30 Tips to Extend iPhone Battery Life

Anyone who’s used an iPhone for even a few days has discovered that while these phones are more powerful, and more fun, than perhaps any other cell or smartphone, that fun comes with a price: battery life. Any halfway intensive iPhone user will recharge their phone almost every couple of days.

There are ways to conserve iPhone battery life, but many of them involve turning off services and features, which makes it a choice between all the cool things that the iPhone can do and having enough juice to do them.

Here are 30 tips to help you extend your iPhone's power, including new tips for iOS 9, which has features that can drain battery faster than earlier versions.

You don't need to follow all of these tips (what fun would that be? You'd turn off every good feature)—just use the ones that make sense for how you use your iPhone—but following some will help you conserve juice.

Prevent Background App Refresh

iOS 9 battery issues: background app refresh

There are a number of features designed to make your iPhone smarter and ready for you whenever you need it. One of these features is Background App Refresh. This feature looks at the apps you use most often, the time of day that you use them, and then automatically updates them for you so that the next time you open the app, the latest information is waiting for you. For instance, if you always check social media at 7:30 am, the iOS learns that and automatically updates your social apps before 7:30 am. Needless to say, this useful feature drains battery.

To turn it off, tap:

  1. The Settings app
  2. General
  3. Background App Refresh
  4. Either disable the feature entirely or just for specific apps that you want to use it with

Buy an Extended Life Battery

mophie Juice Pack iphone extended battery
mophie Juice Pack Plus. image copyright mophie

If all else fails, just get more battery. A few accessory makers like mophie and Kensington offer extended life batteries for the iPhone. If you need so much battery life that none of these tips help you enough, an extended life battery is your best bet. With one, you’ll get days more standby time and many hours more use.

Don't Automatically Update Apps

Automatic app updates in iOS 9

If you've got iOS 7 or higher, you can forget needing to update your apps by hand. There's now a feature that automatically updates them for you when new versions are released. Convenient, but also a drain on your battery. To only update apps when you want to, and thus manage your power better:

  1. Tap the Settings app
  2. iTunes & App Store
  3. In the Automatic Downloads section, find Updates
  4. Move slider to Off/white

Don't Take App Suggestions

Suggested Apps in iOS 9

Suggested Apps, introduced in iOS 8, that uses your location information to figure out where you are, what you're near, and what apps—both installed on your phone and available in the App Store—might come in handy based on that information. It can be neat, but needless to say, it uses extra battery life by checking for your location, communicating with the App Store, etc.

To turn off suggested apps: 

  1. Tap the Settings app 
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Handoff & Suggested Apps
  4. Move the My Apps and App Store sliders to Off

Use Content Blockers in Safari (iOS 9)

Safari ad blocking
The same website with ads (left) and with ads blocked (right).

One of the best features introduced in iOS 9 is the ability to block advertising and tracking cookies in Safari. How could that affect battery life, you may be asking? Well, the technologies used by advertising networks to serve up, display, and track ads can actually use a lot of battery life. 

The battery life you save may not be huge, but combine a boost in battery life with a browser that runs faster and uses less data, and it's worth checking out. 

Learn all about content blocking apps in Safari and how to install and use them here. 

Turn on Auto-Brightness

adjusting auto-brightness on phone

The iPhone has an ambient light sensor that adjusts the brightness of the screen based on the light around it (darker in dark places, brighter when there's more ambient light) to both save battery and make it easier to see. Turn Auto-Brightness on and you’ll save energy because your screen will need to use less power in dark places.

Adjust that setting by tapping:

  1. The Settings app
  2. Display & Brightness (it's called Brightness & Wallpaper in iOS 7)
  3. Move the Auto-Brightness slider to On/green

Reduce Screen Brightness

iphone battery life: screen brightness

You can control the default brightness of your iPhone screen with this slider. Needless to say, the brighter the default setting for the screen, the more power it requires. Keep the screen dimmer to conserve more of your battery by tapping:

  1. The Settings app
  2. Display & Brightness (it's called Brightness & Wallpaper in iOS 7)
  3. Move the slider as needed

