5 battery life fixes for iOS 7 and iPhone 5s!

iOS 7 is here - we have your complete iOS 7 review to prove it! - and you know what that means, right? Some of you are going to have battery life issues! For some of the people, some of the time, it's simply the cost of the OS updating process, and iOS 7 is no different! So, if your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad on iOS 7 is draining its battery too fast, or not lasting long enough on stand-by, here are some things you can try to fix the problem!

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

Update: the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c have launched now too, so we've updated this article to include them!

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

As soon as you get a new version of iOS - or a new iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch - it's only natural not to want to put it down. It's a new toy, and there are a ton of new features to try out. iOS 7 in particular, what with it being built on top of a physics and particle engine like a video game, is especially fun to play around with. 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. In other words, 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 you do anything drastic, 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Go to the Apple Store. Sometimes you do get a lemon, or your iPhone or iPad develops a real problem that only Apple can solve by either swapping it for another device or otherwise figuring out a fix.

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.

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 battery life

Be sure to let us know how what you're seeing with your iOS 7 battery life, and if any of these tips, or any other tips, help you improve it, make sure to tell us!


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector and Isometric podcasts, follow her on Twitter @Georgia_Dow and check out her series at anxiety-videos.com.

  • Get a Mohpie Juice Pack Plus and use your device the way you want to. Best case purchase I ever made was getting one a few months back. I never have to worry about my phone dying on me.
  • I don't think the parallax effect uses a lot of battery on recent devices. It's just tilting around a few textured OpenGL polygons which is nothing compared to the millions of polygons a 3D game can display. Obviously such 3D games do drain the battery, but I think that the energy needed to tilt a few textured polygons on an A5-6-7 is minuscule compared to the energy needed for the display backlight and radios.
  • I think it is. I used Instruments XCode and CPU was obout 40% while without it it was 6%. One more thing which increases CPU (and with CPU it is also battery comsuption) basic scroling on screen and touching screen, it increases CPU to 50%
  • Guess I'll have to turn it off even though I really appreciate its effects.
    My battery life on iOS 7, after a clean wipe and setting up as new is terrible. (And yes I have factored in location settings, background app refreshes/updates, and other suggestions in the heavily cited iMore and TUAW guides to improving battery life).
  • "My battery life on iOS 7, after a clean wipe and setting up as new is terrible." I noticed this too though it's only been a couple of days. Was getting good life after an OTA update, but the clean sweep has made the battery [appear to] drain quicker.
  • Did one day with parallax and the other without. No changes in usage, and no impact on battery life.
  • I thought the real problem was the constant accelerometer use rather than rendering the effect.
  • I have noticed it takes longer to fully charge the battery. It has been plugged in over two hours, and I am only at 90%. The phone was turned off durning that time. Under iOS 6 I would have a full charge. Sent from the iMore App
  • iOS has nothing to do with charge times if the phone was turned off. Seriously.
  • I have been using ios 7 since beta 1 and I would say the battery life is much improved over previously with everything turned on.
  • Strangely my battery life was at 90% and then I turned it on and off like Georgia suggested. When it came back on battery life was at 98%! Sent from the iMore App
  • One of the biggest battery savings is by switching off all the Spotlight search scans (General-Spotlight Search) as it's scanning through all your files to index them, which is pretty heavy work.
  • Thanks for mentioning this - I will disable it. As noted above, my OTA update over my existing iOS6 was consistent battery life. Fresh install (to clean up a very large "other" file) has made my battery appear to drain faster. I had most spotlight disabled before....
  • "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." This is terrible advice! Current generation rechargeable batteries don't need to be fully discharged and in fact you are reducing their lifespan by doing so. Best advice is to keep the charge as high as as you can so your point about plugging it in as often as possible is very good.
  • my iphone wont charge now since i updated it to ios 7
  • soooo sorry to hear that .... bad bad ios7 :( but your post is sooooo original too. LMAO
  • The drain until dead thing has more to do with re-calibrating the gauge than with increasing battery life. Sometimes the meter equates a certain voltage with an incorrect percentage. Once I had an iPhone that drained very quickly, but then it stayed at 10% for two hours while playing a movie. Running the phone down past that re-calibrated the gauge so that subsequent drops from 100 to 10 was more representative of true power left. I agree that on a whole you shouldn't make this a habit, though, as Li based batts don't fare well after being completely drained (so there literally is no charge left).
  • Its okay they are very slim xx
  • Perhaps, but doing so recalibrates your battery indicator. Once a month is probably excessive. In fact, better advice may be to tell people to do this no more than once a month. However, if you're getting down to a 20% charge hours before you should be, there's a good chance the indicator is simply giving you bad information.
