How to fix iPhone and iPad battery life problems!

iOS 7.1 is here and it fixes a ton of problems but, as with every update, it's also had an impact on some people's battery life. Whether it's from a restore gone bad or new features overloaded for the first time, some people just aren't getting the same charge out of their iPhone or iPad as they used to. Well, worry not! Here's how to fix your battery life problems under iOS 7.1!

Note: iOS 7 used much more battery its first day or two after updating. Whether that was Spotlight search re-indexing or the system behind multitasking smartening up we're not sure. It's possible iOS 7.1 could be doing the same thing. If you've just updated to iOS 7.1 and are experiencing battery life issues, give it a day or two to see if they stabilize on their own before doing anything drastic.

1. Test battery life on standby (put your device down)

Whenever you update to a new version of iOS, including iOS 7.1, it's only natural to want to try out all the new features. Is Touch ID really working better? Is the re-spring issue really fixed? Is the iPhone 4 smoother to use? You'll likely do a lot more on update day than you did on previous days. And every time you knock the live wallpapers around, stare at the parallax scrolling, fling away multitasking cards or Safari tabs, spin the compass, or do any one of a hundred other funtastic things, the screen will be lit up, the radios will fire, and the battery will drain. Likewise, every app can multitask now, and while iOS is as smart as smart can be about managing how and when they all update, they're all updating.

The point is, it's almost impossible to realistically assess a change in battery life if you've also changed your usage pattern. So, if you're battery feels like it's only lasting half as long, the first step to fixing it is figuring out if you're using it twice as much first.

Before proceeded, put your device down for a few minutes and then check the battery change. If there isn't a big change while in standby, you're probably okay and your battery life will return to normal when your usage returns to normal (after the novelty wears off). If your device continued to drain, and drain fast, even when you weren't using it, there's a problem.

2: Check for software problems

If, in general, your battery life is consistently short and you're basically just watching the indicator drain down before your eyes, here are some things to try, in order of how easy they are to do.

  • Check your cell signal. If you're in an area of weak signal, or at the edge of LTE or 3G support, your iPhone's radio could be screaming away on full power just trying to stay on the network, or switching between connection types, and wasting a lot of power. Good LTE signal is more power efficient than good 3G signal (because the radio can fire up, do its job, and power down much, much quicker), but bad LTE signal is just as bad as bad 3G, which is terrible. If you're at the edge of LTE, switch to 3G. If you're almost off the grid, turn off the radio unless and until you need it. Then get back to world as fast as you can!
  • Reset your network settings. If you're getting a bad cell signal or your carrier is working on towers causing your signal to jump, resetting your network settings can sometimes help alleviate issues. Try this before anything else if you're noticing only 1-2 bars of signal in certain areas you frequent.
  • Quit power hungry apps. Double-click the Home Button to activate the multitasking car view and quit, hold your finger down on power-hungry apps, and then fling them off the screen to close them. This is key for apps like VoIP (like Skype), streaming audio (like Pandora), or navigation (like TomTom). Anything running all the time will drain battery. That's how batteries work. Some apps can also fail to sleep properly when not in use. If quitting Facebook stops your battery drain, quit Facebook. After some experimentation you'll find occasional and chronic offenders alike.
  • Restart/reset your device. If you haven't rebooted in a while, give it a try. There could be a rogue process or something else doing what it shouldn't be doing, and a restart can often fix that. Here's how to reboot)
  • Power cycle. About once a month, and certainly if you think you're having problems, you should completely drain your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad's battery -- drain it until it shuts down on its own -- and then charge it back up to full. That re-calibrates the battery indicator and you'll get a more realistic idea of what your levels are. can solve by either swapping it for another device or otherwise figuring out a fix.
  • Go to the Apple Store. Sometimes you do get a lemon, or your iPhone or iPad develops a real problem that only Apple can fix — by servicing or replacing your device.

