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How to Maximize Battery Life on Your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch

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So you got yourself a shiny new Apple device, but you’re so addicted that the battery is running out way too soon—what you need is a couple of tips to keep your battery running for as long as possible, and we’ve got them here.

Many of these tips are going to be common sense, and won’t be a surprise to the more geeky readers, but now you’ll have an article you can send to your less geek friends and relatives when they ask you how to improve their battery life. And we’ve got a battery life article for Android too.

Keep Your iDevice Out of the Sun

Whatever you do, don’t leave your iPhone or iPod sitting in a hot car—heat kills batteries faster than any other factor, and your device that used to keep a charge for hours will eventually barely hold a charge, and you’ll have to pay Apple to get it replaced. The same thing holds true for any really hot environment: try and store your device in a cool place.

Reduce the Screen Brightness

If you keep the screen at maximum brightness all the time, you’re wasting a lot of battery life—and the screens these days are so bright anyway that you don’t really need to, especially at night. Head into Settings -> Brightness & Wallpaper to adjust the default level of brightness, which you can probably keep as low as 30% most of the time.

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Make Sure the Screen Locks Quickly

Even if you’ve adjusted the screen brightness, there’s still no substitute for having it turn off quickly when you’re not using it. Head into General -> Auto-Lock to set the screen lock to happen as quickly as your device will let you. This makes a big difference if you are always picking up your phone and putting it back into your pocket without turning the display off.

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Use Airplane Mode When You Don’t Need Internet (iPad/iPhone)

If you’re busy spending the next 8 hours playing Angry Birds, there might not be a good reason to have internet access, so you can consider using Airplane Mode, which turns off both Wi-Fi and the regular wireless radio. Of course, this will prevent phone calls if you’re on an iPhone—but if you’re busy with Angry Birds you probably don’t want the interruption anyway.

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The more important reason to use Airplane Mode is when you’re mobile in an area with a really spotty connection—because the iPhone or iPad will try to stay connected at all times, it’s going to be constantly searching for a connection, which can drain your battery. Head into Settings and flip the Airplane Mode switch right up at the top of the screen.

Use Wi-Fi Instead of 3G if Possible

According to Apple, the iPad will get 10 hours of battery life under regular use with Wi-Fi enabled, but will only get 9 hours using 3G—the iPhone gets 6 for 3G and 10 for Wi-Fi. Of course, if you’re heavily using the Wi-Fi, you’ll still be draining the battery—the point is under similar workloads, Wi-Fi is better than 3G for battery life.

You can enable Wi-Fi under Settings -> Wi-Fi, and then pick the network you’d like to connect to.

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Reduce or Eliminate Mail & Calendar Checking

If you’ve got a bunch of email, calendar, or contact accounts configured, and they are all being checked and downloading email on a regular basis, you’ll be draining the battery an awful lot faster than you need to.

Head into Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Fetch New Data and change the setting to the least frequent check possible. If you don’t use it often, you can just turn Push off entirely and then manually check when you need to.

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Reduce or Eliminate Push Notifications

Do you really need notifications from Twitter or whatever other apps you’re running? You can turn these off one-by-one, or turn off Push entirely by heading into Settings -> Notifications, and save a bit of extra battery life since your device won’t be pulling in data for those applications anymore.

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Reduce or Eliminate System Sounds

This one is probably a little silly, but if you really don’t care for the system sounds you can save a small amount of battery life by removing the sounds. A very, very small amount, most likely. Head into Settings -> General -> Sounds to change them.

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Disable Location Services

If you don’t really need the location services, you can disable them to save some battery life. Head into Settings -> General and flip the Location Services setting to off.

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Disable Bluetooth If You Don’t Need It

If you don’t use a Bluetooth headset or keyboard, you should keep the Bluetooth radio disabled to save some extra battery life. Head into Settings -> General -> Bluetooth to flip it on or off.

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Disable Vibrate Feature in Games

If you’ve got a game that uses the vibrate feature, you can turn that off to save some battery life. This mostly matters if the game heavily uses it, and you’ll need to change the setting for the game. As a side note, and it should go without saying, if you’re running really intensive video games, they will kill your battery very quickly.

