iPhone 101: How to Maximize iPhone Battery Performance


Poor battery life and iPhone are a few words that get mixed together all too often it seems. While some will say it's fine, others will say it's pitiful. As many of you know, battery life will fluctuate greatly between users and their individual usage patterns but TiPb wants to provide you with some simple tips and tricks on conditioning your battery to provide a maximum life and squeezing as much usage out of each charge as possible.

The battery in an iPhone is a lithium-based battery which is most common in consumer portable devices. A lithium-ion battery provides 300-500 discharge/charge cycles in its lifetime and the following tips are just a few ways to efficiently gain longer battery lifespans while extending overall battery life of your iPhone.

  • Be sure to go through at least one charge cycle per month (charging the battery to 100% and then completely running it down).
  • Always be on the latest software from Apple, 3.1 currently, as engineers may just find new ways to improve battery life.
  • Avoid heat - do not leave your iPhone in a hot car or in direct sunlight.
  • Optimization of your settings. Yes, some of these are no brainers but can be effective. Simple things like:
  1. turning off Location Services,
  2. turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use,
  3. fetching new data less frequently,
  4. setting the brightness of your screen below 50%,
  5. turning of the EQ while listening to music,
  6. turning off 3G while not surfing the internet (Yes, we said it...)

All of these add up to better battery life.

After you've tried some of the above tips and you are still not happy or your battery life is just horrid all together, you may want to try restoring your iPhone and do not restore from a backup file but rather restore as a new iPhone. All too often we hear about horrible battery life striking many of you after updating your iPhone to the latest software. If this is the case, 9 times out of 10 a separate restore as a new iPhone will clear up your battery issue.

Have some battery saving tips you'd like to share? Leave them in the comments for others to take advantage of!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


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iPhone 101: How to Maximize iPhone Battery Performance


Those are all fine suggestions but for a non-jailbroken phone the items listed under "Optimization of your settings" are cumbersome to access. Flipping those settings on and off all the time requires a lot of steps. There's isn't an "optimized way" to "optimize your settings".

It would be great if there were an app that turned off all the battery sucking features kind of like a 'macro'

Set Wifi to "ask to join"
I think the factor I notice most often is proximity to good cell towers, which is out of our control most of the time. The better the reception the longer my battery life. If I am on the interstate in a remote area, or a back highway, my battery life dives no matter what I do, due to the phone's attempts to improve signal. I can go 2 days or so around the city (major metropolitan) with regular use (talk, browse, music) and not have to charge, but after a full charge take a 5 hr car trip and its red lining.

I agree! i'm inside an office building and i get about 2-3 3G bars at best, sometimes it will drop to edge and not ever back on 3g until i'm outside with 5 bars. I believe that when i am inside the phone uses more power trying to get the best signal. Too bad we dont have settings to only use 3g for data only, and then switch to Edge for talk or standby.

Location services alone sucks 20-30% of your battery in my tests. Turning off Push is key. I only turn on BT when I need it.

The settings this article tells you to turn off are all settings that require the phone to passively search for the strongest signals (e.g, Bluetooth, WiFi, location triangulation, email/data fetching, 3G towers vs EDGE/2G towers, etc.). All these features mean processing your phone is doing passively, without you actively telling it to do so. Therefore, it all adds up to your phone using battery power when you aren't even using it (i.e., like on a phone call or browsing the web).
This is one of the core issues of the iPhone. Why buy a phone if you have to turn everything off? In my opinion, the whole concept of a smart phone is to have everything ready at your finger tips - not to have to toggle things on/off to be able access to them. If that's the case, there's no difference between the iPhone and a netbook with 3G capability other than form factor.
I'm an iPhone fanboi, but the phone is still flawed.

Li-ion batteries hate being fully duscharged and will maintain a long life span if you try and top up the battery as often as possible. Rule of thumb is to charge whenever you can and only discharge fully when you are doing the monthly battery meter recalubration.

I was turning off Location Services much of the time, until I realized that this impairs the functionality of "Find My iPhone" thru MobileMe.

im way more concerned with my iphone 3g going into a coma 1x a day since i downloaded the 3.1 update. that is the real issue apple needs to be looking into IMO

Yeah, sure, just turn it off! if i wanted a phone that can't do stuff i would have bough windows mobile.

