8/20/08

MacMost Now 123: Extending iPhone Battery Life

Gary Rosenzweig takes a look at some techniques to help you stretch the iPhone battery so it lasts through a long day.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. Today let's look at how to get every bit of battery life out of your iPhone. So let's say you've got a really long day ahead of you. You're going to be getting up early and going to bed late. You know it's one of those days that's going to stretch the battery of your iPhone. You'll be lucky to have it working when you finally get home at night. So let's look at some techniques that will stretch the battery life of your iPhone out as much as possible so you get as many hours from it as you can. So there's some settings that you can play with on your iPhone that'll conserve battery life. If you go into the Settings, one of the first things I'm going to check out is Brightness. You want to turn off the Auto-Brightness and turn down the regular Brightness as much as you can stand. That'll save some battery life. Another thing you can do is you can go ahead and turn off the Push and Fetch. This will reduce the amount of times that your iPhone is calling out to the Internet to go and look for new data -- new e-mails specifically, but also new calendar events and also changes to your contacts. This will save a lot of battery life as well over the long term of the whole day. You can also go ahead and turn off WiFi. That will save a lot of battery over the long-term and you can also reduce your Network connection from 3G to the Edge Network, like that. Edge Network is going to use a little less power than 3G Network. If you want you can turn off your connection to the Internet completely but quickly switching on the Airplane Mode. It's very easy to switch the Airplane Mode on and off and this will allow you to basically control when your iPhone is calling out to the internet and when it's not. So only having it calling out to the net when you really want it to will save a lot of battery life over the long-term. Another Setting under General Settings is for Bluetooth. If you're not using any Bluetooth devices you want to turn that off and that way it's not going to be constantly looking for Bluetooth headsets and connections to cars, things like that. While you're there you may want to go ahead and set the Auto-Lock time to 1 minute, so basically it'll put your iPhone to sleep much quicker when you forget to put it to sleep yourself. There's also a switch here for Location-based services which if you turn that off should use your GPS chip less, depending upon what Apps you already use GPS with. This may save some battery life too. But there may not be any substitute for some manual controls, like for instance if you're trying to get through a day with as little battery use as possible, you may want to just remember to click that top button to put your iPhone to sleep immediately after you're done doing something. Don't rely on your iPhone to go to sleep by itself because you're going to lose some extra battery life while it's sitting in your pocket. Another thing you may want to consider doing is turning it off completely for some periods of time when you know you don't need it. For instance, I don't like to answer my phone when I'm driving on the highway, so if I know I'm getting on the highway and I'm going to be driving for more than 15 minutes or so, I may turn off my iPhone completely and just turn it on again and check my messages when I arrive. Now if you're App-crazy like me and you've a ton of Apps on your iPhone, you may want to really get to know which Apps suck battery life. There's some that definitely deplete your battery life. Playing games, of course, is one of them. So you may want to avoid using Apps completely unless you know that a certain App is really good to your battery. Now that you've conserved as much battery as possible, you may want to consider giving yourself boosts during the day. The new iPhone adapter that comes with the 3G iPhone is really tiny and easy to carry with you, so you may want to bring it with you. You never know when you might be sitting in a restaurant or at a friend's house or something and have just 15 minutes to plug in your iPhone. Those little boosts throughout the day can really help your iPhone get through a long day. Another thing you may want to do is get a car charger. These power inverters you can pick them up at just about any store and they're really cheap. This one I got for less than 20 bucks and you can plug in any AC power adapter to it, like this iPhone adapter. So it's very easy to charge up while driving. Another great thing about that is you can use battery-intense services like GPS while driving without draining your battery. Now this has a USB plug in it so you'd think I'd be able to plug in the iPhone dock directly to that, but in fact it doesn't produce enough power to charge the iPhone, so I have to go the full AC adapter route. There's also some external battery packs for the iPhone; it charges up separately and you plug your iPhone dock into them while traveling. So if you find yourself in a situation where you need to get through a long day a lot, you might want to invest in one of these. Now some of the built-in applications also suck a lot of battery life and there's no greater culprit than GPS. I find that if I turn GPS on using Google Maps and follow my little blue dot wherever I'm going I can run down an iPhone battery sometimes in less than a half an hour. So for me it's important to actually plug it into your car if you're going to go ahead and use the GPS function for more than an instant. Accessing the web over 3G or WiFi is also another big battery drain. I once drained an iPhone battery in less than 30 minutes just following a baseball game and having the website refresh every 10 seconds or so. So there are some tips for getting through a really long day with your iPhone. Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

13 Responses to “MacMost Now 123: Extending iPhone Battery Life”

  1. Daniel says:

    Very good show! All these tips show be given or posted by Apple.
    Because of the long hours I work, I’ve made “travel kits” for work, car and every day trips. That way I won’t be caught with out a charger or sync cable. So this won’t get to expensive, I use third party equipment. I found items that work just as good as Apple brand at cheaper prices here:

    http://www.hdaccessory.com/servlet/Categories?category=iPod+Chargers

  2. Donna says:

    Really helpful,much appreciated.Thank you

  3. Kia says:

    Hi Gary
    Thanks a lot for all these fantastic videos.
    Can you please make a video about what strategies are best & when (what percentage) to recharge the batteries on Macbook pro , Iphone and Ipad to get the bet lifetime from the batteries.
    Thanks

    • My advice there is not to worry about it. Do the reconditioning once a month if you like (drain the battery completely while working and then charge completely right after). But I think that people worry too much about this kind of thing. Today’s batteries are smart. Just USE your device like you need to use it to get your work (or whatever) done. You might gain 1% of the life of the battery or some such, but you lose by changing your behavior to get that 1%.

  4. Lindy says:

    Another great video from you, Gary. I don’t have an iPhone but many of these tips can be used to extend battery life on an iPad/iPod. The lower brightness *really* made a difference for me.
    I read/heard somewhere that turning of the equalizer in iTunes will save battery life…. is that a valid claim? and I guess it would only be an issue if you were listening to music. thanks .

    • I seriously doubt that changes to the equalizer would make a difference. I’ve never heard that.

      • John M. Hammer says:

        Apple itself has recommended disabling the equalizer on iPods for as long as I’ve owned one (2003). Here’s an Apple KB article on the subject:
        http://www.apple.com/batteries/iphone.html
        “Turn off EQ: Applying an equalizer setting to song playback on your iPhone can decrease battery life. To turn EQ off, go to Settings > iPod > EQ and tap Off. Note that if you’ve added EQ to songs directly in iTunes, you’ll need to set EQ on iPhone to Flat in order to have the same effect as Off because iPhone keeps your iTunes settings intact. Go to Settings > iPod > EQ and tap Flat.”

        Here is a recent non-Apple article, not technical:

        http://iostips.net/turn-eq-save-battery-iphone-ipod-ipad/

  5. Rogers says:

    Great, clear instructions, Gary. A big help in figuring out my late-in-life shift to the I-Phone, I-Pad, and I-Pod…

  6. Daniel Gartin says:

    Will recharging my iPod touch with the adapter meant for the iPad mess it up in any way,i had an iPod adapter but it is lost right now

  7. Daniel Gartin says:

    Good,except 3G is always on when you are connected to a CDMA network

  8. dbw says:

    You may want to update this video from 2008 and is in the “popular pages” category. ie the screens have changed, like “fetch new data”, not where shown, does it even exist? Possibly other changes or updates. the Netflix app eats the battery but is worth it.

    • Fetch New Data is certainly still there. Right in the Settings, Mail screen. The screens have changed a bit — they do with almost every update. But the concepts here are still sound.

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