The vast majority of iPhone battery issues are software related.
And if you don’t believe me, read on.
Apple have created a website that explains their official stance on how to “optimize” your iPhone battery. Unfortunately, their instructions are rather wordy and don’t really get to the heart of the issue. In case you’re interested in checking that out, here’s a link to the official iPhone battery page on Apple’s website.
So why does my iPhone battery die so fast?
Here are the main reasons, in no particular order:
1. Push Mail
When your mail is set to push, it means that every second, your iPhone is connecting to the server and asking, “Is there mail? Is there mail? Is there mail? Is there mail? etc…” This constant flow of data drains your battery very quickly, and it makes sense if you think about it. The problem seems to be compounded for those of us who have Exchange servers set up on our phones.
The fix: Go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Fetch New Data -> and turn off Push. Scroll down to change Fetch to Every 15 Minutes and set each individual account to Fetch. The Mail app will still check for new mail every time it’s opened and send your messages right away.
2. Location Services
Like I said, I’m all about using your phone. But there are a few services that you probably don’t know about that can constantly drain your battery. Go to Privacy -> Location Services -> and scroll all the way down to the last item, System Services. Tap on System Services to open that folder. Here’s what I suggest: Turn off Setting Time Zone if you don’t do a lot of travel, turn off Location-based iAds if you find Apple’s tracking your location to deliver you personalized ad content unnecessary, and turn off Diagnostics and Usage if you don’t think Apple needs to know exactly how you use your phone.
New in iOS 7 (and this is important), tap Frequent Locations at the bottom of the list. Yes, your phone has been tracking you everywhere you go. I personally don’t see a need for this feature and it uses a lot of battery because it is always tracking your whereabouts, so I’d suggest you turn it off.
After you’ve taken care of those pesky hidden services, make sure you turn on the location icon so you know when your location is being tracked. Not all apps are created equal. When an app uses location services, it drains the battery quickly, no matter how well the program was written. For example, I used to use Inrix Traffic, but stopped after I noticed it never stops using location services, even when it was in the background.
The other piece of location services that Apple has still not gotten correct is location-based reminders. The long and short of it is, don’t use them. There is no way to make your battery last a long time if you do. This is one of those features that Apple released, but I’ve never seen anyone be able to get through a whole day on battery power when they were using that feature. It’s a cool idea, but it doesn’t work if your phone is completely dead.
3. Diagnostics And Usage and Ad Identifier Tracking
Do yourself a favor and head to Settings -> General -> About -> and scroll to the bottom of the screen. Open up diagnostics and usage and turn off the automatic stream of data that is always sent to Apple. Also, choose choose to limit ad tracking. Who needs it?
4. Close Out Your Apps
Once every couple days, make sure you close out your apps. If you have iOS 6, double tap the home button, press and hold on any one of the apps until they all start to wiggle, and then hit the red circles to close out all of your apps. If you’ve upgraded to iOS 7, swipe up and flick each app off the top of the screen. This doesn’t delete your apps, it just clears them from the application memory. Apple’s official line on this is that apps have 10 seconds after you close them to go into a dormant mode, where they live happily until they are retrieved. In actuality, especially since all apps are not created equal, very often a battery issue is the result of an app crashing in the background. The app should have closed, but it didn’t.
Is your phone getting hot? That’s because the CPU is running at 100% all day long. It’s not designed to do that, and it’s not a hardware problem–it’s just software glitch in out in the background. Apple doesn’t like to admit that could happen, but it always does. Need proof? Go back to Settings, General, About, Diagnostics and Usage, and take a look at all of the crashing apps on your phone. It shouldn’t be hard for you to see where the problem lies.
5. Turn Off Your Phone Once A Week (The Right Way)
Turn off your phone once a week. An iPhone is a little computer that we carry around with us everywhere we go. Just by holding the top power button for a few seconds, sliding to power off, and turning it back on, many of the processes that you don’t see running on your phone stop running and start fresh again. Apple designed the iPhone with ease of use in mind, and they would never tell you to do that, but imagine if you left your PC running for a month. It would slow down, and so does the iPhone.
Whatever you do, don’t hold the power button on the top and the home button at the same time to do a hard reset, if you can avoid it. That’s basically the same as unplugging your desktop computer from the wall while it’s turned on. It causes all sorts of software glitches and could be contributing to the problem.
6. Don’t Restore From An iTunes Backup – Use iCloud Instead!
So give exhausted all of your options, and it’s time to restore your phone. Whatever you do, don’t restore from an iTunes backup. Very often, the same glitch that your phone is experiencing right now gets backed up to iTunes, So after you restore your phone the same problem comes back. You think you have to broken phone, but what you’ve done is simply restore the same problem you started with. How to avoid this?
Use iCloud Backup! (And Restore from iCloud Backup)
After you plug your phone into your computer to restore and it reboots, unplug it from the computer as soon as you see the welcome screen where you can choose the language. Then, use the menus on your phone to connect to Wi-Fi and restore from an iCloud backup. iCloud backup is different because it only backs up your little bits of user information and downloads all of your apps fresh from the App Store. When you use iTunes, it makes one big bundle of your phone, puts it on your computer, and then puts it all back just the way it was. It doesn’t fix anything.
If you don’t have enough space on iCloud to backup your phone, copy all your photos from your phone to your computer and delete everything in your camera roll. Alternatively, or after you’ve already done this, go into iCloud backup settings and turn off Camera Roll from your backup. The only thing that takes up space in iCloud is the camera roll – Everything else is very insignificant. Trust me, an iCloud restore is worth it.
7. Last Ditch Effort – Restore Your Phone Again And Set It Up As New
It’s okay to turn on iCloud and redownload your contacts, calendars, reminders, bookmarks, etc., but if the glitch is too deep and it’s in all the backups, sometimes you just have to start fresh. And let’s be honest here–if you’re going to go to the Apple Store to have a technician take a look at it, do all of these steps first, because if you don’t, they’ll send you home to do them anyway. Apple techs are trained to never believe a battery issue is actually a battery issue. In truth, they rarely are battery issues, but with all the issues I just talked about, it’s no wonder why customers lose faith in their phones.
I sincerely hope that this guide helps you to enjoy your iPhone more. Leave a comment if you wish and I look forward to hearing from you about your success or failures.