I've noticed that turning off WiFi does mess with certain apps (e-mail, apps that use internet, etc) pre-3.0. Same thing for location services. I'm unfortunate in that I moved out of a 3G area, and the nearest I can get to a 3G tower requires me to go 10 miles up the interstate. :(
Brightness is about the best thing to save your battery life.

So, in other words, you have to take your "premiere" phone on the market NOT use any of the functions that make it premiere?? My Bold would go all day without any problems, switching back and forth on its own. I could leave on Bluetooth, WI-FI, 3G, everything, and still not worry about it. Apple has REFUSED to do anyting about this since iPhone 1, and they are STILL refusing to fix this problem. My wife updated her 3GS , and now she drops 3-4% each time she sends a single txt message. That's real nice. Instead of all these OS tweeks, FIX THE DAMN BATTERY ALREADY!!!.

Why Apple will not start to think on an iPhone with the possibility to change the battery? Exactly like the rest of the cells world...

Has anyone seen improvements (to 3.0.1 levels) from doing a fresh 3.1 install rather than just an upgrade?

Regarding this tip:
Be sure to go through at least one charge cycle per month (charging the battery to 100% and then completely running it down).
I've seen two versions of this. One, as above, is to do the full battery drain down to the "out of charge" screen once a month. I've seen another indicating to go through a full charge "cycle" once a month, but never let your battery drain down do the "out of charge screen, and not down to the 20% marker if you can help it.
So it comes down to who you ask. Expert 1 says do option A, and Expert 2 says never do option A. BTW I did the monthly full power-down to the "out of charge" screen with my 3G, but not with my 1st Gen, and I'm not doing it with my 3GS. I'm not sure if it was related to the "monthly charge-down" strategy or not, but by the after around a full year of use, I was noticing significantly less usage per full charge on my 3G, as compared to my 1st Gen after a year of use.

This is a joke....
Turn off 3G when not surfing the internet?!? LOL. Yes that makes sense but so much for shelling out that cash for an iPhone "3G" or "3G"S.
I own both a BlackBerry and an iPod and I use them simultaneously and I just keep seeing more and more reasons why owning two devices is far superior to owning one device - in this case an iPhone 3GS.
I might be wrong on this one but you FINALLY got push notifications... at the cost of decent battery life (I'm referring to item 3 in this article's list).
I'm just so sick and tired of iPhone worshippers telling me to get an iPhone when other smart phones are doing for years what the iPhone finally got after a half dozen software updates... Oh wait, there was an app for that!

I'm actually amazed at how great the battery life is on the 3GS. I have 3G, location services, push notifications, wifi and bluetooth turned on all day, with the screen set to default brightness, and I ALWAYS get through the day with a little room to spare.
Bear in mind, that TALK TIME on just about any 3G phone is limited to 5-6 hours, so if you spend a lot of time on the phone each day, in conjunction with games, data or video, you're going to eat through batteries quickly. Find a way to top it up - there are a bazillion ways - or modify your usage
Having said that, I see a lot of whining on here from people who:
a) don't own an iphone
b) own an iPhone and are too dim to top up the battery when needed
c) have jailbroken their iPhones and then want sympathy when it doesn't work properly
d) have an axe to grind against the iPhone and don't mind perpetuating a bit of FUD
e) God, I'm too bored to continue.
Every time Apple releases a new phone/update we get the kind of rubbish that is written in this thread.
@Mike. Take your FUD elsewhere.

@mystic... Just voicing my POV. If Apple had a product that didn't require a lot of tweaks just to run nice n smooth I would have an iPhone as well.
I'm not hating. I'm just pointing out the flaws that everybody is trying to sweep under the rug because they want to hail the iPhone as the greatest smart phone around. I won't deny that it is a good looking phone and IMHO it has the best touch screen around. But, at this point that's the only thing it has over other smart phones.

For $1000+ PER YEAR/ apple better get on dis bit-ch and fix it! I just noticed my battery's down to half after 6 hours of pretty much all standby. This is BS!