    I've done power cycles where the last 1% of charge lasted over an hour -- in spite of running a Netflix movie trying to kill the battery.
  • Mine usually goes the other way. The 100 drains quickly, the 90 lasts a long time. That last 20% can go in a few minutes. Has been this way since I got the iPhone 4S, and draining the battery hasn't helped. I just get used to knowing that that last 20% is more like 2%.
  • I have the same behavior with my 4s. Never noticed it on my 4 or 3GS though that's hardly scientific...
  • I've been working with all types of batteries for a little over 5 years and I would have to disagree with this. Lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries (smart phones, laptops ect.) do actually gain capacity from a full cycle (going from no charge to full charge) I've witnessed this countless times during analysis and reconditioning of these particular batteries. These newer style batteries do not develop a 'memory' effect like older styles, but a good full cycle now and again will absolutely help overall capacity.
  • Apple says differently, but it is a controversial subject for some reason.
  • That's the difference between battery health and battery meter calibration - yes it's not good for the battery to discharge it (in terms of longevity) but it helps the phone's battery meter - Apple quite rightly recommend a balanced approach. If you upgrade every 2 years anyway, then you probably don't need to worry about discharging your phone too often.
  • I'd reckon this is to be done so the system can calibrate 100% and 0% battery condition.
  • Thank you! This is TERRIBLE ADVICE and is complete and total rubbish. This is a quick way to damage your battery. NEVER POWER CYCLE YOUR IPHONE. Period.
  • Without some solid evidence for each side of this battery cycle debate, the best advice would have to be: don't fully power cycle your battery all the time and don't plug it in all the time. How many people have actually replaced their iPhone batteries anyway?
  • Yes, you are correct. That is terrible advice and is exactly the opposite of what you should do.
  • We are having the same difficulty. Can't even get it to 1%-so frustrated. Can't try anything because cant get a charge to do anything. Hating update!!!
  • "Use headphones instead of the speaker if you have to listen to audio or music" - This statement applies to people on public transport & walking around the streets also, others might not want to listen to low fidelity cheesy pop music. But seriously: Settings > Privacy > Location services. Cull a few of those, then look at the system services in here also.
  • Please forgive a simple question, but if I do restore from iCloud, will it also restore my network settings? At home, of course, I can just reenter the key, but at work I'll need to track down our IT person and get her to enter the super secret SSID and key. Since my iPhone would be super low priority, that could take a week or longer.
  • Yes, it should. Just make sure you have an up-to-date backup on iCloud - which can also be evoked by going to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Back Up Now.
  • Also, try turning on inverted colors. Whatever is usually white turns black, and a black screen doesn't eat your battery like a starving beaver.
  • Battery issue is always been an issue for me since I got a smartphone.. I guess it's just how I use it and etc.. It doesn't really bother me anymore I just try to charge it whenever I get a chance to
  • don't use it as much??
    So could I get a months use from a tank of gas if I don't drive that much How stupid are apple users... no wonder they have to go to Apple geniuses...
  • Thanks for the tips and easy guide! Hopefully, my iPhone will not drain as drastically anymore. Ever since I updated to iOS7, my battery is like on an LTE mode. Apparently, the interface is not the only fluid on this update. Cheers, Jean
  • how to fix battery issues:
    Dont use it or turn it off...?? Are you an idiot for real?
  • I find that my devices are charging A LOT faster tan normal but barely stays charged on 1 full charging for the day. I.e. I used to remove charger @100% in the morning (8am) and come back home w around 54-70% easy.
    Now my batt. Barely stays above 20%. This change obviously noticed literally over night. This post saves batt. in general usage I guess, but won't save you 30%. That's non sense. I'm not going to "use my phone less" just because I can't save batt. N this new OS is not that interesting that I'm gawking at it to kill an extra 30% at least. However:
    I did turn on the new auto AppStore updates and background app updating. If i were to guess these features constantly keep your antennae active even during rest. N w CDMA tech, we all know how much batt that takes.
  • Is it true that with ios7 you can't stop apps from running like u could before?
  • How do you stop apps from running on iPhone 5 iOS 7?
  • Simple. Double-press the Home button as before. You will see the "open" app screens and icons. Then you just 'flick" them up and they go away. You really don't have to do this with all apps, all the time, but you should probably routinely close apps that use resources such as Location Services or streaming (such as Maps, Pandora and the like).
  • Really these suggestions suck. Why have a phone if you are going to turn it off or put it in airplane mode? And plug it in? Thanks I wouldn't have thought of that one.
  • Seriously? I need to stop looking at my phone? And remember to charge it? Wow, that's a big help. This lame update caused my phone to die after 2.5 hours - of music! Not movies or phone calls etc. This is ridiculous, and it would have been nice to get some tips without the "your phone died because you're stoopid" introduction.
  • I guarantee I would have extended my battery life if I had not wasted my time reading this useless article... or posting this reply...
    They actually paid you to write this?
  • I agree with you Nancy. "Stop using it so much" has got to be the worst advice. This article belongs on The Onion.
