While Apple's flagship product provides users with constant connectivity and entertainment, it does come with its tradeoffs. One of the biggest issues iPhone users experience is poor battery life. With most people bringing their device with them everywhere they go, a draining battery bar can prove to be frustrating.
Apple has tried to provide transparency about a device's battery by implementing a new settings feature. Aptly named "Battery," this section was added with the release of iOS 9. It's designed to provide some useful information about how power is being utilized between applications and how much use an owner is getting with each full charge (Related: How to make your phone charge faster). Unfortunately, the settings menu does nothing to help improve battery life.
Contrary to popular belief, most battery issues on an iPhone are related to software issues. Only a small percentage come from faulty batteries. Apple has designed the battery to be strong and safe for use. Downloaded apps are the main cause for concern. More specifically, it's how these applications perform and various settings that cause iPhone batteries to die fast.
Luckily, there are a number of ways users can increase their battery life. These simple fixes can cut back on energy usage, allowing the device to stay juiced up for much longer than normal. Here are some common reasons why iPhone batteries die out so quickly and proven methods to make it better.
12 Common Reasons Why an iPhone Battery Dies Quickly
1. Email Push Notifications
When users set up the built-in mail application, push notification is automatically enabled. This feature creates a quick alert to notify users when a new email is received. While useful to some users, it can cause significant performance dips. This is especially true when it comes to battery life.
Essentially, this feature makes the phone stay in constant contact with the associated email server. Data is constantly flowing between the device and the servers. The iPhone continually checks to see if there's new mail in order to create an instant notification. While the data is relatively small, it adds up and strains the battery throughout the day. Not only that, but it eats up a lot of data, which can cause further battery problems. This issue is only worsened if the user has multiple email accounts set for push notifications. Some servers, such as Exchange, drain the battery quicker than others.
Fixing Pushed Mail
The easiest way to provide some battery relief is to change the email settings to "Fetch." This setting stops the device from constantly checking the email server. Instead, it checks the server periodically based on the user's preference. It can be set to check every 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or hour. Alternatively, users can turn off the schedule completely and set the phone up for manual fetching. In this case, the device only checks the server when the Mail app is opened. The phone is also set to perform manual mail checks on top of the designated schedule.
These settings can be found within the settings application. In the "Mail" section, users will have to press on "Accounts" submenu. Towards the bottom of the page is a section called "Fetch New Data." To turn off push notifications, simply switch the "Push" toggle to the off position. Then, users can change their Fetch schedule by choosing an option on the bottom of the page. This change should be made on each account to save as much battery life as possible.
2. Location Services
Hidden location services allow an iPhone to know where you are at all times. It uses GPS technology to track your movement throughout the day. This information is relayed to certain apps and websites to provide users with a better experience. Location services play an integral role in making the iPhone so handy and efficient.
It's a good idea for users to choose which applications have access to the location services to improve battery life and security. Location services are often indicated by a status bar on the top of the home screen. It appears as a small compass arrow when an app is using the servicing. Within the settings application, arrow symbols also let users know which applications have used the service. A purple icon indicates that it's being used at that moment while a gray icon indicates that the app has used the service within the last 24 hours.
Fixing Location Services
There are a few different ways to manipulate location services to improve battery life. These are found within the "Privacy" menu of the settings application. There is a separate "Location Services" section that controls location sharing and system services.
Location sharing, titled "Share My Location" is used to let friends know where the user is. This can be turned off if not needed. Disabling this feature can save battery life while also helping to keep users safe. At the bottom of the "Location Services" section is the "System Services" menu. This section pertains to information that's being sent to Apple. Users can turn off everything except for "Find My Phone" and "Motion Calibration & Distance."
These two settings should be left on. "Find My Phone" is a necessary location service that can help users locate a missing or stolen device. "Motion Calibration & Distance" allows applications to utilize the various technology within the phone, such as the gyroscope.
While in the "System Services" menu, it's a good idea to turn off "Frequent Locations." This feature keeps tabs on where users go and can cause significant battery drainage. Users should also turn on "Status Bar Icon" to ensure that the home screen indicator is active. It lets users know when location services are being used.
Back in the main "Location Services" tab, users can scroll down to see what applications are using the service. Using the previously mentioned indicators, iPhone owners can get a better idea of how often the service is being used. To save battery life, unnecessary applications should be turned off with the simple toggle. However, users should keep the service on for applications that absolutely needs it. These include the "Maps" app and any other frequently used software.
Geofencing is a similar service that's indicated with an outlined purple arrow in the "Locations Services" menu. It uses GPS to tell the iPhone when you leave or arrive at a certain destination. Essentially, it creates a perimeter around your location and trips boundaries that may cause a notification to pop up. It uses a lot of processing power and battery to constantly check a user's location. Because of this, it's a good idea to avoid apps that use geofencing to create alerts.
3. Diagnostic and Usage Information
Diagnostics and usage data are regularly sent to Apple. This information lets the company know how users utilize the technology. Typically, the option to turn this feature on or off is presented during the initial setup process.
