iPhone battery life problems in iOS 7? We've got brilliant battery-saving tricks and tips that will help you keep the iPhone's battery running all day long. Here's how to improve your iPhone's battery life in iOS 7. Updated 11th October 2013
Since iOS 7 was launched, many iPhone users have reported that battery life has got worse. In some cases this may be an illusion - we've read one site pointing out that you may have simply used your phone more frequently since updating to iOS 7 because of the interesting new features, which would obviously make it less likely to survive the day without needing a top-up. But there are legitimate issues with battery life in iOS 7, and steps you can take to improve matters.
Here, then, are the best ways to improve your iPhone's battery life in iOS 7, from system-wide settings worth tweaking to third-party apps that you should stop - or start- using in order to preserve battery life.
Battling iPhone battery drain
It sounds obvious to say your iPhone’s battery is drained quicker the more you use your phone, but how fast it falls from 100 percent to nothing entirely depends on what apps you use. Heavy use of the processor and GPU, for 3D games, or the GPS chip, for maps and location-based apps, uses up more energy than reading content in iBooks, for example.
If you’re addicted to games with rich, detailed visuals, such as Infinity Blade 3, or 3D racing games like CSR Racing, your iPhone’s battery will be drained quickly, so if you’re away from a charger and waiting for an important call, playing these sort of games is not a good idea if your battery levels are already low.
Infinity Blade 3
One of the single biggest drains of battery life is the antenna, because it’s constantly checking for nearby cellular and Wi-Fi networks. Simply moving about with the phone in your pocket will drain its battery, as it moves from within range of one base station or access point to another, even if you never connect to them.
Improve iPhone battery life: system preferences
You can perform some tweaks in iOS to save battery life. A great place to start is by putting the phone into flight mode, whenever you know you don’t need to make, or receive, calls. Perhaps when you’re on a long train journey and just want to relax with some music. In iOS 7, that can be switched on and off in Control Centre.
iOS 7's Control Centre menu. Tap the aeroplane icon (top left) to activate or deactivate Airplane Mode
This effectively turns your iPhone into an offline iPod touch. It saves a considerable amount of battery life, but you won’t be able to receive SMS, use Maps or receive any data from the internet, for apps such as Facebook. Just remember to turn Flight Mode off when you need to use your phone again.
Lighting the pixels on the Retina display requires a lot of energy, so you can save some battery life by adjusting the phone’s brightness, again in Control Centre, via a slider. If you venture into Settings, setting the Auto-Lock option under General to turn off after one minute of inactivity will also provide a substantial improvement to battery life over time.
Another tip is to turn off the parallax effect that’s new to iOS 7, which makes your icons and notifications appear to float over the wallpaper. It’s a nice effect, but constantly uses the iPhone’s GPU. Switching it off can save some more of your battery.
Once again, open up Settings, and tap on General, then Accessibility. Scroll down to Reduce Motion, tap on it, then set it to On.
Improve iPhone battery life: Surgical Strikes
Changing these system-wide settings is a quick and easy way to save battery life. You can be cleverer than that, though. If you dig a little deeper into your iPhone’s settings, you can make further tweaks to how each app behaves, to minimise background network use or turn-off notifications from certain non-critical apps.
Each time a notification is received, the iPhone’s screen lights up and it plays a sound, which uses energy. If you get a lot of notifications every day, this adds up to a small percentage of your daily battery charge.
Although we don’t want to miss important emails, we can live without updates about Angry Birds, so it makes sense to turn off notifications for non-critical apps.
Go into Settings, then Notification Centre. Towards the bottom, you’ll see a list of the iPhone’s built-in apps, as well as third-party apps installed on your handset. Tap on each one you’re not interested in, and select the None option to disable it.
Tweaking the notifications settings (left) and background app refresh options (right) can help preserve iPhone battery life
Improve iPhone battery life: Background App Refresh
Before iOS 7, if you switched between apps by double tapping the home button, the old app would be put into a frozen state, with only limited use of any system resources. iOS 7 allows background apps to periodically refresh their data though, so when you load the app back up, you’ll see the latest updates immediately. This happens only a few times a day.
Disabling this seems to be an obvious choice if you’re putting your iPhone on a battery-usage diet. Go into Settings, then General, then tap on Background App Refresh. You can switch it off entirely, or prevent specific apps from updating.
Improve iPhone battery life: Use a third-party app
Just face it, life’s too short to spend forever and a day figuring out which apps are battery hogs, and which aren’t. That’s why we’re fans of BatterySaver by KS Mobile, a tool that offers a broad range of system tweaks, with a particular focus on saving battery life.
The app’s main screen shows an estimate for how much battery life is remaining, based on what’s running in the background, and your current system settings. If you perform some of the tweaks suggested above, you’ll see this number creep up. Switching on flight mode on our iPhone 4s raised the battery life from 17 hours to 21.
Tap on Available Time to see a breakdown of how long your iPhone will last performing specific tasks, such as talk time, 3D gaming and so on. You might be surprised to see that Audio Playback isn’t particularly draining on the battery.
Optimize provides some suggestions of further system tweaks that can extend your battery life. If you’ve forgotten to disable GPS or another setting, you’ll see that here.
If you scroll down slightly, then tap on Power Usage, you're presented with a list of system apps, along with a list of apps installed on your iPhone, and a corresponding rating of how much battery life they’ll use. Google Earth, an app that uses GPS, internet data, and 3D graphics, unsurprisingly is listed as a level 5 battery hog. BatterySaver even estimates the exact amount of energy the app uses (7.2m/AH per minute).
We’re less enthusiastic about the app’s slightly silly scores, achievement system and medals you receive for making saving battery life, as if it was an Xbox game. But although it’s slightly ridiculous, this system does at least encourage you to regularly keep your iPhone energy consumption under control.
We hope that some of these tips we’ve suggested mean you get more life from your iPhone when you’re away from your trusty Lightning or 30-pin charging cable.
Our final suggestion, if you still need more battery life, is to consider an external battery pack, or a case with one built in. There are many on the market that are worth considering. Check our reviews section for more ideas.
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