Stop Motion & Animations

reduce motion and animation in iOS 7

One of the coolest features introduced in iOS 7 is called Background Motion. It's subtle, but if you move your iPhone and watch the app icons and background image, you'll see them move slightly independently of each other, as if they're on different planes. This is called a parallax effect. It's really cool, but it also drains battery. You may want to leave it on to enjoy the effect, but if not, turn it off by tapping:

  1. The Settings app
  2. General
  3. Accessibility
  4. Reduce Motion
  5. Move slider to green/On

Keep WiFi Off

iphone battery extend: turn off wi-fi

The other kind of high-speed network that the iPhone can connect to is WiFi. WiFi is even faster than 3G or 4G, though it’s only available where there’s a hotspot (not virtually everywhere like 3G or 4G). Keeping WiFi turned on at all times in hopes that an open hotspot will appear is a sure way to drain your battery life. So, unless you’re using it right this second, keep WiFi turned off by tapping:

  1. The Settings app
  2. WiFi
  3. Slide to Off/white

You can also turn off WiFi via Control Center. To access that setting, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap the WiFi icon to gray it out.

APPLE WATCH NOTE: If you have an Apple Watch, this tip doesn't apply to you. WiFi is required for many features of the Apple Watch, so you won't want to turn it off.

Make Sure Personal Hotspot Is Off

save iphone battery: turn off hotspot

This only applies if you use the iPhone's Personal Hotspot feature to share your wireless data connection with other devices. But if you do that, this tip is key.

Personal Hotspot turns your iPhone into a wireless hotspot that broadcasts its cellular data to other devices within in range. This is a tremendously useful feature, but as you may have guessed if you've read this far, it also really drains your battery. That's an acceptable trade when you're using it, but if you forget to turn it off when you're done, you'll be surprised at how quickly your battery drains.

To make sure you turn off Personal Hotspot when you're done using it:

  1. Tap the Settings app
  2. Personal Hotspot
  3. Move slider to off/white

Find the Battery Killers (iOS 9)

Showing iPhone battery as a percentage

Most of the suggestions on this list are about turning things off or not doing certain things. This one helps you discover which apps are killing your battery. In iOS 8 and up, there's a feature called Battery Usage that shows which apps have been sucking the most power over the last 24 hours and the last 7 days. If you start seeing an app showing up there consistently, you'll know that running the app is costing you battery life.

Access Battery Usage by tapping:

  1. Settings
  2. Battery

On that screen, you'll sometimes see notes beneath each item. This note provides more detail on why the app drained so much battery and can suggest ways for you to fix it.

Turn Off Location Services

iphone battery performance: turn off location services

One of the coolest features of the iPhone is its built-in GPS. This allows your phone to know where you are and give you exact driving directions, give that information to apps that help you find restaurants, and more. But, like any service that sends data over a network, it needs battery power to work. If you’re not using Location Services, and don’t plan to right away, turn them off and save some power.

Turn off Location Services by tapping:

  1. The Settings app
  2. Privacy
  3. Location Services
  4. Slide to Off/white

Turn Off Other Location Settings

other location settings in iOS 9

The iPhone can perform a lot of useful tasks in the background, but the more background activity there is, especially activity that connects to the Internet or uses GPS, can drain battery quickly. Some of these features in particular are not required by most iPhone users and can be safely turned off to regain some battery life.

Find them in:

  1. The Settings app
  2. Privacy
  3. Location Services
  4. System Services
  5. Turn off Diagnostics & Usage, Location-Based iAds, Popular Near Me, and Setting Time Zone.

Disable Dynamic Backgrounds

iOS 7 battery: Dynamic Backgrounds

Another neat feature introduced in iOS 7 is animated wallpapers that move underneath your app icons. These dynamic backgrounds offer a cool interface flourish, but they also use more power than a simple static background image. Dynamic Backgrounds aren't a feature you have to turn on or off, just don't select the Dynamic Backgrounds in the Wallpapers & Backgrounds menu.

Turn Bluetooth Off

iphone battery extend: bluetooth

Bluetooth wireless networking is especially useful for cell phone users with wireless headsets or earpieces. But transmitting data wirelessly takes battery and leaving Bluetooth on to accept incoming data at all times requires even more juice. Turn off Bluetooth except when you’re using it to squeeze more power from your battery.