  • Maybe it's because I'm kind of pissed that my iPhone has dove from 100% to 73% in the few minutes it's taken me to read this article, but this article has irritated me so much I was compelled to actually create a login to comment. "Stop Using It So Much" has got to be the most god awful advice I have ever heard of. Thank you Miss OBVIOUS for the deep insight. If you got paid for this you should give half the check to the guy who mentioned Mophie. Now I'm at 57%. FML... No FMiOS7...
  • I am having battery issues on my 5s. Just to make sure that I wasn't imagining it I set a timer. After 30 minutes of where's my water 2, I went from 93% power down to 74%. That seems a bit excessive. Has anyone else noticed this type of power drain?
  • I am a really serious user of iPads. I use six of them at school every day. I had them plugged in charging last night for 9 hours, and this morning they were only at 56%, despite being unused all night. Every night the last year I awoke to 100% until two days ago. Yikes. To make matters worse, I took it in to the Apple Store today and they decided it was a software issue and restored it as new. Then I read your column and realized what was really the case. This shouldn't happen. I love iOS 7, but I would give it up to go back to better battery life.
  • I'm pretty sure my battery life is worse after restoring as new this weekend compared to when I did the OTA update last week.
  • I'm seeing the same thing -- though someone pointed out spotlight indexing as a possible cause above, so I've gone back to my original settings (everything else, AFAIK, has been set the same as I had it before). So we'll see...
  • "stop using it so much" isn't bad advice, but it's a bit misphrased. The way I'd say this is "look, when you get a new update you probably use the phone a lot more than usual and so your battery of course drains faster - you're using it MORE. Don't judge battery life until your use falls back into your normal pattern." I was shocked the first day at how fast the battery declined. It's fine now, though. Some of that was that I was playing with the phone a lot on day 1, but even overnight with 50% it drained totally. What I did was to recharge it from 0% to full, then did a Reset All Settings (under General, Reset). NOTE that this resets your passwords, etc so make sure you know those. The combination of a full discharge and recharge and the reset gives me battery that so far feels about like what I had under iOS 6. Also, someone above mentioned Spotlight and this is another reason not to freak out on day 1. On the first day I had Spotlight indexing and apps autoupdating as everyone was releasing new versions for iOS7. Now that stuff has also settled down. In short, ignore what your battery is like the first day or two. Once most of your apps are updated, Spotlight's had a chance to index things and your usage is back to your regular pattern, see what it's like. If you still see bad battery life, try a full discharge and recharge and a Reset All. Yes, I know, the full discharge isn't great... but doing one every year for an iOS update won't hurt things.
  • Georgia the baby kitten! No battery problems at all with iOS 7 on the old '5'. Still at 72% after 21 hours (the last time it was at 100%), with several phone calls, location-based notifications, Siri requests (wi-fi), Maps direction finding (LTE), app updates (wi-fi), alarms and timers, news notifications, and using many apps all day. Everything under "4. Turn off what you're not using" is turned on. I find that the biggest battery hogs are the graphics-intensive games. And, just like rickg1 said above, immediately after updating, I noticed that there were over 100 apps in App Store that needed updating. Even after the "restore" procedure (more on that.) So there was a whole lot of network traffic and file system activity for the entire first day of iOS 7 GM use. Turns out that the GM is identical to the public 7.0 release. Also, caveat: I installed the GM of iOS 7 the way you install all beta releases, as a "restore," about a week ago. You back up your iPhone, do a full "restore" from the GM which resets your iPhone to the equivalent of a fresh-from-the-factory new unit, then restore your own data and settings from that backup. This is not the same as an incremental over-the-air update. At all. So maybe my results are good because I did more or less a clean install.
  • Update: this morning the battery was still at 52%, more than 30 hours after the last time it was at 100%. With more than average usage. On an iPhone 5 exactly 1 year and 1 day old.
  • After doing several meta searches on this issue and reading many articles... I found that Georgia's is the best written, most informative and most useful. Thanks!
  • Hello Rod, So what do you think is the best way to not drain your battery life before the end of the day? and if we could buy and use boosters like charge stations or pocket batteries? what do you think would be the best way? Thanks
  • Video Tutorials!! IOS 7 Battery Saving Tips here: http://youtu.be/9tjrFRzHFlY Increase your iOS 7 Privacy settings Here: http://youtu.be/31NXkIqMuAQ
  • Im using iphone 5s 32gb... While on standby mode... The battery drained fast...can someone help me? Sent from the iMore App
  • i had an iPhone 4s that would run out in literally half an hour it got to the stage where it could barely be on without being charged now i realise what a good idea setting up my 5s as new was and georgia in respects to loosing your game data about half of my apps if not three quarters had some cloud save or account or link which meant the first time i opened up the app i was able to retrieve my game data
  • Sadly apple needs to focus more on battery life than paper thin devices. Nobody would complain if it was a mm or two thicker and had a much larger battery inside the device.
  • The battery life on my iPhone 5S is not too bad. It goes down about 1% every hour on standby.
  • Restore helped me out.
  • The bttery on my ipad mini with retina is very impressive....