Apple uses the information to learn more about users and develop new technology. However, data is sent pretty regularly and without any indication. The process can drain the battery quite significantly. This data flow can be stopped by going into the "Privacy" menu within the settings application. At the bottom of this page is a section labeled "Diagnostics & Usage." Simply press the "Don't Send" button to save a bit of battery juice.
While many users may believe that applications close once they hit the home button, that's not the case. When users leave an application, it simply goes into a suspended mode. It's still running in the background and stays loaded into the device's memory. This feature makes it possible for users to multitask between applications quickly or pick up directly where they left off without having to go through lengthy loading times. Depending on how many apps a user browses throughout the day, this issue can be a big reason for why their battery is dying.
Battery drainage can get worse if an app crashes while its suspended. This causes more resources to be used, resulting in more power usage. The worst part is that this often occurs without the user even knowing it. It's not uncommon for apps to crash even if the user tries to close it. It may appear to be closed, but continue to take up resources in the background. The only indication they may have is that their phone is getting a bit hot. It's recommended that users close out all their apps at least once a day.
Apple has designed a very easy and intuitive way to close applications completely. With a simple double-tap of the home button, the multitasking menu is brought up. Also called the "App Switcher," this window displays all of the apps that are currently loaded in the memory. Users can navigate through the apps with a swipe to the left or right. To close an app, just swipe up. Doing so will make the app window appear to fly off the screen, closing it to free up memory space and battery resources.
To see if any specific applications are causing issues, users can go into the "Privacy" menu of the settings application and click on the "Diagnostics & Usage" tab. Within this menu, a button labeled "Diagnostics & Usage Data" displays any apps that have crashed recently. It can show users which apps crash the most and if there were any recent issues. This information can then be used to completely delete a problematic application.
5. Constant Notifications
Notifications, while handy, can quickly drain an iPhone's battery. Most applications come with the option to enable push notifications. In fact, this choice is often displayed when users open the app for the first time. By choosing to enable the feature, the application will stay running in the background at all times. It does this so that it can alert users when something within the app has occurred.
It's not uncommon for users to quickly enable this feature to get to bypass the window and start using the app. Users should consider the number of notifications they get and limit the permissions on apps they don't need. With multiple apps enabled, the phone is constantly strained of its resources. Notifications like text and phone calls are necessary, but additional options should be enabled sparingly.
Controlling Which Apps Provide Alerts
There's an easy way to see which apps deliver push notifications and what form these notifications take. This information is found on the "Notifications" page of the settings menu. Here, users will see a list of their applications along with a small "On" or "Off" indicator. Users can scroll through this list and determine which notifications they want to turn off.
Clicking on an app brings up a toggle switch for notifications. Users can switch the toggle to turn notifications off completely for that app or choose what type of notification they want to receive if they choose to keep them on. Notifications can come in the form of badges, windows, or banners. These options are mainly for personal preference, as any type of notification will drain the battery.
6. The Phone is Always On
It's not uncommon for smartphone users to keep their phone on at all times. Most leave the device on to stay connected and use power shut-offs only as a last ditch effort to resolve some kind of performance issue. However, keeping an iPhone on at all times can be harmful to the longevity of a battery and prevents hidden issues from being fixed.
Users should turn their iPhone off at least once a week to help resolve technical issues. It can reset crashed apps and prevent problems from getting worse over time. Phones don't have to stay off for any long period of time. Users can turn the device off for a few seconds and turn it back on quickly to stay connected. That quick moment of being shut off essentially resets the phone and frees up the memory and other resources.
Turning an iPhone Off Correctly
All it takes to turn an iPhone off is a long-press of the power button. Holding it down will make the "Slide to Turn Off" screen appear. With a swipe of the finger, the phone will shut off completely. Users should never hold down the power and home button down to turn the phone off. This performs a hard reset that should be reserved for worst-case scenarios only.
A number of applications will run in the background when they're not being used. They use a wireless data connection to update information or download new content. These applications are persistent. While many users may think that shutting off the app completely will prevent it from using resources, there are many apps that circumvent this process and stay connected. Whether it's a game or a simple news application, this regular updating can eat up a lot of battery life. Users can turn off this feature on unnecessary apps.
Fixing Background App Refresh
This function can be manipulated within the "Background App Refresh" menu in the settings application. This submenu is found inside the "General" tab. There's an option to turn this feature off completely from all apps at one time. However, users should go through the list of applications and choose which options they want to keep on.
The feature is very useful for many apps. It can help to keep information updated in real time. With that being said, it's also unnecessary and burdensome on many others. The key is to enable the feature on frequently-used applications while turning it off for others.
8. Prolonged Exposure to Extreme Temperatures
iPhones are designed to function efficiently in environments with temperatures between 35 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or between 0 and 35 degrees Celsius. Because most people aren't continually exposed to temperatures beyond that range, it's generally a non-issue. However, there are certain exceptions where owners can accidentally expose their iPhone to environments that can cause some significant harm.
