How to Keep Your Battery from Draining; 13 Tips for Stayin’ Alive

Our iPhones are capable of so much, yet the battery life of our devices hasn’t been able to extend beyond a day. Plus, the older an iPhone is, the more valuable tips that save battery life become. My mom just recently switched from an old flip phone to an iPhone 5, and she’s struggling with adjusting to charging the device each night before bed yet still having it nearly die on her before the next night. So here’s ten battery saving tips any iPhone user can appreciate.

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Battery cases are an obvious choice for those who need to use their iPhone beyond the battery's capacity, but the majority of battery cases are bulky and require their own separate charge. Plus, battery cases are rarely designed for protection and are far from an awe-inspiring case design. Luckily, there are small changes you can make with your Settings app and elsewhere to extend the innate battery life a bit longer.

One of the first things you might want to do is check your battery usage. You can do this by opening Settings and tapping Battery. Below Battery Usage you can quickly see which apps you’re using that take up most of your battery life. Simply cutting down on the use of these apps can be a solution in itself. But here’s ten tips that go beyond cutting back. I’ve deliberately left out tips like Turn on Airplane Mode or Turn Off Wi-Fi. While doing so will save on battery, they aren’t very practical tips. Airplane mode means you won’t receive calls while turning off Wi-Fi will in-turn drain Cellular data. I wanted to focus on simple tips and tricks that won’t cause you any inconvenience.

1. Forget Quitting Apps

When you open the App Switcher by tapping the Home button twice, it seems natural to close out an apps you aren’t using. For some reason, we feel that if we close the apps it will save on battery, because they won’t run in the background. But that isn’t the case. Turning off Background App Refresh will help, but that’s another tip we’ll cover in this list below. The apps you have open are simply waiting for you from the last spot, and quitting them only to reopen them later will actually use more battery life than leaving them open. Of course, if you won’t be using an app for the next few days, go ahead and completely close it out. But otherwise, it’s best to just get out of the habit of constantly quitting apps.

 

2. Turn Off Background App Refresh

This is the real culprit to battery drain. Apps such as Facebook and Mail will automatically refresh in the background so that when opened, the most recent activity is ready for your viewing. But is this really necessary? Once you open an app, just give it a couple seconds to refresh instead. To turn this feature off, open Settings. Tap General. Select Background App Refresh, and toggle the feature off.

 

3. Turn On Low Power Mode (iOS 9)

When your iPhone reaches 20% battery life, it will automatically prompt you to turn on Low Power Mode. But if you want to save battery life throughout the day, consider just leaving the feature on until you get home. You can turn it on by opening Settings and selecting Battery. Then toggle on Low Power Mode. Doing this will also turn off automatic downloads, background app refresh, some visual effects (although I’ve never noticed a difference) and Hey Siri, which is unlikely a deal breaker but something to be aware of.

*Pro Tip: Keep in mind that if you want to utilize iOS 9.3 Night Shift Mode too, you’ll have to turn off Low Power Mode before that function can be turned on in the evening.

 

4. Reduce Motion

There are lots of little graphic transitions happening on iPhone that take up battery life. These animations add to the overall flow of moving between apps, but each time one needs to play, it also cuts into your battery life. If you don’t mind a slightly less elegant transition from one screen to the next, turn on Reduce Motion. To do this, open Settings. Tap General. Select Accessibility. Scroll down and choose Reduce Motion. Toggle on.

You’ll notice when you then click Home screen to leave the Settings app that your screen fades from one to the next instead of seeming to zoom in and out to open and close apps. However, turning Reduce Motion on won’t affect anything else so it’s a great option.

Related: How to Make iOS 9 Faster on Your Older iPhone

5. Turn Down Screen Brightness & Volume

A super bright screen and loud volume will subtly drain your battery throughout the day. You can manually turn down both screen brightness and volume from Control Center, which is opened by swiping up from the bottom of any screen. But it would be wise to keep your volume just low enough to hear it throughout the day. However, if you own an Apple Watch (or other notifications wearable) or if you consistently have your phone in sight, consider simply leaving it on silent. When it comes to volume from music, turning off Equalizer will help save battery too. Open Settings. Tap Music. Select EQ and toggle it off.