"I’m not hating. I’m just pointing out the flaws that everybody is trying to sweep under the rug because they want to hail the iPhone as the greatest smart phone around. I won’t deny that it is a good looking phone and IMHO it has the best touch screen around. But, at this point that’s the only thing it has over other smart phones."
My 3GS runs beautifully without ANY tweaks. That's why the iPhone is streets ahead of other smartphones in independent surveys of customer satisfaction. And if you believe that having the best touchscreen is the ONLY advantage the iPhone has, you're living in cloud-cuckoo land. As I said, the vast majority of iPhone owners are absolutely delighted, contrary to all the negative stories that are constantly being spun on the interwebs.

I know this would be an embarrassment for Apple, but I sure would be a lot happier if they'd let me roll back to 3.0.1 until they get 3.1.1 out. Right now this upgrade is pretty hard to defend.

The iPhone battery life is brilliant. The problem is how useful the iPhone is, and how that has lead to dramatic increases in usage.
I've been through days were I've used my iPhone for 8 hours in a single day! I'd be lucky to use my old phone for, maybe a few hours - usually alot less.
I know someone who just uses it like a normal phone, and only has to charge it once a week.

These tips would be fine if the settings were easy to get to. I can't imagine having to go into settings and then into wifi to toggle it on and off each time I want to use the internet, it's just not a reasonable thing to expect. It wouldn't be as bad if there were little buttons on the top bar to toggle these settings.

These tips would be fine if they addressed the problem. Battery life complaints are one thing when you're using Push, 3G, and GPS all day, but when a software 'upgrade' results in noticeable and unacceptable battery drain - something is clearly wrong... and it's not a setting. Throw us a bone Apple.

I’d just like to remind everyone today is the last day of summer and I have yet to have MMS…that is all.

So, let's see. What does one do when his/her iPhone/itouch battery goes, we send it in to Apple?

Screen Brightness is the only change I make, and I don't even notice it in terms of functionality (unless I'm in the sun). Turning my brightness down helps soooo much.

Someone answer me this, if restoring as a "new" iphone is supposed to help do you lose all of your apps, music, photos etc?

I have never had batery problems with 3G or 3GS. If anything, the battery life got better with 3.0/3.1. One thing to keep in mind: I use iPhone a LOT more then any phone before it. Naturally, the battery has to be charged more frequently. I don't mind charging it once a day or whenever I have a chance. Secondly, you have to realize that iPhone is a mini-computer, after all. How many hours of heavy usage a laptop will last without being charged?

hey buy the current technology but you can use it for 10 min then carry wires/charges with you.
or turn everything off make it barely usable and then it lasts an hr.
i move the mentality behind this.

just buy a raza phone they last 10x longer on battery then if thats the case, and its free!

Dam everyone who complaining about this problem just jailbreak your dam iPhone and find the soulotion yourself instead Of complaing to apple. LIKE THEIR REALLY GONNA HELP YOU!!!!! THEY WANT MONEY!!!!! Once you jailbreak your phone there are plenty of battery conseverstion application that will extend your battery to limits you never imagine! For example! There's an app called SBS settings "for those jailbroken already know this" with a simple tap of the status bar, you the time and signal and shyt yea lol! It will pull down a page of all your toggles such as, Bluetooth, 3g/edge on or off, wifi and possibly everything that can me switched on and off including respring. I'm telling you once you get it set up which is very easy you will have signifcant battery improvement cause you iPhone will learn to adjust to the settings thus improving battery life when needed.

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i can't believe how many people are put off by these tips! same thing with the g1 - battery life sucked (actually worse than the iphone) so the advice was to turn off the stuff that sucks power when you're not using it. and then 2/3rds of the responses are "that's why I have the phone, i shouldn't have to turn it off!" good gawd it isn't that hard to toggle stuff on/off and it makes sense to do so. you don't need 3g to send txts or im's nor do you need wifi. turn it on only when you need it. it doesn't make the phone any less functional. no one is saying never use wifi or bluetooth or 3g.
fact is if you want a tiny phone that is still a smartphone its not going to have a crazy battery. pure and simple. get over it and stop crying.

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I wonder why of all the tips they list, they don't tell you to just hit the sleep button on top of the phone. I think that was one of the first tips Apple suggested when you are not using your phone.

The biggest drain on the iPhone battery is Push Notification, esp in emails that are set to push. Set your settings to fetch from the server rather than have it pushed to the phone. Try setting it to fetch hourly or simply fetch manually. It will surely help save you battery.

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