightness slider to on/green.

12. Reduce Screen Brightness

This setting controls the brightness of your iPad's screen. As you can probably guess, the brighter your screen is the more juice is required from the iPad's battery. So, the dimmer you can keep your screen, the longer your iPad's battery life. Tweak this setting by going to:

  1. Settings.
  2. Display & Brightness.
  3. Moving the Brightness slider to a lower, but still comfortable for viewing, setting.

13. Reduce Motion and Animations

Starting in iOS 7, Apple introduced some cool animations to the iOS's interface, including a parallax home screen. That means that the background wallpaper and the apps on top of it seem to move on two distinct planes, independent of each other. These are cool effects, but they drain the battery. If you don't need them (or if they make you motion sick), turn them off by:

  1. Tapping Settings.
  2. Then tap General.
  3. Tap Accessibility.
  4. Tap Reduce Motion.
  5. Moving the Reduce Motion slider to on/green.

14. Turn Off Equalizer

The Music app on the iPad has an equalizer built in that automatically adjust settings (bass, treble, etc.) to improve the sound of music. Because this is an on-the-fly adjustment, it drains the iPad's battery. If you're not a high-end audiophile, you can likely live without this being turned on most of the time. To keep it off, go to:

  1. Settings.
  2. Music.
  3. In the Playback section, tap EQ.
  4. Tap Off.

15. Auto-Lock Sooner

You can determine how quickly the iPad's screen should lock when it hasn't been touched for a while. The faster it locks, the less battery you'll use. To change this setting:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Display & Brightness.
  3. Tap Auto-Lock.
  4. Choose your interval, the shorter the better.
Turn off Fitness Tracking in iOS 12

16. Turn Off Fitness Tracking

Thanks to its array of cool and useful sensors, the iPad can track your movement and activity as a way to track how much exercise you're getting. This drains battery and — unless you have your iPad on you at all times — probably doesn't really capture that much useful information (it does on the iPhone, which actually is with you almost all the time). Disable this feature to save some battery by:

  1. Tapping Settings.
  2. Tapping Privacy.
  3. Tapping Motion & Fitness.
  4. Moving the Fitness Tracking slider to off/white.

17. Don't Auto-Upload Photos to iCloud

As we've seen throughout this list, downloading and uploading data can be a big cause of reduced battery life. This is especially true of automatic uploads and downloads that happen in the background, since you don't know when they're going to occur. There is a setting on the iPad that can automatically upload every photo you take to iCloud. This might be really important for photographers, but for everyone else, it just uses a lot of battery. Here's how to turn it off:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Photos.
  3. Move the iCloud Photos slider to off/white.

18. Identify Apps That Hog Battery

One of the best ways to save battery life is to figure out what apps use the most battery and either delete them or reduce how much you use them. Apple gives you the power to easily identify those apps in a tool that's super useful, but not widely known. With it, you can see what percentage of your iPad battery each app has used over the last 24 hours and the last 10 days. This can help you decide if you need to delete battery-hogging apps. To access this tool:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Battery.
  3. The chart shows the apps and lets you toggle between the two timeframes. Tapping the clock icon provides more detail on how each app has used battery life.

19. Quitting Apps Doesn't Save Battery

Everybody knows you should quit apps that you're not using to save iPad battery life, right? Everybody is wrong. Not only does quitting apps not save any battery life, it can actually harm your battery. Learn more about why this is true in Why You Can't Quit iPhone Apps to Improve Battery Life.