Charge and Discharge Your Battery Regularly

Your iDevice needs to be fully discharged and recharged at least once a month to operate at maximum efficiency and keep the battery from dying. You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t store the device with a dead battery, as that can also cause the battery to lose charge capability—when your battery dies, make sure to recharge it quickly.


That’s it for our tips—how do you save battery life for your iDevice? Share your experience in the comments.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/19/10

Comments (52)

  1. Awesome

    If you jailbreak, you can remove certain launch daemons (similar to services on a PC.) Certain daemons are run to report crashes, communicate with Apple, or manage certain things that you may not even use or have (Voice control daemons exist on non 3GS phones for example.)

    Additionally, there is an application that is available through Cydia, (paid) called ScreenDimmer which is alternative to locking your device. Basically you can set a time limit (increments of 10 seconds) to make either the backlight turn off or simply dim the brightness to its lowest setting.

    My device is set to dim after 10 seconds, and to turn off the backlight after 30 seconds. However it isn’t locked and I can still tap the screen to wake it up.

  2. jason

    Awesome tips. Thanks a lot :)

  3. Daniel Spiewak

    Actually, eliminating Push Notifications doesn’t help as much as you would think. Apple has made that service ridiculously efficient, so you’re not saving a whole lot by turning it off.

    More importantly though, PUSH mail is substantially *more* efficient than FETCH on any cycle other than manual (assuming that you manually check only once or twice a day). If you can get PUSH mail, it really makes a noticeable improvement in your battery life. I don’t advise turning it off.

  4. The Geek

    @Daniel

    The point is that if you’ve got a busy email account, push email is going to constantly download data to your phone. If you check once or twice a day, and hopefully on Wi-Fi, you’ll not be wasting as much battery.

    Should also be noted that Apple recommends the same thing on their battery advice page =)

  5. j3ff

    i dont agree with the charge/discharge part.
    fully discharging will hurt the batt.
    if your batt level is 70%, charging it then to 100% will be better in the long run, then letting it drop to 10% and charging up to 100%

  6. Kellan

    Also, remove background processes on iOS4.

    With a Jailbroken iOS device, you can get an SB Settings addon called “Remove Background” which removes all background processes in one tap.

  7. ken

    Since a holiday in the Swiss Alps, the battery on my ipod touch lasts a very short amount of time even idle. Does altitude affect battery life? Was a 3,000 feet or above for a week.

  8. Daniel Spiewak

    @Kellan

    Actually, it’s a myth that managing the “background processes” does anything to save resources. There are really only three cases where that is true: music apps (like Pandora), GPS apps (like TomTom, *not* like Maps), and apps with background completion. The last category is of course the scariest, but it’s important to understand that no app is allowed to perform tasks in the background for more than 10 minutes. An example of this would be the Colloquy IRC client. I do occasionally manually dispose Colloquy, and I’m always manually disposing GPS navigator apps, but as for the others…

    You’re really best off letting them sit in their “suspended” state. Once they’re suspended, they use literally 0 resources, and even more importantly, they’re very quick to launch. You just resume the app where you left off and it doesn’t have to start up again. This saves not only your time but also the CPU’s time, which translates into extra battery life. So, by “cleaning up” suspended processes, you’re actually lowering your battery life in the long run.

  9. Mohan Gajula

    Great Ideas..

  10. Paul DeLeeuw

    Has anyone tried the small iphone chargers with the iPad? It is my understanding that if the iPad is OFF, these chargers, like the USB, will charge slowly. Might be useful to keep an iPad charged.

  11. Lee

    I’ve got a Jailbroken iPod touch, with SBSettings. I keep my brightness on like 20% all the time anyway to reduce battery. What about Multitasking? Can that lower battery life?

  12. Camilo Martin

    @j3ff
    AFAIK batteries last longer if you constantly discharge them to the minimum and then charge them than if you charge and discharge just a small amount.

  13. lnthomp

    @Camilo
    The only batteries that need to be regularly discharged completely are nickel-cadmium batteries. I don’t know what kind of battery Apple uses, but it seems likely to be something other than nickel-cadmium. Most rechargeable batteries in consumer electronics today are lithium-ion batteries because they store electricity more efficiently.

