How to improve iOS 7’s battery life

If your iPhone or iPad’s turned into a volt vampire, here’s how to reduce its appetite

Although iOS undoubtedly has a number of great new features, it’s also prone to battery-life issues.

Stuff’s fond that both the iPhone 4s and iPhone 5 are particularly prone to more rapid battery draining than under iOS 6, while over at Ars Technica, reviewers found battery life to be worse across the board.

If your iOS device no longer lasts the entire day, and if you’re not fortunate enough to be able to recharge, here are some tips that might help.

1. Make use of Control Center

Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access Control Center. This provides a number of single-tap options for toggling services. Airplane mode is the one likely to save the most power, but renders your device incapable of accessing networks. If that’s too brutal a fix, try disabling Bluetooth and Airdrop when you don’t need them. Also, reduce the brightness setting of your screen to the lowest level you’re comfortable with.

2. Avoid high-impact apps

Most of Apple’s battery tests are reasonable-case scenarios. They deal with ‘typical’ usage, mostly surrounding listening to music and browsing the web on Wi-Fi. Other apps are likely to chew through battery life rather more rapidly. Advanced games are major culprits, so avoid them when out and about.

However, also keep an eye on battery life when using other apps, because sometimes even simple 2D efforts and video-playback can be power-hungry. For a more granular battery readout, use Settings > General > Battery Percentage on supported devices.

More after the break...

3. Limit visual effects

This one’s admittedly a little contentious, because it’s not yet entirely clear how much impact iOS 7’s eye candy has on battery life. However, try going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion and turning it off.

Additionally, ensure your wallpaper (Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness) is chosen from your photo library or Apple’s ‘Stills’ collection, not ‘Dynamic’. These options will reduce two different types of home-screen motion, theoretically decreasing battery drain.

4. Reduce background activity

As iOS matures, there’s more going on behind the scenes. This can save time when you switch to apps or need certain services, but it can also impact on battery life.

Therefore, try the following: turn off background app refresh (Settings > General > Background App Refresh) — at least for all non-essential apps; disable app auto-updating (Settings > iTunes & App Store > Updates); streamline location services (Settings > Privacy > Location Services) — again, down to only the essential apps for which you need GPS to be triggered.

5. Fine-tune further settings

There’s a sense of diminishing returns on saving battery life once you get past the big-hitters, but there are nonetheless further things you can do. In Settings > Privacy > Advertising, limit ad-tracking; if you have a 4G-capable device but don’t need the speed, disable 4G in Settings > Cellular; in Settings > Notification Center, turn off notifications entirely, or prune them to the bare essentials. 

Each of these things might only eke out a little extra power, but all of the tips within this feature combined might be the difference between your device getting through the day and it awkwardly deciding to go dark when you’re on the side of a rainy, dark A-road, with a flat tyre and a long walk ahead of you.

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