Find it in:

  1. The Settings app
  2. Bluetooth
  3. Move slider to Off/white

You can also access the Bluetooth setting through Control Center. To do that, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap the Bluetooth icon (the center one) so that it is grayed out.

APPLE WATCH NOTE: If you have an Apple Watch, this tip doesn't apply to you. The Apple Watch and iPhone communicate over Bluetooth, so if you want to get the most out of your Watch, you'll want to keep Bluetooth turned on.

Turn Off LTE or Cellular Data

iphone battery life: turn off cellular data

The nearly perpetual connectivity offered by the iPhone means connecting to 3G and speedy 4G LTE cellular phone networks. Not surprisingly, using 3G, and especially 4G LTE, requires more energy to get the quicker data speeds and higher-quality calls. It’s tough to go slower, but if you need more power, turn off LTE and just use the older, slower networks. Your battery will last longer (though you’ll need it when you’re downloading websites more slowly!) or turn off all cellular data and either just use WiFi or no connectivity at all.

To do this:

  1. Tap Settings
  2. Cellular
  3. Slide Enable LTE to Off/white to use slower cellular data networks while still allowing yourself to use cellular data
  4. To limit yourself just to WiFi, slide Cellular Data to Off/white

Turn Data Push Off

iphone battery: turn off data push

The iPhone can be set to automatically suck email and other data down to it or, for some kinds of accounts, have data pushed out to it whenever new data becomes available. You’re probably realized by now that accessing wireless networks costs you energy, so turning data push off, and thus reducing the number of times your phone connects to the network, will extend your battery’s life. With push off, you’ll need to set your email to check periodically or do it manually (see the next tip for more on this).

Find it in:

  1. The Settings app
  2. Mail, Contacts, Calendar
  3. Fetch New Data
  4. Push
  5. Slide to Off/white

Fetch Email Less Often

iphone battery performance: fetch data less

The less often your phone accesses a network, the less battery it uses. Save battery life by setting your phone to check your email accounts less often. Try checking every hour or, if you’re really serious about saving battery, manually. Manual checks means you’ll never have email waiting for you on your phone, but you’ll also stave off the red battery icon.

Change your Fetch settings by tapping:

  1. The Settings app
  2. Mail, Contacts, Calendar
  3. Fetch 
  4. Select your preference (the longer between checks, the better for your battery)

Auto-Lock Sooner

iphone battery life: auto-lock sooner

You can set your iPhone to automatically go to sleep – a feature known as Auto-Lock - after a certain amount of time. The sooner it sleeps, the less power is used to run the screen or other services. Try setting Auto-Lock to 1 or 2 minutes.

Change the setting in:

  1. The Settings app
  2. General
  3. Auto-Lock
  4. Tap your preference (the shorter, the better)

Turn Off Fitness Tracking

disable iphone fitness tracking

With the addition of the motion co-processor to the iPhone 5S and later models, the iPhone can track your steps and other fitness activity. It's a great feature, especially if you're trying to stay in shape, but that non-stop tracking can really suck up battery life. If you're not using your iPhone to track your motion or have a fitness band to do that for you, disable fitness tracking by:

  1. Tapping Settings
  2. Tapping Motion & Fitness
  3. Move the Fitness Tracking slider to Off/white.

Turn off Equalizer

iphone battery: turn off equalizer

The Music app on the iPhone has an Equalizer feature that can adjust music to increase bass, decrease treble, etc. Because these adjustments are made on the fly, they require extra battery. Turn the equalizer off to conserve battery. This means you'll have a slightly modified listening experience - the power savings might not be worth it to true audiophiles - but for those hoarding battery power, it's a good deal.

Find it in:

  1. The Settings app
  2. Music
  3. EQ
  4. Tap off

Disable Cellular Calls Through Other Devices

turn off cellular calls to save battery life

This tip only applies if you have a Mac running OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher and an iPhone running iOS 8 or higher. If you do, though, and both devices are on the same WiFi network, calls can be placed and answered through your Mac using your phone's cellular connection. This basically turns your Mac into an extension of your iPhone. It's a great feature (I use it all the time at home), but it drains battery life, too.