  14. sisir roy

    All the ideas are great, It will definetly increase the life of the battery. But I would like to add ‘ While Chaging the battery, charge it untill yr mobile/device says Battery Full. Dont put it in charging until it is fully discharged. It is sometimes inconvenient, but most effective method till date’

  15. Awesome

    @Inthomp

    Yeah, that’s completely correct, the lifetime of lithium batteries are prolonged by leaving the battery charge around 40-60%.

    Fully charging or discharging can drastically weaken the battery life.

  16. Merz

    I am confused. I follow diligently BatteryDoctor Pro’s advice to at least once a month allow battery to go below 20% and then do full charge. In addition they have option to do trickle charge ranging from 10-120 mins to “recover lost battery capacity”. In fact it says you can do this (if you don’t mind the inconvenience) each time you charge as this is the “natural way a battery charge”.

    Now I am worried as I try to only charge my iphone4 when battery level is below 20% (usually about 15% or even down to zero). Based on batterydoctor pro’s advice, I thought I am taking good care of my battery. Anyone please tell me whether I am doing the right thing or I should charge more regularly e.g. Charge at 70% or whenever I have access to power supply.

  17. The Geek

    @Merz

    Charge your phone whenever you want, just make sure that you discharge it once a month and fully recharge.

  18. The Geek

    Leaving the battery at a full charge or discharge is what damages the battery – don’t do either for long.

    For example, if you leave the battery fully charged and plugged in all the time, it’ll reduce the life of the battery – the same if you leave it discharged for long periods of time.

  19. m ballagh

    thanks for all those useful tips – any way of printing them out without going through ‘copy & paste

  20. delukze

    i have an ipod touch 2g it’s too old that i have to charge it twice a day.

  21. Merz

    Thanks for your prompt reply. Feel so much better now. This is a fantastic site, I will try to contribute as much as I can. Since I discovered The Geek, I learned so much. Thank you.

  22. DeeJay Reps

    Great tips…definitely helps when you’re caught without a charger.

  23. The Geek

    @m ballagh

    You can simply use the Print button in your browser.

  24. pandaSmore

    The battery only needs to be discharges to calibrate it.

  25. Carlos Wilthew

    These tips not only apply to Apple, they work on any smartphone too. I am a Nokia fan! Thanks!

  26. Minucci

    http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries

    - A lithium-ion battery provides 300-500 discharge/charge cycles. The battery prefers a partial rather than a full discharge. Frequent full discharges should be avoided when possible. Instead, charge the battery more often or use a larger battery. There is no concern of memory when applying unscheduled charges.
    - the worst condition is keeping a fully charged battery at elevated temperatures.
    - every 30 charges you can do it just to calibrate fuel gauge, if needed.

  27. Minucci

    - every 30 charges you can do it (full discharge) just to calibrate fuel gauge, if needed.

  28. fmc

    I saw someone’s advice on charging a battery when it is 30% down, instead of waiting until it is nearly depleted.

    Now this may somehow be better for the battery, but you’ll never get more than 30% of the rated capacity. You’ll never use the other 70%, because you charge the battery at 30%.

    That makes it kinda pointless to have a big battery. Might as well have a smaller battery and charge it when it’s empty.

  29. KKDK

    You know what If I do all the above to save Battery life then I shouldn’t think of buying the iPad. Its my opinion, but good guide that can help lot of folks who like to compromise and not lazy as me to do all the above to safe battery life.

  30. iHop

    GREAT tips Geek!

    Thanks a bunch!

  31. Daniel

    Just to be correct the IPAD uses lithium poly, i-phone I’m not sure I think it uses lithium ion. Anyway, for IPAD users you should let it go to 40% charge then back up to 100%. Then about once a month let it go down to a greater discharge of about or below 10%. Also, DO NOT charge it overnight unless it is almost discharged and never store an IPAD below 20% without charging it; don’t let it sist at low discharge rates for long durations of time.

    I also recommend only using the charger that came with it and do not charge the device in your car’s cig lighter adapter unless its a newer car and you are only charging it for less than 1/2 hour.

  32. Param

    I tried doing everything (Disabling location, Dim service and removing all mail accounts) but whenever I connect my iPhone 3gs to internet through Wi-Fi or 3g its always downloading something and draining my phone battery.

    I had disabled 3g and Wi-Fi battery works for 24 hrs even I play lot of games.

