Two iPhone and iPad Battery Killers and How to Tame Them

The portability and power of an iOS device (iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch) are two factors that make these devices indespensable in modern life. However, it's very disconcerting to see that battery draining flat long before the day is done.

I charge my iPhone every night as I head off to sleep so that it's ready for the day. When I got my iPhone 5 last year, I quickly found however that the battery would sink to around 40% by around noon on all but the most random of days.

Do You Have a Bluetooth Device?

If you don't know the answer to this question you're not alone. What is is Bluetooth? You can find the answer in rich detail here, but for the purpose of brevity, a Bluetooth device is any wireless keyboard, headset or mouse. that connects to your iPhone (or Mac...you wouldn't use a mouse with an iPhone or iPad).

If you see this symbol in your status bar on the iPhone or iPad, your Bluetooth radio is onIf you don't use one of these devices, you may find that you have Bluetooth switched on. This can be a significant drain on your battery.

Switching it off however, isn't hard at all. Go to your Settings app on either your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, and choose the Bluetooth option. In the screen thst follows you will see an "On" switch. Tapping on this will turn the Bluetooth radio on your device off saving you valuable juice for the day.

Notifications — The Hidden Battery Suck of the iDevice Era

The oh-so-easily dismissed notification alert box. Use cautiously, this single alert box can suck the life out of your battery.Chances are that you've seen this alert before — normally the first and only time is when you start a newly downloaded app.

Every time you allow an app to send you push notifications, you're authorizing your iPhone to maintain an open (low power, low cycle but still open) connection with a server somewhere on the internet. You'd be surprised just how quickly these connections add up, and if you want to get a grip on your battery usage, you need to tame the apps that have these connections open.

Enter Notification Centre

Once again, in your Settings app, you'll find an entry called "Notifications". Every app using internet notification servers (and some that don't) have an entry in this list. If you're anywhere as prolific in (or addicted to) acquiring apps as I am, you'll have a lot of entries in this area. Here is an example of an app entry in notifications:

Example of an app's entry in Settings -> Notifications. This app has all of the notification services enabled.This app in particular has all of iOS' notification services on, and is the default setup for an app where you choose to allow it to send you push notifications. 

Switch Off Everything and Watch Your Battery Come Back to Life

Change these options to switch off any and all battery draining connections to servers:

  • Notification Center — OFF
  • Alert Style — None
  • Badge App Icon — OFF
  • Sounds — OFF
  • View in Lockscreen — OFF

These settings are equivalent to saying "Don't Allow" when that dialogue box comes up.

Of course, please be sensible how you use this. If you depend on your reminders for Calendars and things you need to do, don't switch them off. If you need to be notified when someone sends you an iMessage, don't switch it off.

However, if you don't want to be notified everytime a friend posts a status update on Facebook that they're going upstairs or getting a coffee, for goodness sake, save your battery and switch them off for that app. You'll be shocked just how many apps have tried to find a use for notifications, most of which are completely unnecessary.

Once again, Settings -> Notifications is where you'll find these options.

Location Services

While very useful in most circumstances, Location Services is another one of those battery drains that isn't always necessary.

Using Maps? Obviously necessary. Geo-Fenced reminders? Also very useful. You will be shocked just how many apps use location services to give you location sensetive information, and every time an app sends a request to determine your location is will activate it's GPS and confirm where you are.

The cycle to determine your location is not as nefarious and persistent a draw on your battery life, but it can squeeze out a few percent more from your battery. It's also not as obvious to find. You can locate the preferences for each app in the Settings app under Privacy.

 Location Services Settings, Located in Privacy in the Settings App

Once again be sensible about the services you really want to switch off. If you want to see where all of your photos were taken with your iPhone in iPhoto, don't switch this off. Dictionary.com's app however has no business dipping into my location.

Enjoy your iPhone's new found lease on life!