To turn it off:

  1. Tap the Settings app
  2. Tap FaceTime
  3. Slide iPhone Cellular Calls to off/white

Turn AirDrop Off Unless You're Using It

keep airdrop turned off unless you're using it

AirDrop, the wireless file-sharing feature Apple introduced in iOS 7, is really cool and really handy. But in order to use it, you need to turn on WiFi and Bluetooth and set your phone to be looking for other AirDrop-enabled devices. As with any feature that uses WiFi or Bluetooth, the more you use it, the more battery you'll drain. To save juice on your iPhone or iPod touch, keep AirDrop turned off unless you're using it.

Find it in:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Center
  2. AirDrop
  3. Off

Don't Automatically Upload Photos to iCloud

not auto uploading photos saves battery

As we've learned throughout this article, any time you're uploading data, you're running down your battery. So, you should make sure that you're always intentionally uploading, rather than automatically doing it in the background. Your Photos app can automatically upload your images to your iCloud account. This is handy if you want to share or backup right away, but it also sucks battery life. Turn off auto-uploads and only upload from your computer or when you have a full battery instead.

Find it in:

  1. The Settings app
  2. Photos & Camera
  3. My Photo Stream
  4. Move slider to off/white

Don't Send Diagnostic Data to Apple or Developers (iOS 9)

don't send diagnostics to apple

Sending diagnostic data to Apple—anonymous information about how your device is working or not working that helps Apple improve its products—is a helpful thing to do and something you choose during your device set up. In iOS 9, you can also choose to send data to developers.

Regularly automatically uploading data uses battery, so if you have this feature turned on and need to conserve energy, turn it off.

Find it in:

  1. Settings
  2. Privacy
  3. Diagnostics & Usage
  4. Don't Send (for Apple)
  5. Move the Share With App Developers slider to off/white (for third-party apps)

Disabled Unneeded Vibrations

turn off vibration

Your iPhone can vibrate to get your attention for calls and other alerts. But in order to vibrate, the phone has to trigger a motor that shakes the device. Needless to say, this uses battery and is unnecessary if you've got a ringtone or alert tone to get your attention. Instead of keeping vibration on all the time, just use it when necessary (for instance, when your ringer is off).

Find it in:

  1. Settings
  2. Sounds
  3. Vibrate on Ring
  4. Move to off/white

Use Low-Power Mode (iOS 9)

iPhone low power mode

If you're really serious about conserving battery life, and don't want to turn off all these settings one by one, try a new feature in iOS 9 called Low Power Mode. 

Low Power Mode does exactly what its name says it does: it shuts down all non-essential features on your iPhone in order to conserve as much power as possible. Apple claims that turning this on will get you up to 3 hours.

To enable Low Power Mode:

  1. Tap Settings
  2. Tap Battery
  3. Move the Low Power Mode slider to on/green

One Common Mistake: Quitting Apps Doesn't Save Battery

killing apps doesn't save battery life

When you talk about tips for saving battery life on your iPhone, perhaps the most common one that comes up is quitting your apps when you're done with them, rather than letting them run in the background.

This is wrong. In fact, regularly quitting your apps in that way can actually make your battery drain faster. So, if saving battery life is important to you, don't follow this bad tip.

For more about why this can do the opposite of what you want, read this

Run Down Your Battery As Much As Possible

let iphone battery run down to save life

Believe it or not, but the more often you charge a battery, the less energy it can hold. Counter-intuitive, I know, but it's one of the quirks of modern batteries.

Over time, the battery remembers the point in its drain at which you recharge it and starts to treat that as its limit. For example, if you always charge your iPhone when it's still got 75% of its battery left, eventually the battery will start to behave as if it's total capacity is 75%, not the original 100%.

The way to get around your battery losing capacity in this way is to use your phone as long as possible before charging it. Try waiting until your phone is down to 20% (or even less!) battery before charging. Just make sure not to wait too long.

Do Less-Battery-Intensive Things

Battery life

Not all ways to save battery life involve settings. Some of them involve the way you use the phone. Things that require the phone be on for long periods of time, or use a lot of system resources, suck the most battery. These things include movies, games, and browsing the web. If you need to conserve battery, limit your use of battery-intensive apps.

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