  33. Ann

    Very good and helpfully advice ! Thanks

  34. bob

    THIS IS STUPID!!!!!! MY IPHONE DOESNT EVEN RUN OUT OF BATTERY THAT MUCH EVEN IF ITS LOW BATTERY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Brent Larson

    A previous user had it right that, “The only batteries that need to be regularly discharged completely are nickel-cadmium batteries”. The reason that they need to be “deep-cycled” is a phenomenon called battery memory. When you do not discharge your battery all of the way, over time, it “remembers” where it stopped discharging and won’t use the remaining power but act like it is drained. Similarly, in nickel-cadmium batteries, if you never charge completely eventual there will be memory that will not let you charge completely. You can sometime overcome the previous by unplugging then re-plugging, not necessarily immediately, the charger so that is gets past the memory.

    LITHIUM-ION batteries do not have this problem. Your discharge and recharge habits will not affect your battery’s life.

  36. Brent Larson

    Yikes, I should have read over that for spelling.

  37. Tyler

    @bob if it’s stupid then why are you here?

  38. Mr. Swagger

    The geek- I believe you are right. also, Daniel- I believe you are correct as well. I’m an apple fanatic and I’ve never researched for tips to “make your battery last longer”, but from common knowledge and a good education in technology, these tips make for a very low percentage in “making your battery last”. Apple knows what they are doing. Like a generator, will tell you how long it will last on a full tank at half load. And to dumb it down. “Which equals 50%, which means half the amount of the rated output on a continuous load.” you will see that for instance my iPad 2<3 last 10 hrs, apple states that nice and clear. Same idea. Not to mention if you start taking away all these services then you are initially degrading the device… If you really want to save battery, turn it off and don't ever turn it back on….. I bet the battery will last the longest that way. Legit the one main tip, is brightness.. For myself on the other hand. I have to have it full board. I get the full effect, most pleasure and quality.. This is swagger, signing off.

  39. Michael

    The best methods to get the most out of your battery is to get a life and to take something for your anxieties. Unless you are on the device all day long every day, as long as you take reasonable care of it, like not running it to 4% every single day, it will last 8-10 hours a day and for 3-5 years of moderate use. By that time 99% of the people who are addicted to their iPod/iPhone/iPad will be getting the latest and greatest upgrade anyway. And if you need a replacement, there are now companies that can do it for 50-60% of Apple’s fee or you can do it yourself with minimal skills.
    I don’t mean to be overly harsh and I do understand environmental impact, but you can do a lot more for the environment by using these damn things less, upgrading much less often, and focusing on much more important impacts.

  40. Craig Walter

    Back to basics.

  41. Eoo

    Is this for iPad one or iPad two?

  42. Steve

    @michael, Sorry that your job at chevron doesn’t require you to use your phone for business purposes. Some people have a valid reason for making sure that they have as much battery power for their communications as possible. but thank you for making english speaking people dumb

  43. Raeanne

    Great tips. I am a new apple convert. I appreciate all the differentpoints of view too. :-)

  44. Tammy

    I’m trying my best to understand my new iPad 1. Not real good with tec stuff. This is my question… On my contact ( address book ) I have 20 e-mail address logged in. It says that I have 20. But I can’t and don’t know how to view them. I’ve read to go to top left of page and push scroll. There is no scroll. Now I don’t remember those in address book. Thank you for any info.

  45. Danie

    You have some pretty good advice!! Thanks!!! 

  46. Alf

    Li-Ion Batteries according to Samsung Laptop battery management should only be charged above 80% if you need the extra capacity. The last 20% of charge is difficult to get into the battery and reduces the live time. I try to keep the battery between 40% and 80% at normal times and charge to 100% when I forget to disconnect or know I have to get max for operational reasons. Time will tell if my approach is good.

  47. jun!or

    now i need to keep my brightness low.

  48. Shawn

    I understand that the IPhone needs to be fully discharged and recharge atleast once to increase it’s battery life, so does this mean that the more it fully discharges and recharges the better the battery gets?

  49. finbaar

    Just carry a spare battery if you need to get extra capacity. Oh you can’t as Jobie knows best. I just love the Apple way.

  50. Sunil

    Great tips, thank you very much…

  51. Ali

    Thank you alot every one
    /////)(

  52. Tony

    It’s very useful to me.

    Thanks!

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