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

Don't run out of power when you need it most

iPad battery life tips
image credit: Buena Vista Images/DigitalVision/Getty Images

The iPad gets great battery life. Apple claims you can use it for up to 10 hours on a full charge. However, battery life is like time and money: You can never have too much. That's particularly true when you must do something on your iPad, and the battery is heading for empty. 

You can do several things to avoid running out of juice at a critical moment. The tips here shouldn't be used all the time—you wouldn't want to do without an internet connection in most cases, for example—but they're good options when you need to extend the battery life of your iPad.

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

Turn Off Wi-Fi

Your iPad's Wi-Fi connection drains the battery, whether or not you are using it connected to the internet. That's because your iPad constantly looks for networks. If you're not connected and don't need to use the internet for a while, you can conserve the iPad's battery life by turning off Wi-Fi. Here's how:

  1. Tap the Settings app on the iPad Home screen.

    iPad Home screen showing Settings app
  2. Tap Wi-Fi in the left pane.

    Wi-Fi settings screen on iPad
  3. Move the Wi-Fi slider to off/white to disable the Wi-Fi connection.

    Turning off Wi-Fi in iPad settings

Turn Off 4G Cellular Data

Some iPad models have a built-in 4G LTE data connection (or a 3G connection on older models). If your iPad has a cellular connection, 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. To do this:

  1. Tap Settings on the iPad Home screen.

  2. Tap Cellular in the left pane.

  3. Move the Cellular Data slider to off/white to prevent any cellular connections.

Turn Off Bluetooth

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

  1. Tap Settings on the iPad Home screen.

  2. Tap Bluetooth in the left pane.

    Bluetooth settings on iPad
  3. Move the Bluetooth slider to off/white.

    Turning off Bluetooth in iPad Settings

Disable AirDrop

AirDrop is another wireless networking feature of the iPad. It swaps files from one nearby iOS device or Mac to another over the air. It's 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. To turn off AirDrop:

  1. Open Control Center on iPad with iOS 12 by swiping down on the screen, starting at the upper right corner. On earlier iOS versions, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

  2. Tap the AirDrop icon, which is located immediately to the right of the Airplane Mode icon.

    Control Center on iPad with iOS 12
  3. Tap Receiving Off in the pop-up screen.

    AirDrop pop-up screen

Disable Background App Refresh

The iOS is designed to anticipate your needs. For example, when you check your social media accounts after work, they are already updated so you have fresh content waiting for you, courtesy of the Background App Refresh setting. Cool feature, but it requires battery power. If you can live without this helping hand, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings on the iPad Home screen.

  2. Tap General in the left pane.

  3. Tap Background App Refresh.

    The General Settings screen on iPad with iOS 12
  4. Move the Background App Refresh slider to off/white to prevent all the apps in the list from loading content in the background.

    Off setting for Background App Refresh in iPad

If you don't want to disable all the apps in the list, leave the Background App Refresh slider at on/green and use the sliders on each individual app in the list. The more apps you turn off, the more battery power you save.

A selection of apps allowed to refresh in the background on iPad

Disable Handoff

Handoff lets you answer calls from your iPhone on your iPad or start writing an email on your Mac and finish outside the house on your iPad. It's a great way to tie together all 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 on the iPad Home screen.

  2. Tap General in the left pane and select Handoff on the main screen area.

    General Settings screen showing Handoff option
  3. Move the Handoff slider to off/white.

    Handoff Settings screen on iPad with iOS 12

Don't Automatically Update Apps and Music

If you always want to have the latest version of your favorite apps, music, books, audiobooks, or system software, 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 and other downloadables instead. Here's how:

  1. Tap Settings on the iPad Home screen.

  2. Tap iTunes & App Store in the left pane.

  3. In the Automatic Downloads section, move the sliders next to Music, Apps, Books & Audiobooks, and Updates to off/white.

    iTunes & App Stores settings in iPad with iOS 12

If you don't want to stop all automatic downloads, you can selectively choose to leave one or more of the sliders turned on.

Turn Off Fetch New Data

The Fetch New Data setting automatically pushes data such as email to your iPad whenever the data becomes available and the iPad is connected to the internet. Since wireless networking costs battery life, if you're not going to use this feature, turn it off. Setting your email to fetch periodically (rather than when anything is available) is a good trade for improved battery life. Here's how to make this change:

  1. Tapping Settings on the Home screen of the iPad.

  2. Tap Passwords & Accounts in iOS 12. (On older versions of the iOS, tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars).

  3. Tap Fetch New Data.

    Passwords & Accounts settings showing Fetch New Data option
  4. Move the Push slider to off/white.

