Skip to main content

Secret power-savers: Extend your iPhone battery life now!

Apple has done a lot to make everything from their chipsets to their software extremely power efficient. Yet battery life remains the currency of mobile and every feature you use, you pay for with power. If you start running low on battery, you can simply plug into USB or an adapter and recharge. (Plug into an iPad adapter to recharge really quickly.) If you're going to be away from power for a long period of time, however, there are a few tricks you can use to extend your battery life just a little bit longer. They'll cost you some fun and convenience, but they'll get you as far as you can possibly go.

1. Low Power Mode

Low Power Mode, according to Apple, flips switches we don't even know about. When it's enabled, you'll lose push email, Hey Siri, background tasks, and more, but you'll gain up to three extra hours of battery life. You'll be offered it automatically when you hit 20%, but you can turn it on manually at any time through Settings > Battery. The battery icon at the top right of your iPhone will turn yellow whenever Low Power Mode is enabled, so you'll never have to wonder.

If you don't want to leave Low Power Mode on all the time, but still want to boost your battery life, there's a lot more you can try!

2. Lower light

The iPhone is LCD, not OLED, so it doesn't matter much what color is being displayed, it matters if the LED backlight is on, how intensely, and for how long. To keep energy output to a minimum, go to Settings > Display & Brightness, turn Auto-Brightness off, and drag Brightness as low as you can tolerate.

Bonus: How to dim your screen brightness further than Control Center allows

3. Pause the push

Push Notifications not only light up the lock screen, they light up the Wi-Fi or cellular radios as well. Your iPhone is now smart enough to suppress lock screen notifications whenever it thinks it's face down and you can't see them. But if it's in a pocket, purse, or anywhere else out of sight, it's still lighting up. So, for anything that doesn't urgently require your attention, go to Settings > Notification Center > and turn Show on Lock Screen—or even Allow Notifications—to off.

Personally, I only allow Phone, Messages, Calendar, and VIP Mail to light up my screen.

3. Boot the background

Apple does a lot to coalesce background updates so the radios don't transmit or receive any more than they have to. But if you don't need an app updating in the background, go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and make sure that it doesn't. You'll have to wait for messages or media to refresh when you open the app, but if you don't open it often, the power savings can be worth it.

4. Lockout location

GPS takes a lot of power. Apple uses a bunch of tricks to keep location access to an absolute minimum, but like notifications and background, if you don't need an app to know where you are, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and select Never.

As an added bonus, it'll help protect your privacy as well.

5. Toss tasks

Apps that provide VoIP and turn-by-turn navigation can be much harder on multitasking cycles and GPS. If you're not using them, you can double click the Home button and close the app completely by tossing its card away. That'll shut down VoIP and navigation and start saving power on the spot.

Note: Though Facebook isn't supposed to have full background access, it often behaves like it does and is a prime candidate for killing as well. (Some go so far as to uninstall it and use the mobile website instead.)

6. Minimize the Motion

Animating transitions and blurring backgrounds has become more efficient, and is certainly visually fun. If you don't want or need all the effects, however, you can turn them off and save a small amount of processing. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion, and turn it on.

Bonus: take the built-in Clock app, and it's GPU-activating second hand, and hide it in a folder.

Your best battery savers?

I typically only use these tricks when I'm traveling. In other words, when there's no power, poor signal, or both. Otherwise I prefer to use my iPhone as much as I can and charge it as much as I need to. I do keep notifications and location to a minimum, because I consider my attention and position to be valuable, but otherwise I like using my devices.

If I get really desperate, I'll pull out a battery case (opens in new tab) or battery pack (opens in new tab), or if I don't have one handy, go into Airplane Mode or even switch off to save whatever power I have for when I really need it. If you have any other power saving tricks, let me know!

