Our iPhones continue to get faster, bigger, and better at taking photos and videos — but although battery life has improved over the years, so have our demands on those batteries. As a result, many phones still last about a day (or a bit more) with regular use.
That’s fine if you can charge your phone every night, but what if you forget to do it? Or what if you’re away for a night or two? Or what if your battery starts to drain alarmingly quickly for no apparent reason? There are lots of scenarios where you might need to get your iPhone’s battery to last a little (or a lot) longer than normal.
Thankfully, there are numerous ways to squeeze every last bit of juice out of your iPhone’s battery. Combine them together, and you can get significantly more time between charges without too much of a tradeoff.
See which apps are hogging the battery
How quickly or slowly your iPhone loses battery power depends on what you’re doing with it. Apps that put higher demands on system resources (like games) or make use of GPS (like mapping apps) are going to drain your battery more quickly, so the less that you use these apps, the better — as far as battery life goes.
- Go to Settings > Battery.
- Scroll down to see which apps have used the most battery power. You can see the percentages over the last 24 hours or the last eight days.
Turn down the display brightness
Display brightness can also make a big difference in lengthening battery life.
- To reduce the brightness, you can either swipe down to the Control Center and use the brightness control or go to Settings > Display & Brightness and use the slider there.
- The True Tone control in Settings > Display & Brightness will adjust your brightness setting automatically. This can be a good thing because it will keep your brightness adjusted to account for the lighting environment; however, if you feel it may not be adjusting to what you want it to or you feel it’s keeping things too bright, you can turn it off.
- Having your screen on when you’re not using your phone drains power as well. In Settings > Display & Brightness, tap Auto-Lock and lower this to 30 seconds or the lowest amount of time you’re comfortable with. If the screen locks after less of a delay, then it’s going to spend more time showing the darker lock screen that’s easier on your battery.
- In Settings > Display & Brightness, tap Dark to switch to dark mode, which uses less energy.
Cell signals and Bluetooth
Another factor that can affect your battery levels is cell signal quality. When your iPhone is on a patchy link, it has to work harder to stay connected, so if you know you’re going to be in an area with weak cellular coverage for a while, you might want to put your phone into airplane mode until you actually need to get online. The easiest way to do this is to open the Control Center by swiping down from the top-right corner of the screen, then tapping the airplane mode button.
Bluetooth can also be a drain on your battery. If you use a smartwatch that is connected to your phone via Bluetooth and you’re getting low on phone power, you may want to disconnect the devices. In addition, if you’re going to be consistently using your phone for long periods without a recharge, you may want to consider a pair of wired (rather than wireless) headphones. And incidentally, playing at top volume can hurt both your battery life and your ears.
Limit what apps can do in the background
Apps like to be able to run in the background when you’re not actually using them so they can, for example, upload your photos or check for incoming emails. However, this can have an impact on battery life. You can check to see which apps are running in the background and limit which ones have that capability.
- Open Settings and choose General > Background App Refresh.
- Tap Background App Refresh to get the option to turn it off for all your apps, to allow it just for Wi-Fi (which you may want to consider if you’re not on an unlimited plan), or to allow it for Wi-Fi & Cellular Data (in other words, all the time).
- You can also run down the list of apps and turn off background app refresh for each app individually.
- Alternatively, open Settings, scroll down to the list of the apps you have installed, tap on any one of them, and disable Background App Refresh.
- On those same individual pages for each of your apps, you can tap Location > Never to stop an app from activating the iPhone’s GPS sensor (another battery drain). Your other location options will vary depending on the app, but you can opt to have the app ask for permission each time it wants to use GPS or to only use it while using the app.
Another option is to limit the notifications an app can send. These light up your display, and if there are a lot of them coming in from a particular app, it can make a difference. Notifications for an app can be managed from the same individual listings in Settings where you manage background refresh and location access, or you can go to Settings > Notifications.
Stop Siri from listening
You can also eke out a bit of extra battery life by turning off the active listening feature of Siri — if your iPhone is always listening for you to say “Hey Siri,” then that uses up more of your battery. To turn this off, open Settings and choose Siri & Search, then disable the Listen for “Hey Siri” option.
When you get desperate
If your battery rate is creeping down past 20 percent and you’re not anywhere near a power source, there are still things you can do. To start, you can enable Low Power Mode.
Low Power Mode reduces the brightness of the display, minimizes system animations, optimizes device performance (so the components aren’t worked too hard), and limits a lot of the activity that happens in the background on your phone.
You’ll automatically get prompted to enable this when the battery level hits 20 percent and 10 percent, but you can actually enable it whenever you like, and it makes a considerable difference in terms of how quickly your iPhone battery drains. To start it manually, open up the Battery menu from Settings and toggle the Low Power Mode option on.
You can also apply many other of the tips we’ve mentioned:
- Turn the display brightness down as far as you can manage.
- Keep your phone locked for as much time as possible.
- Keep your phone in airplane mode for as much time as possible.
- Don’t play any audio or run any games or demanding apps.
- Switch off GPS access entirely via Privacy & Security > Location Services in Settings.