    Fetch New Data Settings on iPad With iOS 12
  5. Select an interval for your iPad to fetch data. Choices are:

  • Manually
  • Hourly
  • Every 30 Minutes
  • Every 15 minutes.

Choosing Manually saves the most battery life, but choosing to fetch at other intervals saves some battery life.

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​.

Turn Off Location Services

Another form of wireless communication the iPad employs is location services. Some apps send you alerts based on where you are, if you allow it. Other apps such as Maps require it to function properly. If you don't need to get driving directions or use a location-aware app like Yelp, turn off location services like this:

  1. Tap Settings on the iPad Home screen.

  2. Tap Privacy in the left pane and choose Location Services in the main screen area.

    Privacy Settings on iPad with iOS 12
  3. Move the Location Services slider to off/white to disable location sharing.

    Turning off Location Services settings on iPad

If you need to leave Location Services turned on for some apps, don't change the slider next to Location Services. Leave it set to on/green and use the sliders next to the apps in the list on the screen to selectively allow some apps to access your location.

Choosing some apps to use location services on iPad

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. To turn on this feature:

  1. Tap Settings on the iPad Home screen.

  2. Tap General in the left pane and select Accessibility in the main screen area.

    General settings showing Accessibility option
  3. Tap Display Accommodations.

    Accessibility settings including Display Accommodations
  4. Move the Auto-Brightness slider to on/green.

    Auto-Brightness setting on iPad

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. Tap Settings on the Home screen of the iPad.

  2. Tap Display & Brightness in the left pane.

  3. Moving the Brightness slider to a lower, but still comfortable for viewing, setting.

    Display & Brightness settings on iPad

Reduce Motion and Animations

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

  1. Tap Settings on the iPad Home screen.

  2. Tap General in the left pane and select Accessibility in the main screen area.

    General Settings showing Accessibility option on iPad
  3. Tap Reduce Motion.

    Accessibility settings showing Reduce Motion option on iPad
  4. Move the Reduce Motion slider to on/green.

    Reduce Motion setting on iPad

Turn Off Equalizer

The Music app on the iPad has an equalizer built in that automatically adjusts settings, such as bass and treble, to improve the sound of music in specific genres. 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 turn it off:

  1. Tap Settings on the iPad Home screen.

  2. Tap Music in the left pane and select EQ in the Playback section of the main screen.

    Music Settings screen on iPad with iOS 12
  3. Tap Off.

    EQ selection in the Music Settings

Auto-Lock Sooner

You can determine how quickly the iPad's screen locks when it isn't touched for a while. The faster it locks, the less battery life is used. To change this setting:

  1. Tap Settings on the iPad Home screen.

  2. Tap Display & Brightness in the left pane and tap Auto-Lock in the main screen area.

    Display & Brightness settings showing Auto-Lock option
  3. Choose an interval, the shorter the better for improved battery life.

    Auto-Lock options on the iPad with iOS 12

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 record how much exercise you're getting. This drains battery and—unless you have your iPad on you at all times—doesn't capture much useful information. (It is more useful on the iPhone, which is with you most of the time.) Disable this feature on the iPad to save some battery life.

  1. Tap Settings on the iPad Home screen.

  2. Tap Privacy in the left pane and tap Motion & Fitness in the main screen area.

    Privacy Settings showing Motion & Fitness option on iPad
  3. Move the Fitness Tracking slider to off/white.

    Motion & Fitness setting screen on iPad with iOS 12

Don't Auto-Upload Photos to iCloud

As you can see, downloading and uploading data is a big cause of reduced battery life. This is especially true of automatic uploads and downloads that happen in the background, because 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 important for photographers, but for everyone else, it uses a lot of battery life. Here's how to turn it off:

  1. Tap Settings on the iPad Home screen.

  2. Tap your name at the top of the left panel and tap iCloud in the main screen area.

    iCloud options in the Apple ID settings on iPad
  3. Tap Photos in the iCloud settings screen.

    iCloud Settings showing the Photos option
  4. Move the slider next to iCloud Photos to off/white.

    Photos Options showing iCloud Photos

Identify Apps That Hog Battery

One of the best ways to save battery life is to figure out which apps use the most battery life and either delete them or reduce how much you use them. Apple gives you the power to 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 previous 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 on the iPad Home screen.

  2. Tap Battery.

  3. View the list of apps that appear under the charts and toggle between the two time frames to see which apps are the most power hungry. You may find a few surprises you can remove.

    Battery usage screen in iPad with iOS 12

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.

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.