iPhone Battery - Getting the most out of a charge

When I got my new iPhone back in July, I was amazed how quickly I could run the battery down! Just talking to a few people, watching a video, playing a game and checking my calendar left a dent in my battery. A day of heavy use meant I had to go running for my charger.

It was time to get energy smart! Although each successive version of the iPhone software has caused the battery to go longer between charges, I quickly found that some power management techniques would go a long way in assuring I had enough battery life to not worry about my iPhone going dead.

Here are some things you can do to increase the battery life of your iPhone. While doing all of these things will give you the longest running time for your iPhone, just implementing one or two will help. For each technique, I will list all the steps, so some pictures, particularly those of the home screen and settings window will be repeated several times.
When I got my new iPhone back in July, I was amazed how quickly I could run the battery down! Just talking to a few people, watching a video, playing a game and checking my calendar left a dent in my battery. A day of heavy use meant I had to go running for my charger.

It was time to get energy smart! Although each successive version of the iPhone software has caused the battery to go longer between charges, I quickly found that some power management techniques would go a long way in assuring I had enough battery life to not worry about my iPhone going dead.

Here are some things you can do to increase the battery life of your iPhone. While doing all of these things will give you the longest running time for your iPhone, just implementing one or two will help. For each technique, I will list all the steps, so some pictures, particularly those of the home screen and settings window will be repeated several times.

Bluetooth – Are you using it?


Bluetooth is the technology that allows you use a wireless headset with your iPhone. If you do not have one, turn that feature off. This can be a real battery saver!

Go to the Home screen (the round button at the bottom of your screen). Press the “Settings” button. At the Settings screen select “General.”

iPhone Settings screen

At the General Screen, Select “Bluetooth”. At the Bluetooth Screen, slide the Bluetooth switch to off.

iPhone_General_Bluetooth highlighted

Wi-Fi – Turn it off when there are no Wi-Fi networks around


When you are home or in a Wi-Fi hotspot, turn the Wi-Fi on. Any application that uses the Internet will automatically connect via Wi-Fi when you use them. This is the fastest way to connect to the Internet from your iPhone.

However, when your iPhone cannot “see” a Wi-Fi network to be connected to, it keeps searching and searching and searching--and it really causes your battery to discharge quickly. I leave the Wi-Fi on when I am at home, but when I put my iPhone in my purse, I take a second to turn it off. This is another important setting to save battery life.

When Wi-Fi is turned off you cannot connect to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. However, you can use Mail, Safari, YouTube, Stocks, Maps, Weather, and the App Store over your iPhone’s cellular data network connection.

Go to the Home screen (the round button at the bottom of your screen). Press the “Settings” button. At the Settings screen, slide the Wi-Fi switch to off.



Turn off the 3G network when you aren’t using the Internet away from home


I know this one sound really strange, but think about it. The 3G network generally does not give you any better voice quality. It does not make your iPhone ring any faster. It make mail download faster, but text downloads are so small that you will not be able to see a difference. But having the 3G network enabled can eat into battery life. So, when you are out and about, just waiting for the phone to ring, turn 3G off. When you will be using the Internet or using Google Maps, turn it back on. Don’t forget to turn it back off when you are no longer using Internet services!

iPhone home screen, settings buttton highlighted

Fetch New Data – How often do you really need that new data?


While one of the coolest features of the iPhone is it’s ability to have exactly the same information on the iPhone and one or more computers at exactly the same time, having your iPhone set to frequently send and look for new data means that it is frequently pinging the MobileMe server. That does take a bit of battery power.

I am generally at home. I have my computers set to automatically send data to MobileMe as I make changes in my calendar and address book. If I am home, I am probably using my computer instead of my iPhone to make calls and to make changes to my calendars and address book. I also typically read my email on my computer.

That means that unless I am out for the day, I have my I have the Fetch setting on my iPhone set to off.

When the Fetch setting is off, it simply means that in order for new email to come to my iPhone, I must open the Mail application, It means that my address book and calendar are not updated until I open Calendar and Contacts on my iPhone.

However, as soon as I open Mail, new mail is brought in. When I open Contacts, any recent changes made to my Address Book on my computer are downloaded and any changes made on my iPhone are sent to MobileMe and synched to my computer the next time it syncs. When I open the calendar, any new events or event changes made on my computer are added or updated on my iPhone and any changes made on my iPhone are sent to MobileMe and the next time my computers sync with MobileMe, those changes are made on my computer.

I frequently take my computer with me when I am away from home. My policy is that if my computer is accessible and it can connect to the Internet, I enter and change data on my computer. I only use my iPhone to enter and change data when I am away from home, without computer access with my computer.

To change the settings for Fetch, go to the iPhone Home Screen and press the icon for Settings.


iPhone home screen, settings buttton highlighted


In the “Fetch New Data” screen, place the Push switch in the OFF position. Now, unless you open Mail, Contacts or Calendar, no data will be sent to your phone. However, as soon as you open one of those applications, you will see an icon at the top of the screen that indicates that data is being exchanged



Let’s sum this up


There are lots of thing you can do to extend the battery life of your iPhone. While some people will want to use all of these measures, many of you will want to pick and choose from these methods. Just which ones I have implemented at any time depends on how long I want the battery to last. If I am at home and my iPhone is sitting on it’s charger, I probably don’t have many features turned off. However, if I am away from home and I need to conserve the battery, I will keep most features turned off unless I am using them.

Good luck with your iPhone!

--Pat

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