As far as brightness goes, you can easily manage it by turning on Auto-Brightness. To do this, open Settings. Tap Display & Brightness. Toggle on Auto-Brightness. This feature will brighten and dim your screen to match the time of day

 

6. Enable a Faster Auto-Lock

The Sleep/Wake button on your iPhone allows you to turn your screen on and off at will. But your iPhone also automatically slips into sleep after a set amount of time. That’s the Auto-Lock feature, and to save on battery drain you can shorten the amount of time it takes before your iPhone goes to sleep. To do this, open Settings. Tap General. Select Auto-Lock. Change the sleep time to either 1 minute or 30 seconds.

 

7. Turn Off Vibrate

There’s no need for your phone to vibrate when it makes a sound. Some people might prefer to have their phone vibrate when on silent, but if not, turning that off is a good idea too. If your phone vibrates every time you get a notification that’s going to kill your battery quickly. To turn off Vibrate, open Settings. Tap Sounds. You have two options: Vibrate on Ring and Vibrate on Silent. If you don’t mind, turn both off. But at least turning off Vibrate on Ring will help with battery life.

 

8. Reduce Your Notifications & Leave Your Phone Face Down

If you leave your phone face down, your screen won’t light up when you receive a notification. The iPhone screen constantly turning on and off will drain battery, so something as simple as leaving your phone face down is a great trick.

You can also reduce the number of notifications you receive so that your phone makes a sound less often, saving on battery. To do this, open Settings. Tap Notifications. Go down the list and turn off notifications for all non-essential apps.

 

9. Turn Off Automatic Downloads

When Automatic Downloads is turned on, your phone will automatically update apps when in a Wi-Fi zone. However, this could be a cause of sneaky battery drain happening in the background. Instead, turn the feature off and simply check the App Store for updates now and again. To turn off Automatic Downloads, open Settings. Tap iTunes & App Store. Turn off Automatic Downloads for Apps, Updates, and Books at least. You may want to leave Music on, depending on how important having offline downloads for listening are to you. Also, make sure Use Cellular Data is turned off too. That will save you both battery life and cellular data.

 

10. Turn Off iCloud

iCloud can do a lot of helpful things, but we don’t often use it for everything we could. That means there’s no reason not to turn off iCloud for apps you don’t need it for. To do this, open Settings. Tap iCloud. Turn off iCloud for all the applications and functions you don’t need it for. For me, that includes Mail, Calendar, Reminders, Safari, and News. But make sure you choose Keep on iPhone when prompted so you don't lose any data by turning iCloud off (I learned this the hard way.) It’s a good idea to leave Backup for iCloud turned on just in case something happens to your phone. I also keep Notes toggled on because there’s writing material in there I don’t want to lose.

 

11. Turn Off Location Services

If you often use Location Services to locate places and events around you, you might want to skip this tip. But if you find Location Services to mostly be an unnecessary bonus, turning it off will save major battery life because your phone won’t use power to figure out where. To turn off Location Services, open Settings. Tap Privacy. Select Location Services and toggle it off. If you don’t want to turn Location Services off completely, you can also selectively choose what apps can use Location Services Always, While Using App, or Never.

 

12. Turn Off Hey Siri

Hey Siri is a cool feature that allows you to activate Siri without touching your iPhone. Some iPhones can only use Hey Siri when plugged it (iPhone 6 or older) while newer iPhones can use Hey Siri at any time. If you have an older phone, turning this off is a no-brainer. You can still use Siri with Hey Siri turned off, you’ll just have to use your Home button to do it. To turn Hey Siri off, open Settings and select General. Tap Siri and toggle Allow “Hey Siri” off.

 

13. Ditch Push Email for Fetch

Push email scans your email servers constantly checking to see if anything new has come in. But all that scanning takes up battery life too. You can switch Push to Fetch for each email account you’ve linked to Mail. That way, your phone will check every 15 to 60 minutes for new mail instead. Unless you’re constantly getting important email, this is an easy trick to implement. To do this, open Settings. Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Under your Accounts, you’ll see Fetch New Data. Select it and turn Push off for all accounts. To turn Push off for just some accounts while leaving it on for others, select each email account and change the schedule to Fetch. At the bottom of the Fetch New Data screen, you can also choose your Fetch Schedule. Hourly will save the most battery life, but Every 30 or 15 Minutes will do wonders too.

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Which battery saving tips are your favorites? What other tips do you know that prevent battery drain?

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Conner Carey's picture

Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.