Leaving an iPhone in a hot car can cause the smartphone to overheat. Apple has implemented a unique status window that prevents owners from using the device when it is too hot. The phone will shut off until it's cooled down. If it's exposed to temperatures above the higher threshold, the battery can experience lasting damage. It'll become weaker and can pose a huge safety risk even if it's not on.
If the phone is exposed to temperatures below the low threshold, the battery isn't damaged. However, power is drained much faster and may cease to operate until it reaches an appropriate temperature. It's important that users keep their iPhones in normal environments at all times. Owners should exercise caution when they spend any significant amount of time outdoors. It should stay covered and protected from the elements.
9. Flashy Visual Effects
iPhones are purposefully designed to be stunning. They have a beautiful chassis and an eye-popping display. With the latest versions of iOS, Apple has included some great visual effects that can run in the background. Animated wallpapers add a unique effect that can be customized to the user's liking.
Unfortunately, these cool visual tricks do take some significant power. They're controlled by the graphics processor unit, or GPU. This tiny piece of hardware is notoriously power hungry. With an unnecessary visual effect constantly running, the GPU puts more and more strain on the battery as the day progresses.
To save battery, users can minimize extraneous visual effects. These functions are located in the "General" tab of the settings application. Inside this menu is an "Accessibility" tab. This page presents a number of options to improve the way the iPhone looks and operates. There's an option on this page called "Reduce Motion."
Turning this feature on will take away the unique parallax found on animated wallpaper. Users won't be able to see that motion effect as they tilt their phone. It doesn't affect many other areas of the smartphone, so users won't notice much of a difference if any. However, it can save some significant resources that ultimately translate to better battery life.
10. Restore the Phone Using iCloud
If battery life hasn't improved much using the previous tips, it may be time to restore the smartphone. Doing so can remove files or applications that are causing significant issues and draining the battery. It can also remove issues that have accumulated over time. Users can utilize iTunes to wipe the contents of the phone while retaining apps, pictures, and music. When it comes time to download a backup onto the phone, users should go with the iCloud method.
iTunes must be used for the first part of the restoration process. The device must be connected via USB cable to computer to begin the task. The process is initiated by an option within iTunes. Once the phone displays its "Hello" screen, it's safe to disconnect the iPhone from the computer. Alternatively, iTunes may show an option that says "Set Up Your iPhone."
When it's disconnected, users should operate the device and navigate the startup menus to reconfigure the phone. Eventually, the iPhone will display a prompt to connect to WiFi and restore from an iCloud backup. Users can then input their information and start downloading the backup. The phone will then connect to Apple's cloud-based service to redownload the contents of your phone.
Restoring from iCloud is a safe and easy method compared to using iTunes. While it may appear to be the same process, connecting the iPhone to a computer puts it at risk for further issues. Problems with the computer may be transferred over to the iPhone during the download process. By restoring with iCloud, the computer won't pose a problem.
11. Restoring to Factory Settings
Persistent battery problems after a restoration could indicate deeper software issues. Corrupted files from an unstable application and other hidden problems can continue to drain your battery. If this is the case, users should restore their iPhone to factory conditions. This wipes the phone clean and allows users to set the device up as if it just came out of the box.
This can be done on iTunes through a designated action button or directly on the device itself. Within the settings application is an option to get the job done without relying on a computer. It can be found in the "General" submenu. A separate page called "Reset" has a button titled "Erase All Contents and Settings." When this button is pressed, users will have to type in their passcode. A warning page will then appear informing users of the process. A red confirmation button will have to be pressed to start the restoration.
Restoring the phone to factory settings requires users to redownload applications and transfer media. Settings like WiFi connectivity, email servers, and much more will need to be reconfigured. Luckily, things like contacts and calendars are often saved with an iCloud account, making the process a bit simpler. While it may take some time, it's a great way to restore an iPhone's performance and battery life.
12. Hardware Issues
If after all is said and done, there's a small chance that a hardware issue is causing a dramatic dip in battery performance. In most cases, software is the culprit. Most users can find a solution by following the previous steps. If the battery is still dying fast, however, users should get their battery tested at the Apple Store.
Apple Store Battery Test
Technicians are capable of running a diagnostics test that provides a lot of in-depth information about the phone's overall condition. During this test, many components are tested. This includes the battery. In most cases, the battery isn't the issue at all. While it may be surprising, there are other factors that can cause issues with battery life. For example, small cracks or water infiltration can harm various internal components. Accidents can harm certain components that maintain the quality of the battery or aid with charging.
Battery tests are pretty quick and straight forward. If the battery test passes, Apple won't replace the battery. However, there are a number of other options to get the battery replaced if users feel the need to do so. Repair shops and mail-in services are available for convenience and typically offer lower rates than Apple.
All in all, there's a lot that users can do to improve the life of their battery. Apple has designed a resilient battery that can stand up to a lot of wear and tear. It's typically software problems that are causing batteries to die out before the end of the day. By taking control of how their phone performs, users can dramatically improve their battery life to stay connected all day long.
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