3. Restore your device as new (not from backup)

The single biggest cause of battery life problems with iOS devices occurs when they are restored from backup and not set up as new devices. Whether it's cruft or corruption, bit rot or simply bad bits, a clean install as a new device -- incredible pain in the butt though it may be -- is usually the best fix for any battery life issues. This is the nuclear option. You will have to set up absolutely everything again, and you will lose all your saved data like game levels, but in most cases your battery life will be better than ever.

4. Turn off what you're not using

If your battery life is normal but you still find yourself needing extra power on some occasions, there are a few things you can do. Firstly plug in your device. At home, at work, in the car, there are plenty of opportunities to top up your battery. If you're stuck and can't plug in, here are some other things you can try.

Anything running on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad uses up the battery. So if you've tried everything else and it turns out you're just using your device more than the battery will allow for the length of time you need to use it, you'll need to make some hard choices. You'll need to stop using some of the features you don't really need in order to keep using the ones you do. The more you turn off, the longer your batter will last -- but of course the less you'll be able to do. It's a balancing act but one that can help you squeeze out a little extra juice when you really need it.

  • Turn off Background app and content refresh: Don't waste power downloading things when you don't explicitly need to. Settings, General, Background App Refresh shows you everything you can turn off. Also go to Settings, App Store and turn of automatic app and content downloads.
  • Turn off Siri's Raise to Speak. Go to Settings, General, Siri. Readers keep telling us this has helped them with battery life due to accelerometer issues.
  • Turn off Location Services. Go to Settings, Privacy, Location Services, and turn off any app and system service you really don't need tracking or using your location. Including the new Frequent Locations tracker!
  • Turn off Push Notifications. Likewise, go to Settings, Notifications, and turn off any app you don't care to be alerted about.
  • Turn of Notification Center widgets. Stocks, and particularly weather in Notification Center seem to be causing our readers some battery grief. Since weather can be location-based now, the potential is there for more battery abuse.
  • Turn off Spotlight indexing. It will cramp your search style, but if you don't need the index process running right now, turn it off.

  • How to control background refresh to save battery life and data on your iPhone and iPad

There are some old tricks you can try when you're in a jam as well, and the new Control Center makes it really easy to do many of these really quickly now!

  • Set Auto-Lock to 1 minute
  • Turn off any extra sounds, like keyboard clicks
  • Turn off the iPod EQ
  • Use headphones instead of the speaker if you have to listen to audio or music
  • Turn down the screen brightness
  • Turn off Bluetooth when not using it
  • Turn off Wi-Fi when not using it
  • Set all email, calendar, and contacts accounts to "Fetch" (turn off Push)

5. Airplane mode!

If you're really desperate, put your iPhone or iPad in Airplane Mode and save the radios for when you need them. If you're really desperate, you can also turn your device completely off until you need it (it will still use a tiny amount of power but far, far less than anything else).

How to get more help with your iOS 7.1 battery life

If you need more help, or just more personalized help, with trouble shooting your iOS 7.1 battery life problems head on over to the iMore forums! Either way, tell me — how's your battery life under iOS 7.1, did any of my tips help, and have you got any of your own to share?

Georgia

Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, hosts the ZEN & TECH podcast, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Prime.

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There are 43 comments. Add yours.

Marcraz says:

I had a battery drain issue after updating to 7.1 and I restored the phone through iTunes and used my last backup. It's sorted the issue. Currently I'm on 2% with a usage of 8hrs 50mins and a standby time of 22hrs 46mins. Over the air updates always seems to screw up with battery life for me.

Sent from the iMore App

Hollyw0od says:

Good to know! I'll try this out

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Antron says:

My battery life is shot after the update. I may have to restore an use a back up as well. Bummer :(

Marcraz says:

Try it. It did the job for me. Your not gonna lose anything. Just make sure you backup to your comp and iCloud.

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iDisturbia says:

5S here ... NO change in battery life!

But ... thanks a lot for great tips. I'm going to save it to my Evernote account ;)

Hollyw0od says:

I love the hate that Android gets when it asks it's users to wipe to solve problems but doing that very thing is almost literally the first step in every apple "how to fix..." article.

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Premium1 says:

So true. IOS is supposed to "just work" remember?

