Battery life has never really been the iPhone's strength, though it has improved since 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. The original iPhone got about eight hours of talk time, according to Apple, while the latest Apple smartphone, the iPhone 5s, gets about 10 hours talk time. The first iPhone had a 1440mAh battery and the iPhone 5s has a 1570mAh battery. Capacity only increased by 12 percent during the last six years, according to ZDNet.com, while average life increased by 25 percent.
It's as easy to find iPhone battery tips stories online as amusing cat videos. Apple even has a page dedicated to the subject (battery tips, not feline flicks). It includes most of the basic battery tips all iPhone users should know. Of course, there are also a number of advanced iPhone battery tips you can use to further maximize your Apple smartphone's life per charge.
For this post, I've purposely skipped over all of the tips and tricks mentioned on Apple's page and included only tips that probably aren't obvious to the average iPhone user. (Note: The battery tips included are for devices running iOS 7 and may not apply to earlier versions of the iPhone software.)
1) iPhone Notification Settings and Battery Life
Apple suggests disabling push notifications for apps and services to cut down on battery drain, but you can take this advice a step further by turning off vibrations for all notifications. Every time your phone vibrates, it drains a small amount of battery. If your phone is on silent and you've enabled vibration alerts, you're also using battery that could be put to better use elsewhere.
To turn off vibrations, go to Settings > Sounds and flip both of the switches for Vibrate on Ring and Vibrate on Silent to the off position.
To turn off all iPhone notifications, go to Settings > Do Not Disturb and flip the Manual switch to the On position. If you don't want to receive call notifications either, select the Allow Calls From option on the Do Not Disturb page and choose No One. This effectively silences all of your notifications when your phone is locked.
Finally, you can modify individual app notification settings by going to Settings > Notification Center and then scrolling to the list of apps below. Tap an app to open its setting page and then disable all of the notifications you don't want or need. Banners and Alerts can drain significant battery because they light up your iPhone display when received, and alert sounds also use power, so disabling all unnecessary banners/alerts can save battery. To disable these notifications, under Alert Style on the individual app settings pages, choose None. (You'll still see app badge icons to indicate new notifications, where available, but your screen won't illuminate when not in use and drain battery life.)
2) iPhone Background App Refresh and Battery Life
You can choose which applications you want to auto-refresh when not in use. Being selective about which apps refresh their content on their own can save significant battery life. If you know you won't need certain apps, turn off their background app refresh options.
To do so, go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and scroll down to the apps you want to modify. To turn off app refresh, flip the switch next to the appropriate app into the Off position.
If you're particularly concerned about battery life, you can disable the setting altogether by flipping the master Background App Refresh switch, at the top of the associated settings page, to Off.
3) Strategic iTunes & App Store Settings
You can save battery life by being strategic with your iTunes & App Store settings. For example, you can turn off auto downloads individually for new music, app, book and app updates, or you can disable them all. You can also choose only to auto download when you're connected to Wi-Fi, to reduce battery drain and cellular data usage.
To modify your settings, got to Settings > iTunes & App Store and then flip the switch next to Music, Apps, Books and Update into the Off position, if you want to disable them all. Flip individual switches to disable only the options you want to turn off. At the bottom of the screen, flip the Use Cellular Data switch to Off if you want to only use Wi-Fi for auto downloads.
4) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and iPhone Battery
Apple's iPhone battery tips page suggests that enabling Wi-Fi saves battery life. But this is not necessarily accurate.
If you're at home, the office or somewhere else where you want to connect to Wi-Fi, you can use less battery life on Wi-Fi than using only the cellular network. However, if you're traveling or even just walking through the mall, entering and exiting the range of multiple open Wi-Fi networks but never actually connecting to them, you can unnecessarily drain battery as your device repeatedly scans for, and sometimes attempts to connect to, random networks.
If you're concerned about battery life or you don't plan to use Wi-Fi, turn it off by going to Settings > Wi-Fi and then flipping the switch into the Off position.
The same goes for Bluetooth. Some apps on your phone use Bluetooth to sync periodically with devices or services, including the popular Fitbit app. If you're worried about battery life or know you'll be somewhere without a power source for an extended period of time, you may want to disable Bluetooth. (Settings > Bluetooth, and flip the switch to Off.)
5) Podcast Settings and iPhone Battery Life
If you subscribe to podcasts on iTunes and you choose to automatically sync your subscriptions, you can reduce the refresh frequency to maximize battery life. If you're particularly concerned about battery life, you can turn off podcast sync altogether. Go to Settings > Podcasts and then flip the Sync Subscriptions switch to Off.
If you just want to reduce the refresh interval, change your Refresh Podcasts options on the podcasts settings page to one of the less frequent options, including Every Day, Every Week or Manually.
You can also turn the podcast Auto-Downloads feature off on the settings page and choose to only refresh and download podcasts while connected to a Wi-Fi network. To do so, make sure the Use Cellular Data switch is in the Off position.
6) iPhone Battery Percentage Meter
The iOS software only shows you a battery graphic at the top of your display by default, but you can also turn on a battery percentage meter to see a more specific battery life reading.
To turn on your iPhone battery percentage meter, go to Settings > General > Usage and then flip the Battery Percentage switch under the Battery Usage section to On.
7) Replace iPhone Battery When Necessary
Depending on how old your iPhone battery is, the tips in this post may not extend your overall life all that much. Apple says a "properly maintained iPhone battery is designed to retain up to 80 percent of its original capacity at 500 full charge and discharge cycles." If you charge your iPhone every night and drain the battery each day, you'll start to see noticeable battery degradation after about a year and a half. (Read "How to Know if Your iPhone Battery is on Death Row" to learn more.)
If your iPhone battery isnt performing up to your expectations, it could be time to replace it. If your device is still covered by an AppleCare or other warranty, you may be able to get a free or discounted replacement. If not, Apple charges $80 for battery replacement, plus shipping.