What’s Draining Your iPhone Battery?
If you own an iPhone, there’s a good chance you run into battery problems now and again — times you wish you had the battery life to take one more photo, look up the location of a restaurant or make a quick phone call. But the more we use and rely on our smartphones, the more likely they are to run out of juice when we need them most.
With a bit of awareness about how you use your iPhone and what apps you’re using on it, you can curb your iPhone’s battery-draining tendencies. We’ll take a look at what types of apps commonly drain battery power and look into ways to keep your iPhone juiced up.
What’s always running?
The biggest battery drain by far are the apps you’re always using. Do you keep Facebook open on your iPhone and check it regularly? Do you have AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) open on your phone to talk to friends on the go, or Pandora streaming music in the background? Some of these apps keep running in the background, burning battery life even when you aren’t paying any attention to them.
Looking at our examples, Facebook actively notifies you of new updates or messages, AIM constantly checks to see if your friends are on or offline, and streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and Spotify keep streaming until you tell them to stop. As long as these apps are active and doing things, they’re burning through your battery life.
You also need to be wary of apps that keep your screen active (because although you might not think about it, it takes a lot of energy to keep your phone’s screen lit up) or put a strain on your smartphone’s internal processor. Beyond the video streaming apps we’ve already mentioned, be on the watch for games; they might be fun, but they’ll cut sharply into your battery life. Video and photo editing apps like iMovie and iPhoto also take a lot of power to run, so keep them closed unless you need them. And using your phone as a flashlight is useful, but keeping the screen or camera flash active can definitely ruin your battery expectations.
Shutting down the battery drainers
If you’re concerned about your iPhone’s battery life (or you’re going over your phone’s data plan limits), it’s worth spending a few minutes to think about what you really need your phone to be doing. If there’s anything you keep running but don’t actually need, the best bet is to close it. Log out of AIM, skip checking Facebook and close Pandora when you’re done listening.
Closing apps isn’t as straightforward as you’d think. Just pressing your iPhone’s home button to go back to the main screen may seem to close an app, but it will still be running in the background. To completely close an app when you’re done using it, follow these simple steps:
- Tap your home button twice to pull up a list of running apps. On iOS 7, this is list you swipe through, while on earlier versions it’s a set of icons at the bottom of the screen.
- To close an app in iOS 7, swipe it up and off the screen. In earlier versions, press and hold the app until it starts jiggling, then tap the red minus symbol in the upper left corner.
- When you’re done, tap the app you want to return to, or tap the home button twice to go back to your home screen.
- Your less burdened battery will thank you!
Keep location services on lockdown
Location services can be terribly convenient, letting apps know where you are and providing useful, location-specific information. However, keeping your iPhone’s GPS running can go through your remaining battery power very quickly.
You can tell when something on your phone is using location services by the arrow icon that appears in your menu bar at the top of the screen. If you’d like to save battery life, you have several options where location services are concerned.
Close apps that use location services when you don’t need them. Common culprits are map and navigation apps and services that provide you with location-based information, like Yelp and Foursquare.
If you don’t think an app needs access to location services, it’s easy to disable it on an app-by-app basis. Just open Settings > Privacy > Location Services, and find the apps you don’t want to access location data. Move the slider next to them to the off position. That application won’t be able to fire up your phone’s GPS until you change that setting.
You can also disable location services entirely if you aren’t using them. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, and move the slider by Location Services to the off position.