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uwatto says:

I've been using the moto for about 6 weeks. The battery is brilliant. But I went back to my 5s last night and updated it to 7.1 the battery is worse now, I'm going to restore it later on iTunes . Great to be back on the iphone but pity apple can't give us decent battery

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ndogdrumz says:

My battery is better than before.

WPSteve says:

I don't get the indexing part.

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GlennRuss says:

Excellent article, thanks. I have found no difference in battery life with 7.1 I did not really have a problem. I have not reloaded Beats yet, that was the only issue. They have fixed it.

kazn3r says:

In number 4 you mention turning down the screen brightness. Is it now worth noting that the "reduce white point" option should also be selected? It does dim the screen, but that change is not reflected in the display brightness scroll meter.

asuperstarr says:

Thanks for the tips! I will definitely make the adjustments.

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NYRbeezer says:

So in other words, if you want to save battery either turn off everything that makes this a smartphone, or turn off the phone completely. It's all a placebo effect. The min this all does is give you a few more minutes, otherwise battery saving is worthless.

mdelvecchio says:

the notion that your phone is draining faster ("Halp! My phone is eating battery!") is likely also in the head. w/o scientific metering, all of this stuff is rubbish.

haydster says:

I must say when I updated too IOS 7.1 on my 5S my battery has been tarnished, I might need too try some of these, thanks!!

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Johnny Sanchez says:

I've mentioned this in the past and I will mention it again.

For Apple, they have not been able to fix the issue with over-the-air updates. When you do an over-the-air update, you are simply patching your existing software. In other words, you're putting a band-aid on top of another band-aid. I have learned and working with Apple Store techs that the very best way to update your existing software for now for any update is through iTunes. Yes, it's old. Yes, less people use it, but this is the only way you will definitely have the opportunity to make sure every bit of the software that is downloaded onto your phone will work and make your phone work well. How can a major update like iOS 7.1 be 200-300 MB over the air and then 1.27 and 1.47 GB for iPhone and iPad? The reason for this is simply acknowledging the size of the update.

In the future, never over-the-air update, update through iTunes and I promise you'll see a difference.

Shinydesert says:

That's what I did today and we will see how that goes.

Thanks for your advice.

AdamChew says:

Not true I do my updating over the air it works just fine.
MY 5s have a battery problem because I don't use it often enough and when I started using it every day the battery gets better.
Btw I am using the system app to monitor my battery when I am charging it and also do a complete charge once a week.
Yes I am using 7.1.
Try to use the wall plug to do the charging and not from the laptop because it doesn't give a good charge.

Shinydesert says:

Thanks my friend, it does work. Long but "trouble-proof".

omarsforever says:

Why don't I just turn the phone off and find something else to use? I hope there will be a day when we won't discuss battery problems with iPhones

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mdelvecchio says:

if you think its any different elsewhere, your mistaken. battery tech is the same on all mobile devices and is holding everyone back. in this regard apple is actually ahead, it's OS has many more effective tweaks and tighter integration w/ the phone hardware.

omarsforever says:

I am sorry to say this, but are you joking?! Apple is ahead? I have been an iPhone user since the start and I dislike just about any phone out there. But the reality is there are other smart phones in companies like Samsung and Nokia that has a better battery life.
Thank you and I hope you wont be offended by my replay :)

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mrjspeed says:

Not sure about Nokia, but the reason Samsung devices have on-par or better battery is because the devices are much larger and house a much larger watt-hour battery. I think the point mdelvecchio is trying to drive at is that Apple devices tend to make the most of their battery power and excel at being efficient. If you put the battery from the iPhone 5 in the GS4, you'd get pretty poor results. This is also the reason why iPhones charge faster - their batteries aren't as big.

GuyBey0ndC00L says:

When restoring your iDevice has new. Should / can restore my contacts from iCloud or do I have the manually retype them in. I definitely have battery issues on iPhone 5s running iOS 7.1.

