Software Development

Extending battery life for Apple portables

Wil Limoges offers some basic tips about how to extend the battery life of your Apple portable devices.

Since iOS 5 and the new iPhone 4S have arrived on the scene, I figured we could talk a little about battery management this week. I’m always trying to squeeze as much battery life out of my devices as possible, which depending on my needs and environment, can be quite the challenge sometimes.

Apple has varying battery performance for each of it’s portable devices and you can see what your portable's expected battery performance is by visiting Apple’s website, clicking on your product, and visiting your product's Tech Specs page. Apple also provides a great deal of information about the batteries that they produce on a lesser-known page of their site, which can be found here: http://www.apple.com/batteries/

One other thing to note before we get to our battery saving tactics is that Apple has a battery exchange program in the event that your battery fails or performance decreases. Simply take your battery powered portable to Apple’s Genius Bar, and have a Genius run diagnostics to determine if you battery performance is abnormal. If determined to be under-performing and in warranty, it will be replaced at no charge and if out of warranty, can be replaced for the price of the battery alone. This is a great service, especially for users with older devices whose batteries no longer hold a charge as they once did.

How to get the most from your battery

Battery performance is going to vary wildly depending on your needs and usage. For instance, I myself manage to get about 2 solid days of use out of my iPhone, however I’m lucky to get a day of use from my Macbook Air. This isn’t of course because my Macbook Air is inefficient, rather, it’s because I tend to use my Macbook Air for testing web pages and surfing for content whereas my iPhone gets used for texting and email mostly. I use them in very different ways and so I can get completely different results depending what I do with them.

Here are a few tips for getting the most from your batteries:

#1 Limit your Maps application usage and Internet browsing.

The Maps app is one of the more power-hungry applications on your iPhone using Wi-fi, Cellular, and GPS in tandem to locate and track your position. Surfing the web also uses Wi-fi and Cellular and drains on your battery quickly.

#2 Turn off any wireless feature that you rarely use.

Suffice to say, Cellular is pretty important for day-to-day use, however if you use your iPhone as an iPod at the gym, place your iPhone into Airplane mode, which will disable all your wireless connections and reduce your battery usage while you work out. Also if you don’t use Bluetooth at all on any of your devices, be sure that you disable it completely.

#3 Reduce you display brightness.

This has a great impact on battery usage and if you can tolerate it, take the display setting down as far as it will go to increase battery time.

#4 Turn off Push notifications.

If you can live without this feature, turning off push notifications, depending on how many you receive each day, can reduce battery consumption a great deal.

# 5 Disable fetch.

Disabling fetch is one of those things that most people wouldn’t miss. It checks to see if you have new mail periodically and downloads it automatically. When you turn it off, your Mail badge no longer informs you if you have new mail; however, all you have to do is pop into your Mail app and any new mail will automatically be downloaded then. This prevents your device from checking for new mail in the background and can preserve a great deal of power when disabled.

About

Wil Limoges is a Louisville, KY freelance web designer and Digital Savant at the vimarc group. He has had the pleasure of working for Apple as a Genius, loves science, and aspires to make great things!

5 comments
davisnewman
davisnewman

Does it matter if you wait till 10% or less or if you recharge even though you are still at 80-90%. Will leaving it connected to the charger when its fully charged be detrimental?

NicCrockett
NicCrockett

I don't know if it's changed in iOS5, but in iOS4 on my iPhone 3G it's here: Settings/Mail, Contacts, Calendars/Fetch New Data