How to make your iPhone 6S last an entire day

If you own an iPhone 6S, you are probably well aware of the fact that your phone is great at doing a lot of things. However, there’s one thing the iPhone falls short of, and that’s delivering amazing battery performance.

I recently used an iPhone 6S as my daily driver for about six weeks (also wrote an editorial on it), and its battery endurance drove me nuts. Hence, I started looking for solutions, because that was the only major issue I had with the smartphone. And, unlike recent Android flagship smartphones, the iPhone isn’t equipped with fast charging technology. It literally takes more than 2 hours to charge the device from 0-100%.

There’s no way the iPhone 6S can last an entire working day for a person with medium to high usage. In other words, if you actually use your phone for day-to-day tasks, you’re bound to charge it in the middle of the day, or else, you’ll just end up with a useless metal slab in your pocket/bag.

Now, let’s be realistic, we can’t really do anything about the actual capacity of the battery — it remains 1715mAh, which is about 100mAh smaller than the one inside the device’s predecessor. There are two ways in which we can extend the iPhone’s battery life: by using iOS 9’s Low Power Mode or buying an accessory. For example, a battery case or a battery pack.

First introduced in iOS 9, Apple’s Low Power Mode is designed to throttle the processor and disable or turn off Night Shift, fetching of email, recognition of the Hey Siri command, background app refresh, automatic downloads, Wi-Fi associations, motion effects, and animated wallpapers.

I was particularly interested in finding out the significance of the underclock applied to the processor, but I wasn’t able to obtain the maximum clock speed of the cores while using the Low Power Mode. In spite of that, I did run a few Geekbench performance benchmarks, before and after activating the power saving feature. Turns out, the power saving feature is throttling the processor by at least 40 percent, according to Geekbench scores, yet the effect isn’t as severe when actually using the device.

The feature itself is programmed to kick in when the device’s battery level reaches 20 percent, then a dialog box appears asking the user to either enable the Low Power Mode or dismiss the pop-up. Furthermore, if you do decide to enable it, as soon as the battery charges to 80 percent, the feature will deactivate itself, automatically — keep that in mind. With that being said, the user can manually enable the feature as well, from within the battery settings, and can keep it turned on all the time if desired.​

Here’s the thing with Low Power Mode: while it will definitely manage to get your iPhone through an entire day, it will do it at the expense of functionality and user experience. Hence, I don’t like to keep it enabled all the time and prefer the alternative, accessory, route instead.

Now, there are an infinite number of battery cases and battery packs currently out there for the iPhone. But for this piece, I specifically tested out Apple’s own Smart Battery Case, Mophie’s Juick Pack Plus, and Samsung’s 5200mAh battery pack.

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Apple Smart Battery Case

Apple Smart Battery Case
Apple Smart Battery Case | Image Credit: Apple, Inc.

Guess what? Apple knows that its smartphone delivers unsatisfactory battery performance, thus the company launched its very own Smart Battery Case for it.

Let’s start by talking about the design because it’s something we definitely have to talk about. Basically, the Smart Battery Case is an iteration of Apple’s Silicon Case, which comes in a variety of different colors has a soft-touch, smooth feeling to it, and is possibly liked by millions and millions of customers. So, what’s the problem, you may ask? Well, the problem is that Apple added a 1,877mAh lithium-ion battery to it, and now it has a very weird looking bump on the back. Now, don’t get me wrong — it does what it’s intended to do, it’s just not as beautiful as the iPhone you’ll be inserting into it.

As this is an official Apple accessory, it has a few perks up its sleeve. On the lock screen and the notification center, you get battery status of both, the Smart Battery Case and the iPhone, so you know exactly how much juice is left in your case — native iOS support. No other case has access to this particular feature, and I don’t think Apple will be opening it up for other case manufacturers to use anytime soon.

Unlike most other battery cases on the market, Apple’s case uses a Lightning port to charge itself, which makes it compatible with all other accessories who make use of the Lightning connector, such as Apple’s own Lightning Dock. Furthermore, the case and the iPhone charge simultaneously — and once both batteries reach 100 percent, the case’s battery is used first, then the iPhone’s.

Time for the negative part. If your iPhone is completely dead and you insert it into the battery case, it won’t completely charge the device, so the case doesn’t even give you a full charge — it will only fill up the battery around 75 percent. Then there’s the headphone jack issue, Apple’s EarPods work flawlessly, anything else with even a slightly larger audio jack will have issues. It would have been a non-issue if Apple was generous enough to supply a cable extender inside the box, but it doesn’t. The case is also prone to attract pocket lint.

It's available in two colors: white and charcoal gray.

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Mophie Juice Pack Plus

Mophie Juice Pack Plus | Image Credit: Mophie.

Mophie is a pioneer when it comes to battery cases. It was the first company to introduce a battery case for the iPhone back in 2007. And if you see someone on the street with a battery case on their iPhone, it’s more than likely that it’s a Mophie.

They have a complete range of battery cases for the iPhone — I tested their Juice Pack Plus case. The Juice Pack Plus comes with a 3,300mAh battery and delivers more than 120 percent extra battery life on a single charge. Design-wise, it’s a completely opposite of Apple’s offering — it’s manufactured out of plastic, instead of silicon, and it’s a two-part case. It’s also thicker and heavier than Apple’s Smart Battery Case, but that’s understandable, as it packs a much larger battery inside. It also offers significantly more impact protection, thanks to its impact-isolation system. And, yes, it does come with an extension cable for the audio jack.

Dissimilar to Apple’s usage of the lightning port, the Juice Pack Plus sports a MicroUSB connector for syncing and charging the iPhone — it does ship with a MicroUSB cable, so you don’t have to worry about buying one. This does mean that you’ll have to carry two different cables with you when traveling. There is a plus point to a MicroUSB connector — for instance, you’re at a friend or a relative’s house and they don’t own any iOS products, you can use their Android device’s charger (which is most likely to be MicroUSB) to recharge the case and the iPhone. When recharging the case, while the iPhone is plugged in, the case will recharge the iPhone to 100 percent first, and then start recharging itself — it’s not simultaneous, like the Apple Smart Battery Case.

As the Mophie Juice Pack Plus isn’t supported by iOS for intelligent battery status, it comes with an LED power indicator and an on/off switch at the back. It comes in three color variants: black, white, and gold.

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Samsung Fast Charge 5200mAh Battery Pack

Samsung Battery Pack with Fast Charging | Image Credit: Samsung.

When it comes to battery packs, the choice is literally unlimited — they come in all sizes, shapes, and price tags. I tend to opt for more well-known, reputable brands, because I know they will be using high-quality, reliable batteries in their battery packs — we don’t want our battery packs to explode or catch on fire, now do we?

The only reason I went with Samsung’s battery pack is because of its design — I mean, just look at it, it’s beautiful. The battery pack actually mimics the design of the company’s Galaxy S7 edge smartphone, with its tapered edges. It’s relatively compact and light, and easily fits in my jean’s pockets — so, if I don’t want to carry a backpack, I can just put the battery pack in my pocket.

And as it’s a battery pack and not a battery case; it can be used to charge almost anything which charges via a USB cable — you can charge your Apple Watch with it, too. It comes with a short MicroUSB cable to charge the battery pack, so you'll have to use your iPhone's Lightning cable to charge your iPhone.

With a 5,200mAh battery, you can fully recharge an iPhone 6S at least two times, which is more than any of the cases listed above. And the battery pack costs significantly less than the battery cases — you can buy two Samsung battery packs for a price of a single Apple Smart Battery Case, and will still have some cash left over.