AndroidArmageddon says:

I solved my iphone battery life issues by using my Galaxy S4 again. It's so nice not having to charge my phone by noon

mdelvecchio says:

not buying it -- ive gotten at least 24 hours on every iphone iteration.

mdelvecchio says:

"Some apps can also fail to sleep properly when not in use. If quitting Facebook stops your battery drain, quit Facebook."

citation? non-music/gps apps get put into a suspended state by the OS. great article from a seasoned iOS expert on why manually managing your recent-applications list doesnt do anything.

http://www.speirs.org/blog/2012/1/2/misconceptions-about-ios-multitaskin...

karol kaosrk says:

Hi ... This jailbreak still working?
evasi0n-jailbreak . net

Shinydesert says:

Ok, so I think the clean installation and set up as new has been totally worth it after almost a day. At this time of the day and after 50mins of VOIP calls, lots of browsing,whatsapp, wifi and music at the gym my iPhone 5 is back to normal. Very happy indeed, this is not the easy road but it was worth it.

Thanks Johnny Sanchez

Robin de Groot says:

Ever since iOS7.0.6. and still on iOS7.1 both me and my wife had huge battery drain on our iPhone 4S and stand-by was equal to usage time. We finally found the solution to a post of another user on the Dutch Tweakers forum. There seem to be a bug within a certain Dutch coupon app called 'Scoupy' which drained the battery completely although GPS setting was turned of and also 'refresh on background' was off.

Scoupy said that a fix for their app is send for approval to the App Store. We removed the app and our usage/stand-by time is again as normal (higher stand-by time then usage time) and best of all a 'normal' battery use as it was the case on iOS7.0.4. I hope this could help someone. I'm wondering if the iBeacon changes in iOS7.0.6/7.1 together with a bug in the Scoupy app could be the cause? Maybe this is also with our similar apps you have on your phone.

flightmedic87 says:

Since I started using 7.1 my iPhone 5s has a tendency to just all of a sudden restart. I've cleaned the phone then reloaded the 7.1 and it still does it. I mean I've reloaded it OTA and through iTunes and it still does it. Can't figure out why?

Steffen Lips says:

The single most useful change to enhance battery life would be a switch to disable 3G and 4G networks. In iOS 6 I disabled 4G on the phone and therefore was able to switch to GSM - perfect network coverage and nice battery life. For me it just makes no sense to have the phone sitting in my pocket waiting in 4G mode for the next push notification.

Ianthetechman says:

The best thing for me to conserve battery life is simply turning off mobile data unless needed you can really get loads more juice this way.

BiancaJadee Mclean says:

My iPhone 4s battery is functioning properly I'm wondering if I should replace the battery or if it's a software problem.

See a little while ago my phone was working fine but then being clumsy I dropped my phone and it cracked, but the battery stuffed up also, I tried rebooting, restore all kinda of things but it never worked

Problem is I would charge my iPhone to 100% so if leave it on for a good couple of hours then I'd take it off, a few minutes later it drops to 1% ...

Can you help me pleaE

Gogo6969 says:

Apple just released a free battery test app called batteryscore. My battery isn't that good anymore... You'll find it here: http://batteryscore.com

Daniel Tai says:

i have this problem where my Iphone 5c either cannot charge at all when the switch is on or only charges up to 4% and then it starts to drain even if the plug is connected and the switch is on. How can this issue be solved?

graigsmith says:

Does anyone have problems with ipad battery life. I wish the iPhone got the battery life of the ipad.

suitcasejohnny says:

I stopped reading after the first tip. Really?? First of all, you completely insulted my intelligence by telling me that if I don't use my phone so much, the battery will last longer. Secondly, that's not a "fix" for battery drain issues. All it is, is dumb. I can't believe you get paid to write this crap.

ndogdrumz says:

I want to restore my device and set it up as new, but the problem is every time I have done that, all my pictures are gone from my camera roll. And only some go back on my device from iCloud. I don't know why this happens, but it is annoying. Everything else (contacts, apps, etc.) All go back on from iCloud, just not all my photos.

Steve D1 says:

I lost 5 to 10 percent of battery during night.
I wonder if this is normal.