iPhone Battery-Saving Tips

Simple energy-saving techniques make a difference

iPhones charging

 Muriel de Seze/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Modern portable devices like the iPhone are great at streaming digital music, movies, and music videos, but constant use of these media services can cause your iPhone to run out of battery power. Turning off some of the services and apps that typically run in the background can preserve battery power for your favorite media.

If you've haven't tweaked the iPhone's settings to optimize power usage yet, you are probably recharging the battery more than is necessary. The battery's finite lifespan makes getting the most out it between charges is essential.

If you frequently use your phone for digital media playback, you need to focus on what you can do to make your iPhone more efficient at playing music and videos.

Instructions in this article apply to iPhones running iOS 12 or iOS 11, although similar instructions are available in earlier versions of the iOS.

Use a Music Service's Offline Mode

Streaming music uses more of the iPhone's battery reserves than playing locally stored audio files — either the ones you directly downloaded or synced. If the streaming music service you use supports an offline mode (Apple Music and Spotify are two that do), use it to download your most frequently played songs. If you stream songs multiple times, it makes sense to download them to your iPhone providing storage space isn't an issue. You can then listen even when there's no internet connection.

See Which Apps Are Battery Drainers

If you're running iOS 8 or higher, there's a battery usage option in the Settings menu where you can view which apps (by percentage) are using the most battery power. Streaming apps, in particular, are battery killers so shut them down if you're not listening to any music. To see the power-hungry apps:

  1. Open the Settings app from the iPhone Home screen.

  2. Scroll down and tap Battery.

  3. View your phone's usage times and activity for the last 24 hours or last 10 days and then scroll down to the apps that are listed in order by those that use the most battery power. See which ones you can use less often. Pay particular attention to the ones that are marked Background Activity.

    Battery usage by app breakdown

Use Earbuds/Headphones Instead of Speakers

More power is required to listen to music over the iPhone's internal speaker or using a wireless setup than to listen via the wired earbuds that came with the iPhone. Using your earbuds reduces the amount of power needed.

Limit Background App Refresh

The background app refresh feature keeps your apps up to date all the time, so they are ready to go when you are. Turning off background refresh for most apps or limiting the feature to Wi-Fi connections only both save battery power.

  1. Open Settings and select Background App Refresh.

  2. If you want to leave the feature turned on to refresh through both Wi-Fi and cellular connections, deselect any of the apps in the list that don't need background refresh.

  3. Otherwise, tap On next to Background App Refresh.

  4. Tap to place a check mark next to either Off or Wi-Fi, neither of which affect battery usage.

    Path to limit background app refresh

Turn Your Screen's Brightness Down

Screen brightness is a huge power drain. Reducing your screen's brightness is a quick way of saving battery life.

  1. Open Settings on the iPhone.

  2. Tap Display & Brightness.

  3. Move the slider to the left to dim the screen and save battery power.

    iPhone Display & Brightness settings

Disable Bluetooth

Unless you are currently streaming music to a set of Bluetooth speakers, it's a good idea to disable this service. Bluetooth unnecessarily drains your battery if you're not using it for anything. Here's how:

  1. Open Settings on the iPhone.

  2. Tap Bluetooth.

  3. Move the slider next to Bluetooth to the Off/white position.

    Bluetooth settings

Disable Wi-Fi

When listening to locally stored music, you don't need Wi-Fi unless you want to stream to wireless speakers. If you don't need the internet (via a router for example), you might as well temporarily disable this battery drainer.

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap Wi-Fi.

  3. Move the slider next to Wi-Fi to the Off/white position.

    Wi-Fi settings on iPhone

Turn Off AirDrop

AirDrop for sharing files is enabled by default. Although convenient, it is a security risk and uses battery power while running in the background. It makes sense to turn it off if you aren't using it.

To turn off AirDrop:

  1. In Settings, tap General.

  2. Select AirDrop.

  3. Tap Receiving Off to place a check next to it, indicating the feature is turned off.

    Path to turn off AirDrop on iPhone

Download Music Videos Rather Than Streaming

Watching videos from sites like YouTube usually involves streaming. Downloading music videos instead saves power.

Disable the Music Equalizer

The EQ feature is great – if you use it, but it is CPU intensive. To turn it off:

  1. Open Settings and tap Music.

  2. Select EQ in the Music screen.

  3. Tap Off to place a check by it, indicating the feature is off.

    Turning off EQ in Music settings

Disable iCloud

Apple has made iCloud seamlessly work with all your devices. The problem is that convenience usually comes at a price, and iCloud is no exception. Disabling this automatic service for most of your apps saves power, which you can put to other uses. To disable iCloud:

  1. Open Settings and tap your name at the top of the screen.

  2. Choose iCloud.

  3. Review the apps that are currently using iCloud to sync with your other devices and for other purposes. Turn off the ones you don't need.

    Turning off apps that use iCloud

Don't get carried away and turn off the iCloud connection for all apps. If you lose your phone or if it is stolen, you need Find My iPhone. If you back up to iCloud, leave iCloud turned on for that feature.