Originally published February 14, 2015.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

68 Comments
  • No quite a battery saving tip but a travel essential, my Mophie Powerstation XL external battery pack comes everywhere. I find it hard to understand why anybody who does a lot of long distance travelling or commutes to & from work daily doesn't carry an external power pack of some kind. And I also have an iPhone 6 plus which helps.
  • Powerstation XL is not a bad piece, but it is way overpriced. 129.99 is almost good for buying another backup phone. I am currently using UNU superpak which I pulled from amazon for only 40bucks. 10000mAh battery capacity with a double-tip apple Apple certified cable, it stores 4 charges of my phone on the go.
  • Unu = winning at a much better price for sure!
  • Do these count as battery savers:
    • keeping Battery Percentage off? (General > Usage)
    • unchecking all the Spotlight Searches? (General > Spotlight Search)
    • Don't Send Diagnostics & Usage? (Privacy > Diagnostics & Usage) Sent from the iMore App
  • Seems that anything you turn off, will help with battery saving. Check Bluetooth often. Sometimes a reset will turn it back on. If your on Facebook, do not leave it open running in the backround. Sign out and close it completely.
  • I am pretty sure it does.
  • Percentage reading is not related to battery consumption
    spotlight does not do much
    Diagnostics is definitely worth turning off to prevent background process consuming power.
    My suggestion is to get an superpak external power pack like what I did, you then will not need to think of tips preserving power consumptions.
  • I work long hours away from any wifi network, and have found that turning off wifi and bluetooth and whipping the brightness down to a minimum really slows power consumption. And because all three of these actions can be performed in control centre in a matter of couple of seconds it has very little impact on my time. Sent from the iMore App
  • I seem to remember you once saying you shouldn't have to turn off all the bells and whistles to get good battery life, yet here you are telling people to turn them off to get good battery life. Posted from the amazing whatever device I can afford because I'm a broke college kid.
  • It's that's exactly about that, more like extending it but I see your point. That could obvious be for any phone even android, gps does waste battery life and so does bluetooth etc if you don't use them and they are on, it's more like extending the battery life and taking advantage of that. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Yeah, I'm aware, I even do it myself. Just talking about users of other phones having to "cripple" their phones to get battery life and then suggesting the same steps is a bit annoying. (which is pretty much the same steps to increase battery life on every device) if you don't use the feature on a semi-regular basis, shut it off. If you need it it's not like any of these are so far buried that it's a hassle. Also, better batteries manufacturers , I shouldn't have to cripple my phone to get decent battery life. "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Fiber in Nashville? Save me based Google.
  • You always seem to have some sort of rude snarky comment for every post. It's getting old. Sent from the iMore App
  • His comment made perfect sense. You shouldn't have to turn off shit in the first place.
  • **** on = power gone whether it be phones, cars, houses, computer, etc.
  • Of course it's getting old, nothing is getting younger. "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Fiber in Nashville? Save me based Google.
  • Both are true, which is why I took the time to set the stage in the intro and outro to their article. Under normal circumstances, I use my iPhone fully, and when the battery gets low, I plug it in. Even if I choose to watch 10 hours of video in a row, I plug it in. Like I said in the intro, however, sometimes we're caught traveling, lose our charger, experience excessive drain due to roaming, and really need to get as much power as they possibly can, especially if they're waiting for an urgent message. Hopefully this article will help them. Hopefully you'll also choose to comment in a way that would help them as well, including sharing your own tips and experiences.
  • But you shoudn't have said in the intro that iPhone has a great battery. I use iPhone 6 and, of all samrtphones I've used in the last 6 years, iPhone only beats iPhone 5s in terms of battery life. It's that terrible Sent from the iMore App
  • It's got a great battery. Everyone's usage will vary, but the battery is fine. My iPhone 6 lasts a day and a bit, almost always.
  • percistratus it looks like your auto correct is off, i doubt that would help your battery.
  • Awesome tips, Rene! I stopped notifications for so many apps I never check on. Now I'll bet the battery on my 6+ will last even longer!
  • Maybe as a last resort... Triple click option for grayscale. Sent from the iMore App
  • LCD not AMOLED, the battery savings (if any) ate practically insignificant. Now if that was a Note 4 the tip would work. That's not snark, that's a fact. That was snark. "I'm da Blur boys!" - Me with 1200 ping. Fiber in Nashville? Save me based Google.
  • Absolutely correct!
  • Good to know! Sent from the iMore App
  • It is incredulous, at this late stage in the smartphone game, that we have to read about tricks to increase your APPLE product's battery life. I love APPLE products but was forced (by common sense) to get a phone that, and let me be clear here....ALLOWS YOU TO SWAP OUT A DEAD BATTERY FOR A FULLY CHARGED ONE IN 15 SECONDS. I have had the Samsung Note 2 and now the Note 3 for years and have enjoyed them both, especially the Note 3. Would I ever consider the iphone6 PLUS? Not until they allow the battery to be swapped out and there is an option for adding additional memory, like every other phone on the market. Great product, for sure. Battery inaccesibility?
    Deal breaker.
  • Very few phones still offer removable batteries. I'm betting even Samsung goes to a sealed, unibody design with the GS6.
  • Apple makes products for the mainstream, and the mainstream doesn't swap batteries. They plug their phones in or they get battery packs or chargers. It's like hardware keyboards or resistive screens, old technologies that are better served in new ways. Even on Android devices, swapping batteries and using SD cards are going the way of the dodo.
  • Correction. I use iPhone 6 and the battery is not great. Neither was it on 5s. I moved from Galaxy S4 to iPhone 5s to iPhone 6, and the only thing I regret is battery life. I used to have all that in the tips on and could go all day. But with iPhone your phone has to be on charging always, otherwise you won't last the day. I don't mind a thicker phone as long as the battery lasts all day Sent from the iMore App
  • A battery case is almost a must with the iPhone.
  • A lot of these wouldn't be necessary if Apple were less concerned with thinness and more concerned with battery life. A larger battery and OLED display would do wonders for overall power endurance.
  • Apple isn't concerned with "thinness", they're concerned with "lightness", which directly relates to usability. The lighter a device, the easier it is to use and the longer you can use it for. Batteries are also insulators and aren't radio transparent, so bigger batteries have to be worked around for processors and radios. And while you can add a battery case, you can't split a phone in half. So, Apple lets you add a battery case if you choose, but doesn't force everyone to walk around with a double heavy phone. It's literally the best compromise.
  • I hate turning stuff off. I like having my phone usable. With GPS and Bluetooth and locating services. I want it all. I don't care about my battery I can recharge it. Sent from the iMore App
  • Easy 1 step. Don't update to 8.1.3. Sent from the iMore App
  • Bingo!
  • Great power saving tip: don't use your iPhone
  • Use your old nokia 3310 Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm currently working on an island in North Florida with terrible cell reception and a commercial grade wifi (resort hotel) that's sucks the big one. So I have to go thermonuclear to save the battery. Bluetooth and Wifi off, mail set to manual, cell LTE off. If I need to check email I just walk outside until I get 2 bars and manually poll server. A pain in the rear end, but at least I never run out of battery, and I have built in reasons to go outside every few hours. Then I get home and reverse all that crap and enjoy the high life at 30X5 wifi in my hotel villa on Comcast wifi. Who'd of thought the most vilified internet provider in the USA could rock those speeds?
  • I dont know why some of you think Samsung phones have good battery life. The Samsung Note II and Note III, and the S4 and S5, all have the most horrible battery life I could imagine. I like Samsung, but NOT because of the batteries. 10 hrs of battery is the best I, or my friends could do. Sent from the iMore App
  • Turn off frequent locations. In the music app settings turn off EQ, sound check, and volume limit. Don't turn on automatic downloads. Sent from the iMore App
  • Get rid of Facebook entirely. Saves LOTS of battery.
  • What saves a lot of battery for me is not using my phone as much as some people Sent from the iMore App
  • Truer words have never been spoken.
  • Rene, thanks for these tips. With the Apple Watch just around the corner, this advice will help many iPhone users. Also, I agree, my iPhone 6 Plus battery lasts me 3 or 4 days, 'cause I keep the radios off unless needed, but I don't worry about anything else. However, with the watch, I'll have to keep them on all the time. So . . . I might need to implement some of these tricks.
  • Facebook is the biggest battery killer. On my iPhone 6 Plus, I have disabled background refresh and all notifications. This has greatly increased my phone battery life. It no more holds the top slot for battery usage on my phone. Sent from the iMore App
  • Are these really super secret tips? ? Slow news day in apple land?
  • They rehash the same bunch of articles every time a new iPhone or iPad is released.
  • I'm glad they do. When people get new iDevices, I send them to iMore for information on using (tips, tricks, etc.) said device. It keeps my calls to a minimum.
  • If your working at a busy place or something for a long time I usually turn off my phone so I don't use any battery :) Sent from the iMore App
  • And what if a family member goes into hospital and you can't be contacted?
  • On Android and Windows Phone we have something called battery saver and removable battery's.
  • I once had a phone with a swappable battery. I removed it and swapped it exactly zero times. Sent from the iMore App
  • That's true, but that has nothing to do with this article in extending your phones battery life. Contrary to popular belief not many people use the removable battery. Maybe some like you and I or neither like other people that have their phone's in Otter boxes. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Most people don't swap their battery, and iOS also has a battery saver mode
  • These are great tips and I gave them to my wife who has an iPhone 5S. I have an iPhone 6+ and right now have 85% battery life after using it all day (8hr so far) and haven't charged it yet. The battery life is one of the reasons I'm so happy I chose the 6+. I was afraid it was going to be too big with my tiny hands, but after 2 or 3 weeks I got used to it and now I can't see myself using anything smaller. My wife phone seems so tiny. Thanks for the great tips Rene and they are good to know, even if I will hardly ever need them.
  • In Music settings turn off EQ. In location privacy turn off about 1/2 the items under system services (like iAds and frequent locations). *** Also if you don't use the native weather app then turn off its location allowance (otherwise it pulls your location every time you pull down Notification Center). *** Sent from the iMore App
  • My battery life was getting miserable until I decided to Delete the Facebook app. All better now. If I really feel the need to check Facebook on my phone, I use Safari, the way I do on my Mac.
  • The Facebook mobile web interface isn't very nice though, plus you lack push notifications
  • Those aren't "secrets" it's common sense. Plus Low Power Mode was a main point in the iOS 9 keynote. Change the title, there are no secrets here.
  • Or make sure you always take an opportunity to charge your phone whenever or wherever it presents itself so you can enjoy it and use it as it was intended instead of turning everything off and carrying a brick in your pocket. Sent from the iMore App
  • Here's one tip: If you don't need to use your phone as a phone and you have Wifi available, turn on Airplane Mode and then manually turn on Wifi without turning off Airplane Mode. I love this trick, especially on my data-only iPhone.
  • The thing is, and the thing that no pundit ever states when writing these types of articles, is that we should NOT have to resort to turning off every single capability of our cellphones in order for their battery to last one single 8-hour day!!!! End of story!! The manufacturers, Apple included always scream long & loud about how they listen to their users, everything they do is done towards giving users what they want, and yet, without fail, on this one thing they refuse to do ANYTHING at all. Just telling us how to turn off everything we bought the darn phone for and it will last you all day. To that, I say: NO To that end, I bought one of Apple's battery pack/cases, and though a bit ugly, it does allow me to leave Location services, Wifi, Bluetooth, and everything else I bought the phone for, turned on and the thing will last all day long. But that does not dismiss that I would rather have an internal battery that will do the same thing. I will accept a thicker phone in order to have that capability.